In a recent article on Rob Bell’s recent book Love Wins, Justin Mulwee from Blackbird Press recommends what he describes as ‘the most thorough review of the book to surface so far (and by someone who’s actually read it!)’, that of Kevin DeYoung, pastor of the University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan
Here is how DeYoung summarises the book:
Love Wins, by megachurch pastor Rob Bell, is, as the subtitle suggests, “a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” Here’s the gist: Hell is what we create for ourselves when we reject God’s love. Hell is both a present reality for those who resist God and a future reality for those who die unready for God’s love. Hell is what we make of heaven when we cannot accept the good news of God’s forgiveness and mercy. But hell is not forever. God will have his way. How can his good purposes fail? Every sinner will turn to God and realize he has already been reconciled to God, in this life or in the next. There will be no eternal conscious torment. God says no to injustice in the age to come, but he does not pour out wrath (we bring the temporary suffering upon ourselves), and he certainly does not punish for eternity. In the end, love wins.
DeYoung finds many problems with the book, which is not surprising for a ‘truth-lover’ neo-Calvinist and he concludes that the book does more damage than good. No surprise here either. One thing is clear. The same kind of criticism was leveled against John Stott’s belief in a a limited punishment in hell. He was labelled too, with the same degree of unfairness, as a universalist. Nothing new under the sun.
I point this review out because it is fair to hear the critics, however you evaluate that critique. This is along article. You may read HERE as a 20 pages PDF file, or as an online text, on the neo-Reformed site The Gospel Coalition.