Dear Mr. Bell

Dear Mr. Bell,

I was saddened to learn this evening, through various members of the body, that you have chosen not to believe in truth as laid out by our Maker. I realize that I am drawing many conclusions based on very short statements in a film clip promoting your upcoming book, but to my ears you were very clear in marking out the ground on which you stood. If you feel your meaning has been mis-read, I beg you to stand up and clarify what you really mean. Otherwise, the lines between yourself and Christianity have been drawn. Like my other brothers, I appreciate your clarity. It makes you easy to approach respectfully even if I could not disagree more strongly.

Perfect honesty would compel me to state that I am not surprised. Having read some of your previous works, I knew you were playing with fire, chasing after how things feel more than how they are. However I am still both saddened and shocked.

It is not shocking to me that somebody would draw the conclusions you have drawn. Very many people in this world do; although few express them as succinctly as you have. What shocks me is you seem to have grasped the core issue and yet not seen the beauty in the Truth.

Of course I am sad that you are not walking on the narrow way and as a fellow human invite you to investigate again the man who claimed to be God. Yet beyond this, I was saddened by your commentary on the whole of Christianity. Apparently, we are not doing our job!

I take from your words a challenge. You make this statement:

“…what gets subtly sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God…”

You are very perceptive in identifying that detail as one of the core teachings of Christianity, buried deep in the heart of our doctrine. What makes me sad is that you perceive this truth as being taught “subtly”. We must be proclaiming this from the rooftops! I myself have taught this truth many times … and yet not enough. It was this truth that compelled me in desperation to first pray the sinners prayer (even if that’s not exactly how things work); and it was this truth again that later set me free to serve a new master. It was to pronounce this truth that I chose to live in a strange land and learn a strange tongue. Just as Christ lived among us and spoke our language that He might proclaim the good news that He would take the wrath of God against sinners on His own shoulders and that in following Him we would be rescued from that fate, so I pray my life among and speech with those still under that curse would point them towards Him.

My allegiance lies with the God who saved me from himself for himself. Thank you for the challenge to make this truth less subtle through every breath I take. I humbly invite you to examine the Gospel again. It is the LEGENDARY GOOD news that we have been presented a solution to the EPICALLY BAD news.


P.S. You ask, “How could that god be good; how could that god ever be trusted?” I answer, because He gave up the life of His own Son as a propitiation. If that’s not worth trusting…


3 thoughts on “Dear Mr. Bell”

  1. I know it may seem hard for you to believe, but there is a biblical case for everyone going to heaven and it exalts Jesus Christ as the only way:

    To our Lord Jesus be the glory, for His justice and for His mercy.

    1. Mike, the way you word your comment you make it sound like I and the rest of orthodox Christians are somehow stunted in our ability to believe hard truths. Rather, having examined them in light of the full testimony of Scripture and found them to be wrong, we reject them and commit ourselves to the harder reality explained through the whole Bible. Of course, many people in this world would love to believe what you suggest; it’s a teaching that tickles the ear, that appeals to our carnal selves just where we are weakest. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, yet both the last few years of teaching from Rob Bell and your exposition are “understandings” that neither reflect such a fear nor, as that verse continues, are built on a knowledge of His holiness.

      Your argument is a form of reduction: taking the cases in Scripture and trying to show how they do not apply to us, when in fact the arguments most used go the other way, reasoning from small cases to larger ones. Not only is hell a real place where many will find themselves cut off from every grace but it will outlast this earth right into eternity. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you will escape judgement. Understand why salvation is necessary!

  2. For those who are interested in further reading on the subject at hand, Tim Keller has an article with some good summary points on why hell is such an important doctrine.

    For those of you who have followed any of the snaffo surrounding Rob Bell’s book release, Kevin DeJong has an excelent article detailing the argument for why the public outcry about a book that isn’t even out is not only legitimate but necessary. Summary: It’s not about what is or isn’t going to be said in the book, it’s about what Rob has said done already. Publicly taught doctrine needs to be publically rebutted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *