When Bell Robs Bells of Hell

Plurium Interrogationum, Latin, meaning many questions also known in Critical Thinking as Loaded Question.

Times: Rob Bell

A loaded question is a question that carries a false or questionable presupposition, posed to trick a person into implying something which was not intended.

In the book, Love Wins, A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, one encounters many rhetoric questions loaded with emotional and false presuppositions. I will address only few important questions:

Emotional Loaded:

Does a loving God really send people to hell for all eternity?

Emotional words in this question are: “love” and “really”. Undressing these words from the question helps a reader to ponder the question without the authors presumptions namely God cannot be loving if he sent people to hell for all eternity.

Removing the emotional wording, the unloaded question appear as


Does God send people to hell for all eternity?

Christ Jesus, answered Rob’s question in Matthew 25:31-46:

And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

A False Dilemma :

False Dillema

In Chapter 4, Does God Get What God Wants? Bell present a false dilemma.  A false dilemma happens when one is presented with only two alternative were there is more.

Example: A lover speaking to a beloved “Why do you not agree with me, do you not love me?”

It is a false dilemma because, the beloved is presented with two choices.

  1. I love you, I agree with you.
  2. I do not love you, I do not agree with you.

The other options is left out:

3. I love you, I do not agree with you.

That been said: Bell poses a false dilemma when he asked:

Will all people be saved, or will God not get what God wants?

Untutored reader is caught into a trap: Either all people be saved, or “God is not great enough to achieve what God sets out to do” This rhetoric question, is intend to lead an untutored reader to the position which the author want them to be, namely all people will be saved, because it plain clear that a magnificent, mighty, marvelous God cannot fail in the end.

What Love Wins’ does not explore, is another possible option: Not all are saved and magnificent, mighty God gets what God wants.

Complex question + Bandwagon:

Rob Bell

“Could God say to someone truly humbled, broken, and desperate for reconciliation, ‘Sorry, too late’?  Many have refused to accept the scenario in which somebody is pounding on the door, apologizing, repenting, and asking God to be let in, only to hear God say through the keyhole: ‘Door’s locked. Sorry. If you had been here earlier, I could have done something. But now, it’s too late,'” (Page 108.)

The Bandwagon Fallacy is committed whenever one argues for an idea based upon an irrelevant appeal to its popularity. Many refusing the scenario does not necessary make the scenario false.

Christ Jesus’ parable of the Ten Virgins sets a scenario to which Love Wins’ “many” refused to accept:

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13 ESV)

Paul’s Advice:

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.(Colossians 2:8)

Were To Go:

If you have more questions, after reading Love Wins, know you are not alone.  How can God be loving and wrathful,  D. A. Carson’s wonderful short book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (free .pdf),  and J. I. Packer’s Knowing God  helped me a lot to understand the Holiness, Justice and Love of God. I will recommend this books to all who are wondering in pool of Love Wins’ questions.

Most of all, pray and read your Bible,  pray and read your Bible, and I will say one more time, pray and read your Bible. Mediated in God’s words day and night and God, if wills, will open your eyes to see the True Love that Wins.

Love Wins Books Review: By Kevin DeYoung

Panel Discussion: R. Albert Mohler Jr., Justin Taylor, Denny Burk and Russell Moore