http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/02/26/rob-bell-universalist/ (1119 comments and counting!)
Bell’s book isn’t out till the end of the month, but already it’s generating buzz. ‘Love wins’ – everyone ends up reconciled with God. Hell is emptied. Apparently that’s the substance of his book.
I understand why conservative, moderate and even many progressive evangelicals find this disturbing or dangerous. At stake for them is motivation for evangelism and the integrity of the Bible.
Universalism has not been on the radar enough to register as a serious option for evangelicals. I wonder if this book will bring it onto the radar as one (to the chagrin of opponents) or whether it will widen the gulf between postmodern (post)evangelicals and the rest. A new test of orthodoxy? ‘Do you deny the heresy of an empty hell?’ “Gregory Macdonald” put forward a biblical case for universalism several years ago, and recently followed it up with a collection of writings from univeralist theologians over the years, called All Shall Be Well.
I don’t see much chance of this debate being irenic. There is much at stake on both sides. May there be an irenic converation in the middle and may all of us be ready to be wrong, be ready for God to speak truth through someone we least expect.