. . . who, quite likely doesn’t need defending from me, but whatever.

So Pastor John’s recent tweet – “Farewell, Rob Bell” has, to be sure, incurred a great amount of wrath.

It has been described as
obnoxious, smug, arrogant,

flippant,
and
puzzling melodramatic madness,
and Pastor John has himself been called a belligerent jerk.

To those authors I say – Gentleman, let’s not be ridiculous. This tweet is none of these things.

“Farewell, Rob Bell” is not saying “You’re dead to me.” It’s saying “I’m grieved that you are heading out away from the truth”

But these blog authors are quick to speak and become angry. They should calm down.

Pastor Greg Boyd, who relishes any time Pastor John says something that can be considered controversial says: Rob is first and foremost a poet/artist/dramatist who has a fantastic gift for communicating in ways that inspire creativity and provoke thought. Rob is far more comfortable (and far better at) questioning established beliefs and creatively hinting at possible answers than he is at constructing a logically rigorous case defending a definitive conclusion.

Did you catch that? Rob Bell’s book isn’t a theological treatise, so he is off the hook if anyone comes away from reading it with ideas that aren’t Biblical.

Pastor Greg writes harshly about Justin Taylor calling Pastor Rob a Universalist and says “it would be misguided and unfair to apply any of these labels to him“.   But . . .

Pastor Greg also later says this: “Rob believes he has warrant to hope everyone will eventually be saved.”*

The publisher’s description of the book includes this sentence: “Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing that a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering.

If this is false, and people walk away from this book believing that there is good reason to believe it’s true, then (A) this book is extremely dangerous, and (B) all the fear in Justin Taylors post and all the sadness in Pastor John’s tweet are justified.

If you believe that it’s likely no one is going to hell, then say “Pastor John is wrong.”

If you believe there is a Hell and that many are going there, then say “Rob Bell’s book, from the accounts of the publisher and someone who has read it, is wrong.”

But unless you can see into Pastor John’s heart, let’s have none of this patronizing nonsense about arrogance and madness.

* Pastor Greg actually said “even if Rob believes he has warrant to hope everyone will eventually be saved” but he later says the book “expresses a hope for all to be saved”, and I like the first quote better.

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