Robin: How to Discuss Rob Bell without Killing Each Other


Brilliant stuff from Robin (Gregory MacDonald):

See blog for all the comments.


I have listened to Mr. Bell and even was a supporter but when I started to look at the reformations and became soundly saved I have to say, sorry but Rob Bell is a heretic. His concept of the gospel is warped. What I love about Mr. Bell is how he criticizes and judges others without actually criticizing and judging others when addressing his critics.

There is absolutely nothing I could learn from Mr. Bell. It is nothing new he teaches just repackaged heresy. I am not being mean or vindictive just stating what I believe by looking at scripture.


So you hate the fact that he makes a general point about the stance of others or their spirit/attitude but he’s more gracious when he talks to specific individuals? That’s an odd complaint, to me. :confused:

EDIT: Sorry, I think I read sarcasm into your statement.

Maybe you could delineate in a new thread what exactly makes him a heretic and we could all break it down. Making generalized, unverified statements isn’t usually helpful.


I hate to be tongue in cheek, but you say that looking at reformations has led you to only love Bell’s ability to “judge and criticize others.” I’m curious which reformation***s*** have guided such a belief. That would seem ***un***lovable to me (Matthew 7:1,2).


I don’t know. Maybe the whole topic of Universalism IS starting to heat up. If so, in the process there are an awful lot of outrageous and hurtful and plain kooky things likely to be said. Very messy, and dogmatists of all stripes lurking everywhere. While I do love Robin’s desire to take the high road, my take is that most prefer the low.
Oh well.
Here’s what bugs me a bit…
No matter where one stands on these issues, he must admit he expects to be surprised in the end; or perhaps he admits he must have something currently unexplainable to him explained in the hereafter.
So, for those who insist on eternal lostness (ECT or annihilation) they fully expect that God will be able to explain why and how it is that there will be no more tears. That whatever happens, we will both understand God’s ways, and will accept them, AND will gladly live with them for eternity.
Same of course goes for the Universalist (like me) who may have no idea HOW God will actually go about winning and convincing each soul to serve Him freely, yet I fully believe that this will happen.
I wait then for the explanation of how God saves all; others wait for the explanation of how God condemns some to hell forever…

I’ll take my waiting stance a thousand times over against those who wait for God to explain to them why he must torture and kill and annihilate…
Just my perspective.



I’m thinking that a lot of the ECT folk are not wanting it to become a big public debate, for we live in an age that tends toward “tolerance” and many would be biased towards universalism and the church would be be divided in their eyes. So they keep it quiet. Also, many Christians cannot handle ambiguity in their worldview.
I remain agnostic about the matter. Maybe I’m agnostic about whether I’m agnostic :slight_smile:
Maybe that means insane :slight_smile:


Oh… I don’t know :wink:


“I just got this . . .I heard Good Morning America is going to have Rob Bell on the show today to talk about a new book he’s got coming out discussing the fact that hell isn’t what we’ve been taught . . .it’s already creating a huge stir in the religious groups . . .exciting times we live in . . .Pray for Rob in support of what he’s doing . . .truly a mouthpiece of God’s purpose and intent for this generation.” from tentmaker forum … d=13070964

I just saw this on another forum… I’m still not sure if I like the idea of Rob Bell being the face of EU… I believe he has too much baggage… ie… emergent church type stuff. This maybe a good time for Robin Perry to contact ABC and get a more balanced view and debate going.

Just my $0.02


The ABC news article doesn’t contain any interview material from Rob. It also seems to be an abbreviated version of the broadcast article.

The broadcast article nowhere quotes Rob as saying hell doesn’t exist or that there is no hell. The “prominent pastor” who does talk about hell being “made up” in the article is [size=200]NOT[/size] Rob Bell (despite the misleading undertag for the broadcast article.) It’s Reverend Serene Jones, President of United Theological Seminary.


(Mars Hill teaching pastor) from a CNN article.


Reminds me of the biblical test that if we don’t have love we are only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal. Love is all important. How wonderful that opportunities are opening up to share and what a great reminder that love, the way we treat others, should be of utmost concern.

Parry defends our view as in house, but this is a huge stretch for most Christians I know. (Sigh) Hopefully one day, in the not so very far future.


Whilst I agree that we must treat all as beloved of God, I sdometimes wonder if we misinterpret what love may involve. I believe that Jesus was treating the pharisees with love in the way He spoke to them. Yet most people would have called His behaviour rude, discourteous, aggressive, ignorant etc etc.
Notice He only behaved this way when dealing with religious types who were inflicting a heavy and unGodly burden on other folk.


True, but we’d have to be extremely careful as we don’t have Jesus’ insightfulness and would trend to go overboard or be driven by sinful motives.


Yes. I agree. The list of the fruit of the Spirit is also a useful guide.


Having been a Pharisee and been delivered from the deception of legalism and judgmentalism, I’m now reticent to be negative or judgmental of others, and rather seek to simply share what I believe and why I believe it having grace on others because I’ve received so much grace.


I appreciate what you’re saying here about love and it’s reaction being complex. Sometimes the right thing to do is to stand up to evil, take a stand when it is hurting others, and at others time to turn the other cheek. Our view of UR understands this complexity in that we see a judgement that is love based. I agree with you that Jesus ,though he reacted strongly at times, looking as if he hated certain people, was really loving and showing opposition to harmful attitudes and beliefs. Throwing tables over, etc. was a rare occurence and is probably not, I think you would agree, a usual approach to things that we should take. And, like you mention, Jesus’ strongest reactions were an approach he had with the religious. These are a lot of the people I interact with, but I wouldn’t trust myself to start throwing tables around.

I feel like all I can do is check my own heart for attitudes that are not right, that aren’t concerned for the welfare of the people on the receiving end of my comments. In order to do this I can’t hit send on my comments right away and, instead, have to take time to reflect on what I’ve said and why. Am I coming from a place of love or fear and frustration? Even then I say things I sometimes regret, especially that I wish I wouldn’t have said so much so as to overwhelm people. I’m so blessed, btw, by people on this forum that, not only remain cool in their disposition, but demonstrate a real care of others in their willingness to take the time to share what has blessed them.


I think it’s appropriate to note that the release of Bell’s book on March 15 is really making a bigger splash than perhaps many had expected. And I think it’s important for us to be right there on the front lines so-to-speak. Just happened across this essay linked from (note the number of other discussions and essays Dalrymple links to!)

Love Fails – Rob Bell, Hellgate, and the Ethics of Christian Conversation
By Timothy Dalrymple … versation/

Here are his first two paragraphs of that essay:

For me this essay embodies a lot of the issues that surround how we humans wrestle with faith and belief: the difficulties of having convictions and certainties, while at the same time being open to greater, deeper revelations of truth. Faithfulness to what we have believed, yet courage to improve upon it. As I think about this, it’s really a sacred calling and process isn’t it. The certainty that Jesus Himself deeply believed in ECT is surely a very difficult conviction to examine for many of our brothers. We need to respect that.

No one wants to be disloyal to Christ yet we also don’t want to necessarily camp around our current conclusions and dogmas as if they are the final and perfect revelation of the true God… I hear in this essay lots of the same sober and wise advice that Robin gave us a few days ago over on his section.

Let’s all keep an eye on this as it develops… Maybe even a special section Alex so we don’t get too many diverse new threads spread all over??



Appreciate that post TV. Thanks.


Thanks TotalVictory, that’s quite an interesting blog post and I agree with the complexities given the emotions tied up with this. I like this point


DeYoung’s just posted a lengthy response and I’ve put some key quotes from it up in the ‘Negative Arguments’ section. (I don’t think I’ve linked before, so my linkage looks bad. Can you fix it for me Alex? As a cousinly favour?)