Is Rob Bell going to heaven?

People are hating on Rob Bell right now. This weekend my twitter feed went nuts with articles linking to blog posts berating Rob Bell for thinking about Christianity in a different way. They said he was wrong, he was no longer a Christian or as John Piper said ‘Farewell Rob Bell’.  A large number of people kicked him out of Christianity this weekend for a book that hasn’t even been published yet.

The book called Love Wins is scheduled to be released at the end of March. Most of the people who are critical haven’t read the book.  All we have to go on is the promotional video Rob Bell has released.  When I watched this video I got a sense that he is asking us to question and ponder life beyond what we think we know. He’s pushing us beyond our comfort zone.  I admit I am interested in what he has to say. I wonder why everyone is so quick to judge.  I wonder where the problem lies in thinking critically about our faith.

Maybe this is the reason so many reject us.  Our constant need to prove we understand Jesus better than anyone else.  Our need to be right.  Our desire to be the one true way.  Instead of embracing people and trying to figure out who we are together, we attack and condemn if we don’t agree with every little detail.

All we really know are the words of Jesus.  Jesus says in John 14:6   “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Honestly we don’t know who Jesus will chose.  We have no idea how this will happen.  As far as I know, Jesus never said if you’re a good Presbyterian/Baptist/Roman Catholic/Evangelical you’ll get to heaven. Jesus did say “No one comes to the Father except through me.”  It’s not up to us to determine if Rob Bell is going to hell.  It’s not up to us to make these judgments.

If all we have are the words of Jesus we also have this, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1).  If we judge Rob Bell and determine he’s wrong, God may do the same to us.

What if we are wrong? What if we don’t know exactly what Jesus meant or said or did or believed? Maybe we should listen to others and talk about our differences. We’re all wondering where we fit in this world and what God wants from us. We all want to serve Jesus.  Isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t we want to sit down and dialogue?

I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to March 29th when this book is released. I think it will be an interesting read and I hope it starts some conversation.

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6 responses to “Is Rob Bell going to heaven?

  1. I’ve been keeping an eye on the controversy, this week, too. I am deeply saddened (and more than a little embarrassed) by the quick reactions of Christian leaders who are jumping to condemn Bell and his book, without having read it in its entirety.

    I keep thinking of the James 1:19: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

    Why is it so hard for us to live up to this?

    • I love the reference to James 1, Rebekah. We should live up to this and really embrace it as a way we should deal with one another. 

  2. I will not be reading this book. I am not angry with Rob Bell and don’t question if he is going to heaven, that is not for me to decide or will I ever think I hold some key over someone else. I give that all to God. I do know that if it is causing division among believers I should stay away from it. I will read your blog and see what you have to say about it though. 🙂

    • That’s smart Brenda! Divisive courses are never good for the Church.

      I’ll be picking up a copy though. I’ll be sure to post a few thoughts here. I like to keep on top of these things so when people ask me questions I can answer with as much integrity as possible. And honestly I’m quite interested in what he has to say. The video and controversy has caught my attention. I’ve read some of his stuff before and I’ve never had a problem with Rob Bell. I guess we’ll see what he says when the book comes out.

  3. I’ve never heard of Rob Bell, or his upcoming book, or the controversy surrounding it until I read your blog post. But, I watched the video. And, I don’t see that he has said anything blasphemous. I can see why it is making some people nervous. They are already making assumptions about where he is going with his book. But, I am interested in seeing exactly where he IS going.

    The biggest deciding factor will be ‘Is it biblical?’. That remains to be seen.

    But, here’s the thing – we (myself, Rob Bell’s critics, our church friends) hold on to a lot of religiosity in the name of Christianity. Our means of weighing and measuring what is true or untrue must always be God’ Word.

    • Like you Karen I’m really interested to see where he’s headed with this book. Nothing I’ve read of his so far has not been Biblical and I think it is better to make judgments once I’ve actually read it.

      I found the video intriguing. It asked questions and probed in such a way as to attract attention. I think it will be a fascinating read and I’m very curious to know where he’s going.

      I feel a little frustrated with the quick response to judge. I hope one day we can get past our need to be right and focus on what matters, the Gospel and it’s ability to change lives.

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