What's New
Escaping the Cult
Current Trends
Bible Doctrines
Bible Explanations
Emergent church
Latter Rain
Word Faith
Popular Teachers
Pentecostal Issues
Trinity / Deity
World  Religions
New Age Movement
Book Reviews
Web Directory
Tracts for witnessing
Web Search
The Persecuted Church


For printing  our articles please copy the web page by highlighting  the text first - then click copy in the browser-  paste the article into a word  program on your computer. When the text is transferred into word, click to save or print.      







                                                    Rob Bell needs to hear the gong!

Rob Bell started his church in 1999 and it grew to 10,000 in a few years. In 2007 Rob Bell was ranked as the 10th most influential Christian in America (thechurchreport.com). Though he may have become instantly popular, he is among the many Emergent church teachers reshaping Christianity by introducing universalism, and a new age form of Christianity.
However, Bell, an emergent church liberal insists he is not a universalist. Not wanting to be categorized as this, he has reinvented his views for public consumption, but he actually holds to “modified” universalist views.

Bells standard statement is that Christianity is this, a “vast and diverse conversation that has been going on for thousands of years” (said on Good Morning
America in the interview with George Stephanopoulas). Which in emergent language is to continue challenging the doctrines held by Historic orthodox Christianity.

Rob Bell has recently brought on a controversy with his new book “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.” Bell has taken his liberal views to the public through interviews on the news. His liberal associates are standing alongside in his public offensive. Brian McLaren says of the book: “In Love Wins, Rob Bell tackles the old heaven-and-hell question and offers a courageous alternative answer. Thousands of readers will find freedom and hope and a new way of understanding the biblical story - from beginning to end.” (Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and Naked Spirituality). That’s it in a nutshell – new alternative answers; which are really ancient heresies in modern day language.

Going on TV to promote his new book did not always elicit a warm welcome as seen on MSNBC with host, Martin Bashir. This interview was particularly good because he was actually challenged Bell, Bashir put him on the ropes. One of Martin Bashir’s questions to Bell: Why does it matter what we do here on Earth if we all go to heaven?

Bell answered MSNBC reporter Martin Bashir with clichés that said a whole lot of nothing. He basically embarrassed himself by not being able to answer his direct questions. This media person interviewing him did his homework, saw the illogic of his new touted theology and challenged him directly. Bell became uncomfortable trying to answer the tough questions, because Bell has no Biblical answer but his own feelings.
His philosophical musings are far from theology found in scripture. It is embarrassing for a pastor to still be asking questions and without having answers.

Bashir interview (he assumes Bells wrong in everything and says so)
In the Preface of his new book, Love Wins, Bell lays it all on the line by stating why he wrote the book; he claims millions or people are turned away because “…A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy…”
To question an interpretation that one received as wrong can be a legitimate pursuit. But to arrive at what is correct can only come from studying Scripture itself, all of it in its context. Otherwise one is not correcting a wrong interpretation they received but is inventing one.
Within Bell’s own statement is his answer to his quandary: few Christians are in heaven vs. rest of humanity in hell.

Let’s begin with the Bible. It is Jesus that gives the qualification for salvation and unless one meets his criteria then He does not enter. John 10:9: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.” IF is an important word when coupled with a response; one must decide.
Luke 13:23-24: Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
Strive, agonize, but not according to Bell’s doctrine of “I’m okay your okay.” There is no need for effort, since we all make it in the end. Here Jesus is saying that not everyone is on the narrow road and many will try to enter by a broad road.

Luke 8:12: “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
The point is that all Christians are part of humanity, but they are not born Christian but at some point believe in the message that will make them a Christian. When they enter the door Jesus spoke about, then are they removed from the broad road that leads to destruction and walk on the narrow road. But Bell makes it unnecessary, it is a non issue to become a Christian.

In another interview of Rob Bell on Fox and friends. Gretchen Carlson introduces him by stating he has an optimistic message of the afterlife challenging traditional Christian ideas about hell and names his book…
Gretchen: “traditionalists are saying that you’re actually changing the way the Bible is interpreted to make it more palatable for more people, how do you respond?”
Bell: “First off, I wrote the book because I believe God loves everybody everywhere and at the essence of the Christian message is this announcement that Jesus has come to offer us this love invited to everybody, this is the most orthodox straight forward gospel of the world that God sent Jesus, so in many ways the book is simply trying to reclaim first and foremost that beautiful and compelling essence of the Christian message” (Rob Bell with Gretchen Carlson on “Fox and Friends” April 4, 2011).

To offer, to invite means one can reject or accept, but Bell teaches that one becomes the recipient of this salvation no matter what. Does Bell grasp what he is saying? Because it is the opposite of his conclusions. This is not what we see in the gospels as Jesus goes from village to village, nor is it afterwards with the apostles. What is missing from Bell’s “most orthodox straight forward gospel” is choice and consequences. Bell believes “all will be reconciled to God” (p. 109 Love Wins). NONSENSE!

Gretchen: “so you talk a lot about heaven and hell,… here’s what you say “ eternal life is less about a kind of time of life when we die and more about a quality and vitality of life lived now in connection to God. What do you mean by that?”
Bell: “Well one of the things I trace, is, we have a modern concept of the word forever, which essentially for us means time without end, like year after year after year after year. That word forever, the biblical writers didn’t really have that kind of word… there’s a Hebrew word olam and a Greek word aion and they essentially refer more to a quality of life, so aion means when your really, really being bored in class and the clock slows down or when you fall in love and those conversations that, that… we were talking for 6 hours, it feels like it went by in 6 minutes (ed. Note: Think about this word applying to God who actually lives outside of time) what happens for us in the most intense experiences of life we sort of leave the clock behind in essence. That’s actually first and foremost what the word aion means in the New Testament, so when they are talking about eternal life, and Jesus said I have come to give you eternal life it’s a quality of life lived in connection with God right now.”

This is the crux of Bell’s argument for his interpretation. The first problem is that the Bible uses more than the two words aion and olam to describe “eternal life”: aion and aionios can mean “age” or a “period of time,” they also mean “eternal.” The context of the words determine its meaning. Bell focuses on the meaning as a quality of life. I would like to know when Bell thinks they are used as eternal, if at all.

In Matt 24:3 the disciples ask Jesus “And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
The word age is aion. Are we to accept Bells assertion that they are asking Jesus what will be the end of the quality of life? Or, as in Jewish thought the end of the age when the kingdom of the Messiah would begin to rule.

In Matthew 25:32-34: “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: V.41: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: V.46 ‘And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

We see the separating between the sheep and the goats, the dialogues between Jesus as the judge and the persons judged would be meaningless if we take Bell’s position. In fact, this would mean the devil and his angels have a second chance and are potentially to be saved alongside the people. That is rank heresy. Bell focuses on the word eternal ignoring the context and the actual point, Jesus said of those to depart, they go into punishment that lasts without end. Bell insists this is wrong.

Mt.25:46 describe everlasting punishment and everlasting life, both are eternal. The Greek for everlasting (aiones) means always, continually, a forever concept. The actual word used in Matt. 25.41, 46 is “aionion” which is from the root aion. It is not the same meaning because it is not the exact same word. It means an endless duration.

Let me refer to some actual scholars the church knows: “Matthew 25:46 [Into everlasting punishment] The original word translated here as “punishment” means torment, or suffering inflicted for crime. The noun is used but in one other place in the New Testament-1 John 4:18: “Fear hath `torment.'“ The verb from which the noun is derived is twice used-Acts 4:21; 2 Peter 2:9. In all these places it denotes anguish, suffering, punishment. It does not mean simply a “state or condition,” but absolute, positive suffering; and if this word does not teach it, no word “could” express the idea that the wicked would suffer.”
“The original word-aionion (NT:164)-is employed in the New Testament 66 times. Of these, in 51 instances it is used of the happiness of the righteous; in two, of God's existence; in six, of the church and the Messiah's kingdom; and in the remaining seven, of the future punishment of the wicked. If in these seven instances we attach to the word the idea of limited duration, consistency requires that the same idea of limited duration should be given it in the 51 cases of its application to the future glory of the righteous, and the two instances of its application to God's existence, and the six eases of its appropriation to the future reign of the Messiah and the glory and perpetuity of the church. But no one will presume to deny that in these instances it denotes unlimited duration, and therefore, in accordance with the sound laws of interpretation and of language itself, the same sense of unlimited duration must be given it when used of future punishment-Owen, in loc. (from Barnes' Notes).

Matthew 25:46 “But the same adjective aioonios (NT:164) is used with kolasin (NT:2812) and zooeen (NT:2189). If by etymology we limit the scope of kolasin (NT:2812), we may likewise have only age-long zooeen (NT:2189). There is not the slightest indication in the words of Jesus here that the punishment is not coeval with the life.”
“The word aioonios (NT:164) (from aioon (NT:163), “age,” “aevum,” aei (NT:103)) means either without beginning or without end or both. It comes as near to the idea of eternal as the Greek can put it in one word. It is a difficult idea to put into language. Sometimes we have “ages of ages” aioones (NT:163) toon (NT:3543) aioonoon (NT:163). (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)

Matthew 25:46; “the same word is used to express the duration of the punishment, kolasin (NT:2812) aioonion (NT:164), as is used to express the duration of the state of glory: zooeen (NT:2189) aioonion (NT:164). I have seen the best things that have been written in favour of the final redemption of damned spirits; but I never saw an answer to the argument against that doctrine, drawn from this verse, but what sound learning and criticism should be ashamed to acknowledge. The original word aioon (NT:163) is certainly to be taken here in its proper grammatical sense, continued being, aieioon, NEVER ENDING. Some have gone a middle way, and think that the wicked shall be annihilated. This, I think, is contrary to the text; if they go into punishment, they continue to exist; for that which ceases to be, ceases to suffer. See the note at Genesis 21:33, where the whole subject is explained.” (from Adam Clarke's Commentary)

Fausett dictionary states “the term for “everlasting” (aidiois) in Jud_1:6, “the angels who kept not their first estate He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day,” is from a word meaning absolutely “always.”
Vine’s Expository Dictionary: “The predominant meaning of aionios, that in which it is used everywhere in the NT… may be seen in 2 Cor. 4:18, where it is set in contrast with proskairos, lit., “for a season”… Moreover it is used of persons and things which are in their nature endless… (in other words, it is never used for a limited or set period of time)… Aionios is also used of the sin that ‘hath never forgiveness’ (Mark 3:29), and of the judgment of God, from which there is no appeal (Heb. 6:2), and of the fire, which is one of its instruments (Matt. 18:8) and which is elsewhere said to be ‘unquenchable,’ (Mark 9:43). The use of aionios here shows that the punishment referred to in 2 Thess. 1:9 (Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power) is not temporary, but final, and accordingly, the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial (as Bell tries to make it out to be) but retributive
From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp 232, 233.3. aidios 126; see EVERLASTING.
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

It is bothersome for Bell to interpret the verse the way it is written. Bell has no real ability to explain any of this besides his own feelings. If hell is not experienced as eternal then neither is life. Because the same word “eternal” is used for both the wicked suffering, and the repentant, living with God. If the “eternal” punishment of the wicked is only temporary as cessasionists say, then a time will come when God will no longer exist! Because the same term is used for “eternal” punishment is used for the “eternal God” (we will look at this logical flaw of interpretation after Bells position is made clear.) To try to have this verse not mean what it says takes some fancy gymnastics, I’m amazed at the backflips.

In the Fox News interview – Gretchen asks: “Now what do you think about hell because I know that this has been a topic of controversy with your book, do you believe that hell exists?”
Bell: “Yes.”
Gretchen: “But you also believe hell exists currently in, on the earth we live, in what way?
Bell: “Yes.” Bell then gives a story of a woman that gives him a paper of how long she has gone not cutting herself. “So I see people in agony all the time. We see hell we made up the phrase someone is going through hell – so I start right now with the hell on earth.”

What is a false teacher? Someone who departs from Scripture, who rejects one or more of the core doctrines. A core doctrine is part of foundational teaching that can affect other doctrines connected to it. Cults are those that major on a certain point and make it all encompassing. They change the meanings, reinterpreting it to have a different view than Christianity holds. An example of this is people that deny Jesus is God who came from heaven and became a man. They concentrate on certain portions and intentionally ignore others.

Bell thinks the church has been putting words in God’s mouth by our interpretation of an eternal punishment but it is he that is doing this by rejecting God’s meaning of the words written by His Spirit, AND replacing it with his interpretations.

Bell states: “Do I believe in a literal hell? Of course”(Love Wins p.71). This is hardly an honest statement; of course Rob Bell does not deny the existence of hell, he just recontextualized it by his own interpretation. “This liberal” offers new definitions he believes are needed for our current generation. Bell says Hell is “a word that refers to the big, wide, terrible evil that comes from the secrets hidden deep without our hearts all the way to the massive, society-wide collapse and chaos that comes when we fail to live in God’s world God’s way” (p. 95). And the Scripture verse to back this up is ________. None: because this is not how the Bible uses this word.

“Hell is a way of life out of sync with how God created us to live” (p. 147). No, Jesus said it was sin. Hell is the consequence of unreprentant sin in this life. Bell has substituted hell for sin. Jesus said “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (Heb.9:27). What judgment if there is no hell after, just heaven.

Bell says: “When people use the word hell, what do they mean? They mean a place, an event, a situation absent of how God desires things to be. Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, slaughter--they are all hell on earth. Jesus' desire for his followers is that they live in such a way that they bring heaven to earth. What's disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about Hell here and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth.” (Bell, “Velvet Elvis”, p.148)
That may be the worlds view (unbelievers in Christ) but not God’s. Jesus warned of going to hell after ones life on earth. He loved us enough to warn those on the wrong path to repent (such a nasty word).

Rob says there is a hell but his definition is not a biblical one. He has adopted the Modern day genre of hell. The phrase someone is going through hell is indeed made up, it’s a revision of the biblical word, it is not relative at all to what Jesus actually meant. Jesus meant of someone going TO Hell. It is a place that can only be arrived at when one dies.

In another interview by a Christian Post Reporter “When pressed several times on whether he believes there is a hell, Bell only spoke of a hell on earth and provided no indication that he believes in an eternal place of punishment.
“Is there hell? If not, does that take anything away from the cross?” one participant posed to him Monday.
“I actually think there is hell because we see hell every day,” Bell answered.

Seeking a clear answer, Dr. Ronald C. Walborn, dean of Alliance Theological Seminary in New York, probed the author again on his beliefs of an eternal hell.

“Do you believe, first of all, that hell is a real place or just on earth? And if we do de-emphasize the doctrine of hell, what does that do to the motivation for Christian mission?” he asked.

Again, Bell talked about the hell people create for themselves on earth. “It's crucial that ... we come face to face with the power of our choices. We can choose the way of compassion, of forgiveness, of generosity or we can choose other paths and those have real consequences in the world,” the author responded.” (Rob Bell Denies Being a Universalist By Lillian Kwon Christian Post Reporter)

Bell uses the word hell in a secular manner. Jesus spoke of hell experienced after one dies, never before. The actual word is Hades. A more accurate translation would be Sheol in Hebrew, which encompasses both Abraham’s bosom and hell. Sheol is used 65 times in the Old Testament. The New Testament Greek equivalent for Hades is often interpreted as the realm of the dead. We find in Luke 16:23, 25 that Hades can mean a place of torment, though it may equally be described as a place of rest, in Abraham’s bosom, depending on which side you are on. The context should bear it out.

The translation of the Hebrew word “sheol,” which signifies the unseen state. Sheol is also translated as “pit,” “lowest pit,” “Sheol,”
Isa. 5:14; Isa. 14:9; Isa. 14:15; Isa. 28:15; Isa. 28:18; Isa. 57:9; Ezek. 31:16-17; Ezek. 32:21; Ezek. 32:27; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2; Hab. 2:5; Deut. 32:22; Ps. 86:13; Ps. 55:15; 2 Sam. 22:6; Job 11:8; Job 26:6; Ps. 9:17; Ps. 16:10; Ps. 18:5; Ps. 116:3; Ps. 139:8; Prov. 5:5; Prov. 7:27; Prov. 9:18; Prov. 15:11; Prov. 15:24; Prov. 23:14; Prov. 27:20; Gen. 37:35; Gen. 42:38; Gen. 44:29; Gen. 44:31; 1 Sam. 2:6; 1 Kin 2:6; 1 Kin 2:9; Job 7:9; Job 14:13; Job 17:13; Job 21:13; Job 24:19; Ps. 6:5; Ps. 30:3; Ps. 31:17; Ps. 49:14-15; Ps. 88:3; Ps. 89:48; Ps. 141:7; Prov. 1:12; Prov. 30:16; Eccl. 9:10; Song 8:6; Hos. 13:14.

The translation of the Greek word “hades,” which signifies the unseen world Matt. 11:23; Matt. 16:18; Luke 10:15; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31; Rev 1:18; Rev 6:8; Rev 20:13-14

The translation of the Greek word “gehenna” Matt. 5:22; Matt. 5:29-30; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 18:9; Matt. 23:15; Matt. 23:33; Mark 9:43; Mark 9:45; Mark 9:47; Luke 12:5; Jam 3:6

It should be evident that Bell’s belief in a hell, is not the biblical version. To further solidify this fact …
Bell: “For many in the modern world, the idea of hell is a holdover from primitive, mythic religion that uses fear and punishment to control people for all sorts of devious reasons. And so the logical conclusion is that we've evolved beyond all that outdated belief, right?” (Love Wins pp.69-70)

Obviously he doesn’t think the church is holding the biblical position of hell. We need to listen to the worlds view on the bible to be in the truth.

Bell: “We need a word that refers to the big, wide, terrible evil that comes from the secrets hidden deep within our hearts all the way to the massive, society-wide collapse and chaos that comes when we fail to live in God’s world God’s way.” And for that, the word 'hell' works quite well. Let’s keep it” (Love Wins p.94). How about using the word sin, or a fallen world, corrupt, reserved for judgment - Not Hell, because that word is not about this world but the one after.
Bell even gives himself a ripcord as he leaps to his own doom by stating: “the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame, and slander others who don’t articulate matters of faith as they do” (p. 185 Love Wins).

Is it his articulation that Believers that discern and are challenging or his lack of doctrinal agreement with what the Bible has taught and been understood plainly by students and scholars alike. Is Bells opinion the only voice to be heard. Are we not allowed to speak? We can’t remain tepid when someone challenges the core teachings of Scripture under the auspices of being a Christian. Bell acts as if his position is allowed and makes others who stand for the truth detractors. It is He that is ATTACKING the teaching that the majority of Christians have held for centuries (except for the very few).

Bell refuses to believe God’s expression and meaning of words and he wants you to believe his view of God’s love. Because Bell has a more compassionate God, one who does not judge people or the decisions that are sin in this life. You can say Rob is ringing his own bell… but in the end Bell is just another foolish man who does not believe the word of God and thinks his own reasoning is more compassionate and accurate than God’s Holy Spirit.
His doctrinal view on the afterlife can be classified as inventive and post theological. He is able to turn an argument inside out with his lackadaisical mischievous intellectual reasoning so that one ends up divorced from the words actual meaning.

“Love Wins” when it is spoken IN TRUTH. Paul makes it clear in 1 Cor. 13:6, love… “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;” As we will see Bell is not presenting the truth but is rejoicing in iniquity. Because, he has people that live in sin and think they will be fine in the end without faith in the gospel. Thus he has created a counterfeit love from a counterfeit God.


p2 The tragedy of not understanding the gospel


Copyright (c) 2011 No portion of this site is to be copied or used unless kept in its original format in the way it appears. Articles can be reproduced in portions for ones personal use, any other use is to have the permission of the author first. Thank You.

If you would like to Support


We would like to hear from you. Please send us an e- mail and let us know how we can be of  more help. Our time is valuable just as yours is. Please keep in mind, we only have time to answer sincere inquiries. We will use discretion in answering any letters. 

NOTE: we do not accept attachments,  please send the mail viewable in email.