I just watched this and it has made me angry. You watch it first and then listen to why…
Firstly, I want to say that I have watched quite a bit of Rob Bell’s stuff, from back in the day when he was doing the Nooma stuff. Actually he could still be doing the Nooma stuff but I wouldn’t know since I stopped watching it thanks to him. I also want to say that I do not know him personally (though my references to him as Rob) might indicate otherwise. If I did know him personally, I would say all of this to him in the hopes of bringing him back to the Bible.
If you are a Christian, one of the things you should be doing (every day!) is getting your theology from the Bible and bring the theology of others to it. This is so that we don’t stray. We need to be strong (and prepared to speak to others about) the Gospel, and about Jesus. If you are a Christian then the only reason you aren’t in heaven yet is because of the Gospel work you have not yet completed. So the Gospel is a big deal.
If you need a refresher, or you are new here and don’t know this ‘Gospel’ thing, let me tell you quickly:
- God made the earth and us to rule over the earth under his authority. (Rev 4:11)
- We decided we wanted to rule ourselves and stick it to God. (Rom 3:23)
- God punished us with 3 score and 10 years, and hell. (Heb 9:27)
Let me elaborate at this point. God made us so that He could love us. Since we’ve decided to go our own way, He still loves us but He is just and will punish us. That punishment is no more than we ask for. The Bible describes Hell as a place completely devoid of the loving presence of God. The punishment is simply the result of us choosing to be without God – He sends us away from His presence. He still loves us, and has made a way for us to be forgiven, saved, redeemed…
- God sends Jesus to die on the cross for us. (1 Pet 3:18)
Jesus is perfect, so the only man (fully God, fully man) who doesn’t deserve the penalty for sin takes our penilty for sin so we can be right with God. This is not because we deserve that salvation. It is not because we can earn that salvation. We just lucked out. So we get to be right with God again. A momentary clarify finds us in the blood-mist of our filthy lives and dead souls and through it we can see God’s salvation plan for us. It is Jesus.
- God raises Jesus to life. (1 Pet 1:3)
The perfect God-man how took the sins of the world (past, present and future) is also the conquerer of death, sin and Satan. Jesus is made the judge of all things, living and dead. All people who ever were, are now and ever will be shall pass by His throne and if they knew Him before they died they will not be sent away. Those that did not know Him before that judgement day will be sent away from Him in accordance with their dying wishes. Judgement day is the moment we die, or Jesus returns in glory!
This is the Gospel. We live, we die, we see Jesus. The Bible is very clear on this, and if we are to understand the Gospel and proclaim it to the world as Jesus commanded us to, then we MUST be clear on this too. To suggest for even a second that it is not of eternal importance that we choose Jesus in this life is disastrous. God is grace but He is also justice. If we cannot depend on Him keeping to His word on this then how can we depend on Heaven? If we cannot depend on the salvation of Jesus in this life (or believe in our desperate need for it) then how can be believe that Jesus is the Christ.
These are not open-handed issues. It is not ok to put these unbiblical (indefensible) notions down to misunderstanding or unimportance. They matter fundamentally to us, the Gospel and God.
Rob Bell might be a great guy, but he reaches many with these words of heresy . In this interview, and in a large amount of his other teaching he is not speaking the words of the Bible. That, friends, is harmful. You can choose to not care; to prevent those who (like us) desperately need it from hearing it in truth. But speak these things as Rob does and you will be aiding in the destruction of people you care about. It is very much a matter of life and death.
EDIT: I stumbled across an exceptional (and long) review of Rob’s book: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2011/03/14/rob-bell-love-wins-review/