Sunday, March 6, 2011

Attacking Universalism

Rob Bell has just come out with a new about final judgment. The book, entitled, Love Wins, seems like it's going to defend universalism.

Kevin DeYoung over at The Gospel Coalition does not like this one bit. He lists eight reasons why we need the wrath of God. Here they are:
  1. First, we need God’s wrath to keep us honest about evangelism.
  2. Second, we need God’s wrath in order to forgive our enemies.
  3. Third, we need God’s wrath in order to risk our lives for Jesus’ sake.
  4. Fourth, we need God’s wrath in order to live holy lives.
  5. Fifth, we need God’s wrath in order to understand what mercy means.
  6. Sixth, we need God’s wrath in order to grasp how wonderful heaven will be.
  7. Seventh, we need the wrath of God in order to be motivated to care for our impoverished brothers and sisters.
  8. Eighth, we need God’s wrath in order to be ready for the Lord’s return.
You see? If people aren't going to hell, what's the point of telling them about Jesus? And yes, we forgive our enemies, but only because we know they'll be burning in hell. And God knows the only thing worth dying for is a message of eternal cruelty to those who do wrong. Why would I ever do good if I weren't afraid of God's wrath? Especially caring for the poor--I don't know anyone who does that who doesn't believe in hell.

You get the idea. I find DeYoung's thinking on this issue genuinely perverse and morally bankrupt. I agree with the Gospel Coalition on one thing: bad theology hurts people. But it isn't Rob Bell's theology that is hurting people.


  1. If people aren't going to hell you can tell them about Jesus so they are encouraged to walk his path and treat others well. We should be able to forgive our enemies, bot because they're going to burn in hell but because God's grace is alive in our hearts and compels us to forgive others. Similarly it doesn't require fear of God's wrath to do good for others. Quite the opposite...if we are faced with the eternal grace of God and are filled with God's love then we need no other motivation to want to show that love and grace to others. Fear does not need to beget love: love can beget love. I know plenty of people, hundreds in fact, that willingly care for the poor who don't beleive in hell. They do it because God's love pours from them and compels them to do good.


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