The cover of Time magazine recently featured Pastor Rob Bell and his controversial new book that hones in on the weighty issue of eternity. In spite of Bell’s interview sidestepping since the book came out, the book flatly endorses Universalism – the notion that all will get a chance to come to Christ after death no matter what beliefs they hold to in this life. I find that position impossible to hold in light of a multitude of scriptures.
I see the heart of God broken for the Lost, but they are still the Lost as the Bible addresses them.
The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9, NKJV) Clearly, the heart of God is that all come to know Christ and spend eternity in the presence of God. Will that choosing of God be violated? Clearly yes.
For many are called, but few chosen. (Matt. 20:16, NKJV) Based on the context of Jesus’ words we could easily restate that concluding statement to this: “Many are called but few choose.” Most want to choose their own way forward and violate God’s choosing of them for a relationship with God. It is particularly true that religious people choose their own way versus the way of humility into a relationship with God. Few choose the way of humility. Few (something less than 50%) find an authentic relationship with God through Jesus’ atoning death for them.
Bottom line, was Bin Laden a follower of Jesus? Of course, he wasn’t. I don’t mean to be a party pooper but here’s what I think. Though millions of Americans are celebrating the shooting of this notorious criminal, there is a sense in which God is not celebrating. Yes, evil has been judged. For that we are grateful. On the other hand, this man has gone into a Christless eternity. For those who understand the heart of God, this is nothing to get overly excited about, regardless of the evil he stood for.
Totally agree with Steve. He was created in the image of God, and he chose his evil. He will now spend eternity separated from God. I do not rejoice in this.
I agree the death of Bin Laden is nothing to celebrate, not least because it’s one more person killed in this chain of violence.
It feels a bit like you’ve reduced Rob Bell’s book to something that it doesn’t quite say. Did you come up with any other impressions about it when you read it?
Excellent post, Steve. That is the Kingdom perspective.
It’s possible he came to know and trust in Jesus while was hiding for the last 10 years, but I would doubt it… but his eternal location is not something I am willing to declare 100%. He may have repented and believed, but I doubt it.
Hi Steve –
Thanks for the comments. You seem to be in the minority opposing Bell’s book. I’ve not read it and would appreciate reading your comments about it.
I am honesty surprised by the number of Bell apologists and defenders.
Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.
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