How Universalism, ‘the Opiate of the Theologians,’ Went Mainstream

"What explains the recent resurgence in self-described Christians affirming (or at least flirting with) universalism? In The Devil’s Redemption: A New History and Interpretation of Christian Universalism, scholar Michael McClymond sets out to answer this question by following the roots of universalist thought all the way back to the second century." - Christianity Today

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2012 StandPoint Conference Session 2: Inclusivism and the New Universalisms

Speaker: Tony Bartolucci

  • The inclusivism problem: “evangelicals who maintain… that the work of Christ is essential for salvation, yet belief in Him is not.”
  • “[These evangelicals] attempt to be theologically ‘Christian’… while being culturally inclusive.”
  • [Hell] is the ultimate exclusion, a tough sell in our society.
  • Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” would not be tolerated in most churches today.
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Fifty Million Rob Bell Fans Can’t Be Wrong

In 1959 RCA releasedFifty Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong—Elvis’ Gold Records Vol. 2.1 Elvis Presley was an exceptionally popular entertainer who was also one of the most controversial public figures of the late 1950s. The title of his second greatest hits album indicates a popular sentiment: It must be right, because millions of people believe it. But this sentiment does not translate to theology. Though many church fathers and theologians throughout the ages may have believed in a particular doctrine, it’s correctness is not established by that fact alone.

Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is the author of such books as Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars. Many evangelical Christians are familiar with his Nooma series of videos.2 Bell is influential in Emerging Church circles and is a popular speaker. Though his previous books have sold well, Love Wins is especially popular.

The twin premises of Love Wins are that God is a God of love and that the evangelical Christian view of God is too narrow. “Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell?”3 Bell asks. Love Wins challenges the traditional views concerning heaven, hell, and salvation. For the sake of brevity this review concentrates on Bell’s view of salvation.

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"Rank-and-file evangelicals won't stand for it if their leaders do point out false doctrines, especially when the error is being peddled by a slick celebrity."

Phil Johnson on what the evangelical response to Rob Bell’s latest errors reveals.

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