Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Christians Should Love Hell

Earlier today, I read a blog post by Tom from Being the Body who is a fan of Rob Bell and claims to have read all of his new book Love Wins. This blogger seems quite adamant that Bell does not promote universalism in the book, and quotes a couple of nebulous and vague statements from the book to prove his point. Personally, it's going to take more than that to clear things up for me. By I digress; that is not the point of this post.

In the comments section, there was a fellow whose handle was "DaviGoss." DaviGoss said something which I considered at once ignorant and at the same time very representative of what many in the evangelical world are thinking regarding the strong response which we Calvinists have had towards suggestions that someone might be teaching universalism:
Why do some people want a God who would "sentence souls to eternal suffering"? - Does this say more about them than about God? What the God who is love? - God's love is infinite; God's patience is eternal.
You get to pick your shoes each morning. You get to pick between sandals or army boots. You don't get to just pick the nature of reality. Now, if I am going to just believe what I want to believe based on my own random ideas and inclinations, I choose New Age. But if we believe what we believe based on revelation, then it gets more complicated than simply what we feel like believing. When it comes to believing in Hell, there is the boilerplate answer that we could give: "we don't want that; it's awful; hell is terrible; we hate Hell!" Let me suggest something a bit more radical. Christians are to love Hell, because Hell is an echo of the glory of God.

If hell is temporal, then God's anger at sin is temporal. If punishment is not eternal, then affronts to the glory of God deserve only a finite response - a slap on the wrist. The reason why Christians ought to scream at the thought of universalism is that nothing less than the glory of God is at stake. This is not about Calvinists enjoying the thought of the eternal suffering of Hell - it is horrifying to think about. But it is about something far more horrifying - a God who is not angry that his name has been besmirched to the degree that his name is glorious and infinitely worthy of honor. In the same way, universalism faces the same problem - the universe is filled with people who have besmirched the name of God, and who have not been united to Jesus Christ by faith.

At one point in Rob Bell's "Love Wins" video, he talks about the fact that many teach that Jesus rescues us from God, and then he asks, "What kind of a God is it that we would need to be rescued from this God?" I just wanted to immediately raise my hand and say, "A HOLY GOD who hates sin!"

We are convinced of the importance of Hell because it is inextricably united to the glory of God. Hell exists because God is glorious and will in no way acquit the guilty. Therefore, as believers, we are to love Hell, even if we are to fear that anyone should go there. So when you see us mean-spirited Calvinists passionately defending the biblical doctrine of Hell, remember that we're not masochists or hatemongers. On the contrary - we love God and will fight to defend His glory.

1 comment:

  1. I guess Bell isn't a fan of Sproul's book, "Saved From What?" in which he teaches that we are saved from God. The very idea Bell objects to in his book trailer video.


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