Thanks to Ken at apprising.org for the transcript of Rob Bell’s recent promotional video for the new book “Love Wins.”
Gandhi’s in hell? He is? And someone knows this, for sure; and felt the need to let the rest of us know? Will only a few, select, people make it to heaven? And will billions and billions of people burn forever in hell? And, if that’s the case, how do you become one of the few? Is it what you believe; or what you say, or what you do, or who you know—or something that happens in your heart? Or do you need to be initiated, or baptized, or take a class, or converted, or being born again—how does one become one of these few?
Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill church, should already have the answers to these questions he poses to you. Of course he does. But would a minister of the Gospel put out a video (for hype, controversy, shock value) without answering these questions for you?
It is sort of like a salesman tactic. Imagine a salesman putting up flyers or running around town saying “I have the cure for cancer in 1 simple food that you can buy at the grocery store.” Would you believe him? Someone with cancer would want to test it out and see if it’s true. Why? Because they are desperate for a cure. But the salesman isn’t going to just tell you about his cure. A loving person would just give you the answer out of love because they want to see you cured. But the salesman – he wants to sell it to you – for the sake of love for himself, or greed, or love of money, or any other selfish reason.
Likewise, Rob Bell isn’t going to just tell you the answers to the questions posed in his video. He’s going to sell them to you. “Love” gives without expecting anything in return, but love of money demands payment for good deeds.
Now I know someone is going to say he has to make a living, etc. But if he can put out a video, online, for you to watch without payment – for free – then the information he chose to put in this video (out of love) could have just as easily been “here’s what hell is” instead of “what is hell? Buy my book to find out.” This is manipulation, promotion, marketing and sales. This isn’t an area where a Christian may wish to delve further into study in order to equip themselves for ministry or enrich an aspect of their life. This is the core, foundational salvation issue, and Rob Bell isn’t willing to give up his insight on salvation without payment for services rendered. Is this the new way of ministry or the “new way of doing church” that we are often told about? For an interesting take on this see Chris Rosebrough’s audio commentary at Did God Send Rob Bell to Correct the False Teaching of Jesus RE: the Afterlife?
I expect it goes further though, because Rob Bell doesn’t believe in the traditional view of the Biblical hell. Apparently in his book he has a new definition of it. Imagine if he doesn’t believe that many are going to hell. Then what is he selling? He’s selling you peace of mind. A loving minister of the Gospel would want to save you from hell, not convince you that you aren’t destined for hell. And some of the websites I read say that Bell is just focusing on God’s love instead of God’s judgement. I say he’s probably ignoring God’s judgement.
But maybe we’re barking up the wrong tree here. Someone recently made the (assumed) comment that Rob Bell was chosen by God to be a minister. But is that true? Are all ministers chosen by God? Here’s Rob Bell’s own words as recently appeared at CNN about 1 week prior to the appearance of the Love Wins promotional video.
In the days and weeks following the band’s breakup, people I barely knew would stop me out of the blue and say things like, “Have you thought about being a pastor?” Friends I hadn’t talked to in months would contact me and say, “For some reason I think you’re going to be a pastor.”
Me, a pastor? Seriously?
The idea began to get a hold of me and it wouldn’t let go. A calling welled up within me, a direction, something I could give myself to.
Someone may say they are “called” to something, but when the thought doesn’t cross your mind until people on the street put it there, then I have concerns. Just “who” is calling? The one who wishes you to tell people they aren’t destined to hell? Or the one who has you selling those people “peace of mind?”