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This is an email from Luke. Not the original apostle, who is long dead, but probably a close relative.
It tells of a new book coming out this month, written by one of the more prominent Christian teachers in America with a mega-church of 10,000 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Here is the email . . . . .
His new book coming out at the end of March is entitled "Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and The Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived". You can see the amazon link here:
This is the description on the publisher site:Rob Bell reveals a secret deep in the heart of millions of Christians–they don’t believe what they have been taught are the essential truths of their faith. Out of respect for their tradition, they keep quiet, confiding to a few close friends their doubts and questions about salvation, Jesus, and, of course, God. Bell brings out to the open and faces squarely the questions on everyone’s mind: Does it really make sense that God is a loving, kind, compassionate God who wants to know people in a personal way, but if they reject this relationship with Jesus, they will be sent to hell where God will eternally punish them forever? In Love Wins, Bell goes to the heart of these issues and argues that the church’s traditional understanding of heaven and hell is actually not taught by the Bible. Bell is emphatically not offering a new view of heaven and hell; instead, he closely examines every verse in the Bible on heaven and hell and shows what they really teach. And he discovers that Jesus’s most fundamental teaching about heaven and hell is, “Love wins.”He's also released a video about it. I'm going to post it on the front page of Wisefire.Makes you wonder if he ended up reading those books I gave him (I gave him copies of your book, Gerry's book and Stephen's books)
I will be interested in seeing how Rob Bell presents his case. The Christian world, of course, is aghast and are accusing him of being unbiblical, as if he came to his conclusion by contradicting the Bible outright. But from the Publisher's description, it seems that he actually examines every Scripture that mentions the subject, so it is obvious that he is not trying to set aside the Bible.
The New York Times ran a newspaper article about this, which was picked up by other papers. I found it in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today, March 6, 2011:
A new book by one of the most influential evangelical pastors, challenging traditional views of heaven, hell and eternal damnation has created an uproar among evangelical leaders, with the most ancient of questions being argued in a biblical hailstorm of Twitter messages and blog posts.
Recall that "hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies" (Isaiah 28:17). Hail is the biblical symbol of Truth.
The furor was touched off a week ago by a widely read Christian blogger, Justin Taylor, based on promotional summaries of the book and a video produced by Bell. In his blog, Between Two Worlds, Taylor said the pastor "is moving farther and farther away from anything resembling biblical Christianity."
"It is unspeakably sad when those called to be ministers of the Word distort the gospel and deceive the people of God with false doctrine," wrote Taylor, vice president of Crossway, a Christian publisher in Wheaton, Ill.
By that same evening, "Rob Bell" was one of the top 10 trending topics on Twitter. Within 48 hours, Taylor's original blog had been viewed 250,000 times.
Most Christians today do not know much about Church history, nor do they know that Universal Reconciliation was by far the DOMINANT VIEW of the early Church for the first 5 centuries. It was only when the Church began to become corrupt and carnal that this teaching was condemned as heresy.
Universal Reconciliation first became an issue in the year 400 when it was condemned by the Roman bishop--mostly for political reasons. Later, the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople (527-565 A.D.) condemned it. A Church Council in 553 condemned Origen (who taught the salvation of all men), not for this reason, but for other teachings. In fact, at the same Council, they claimed "in every way" to follow the teachings of Gregory of Nyassa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and others who taught the salvation of all men! These were the leading doctors of the Church in the fourth century. To get a more complete story, see chapter 12 of Creation's Jubilee, posted online.
When Christians discover how this vital teaching was lost and how it has been hidden from them for so many centuries, they will be truly outraged. See my short booklet, posted online: A Short History of Universal Reconciliation.
For a longer discussion of this topic, read my book, posted online, The Restoration of All Things.
For a still longer discussion, see Creation's Jubilee.
Sniff the air. I smell hail.