A newly released book called Love Wins by Rob Bell is (supposedly) causing a huge controversy in Christendom. The issue is over the doctrine of hell, which the emergent Bell hasn’t been very clear about in certain interviews and promotional videos lately. Because it’s no secret that in the past Mennonites have been fond of Rob Bell, and that even more recently, the October 2009 MB Herald issue featured Bell (under Currently in Sermons), some of us are wondering how the Mennonites are reacting to the current publicity over Bell’s latest work on his road to universalism.
As expected, a few postmodern Mennonites are beginning to sound off on this issue, like the odd Mennonite blogger here and there, an MB Forum discussion here, and even some young Anabaptist radicals. Even Menno Weekly has gotten into the hellish debate. After recommending readers to glean from the opinions of heresy’s front line defender Brian McLaren, their article then states:
It has been astounding to see the speed with which Bell has been denounced as a heretic and the forceful unwillingness to even raise the questions he poses. For me, this is a red flag. Why are so many vigorously defending a relatively specific doctrine of hell?
When you look at the Bible, there is no one consistent understanding of hell. For that matter, the concept of an afterlife in much of the Old Testament was non-existent. God blesses and curses you through your descendants, not in an afterlife (see the Ten Commandments). There is no consistent version of hell in the Bible, and what is there most certainly doesn’t look like what most people envision. The image of a red guy with a pitchfork and horns comes from Dante’s Inferno, not the Bible.
The doctrine of hell is powerful. Combined with a select few leaders who determine who’s in and who’s out, the fear of hell fuels enormous power and control. Even raising the question, as Bell has done, challenges the enormous power that many have enjoyed for centuries. –Rob Bell and what we believe about hell and heaven By Alan Stucky (pastor of Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Harper, Kan.) http://www.mennoweekly.org/blog/2011/3/7/rob-bell-and-what-we-believe-about-hell-and-heaven/
Bringing reason to the this postmodern madness is an enlightening review that Menno-lite has come across which definitely shines a bright spot light on the subject. Click here to read more.