Imitation of Rob Bell's Promo Video


There is a telling imitation of Rob Bell’s video that is floating around the internet with a script by a Calvin college professor, Jeremy Grinnell. It is interesting to see how the continued criticisms of Bell seem to lack any true substance because they are simply aiming at a caricature of what he is really trying to say. And, I’d say that the caricatured critiques most likely would extend to most evangelical universalists belief because the other side is simply not willing to listen. Hell has become a closed-fist, primary doctrine…but that is contrary to the creeds of the church.

At any rate, here is a link to the video and my discussion of it:


Thanks for posting this, RT. The video is a clever reversal of Bell’s promo video but, as you say, it ignores what his book actually says about justice.


That’s the problem with most caricatures of evangelical universalism- they ignore what is actually being said!


That is what has been so frustrating to me! I’ve been dialoging with this guy and he will NOT engage what I am saying. It will go something like this:

Him: Well since you don’t believe in hell then you don’t take evil seriously and their is no need for Christ or the church…

Me: But I DO believe in hell and I think it’s a terrible place. Furthermore, I think our evil human nature is THE problem and there is no escape from that except through the blood of Christ–there is no other way. You are arguing against liberal universalism and that is NOT what I believe the scriptures teach! I just happen to believe that the blood of Christ is more effective than you think it is and that when the scriptures say that God will reconcile “all things” through Christ, making peace via the cross, that that is actually what he will do!

Him: God does judge and his judgments are just. He will reconcile all who are in Christ and the goats will receive eternal damnation. Just because you don’t want to believe in hell doesn’t mean that it ceases to exist. You obviously don’t think sin is a big deal and probably think you are a good person. For God so loved the world…blah blah blah

And it goes on and on. I rarely find people actually engaging the scriptures and wrestling with evangelical universalism. It bums me out that Rob Bell was awarded the unofficial position of the torch bearer for Evangelical Universalism instead of Robin Parry. He is a little too loose with the scriptures for me.


My response to the video:

Starts out with Hitler - Godwin’s law has been invoked. And God has forgiven Hitler? Is that such a travesty? He forgave me after all, and I am worse than Hitler according to the theology of the “Orthodox”. According to them, I not only deserve but apart from being saved by the literal skin of my confessing teeth, or by being immersed in a certain quantity of dihydrogen monoxide after the right divine name has been invoked, or by initiating myself to the alignment of certain teachings of knowledge; not only deserve…but apart from this salvation will actually be engulfed in a never ending, ceaseless, exponential, conscious, eternity of torture right beside Hitler, Nero, Stalin, and the Devil himself.

Yet, I am forgiven and Christ died for me. Is Christ a respecter of persons that sin should abound over grace in one man who was most surely possessed by a devil? Who, if history would look, would find that while he was indeed a terrible evil that the evil was born because Britain and France had made the perfect womb for such a tyranny to be born in the Treaty of Versailles?

Come on now thou charicature, why doest thou this hypocrisy before the Lord, and doeth him injustice before the very foot of the cross?

As for the victims seeing justice; Forgive your enemies first of all. Heaven should not be our balcony seat before the Medieval show, whence we might throw our rotten fruit at the prisoner spinning chained to his wheel. God forbid we should gloat over the fall of our enemies. An eye for an eye, but I tell you that we also should lose our eye and have our turn on the wheel if justice is purely held in revenge.

What about our victims? Confession through our teeth, or immersion in holy water makes it all go away? Where is their recompense?

Thank God who is Justice, that his fire is remedial for Justice, and Justice that is true. Remedial justice brings closure to both parties, ceaseless infliction of retribution without end only prolongs the hurt giving hurt for hurt, and evil in the place of good which should work for the betterment of both parties. Eternal Hell makes the victim, remain a victim, and makes the victimiser a victim of God, and makes God a victimiser.

And also, I thought the Good News was that God was shedding his mercy and grace on ALL sinners to bring them to repentance through his love…but I suppose I missed it. I guess that is what I get for reading my Bible instead of listening to a preacher give his own twist of the verse to get more of that sweet, sweet tithe!

“Absurdities and inconsistencies” - Like the Atheists who would not accept the Gospel I presented them because they saw right through the hypocritical idol I was presenting as the All-loving Christ? The God who with one hand would forgive you of everything in one second, but at the other would throw you into the worst form of holocaust that ever an empowered, creative Devil might devise? It is not because of revenge that many do not come to God! It is because of that revenge that people fear to run to him! Thou fool, do you forget the garden of Eden when man hid themselves from God in their iniquity? They feared him, because they were naked. You only perpetuate that fear in showing them their nakedness, not the clothing Christ offers made from his own skin, and blood!

The absurdity is not in God’s justice, it is in the caricature of justice and love that you have made and taught to be Gospel.

“It means pure and perfect justice” - yet you escape without so much as a smoulder for all of your wickedness and iniquity, while others burn to bear the passed load of yours; the difference? They didn’t invoke the right magical Christian spell or ritual to get to Heaven…You did…

“Overflowing compensation for anyone who has been hurt or betrayed” - IE: all of us? Some compensation that most should writhe in godless agony for all of perpetuity!

I can listen and watch no more. This video is less than a caricature, it is an outright bearing of false witness.


+1000 :slight_smile: (For Leif, too.)


You know, I thought that Jesus died for Hitler too, not just me. And didn’t He die for Stalin too! And what if in the last moments of his life, the lights came on for Hitler, he remembered the words of acceptance and forgiveness that he heard as a child before he was abused, and He called on the Lord for forgiveness, would the Lord say “Hell No!”? What about Stalin or G. Kahn or Bundie or… could not God forgive them also! Does not the Lord love them also! Are they completely irredeemable? Or is the love of God so great that He even forgives these people. What about Paul who was a persecutor of the church, even responsible for the death of the first Christian martyr! Oh well, I thought salvation was based on the grace of God, and not dependant upon how much I’ve sinned. hmm.


On Rob Bell vs. Talbot

I yet feel in my heart, at least the possibility, that Rob Bell being our “torch bearer” might not be a bad thing. Evangelical Universalism is not really something that is going to be accepted by the majority of the older generation, it is something that the young will have to become ablaze with. Rob Bell reaches out to the young, they are reading and they are listening a lot more than the older generations who are desperate to stifle any “truth-seeking” beyond their company store, especially the preachers.

The young rebelling against the old is not always a bad thing, when the rebellion is against a bad thing. The young will read it, and will relate to him better than they will to people who appear like “theological doctors”.

I don’t think God has allowed this to flourish, and even become a firestorm of controversy, for no good reason. I believe he wants to reach the young. They are the ones (we) who will effectively be the “Orthodox” church to come. All they need is the right spark to set their truth seeking fire, in a simple to understand and relate to means. This may very well be the thing that did it for many.

“He has influence” - this is why so many people attacked him, and so viciously. Though I do agree, for tested theologians and otherwise, he isn’t the best player when compared to other beacons of our faith.

But who knows, maybe Rob Bell, will “lead” to Talbot, you have to start off with milk before you have meat :wink:


We can hope that Bell will lead some to read Parry and Talbott, but I fear his weak version of hopeful universalism mediated through his inquisitive style and his simplistic exegetical arguments will drive some further from ever examining what EU stands for to many. I think they will say something like, “If this is what those people espouse, I want no part in it.” The question I’ve been asking over and over again to myself is what can we do to raise awareness for robust versions of EU? I think it is going to be a slow process, probably amongst younger evangelicals (meant in Robert Webber’s way). The ECT view of hell and eternality has been around for quite awhile and I think to expect it to demise rapidly may be too much to ask.

One positive on the side of EU is that annihilationism is becoming more and more en vogue amongst evangelicals and if not espoused is at least considered an option. This is tremendously helpful on many levels, mostly because some of the same exegetical moves they make are helpful in opening the way for people to realize that the doctrine of hell is much, much complex than they’ve ever realized. And, I think their questioning of the ECT tradition is another key area in which these thinkers are creating space for EU.

My current status as a hopeful universalist means that for now at least, I am mostly defending EU against caricatures and showing people what the position really espouses. Further, I’m the very conservative minded, ECT thinkers around me to understand that the issue isn’t so cut and dry in tradition or Scripture. And it is a slow process for sure…but at least a few people are beginning to listen and not consider EU an outright heresy anymore!


Here is my second post on the video:


And they accuse us of thinking we are good, but somehow God will save them and not Hitler because he was sooo bad, could never like themselves, turn toward God and repent. He’s so bad God will give up on him, must to do so because there’s no hope for him. It’s like it’s the opposite. It’s not we that think we are good, it’s them that think they are good, the fortunate few that are able to respond to God in time (assuming they are Arminian). It seems to lack grace.

Just the other day on fb someone was commenting that Mormons hold out hope for Hitler and had done something via proxy, can’t remember exactly what. I commented that I appreciated they believed in grace. Of course people wrote in that they don’t believe in grace, being that it’s after all you can do. I agreed, of course, that grace must precede what we do. Real grace seems like not giving up on people even as they’d deserve that. Perhaps there is something I haven’t throught though?


I think Bell’s new book, Love Wins, is robust enough for most people. It ins’t very weak, or at least not like I’d imagined after hearing statements like these. I’m assuming you read it, but I think the book, so far as I’m reading, makes quite a case for EU with most of the important questions being asked and answered, if not as fully as you think it deserves. Sometimes less is more when people are first being introduced to the concepts.

Seriously, I think we should ask Bell. He’s done quite a bit to raise awareness on our forum in the last mos. or so.

At this point I’m putting my money on the fact that we can do much more than hope.

Was there really anything different that Bell could have done that they wouldn’t have said this? Seriously? If Talbott were the one under fire right now would he feeling lots more love? I doubt it.

You might be right, Lefein. The young aren’t so stuck in the paradigms handed down to them and maybe, unlike some I’ve spoken with, will be willing to at least read the book. Tell me it matters the case Bell makes when we can’t even get people to read the case. Say it’s because Bells hasn’t presented himself well. If he’d have said, “Hey guys, I’m a very hopeful Universalist!”, then they’d have come running with excitement to read his ideas?! Naw! It’s just hard to teach old dogs new tricks. We, as people in general and especially as the religious, are no exception. We’ve got our system in our head that we’ve learned and it’s going to take a hell (or a heaven :laughing: ) of a lot of work to undo that!


I really really agree with this. One of the things that stood out to me about my parents is that they were interested and receptive to it. My parents-in-law…I will almost certainly never even raise it with them. My father-in-law is an ex-pastor in the Alliance church and strongly believes in ECT and the reality and necessity of eternal punishment. To even raise it with him would be to convince him that I had lost the faith, and was leading his precious daughter away from the faith as well. I don’t think he’d really ever get over it.


This parody is much better.

(And, no I’m not posting it because I hate Universalists, just thought it’d be appropriate on this thread. :smiley: )


I’m glad to hear that cousin :mrgreen:


"]Despite the many ways younger adults report more open-minded faith attitudes, the research showed that adults over forty were actually more likely than 18- to 39-year-olds to desire healthy relationships with people of other faiths.

Interestingly, younger born again Christians stand in stark contrast to their peers, being **much less open to inclusive or universalist views of eternity. **Still, while they are holding firm on many matters of orthodoxy, young Christians also expressed less certainty than previous generations did about what will happen to them, personally, when they die.


This goes without saying, of course. :slight_smile: Thanks for posting it. Parts of it did make me laugh, though I don’t think it did anything to not take Rob Bell’s video serious. I like that it’d emphasized that we need to think about the important questions. Rob Bell’s questions weren’t anything like the silly questions in this video. It’ll be nice to have the issues raised and people actually asking deep questions about God’s character and what he is up to. I think the perception of most non-Christians of the Christian faith is that they don’t think, ask the important questions. They would like, too, to stop asking the silly questions.


I would put this as more proof of their penchant for passion. They just don’t know what to be passionate about yet, not having it laid before them in a secure way - to many, the church, becomes their security blanket.

But perhaps I am not as knowledgeable about the youth-demographic as I thought lol.


What a sad, sad video. Sadly rediculous and misconstrued. It reminded me that some people just don’t want certain people in heaven, period. In the end, some don’t want God to forgive Hitler…EVER, under ANY circumstances. They simply can’t IMAGINE Hitler running through fields of flowers with a group of Jewish children that HE gassed, or strolling down the street with Mother Theresa holding her hand.

No imagination whatsoever. Sad.



This very picture of reconciliation and justice - making all things right, is what God should surely be about!

If God could do this between Hitler and his victims, what magnificent things could he do for us? What could he do for people who are most miserable wishing they could be reconciled and make things right, and would do anything they could to make it right - but it simply doesn’t come? This gives people hope in abundance that their sins and wickedness are not eternally damning and condemning; that Heaven will find itself a place of real reconciliation, where the past, the former things are ‘truly’ forgotten, not merely imputed as passed, or grossly hidden beneath some divine rug in the universe to perpetually exist as the thing never mentioned.

I’m sure Hitler, after having been put in a state of being in a right mind (IE: no longer insane) would wish for nothing more than to make ever wrong right he’d ever committed.

We must remember, Hitler was a baby once too, people often forget that - wanting to make some men devils in order to avoid the devil in themselves. Forgetting we often make our monsters more than they make us.