Over the last year, a lot of things in my life have changed. But one of the most important happened at the beginning of this year, while I was in Louisville, KY visiting. I read Rob Bell’s controversial book, Love Wins. Before leaving for Louisville, I had a long chat with a friend about Bell’s new book, and how it was completely false and misleading, most likely. I told him I’d read the book, and get back with him. I had every intention of reading the book and coming to a conclusion it was all false, and then I would be able to prove to others it’s falsehood if anyone should tell me they believed Bell was sharing truth.
So I read the book. I read it in seven hours, in one setting. I sat on an antique green couch next to a window overlooking Baxter Avenue via Quills Coffee in downtown Lousiville. By the end of the book, I had drank 20 or more cups of coffee and smoked a pack of cigarettes, all the while weeping, crying, laughing, looking crazy because I was so taken back by Rob’s clear and life changing message of reconciliation and mercy from a God to all creation. God truly loves all people, and desires and has planned to restore us all to relationship with Him in the end.
All the condemnation, unforgiveness, thoughts of my failed attempts of service to Him, and my views of an unforgiving, unloving, hell burning God, that had caused my life to go down the road of deep depression and thoughts of suicide, that had all vanished before my very eyes, through a 200 page book of complete abandonment to these very ideas of a trecherous God, who I hoped was not real. It turns out, this god we have served and praised, in fact is not the same God as portrayed in scripture. My God, our God, is all knowing, perfect and holy. His love NEVER ends, his mercies will always be new every single morning, His grace is beyond my comprehension, and his Sons love, through his death and resurrection, has cancelled ALL sin and death for ALL time and for ALL people, ALL creation (animals, angels, trees, vegetation, insects, and human beings).
After finishing Bells book, I went on an adventure to find other books and writings on these teachings. When I went home, I found more unanswered questions, like Revelations 20 and 21, Matthew 25, and Romans 9… I couldn’t answer those questions, and didn’t know how to phrase my words to others to share the points of truth that changed my life forever. I knew I needed more input, I needed to study more, learn more, read more…
I found this book, Who Will Be Saved? By William Willimon. And then I found this book, The Parables of the Kingdom by Robert Farrar Capon. Ans then this book, that I just finished reading today, called Raising Hell by Julie Ferwerda, that answered all of my questions on Revelations 20 and 21, Matthew 25, and Romans 9 and the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man… Below is a verse from revelations and a few others… If you want to know more and understand my points, read these books for yourself. It’s totally worth it!
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. …Behold, I am making all things new. …Write, for these words are faithful and true.’
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.
“So as one sin of Adam brought death to all people, one good act that Christ did makes all people right with God. And that brings true life for all.”
These are but two verses that show the will of God to restore all the earth! Every knee shall bow and confess Jesus Christ, ALL tears, ALL disgrace, ALL pain, crying, and mourning will be no more; and most of all, the death that has enfolded ALL people’s and ALL of creation will be destroyed forever.
If death will be destroyed, and there will be no more room for it, or for mourning, crying, weeping, gnashing of teeth, pain or disgrace, then how can hell exist? Will there be such a place of death and torment? Why would there be? Are not these two verses straight from the mouth of God to His people, to the earth; promises of reconciliation and mercy? Yes, they are. And dare us say God is a lier? God forbid! God embodies all truth, undying love, mercy that is new every morning, for all people, for the rest of eternity. God is Love. Nothing can exist without Him.
So, what can we say? Is it important to ask questions, to look at scripture again, to see what God’s salvation really looks like. Is God’s good news of grace and the gospel of Christ better then we ever thought? I believe so.
I truly want to ask for you to consider… No, I challenge you all who are reading this, to not be afraid to look at these thoughts. I dare you to ask these questions. With all my love and hope, I ask you to consider the possibility, even if you feel uncomfortable with the topic. Read these books, take another look at scripture with new glasses, do not be afraid. Asking these question is not doubting or denying Christ, and just because someone doesn’t believe in hell doesnt means Gods going to send them to hell. Just because I hope and believe for God to restore and reconcile ALL people and creation to a relationship with the Love of the whole world, doesn’t mean I’m not saved.
So please don’t be afraid. Take my challenge. It’s worth it, and God is asking you to do it too.
Peace and love from a brother to my family, the world.