No heaven or hell…so says Rob Bell?

Nope this isn’t a remake of the theme from John Lennon’s hit song Imagine, this is straight out of the mouth of a popular evangelical writer/pastor of a church named Mars Hill in Michigan.   Not to be confused with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill in Seattle.  A popular church name apparently?!?

I haven’t had the chance to read Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins, but it has been causing quite a stir.  John Piper, Brian McClearen, Al Moehler have all chimed in among others I am sure.  Even down here in Nicaragua I’ve heard it mentioned numerous times by friends.  Apparently Bell is proposing that there is no Hell.  I’ve read Bell’s previous book Velvet Elvis and he is very catchy and hip in his writing style, a lot like Donald Miller.  In fact similar to a lot of writings coming out of “the emergent church” movement, which I see basically as a movement by leaders who grew up in the Bible belt and didn’t like how church became a club or was a religious wing of the GOP.  I grew up in Miami so all the emergent church stuff doesn’t really resonate with me, it actually kind of annoys me.

So I suspect that Bell is making a larger point and using this controversial “there is no hell” line as a proposition to get people thinking, and then gradually moving them to whatever he is really trying to convince them of.    Like I said, I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but I do plan to.   I will have to wait and see.

Apparently Bell made the cover of Time magazine.  I did get a chance to read that article online.  http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2065080,00.html  Here is a quote from the article about the reaction to his book.  It really caught my attention.

“The traditionalist reaction is understandable, for Bell’s arguments about heaven and hell raise doubts about the core of the Evangelical worldview, changing the common understanding of salvation so much that Christianity becomes more of an ethical habit of mind than a faith based on divine revelation.”

Now considering Time magazine is not writing a critique in favor of Traditional Evangelical thought, but actually defending Bell from it, this quote bothers me.  It is a strikingly honest conclusion from a sympathizer of the book.  If Bell really is bringing in a teaching about salvation where “Christianity becomes more of an ethical habit of mind than a faith based on divine revelation” there is a problem. 

Krista pointed out that it sounds like he is going back to the Bible belt.  Not on the same train of thought when she said it, I asked her how so?  She said it sounds like he wants to make the church a social club, just with a different bent.  Now that is an interesting thought.

Looking forward to reading the book…..any thoughts?  The big hoopla at least inspires me to listen to some groovy John Lennon hits….maybe Yoko too 🙂….There are a couple on the soundtrack from Mr. Hollands Opus.

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