“I can’t believe in a God that would send someone to a place like Hell.”
“What kind of loving God would send people to Hell?”
“Who gets to decide who gets into Heaven and who has to go to Hell?”
Rob Bell addresses these common questions in his upcoming book, Love Wins, which has already stirred massive controversy by his implications that no one will go to Hell. Below is the video trailer that he himself has released, which is largely responsible for the widespread controversy. I’ll attempt to address the questions he raises as concisely as possible…
- “Gandhi’s in Hell? He is?!? And someone knows this for sure?” My Answer: I don’t know. And no human could possibly know for sure.
- “Will only a few select people make it to Heaven?” My Answer: As far as the Bible is concerned, yes. Matthew 7:13,14
- “And will billions, and billions of people burn forever in Hell?” My Answer: I have no idea how many it will be, but yes, many, many people will go to a real place called Hell. Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:15
- “And if that is the case, how do you become one of the few?” My Answer: Turn away from your man-made attempts at pleasing God and pleasing yourself, and give your life to God by placing your faith in Jesus, who lived a sinless life, died as a substitution for humanity, and rose again on the third day proving to be God. John 3:16-19, Romans 3:23-28, Romans 10:9-13
- “And then there is the question behind the question. Like: What is God like?” My Answer: This a great question. A loaded question, but a great one. I’ll answer this in a separate blog post this week.
- “So what gets subtly caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God.” My Answer: Jesus is God. Jesus dying for humanity is God taking upon Himself His own righteous judgment for man’s rebellion. His holiness demands that wickedness be eliminated. His love demands that mankind be pardoned. The cross is the greatest evidence of God’s holiness and love.
- “How can that God ever be good?” My Answer: Bell is defining “good” based on getting what we want (Heaven) without the consequences (Hell). The real question would be, “How could a pure, perfect and holy God allow wicked humanity into His heaven?” But to answer the question, God is good in every sense by virtue of His willingness to die for sinful man, allowing us the opportunity to experience both His love and holiness. Romans 5:6-11, 1 John 4:7-12
I sense that we are no where near done talking about this, and that I a likely to hear from many of you in emails and through the comments. I welcome your interaction, but let’s keep it civil, please. More posts WILL follow about these issues…
As a follower of Christ, there have been times where I felt like I was a huge disappointment… to God, my family, myself. “How could God ever bless my life? I mean, look at me! He must be so angry at me. I wouldn’t blame Him. I’m angry at ‘me’ too.”
I’m so grateful that God tells us in Isaiah 55, “So high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.” God doesn’t look at us the same way we look at each other, or even ourselves. As followers of Jesus we will fall, but we are never out for the count because “the Lord upholds us with His hand.” In 1 John 1 and 2, the Apostle John writes to other brothers and sisters in Christ and challenges them to live to the potential that God has placed in them. He tells us to “walk in the light as He is in the light.” But he acknowledges that we will occasionally fail, and in 1 John 1:9 gives us the answer to our sin as followers of Jesus, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wickedness.” James tells us that if we will “draw near to God” He will “draw near to you.” God has already poured His anger on His Son Jesus Christ, for our sin. We are free from God’s righteous anger. Because of Jesus, we now have access to God and His love, mercy, forgiveness, and healing.
I can be at my best with God in a matter of minutes when I come to Him for forgiveness and healing. We don’t have to live in fear of the anger of God. We just need to focus on being in a right relationship with the One who took the wrath of God on Himself for us. By doing this, we will “be in the light, as He is in the light.”