Some of you are aware, I'm sure, that a debate is currently underway in evangelical circles regarding Jesus' teaching on hell and the enormity of God's wrath. A new book is out there, written by Rob Bell, a popular pastor from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who claims to be evangelical (even though he holds no evangelical convictions and it's quite clear that he does not regard the Bible as any kind of authority). And he's questioning whether hell really exists. He suggests that if in the final judgment God condemns unbelievers by sending them into everlasting punishment, then God is not truly good.
That book is currently number 2 in its category on the New York Times bestseller list. It was the subject of a special session last week at The Gospel Coalition conference in Chicago, and it evidently has lots of Christians confused about the reality of hell, the eternality of punishment for the reprobate, the necessity of conscious faith in Christ, the severity of divine wrath, the principle of substitutionary atonement, and the necessity of Christ's death as a payment of sin on our behalf. Those are all truths Rob Bell questions or denies, and by enticing others to doubt or disbelieve those things, he has effect renounced the very heart of gospel truth and is turning people away from the truth of Christ.
John MacArthur is currently writing a series about this on the Grace to You blog, and I've been thinking about it a lot as I have read those articles this week and sat in on the discussions about it at The Gospel Coalition...
Related Resource: Worship in a Minor Key