A few years ago a very talented teacher of the Bible named Rob Bell went off the reservation with his book, Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Bell’s book tapped into a trendy, but by no means new, theological view called Universalism. I have not read the book, but I have read enough about it to know what I need to know.
If Rob Bell is now a Universalist or some flavor thereof, I’m confident he didn’t arrive at that view from a rigorous study of the Bible. Universalists never do. They get there by elevating their own view of God over the God of the Bible.
“How could a loving God send people to Hell?,” they ask. It’s a serious question, but an incomplete one. One could as easily ask, “How could a just God not send people to Hell?”
What if we flipped things around? What if in the modern church we only spoke about God being holy and just and never spoke about him being a loving God? What if on Sunday mornings we sang songs only about God’s holiness and justice and preachers preached sermon after sermon about how holy and just God was? What kind of image might you have of God? Would Hell seem inconsistent with the character of God or inescapably logical?
Universalists only talk about the love of God. Universalists—and to be fair, many Christians—have created a unidimensional God. They have created a caricature of God.
But God is not just loving; He is also holy and just. The reality is God is love, God is holy, and God is just. And by sending His son to die for our sins and saving us from an eternity separated from us Him, God has proven His holiness, His justness, and His love.
Jesus said that those who worship God, must worship him in Truth. Besides, I think the true God is infinitely more interesting and awesome than the celestial Teddy Bear created by the Universalists. I’m not interested in worshipping a caricature of God. GS