By Gary Amirault
Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, producer of the well-received Nooma video series, leader of the Emerging Church movement and author of several popular books has contracted with HarperOne, a Newscorp publishing company to publish Rob Bell’s latest book, Love Wins: Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. The book’s release is schedule for March 29, 2011 but the publicity machinery is already in full gear. Not only is the Evangelical community already astir, but the secular press like New York Times, Huffington Post, and many other news outlets are stirring the waters of contention over this book. At stake is the very existence of Hell! Or so it seems.
At Tentmaker Ministries, the existence of Hell has always been a non-issue. The Catholic/Protestant/Orthodox view of Hell is myth that should have disappeared long ago and we welcome the day when more men and women come out of their theological closets and get real or should I sad “get honest!” with the people. There are thousands upon thousands of pastors, seminary professors, Christian publishers who no longer believe in the traditional Christian Hell but have been too cowardly to come out and say so. Had they done so it probably would have cost them their positions, their titles, their reputations, but more importantly their income.
Carlton Pearson, several years back, abandoned the traditional teaching of Hell. He even had the courage to declare so publicly. It cost Pearson his church of several thousand, his position on the board of directors at Oral Roberts University, record contracts and his reputation as one of the leading voices in the American church. Pastors who once shared platforms together with Carlton turned their backs on him.
There is a cost for walking away from playing the fear card almost which every denomination of Christianity has played for centuries. And I’m sure Rob Bell has given this decision to write this book much consideration. Whether Rob Bells overcomes the persecution that is already building up and maintains his popularity or not, he’s a winner. There is a cloud of witnesses of those who have gone before him “despising the shame” that comes with declaring Jesus Christ Victor over all. Paul, the apostle to the nations wrote, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor AND SUFFER REPROACH because we trust in the living God who is savior of all mankind especially those who believe. These things command and teach.” 1 Timothy 4:9-11
Who would have ever thought that “despising the shame” could refer to being rejected by Church because one gives full glory to God the Father and His Son? Who would have ever thought that teaching the Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ would bring persecution at the hands of your brothers and sisters in Christ? Who would have ever thought the Church would ever kill its own and call those “heretics” who teach “Jesus Christ, Savior of the world? John 4:42, 1 John 4:14
Ring the bell of freedom Rob Bell. Be willing to pay the price to preach the truly Good News to all people. It may cost your dearly. But this message of universal salvation is a liberating message that I have seen heal thousands who have been tormented by the traditional bad news gospel that says God failed for most of mankind. The Calvinist and Arminian gospels are shameful gospels unworthy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.The world needs a Victorious Christ, not one who couldn’t or wouldn’t save the world.
Love Wins Rob Bell. Pour yourself out for it!
For more info see: http://www.lovewins.us