Thanks for the heads up on this article Gem. It’s only on the web – not in the magazine (which I do subscribe to and try to read regularly) It’s written by the very respected editor Mark Galli. And David Neff also contributed.
Galli’s approach is very cautious as it seems he doesn’t want to offend anyone (not a bad thing). He notes with disfavor the harshness of many of the evangelical responses to Bell’s book; in particular John Piper’s now infamous tweet “Farewell Rob Bell”. According to Galli’s reading of “Love Wins” Bell is clearly not a Universalist. A good part of this essay is spent sustaining the reasonableness of annihilation instead of ECT and Galli tries to place Bell’s theology in this camp instead of Universalisms. Galli seems unaware of Universalisms best arguments; if he is aware he simply avoids even attempting to articulate them. He does note that the book is an important one as it offers yet more evidence of a major shift happening on the theological landscape on the issues of heaven and hell and salvation and so on. In this he is surely correct. While he appeals to the weight of tradition, he also calls for respect and good will towards those who seem called to question, or at least rework traditional ideas.
Overall fair and balanced I thought, but a bit dismissive and condescending (that’s MY bias I guess!) towards Universalism…