Bell’s Hell

I dislike the title of my post, but I assume it will attract a few more readers. I dislike the title because the hell Rob Bell describes sounds similar the one David Bentley Hart described in an interview in The Christian Century several years ago. I actually like this understanding of hell, but to title a post this way could suggest Rob Bell came up with a new description of hell. He has not invented a new version of hell. However, many evangelicals are concerned with his explication of hell as not eternal. Is this really un-orthodox? Well, it depends on what you think of orthodoxy? Unfortunately, many have come to understand orthodoxy as ‘right thinking,’ or ‘correct doctrine,’ or as a way to describe who is a Christian and who is not.

Two thoughts.

First, check out the article by Robin Parry in the Baptist Times. Also known as The Evangelical Universalist, Parry suggest most people misunderstand the variations of universalism. I want to suggest the only sort of universalist Rob Bell could be, is a “hopeful universalist.”

Second, David Bentley Hart was asked by The Christian Century, “is universal salvation a corollary of his view of the absurdity of evil?”

He responds: “Probably not; but Gregory of Nyssa would say otherwise. The preferred Eastern Orthodox understanding of hell, one with profound patristic pedigrees, defines hell as something self-imposed, a condition of the soul that freely refuses to open itself in love to God and neighbor, and that thereby seals itself against the deifying love of God, thereby experiencing divine glory as an external chastisement. That hell I believe in, insamuch as all of us from time to time have tasted it in this world. The refusal of love makes love a torment to us.” Reprinted in, “In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments” David Bentley Heart (Eerdmans, 2009), pp. 122-123.

~ by natedawson on 2011/05/10.

One Response to “Bell’s Hell”

  1. Amen.

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