The Rev. Albert Mohler (Southern Baptist theologian) reviews the controversial new book, Love Wins: a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived by Rob Bell. Mohler correctly points out that Bell's book is nothing new; it's rehashed universalist heresy dressed up in hipper duds:
The liberals did not set out to destroy Christianity. To the contrary, they were certain that they were rescuing Christianity from itself. Their rescue effort required the surrender of the doctrines that the modern age found most difficult to accept, and the doctrine of hell was front and center on their list of doctrines that must go.
As historian Gary Dorrien of Union Theological Seminary — the citadel of Protestant Liberalism — has observed, it was the doctrine of hell that marked the first major departures from theological orthodoxy in the United States. The early liberals just could not and would not accept a doctrine of hell that included conscious eternal punishment and the pouring out of God’s wrath upon sin.
Thus, they rejected it. They argued that the doctrine of hell, though clearly revealed in the Bible, slandered God’s character. They offered proposed evasions of the Bible’s teachings, revisions of the doctrine, and the rejection of what the church had affirmed throughout its long history. By the time the 20th century came to a close, liberal theology had largely emptied the mainline Protestant churches and denominations. As it turns out, theological liberalism is not only a rejection of biblical Christianity — it is a failed attempt to rescue the church from its doctrines. At the end of the day, a secular society feels no need to attend or support secularized churches with a secularized theology. The denial of hell did not win relevance for the liberal churches. It simply misled millions about their eternal destiny.
All Bell and his theological minions need to do is become Catholic and their concerns about hell are instantly relieved. According to the Catechism, hell is the "definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed" (n. 1033). Bell's unnecessary anxieties about hell and God's wrath result from the Protestant rejection of the magisterial authority of the Church. He has rightly rejected a false notion of hell and replaced it with another.
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