Westminster Seminary California

Valiant for Truth

Posts by: Michael S. Horton

Bell’s Hell: A Review by Michael Horton, Part 5
Michael S. Horton

In this chapter the central dogma becomes especially evident. It’s the old conundrum: God is either sovereign or loving. Bell bases his conclusion on the premise that God has determined to save everyone and that it’s only their absolutely free will that makes the difference. “Will all people be saved, or will God not get what God wants? Does this magnificent, mighty, marvelous God fail in the end?” (98). 

Bell’s Hell: A Review by Michael Horton, Part 4
Michael S. Horton

Like heaven, hell is described in Scripture with vivid metaphors and analogies drawn from everyday experience. Whatever is meant by such images and expressions as “lake of fire,” where “the smoke goes up forever” and “the worm doesn’t die,” the referent is clearly a place and not just a state of mind. Every evangelical expositor I’ve come across points out the term for hell as Gehenna, referring to the city dump near Jerusalem. However, for Bell, once again it’s subjectivized

Bell’s Hell: A Review by Michael Horton, Part 3
Michael S. Horton

Implied already in the “questions” are the following answers the pre-determine Bell’s assertions. At the heart are the following assumptions:

Bell’s Hell: A Review by Michael Horton, Part 2
Michael S. Horton

Stepping down from the pulpit, the author bends over backwards to join the gallery of those who have been burned by the church. “Lots of people” with questions are just told “‘We don’t discuss those things here.’” What follows are lots of questions—actually rhetorical questions: implied answers disguised as questions. In fact, it’s more like cross-examination (“Where were you on the night of October 33rd?”) than wondering out loud. Good questioning leads you to evaluate the options. In this book, though, I get the impression that the questions—many of them caricatures—are more of a quick-and-easy way of dismissing rival views.

Bell’s Hell: A Review by Michael Horton, Part 1
Michael S. Horton

Are all of God’s attributes subservient to his love? And does God’s love demand the salvation of everyone? If you answer yes to both, then you’re inclined to agree with everything else in Rob Bell’s Love Wins. I say this because traditional views of God, salvation, heaven and hell are not really challenged through argument but are dismissed through a series of rhetorical questions that caricature conclusions that most Christians have historically maintained on the basis of looking at the relevant passages.