Universalism is the teaching that God will ultimately bring all people, in all times, and all places to a state of reconciliation with Him. In other words, everyone who ever lived will be saved. Consequently, Universalism cannot allow the possibility of an eternal hell as a realistic biblical teaching. - Matt Slick
Universalist teaching states that eventually God will bring all people to repentance. This repentance can happen here on earth or after a sinner has died and lived again in the millennium. Christian Universalism claims that it does not deny the lordship and divinity of Christ. Instead, the Christian Universalist asserts that the love and mercy of Jesus will eventually transform and redeem all people, even if this process takes longer than our earthly lifespans. Christian Universalism is the conviction that the love of Christ will eventually overcome all rebellion, hatred and selfishness.
Universalists like Rob Bell believe that hell is here on earth, that God is so loving that he'll never condemn an evil person to hell, no matter how evil that person is. I've heard this kind of ministry before, but almost always from people who have never actually read the bible. They say "If God is love, why would he let good people go to hell?" Well, God is love, which is why it breaks his heart to see us living in sin, which is why HE paid the ultimate price for OUR sins, and didn't require us to pay for our sins, and in return all he asks is that we confess our sins and and proclaim that Jesus Christ is our savior. But God is so much more than love:
“The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.
“When the Bible calls God holy it means primarily that God is transcendentally separate. He is so far above and beyond us that He seems almost totally foreign to us. To be holy is to be ‘other,’ to be different in a special way. The same basic meaning is used when the word holy is applied to earthly things. -R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1985)
How can we come into the presence of such holiness when we are tainted with sin? Only through the blood of Christ can we be cleansed of our sins to even approach him:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9)
Not only is God Holy Holy Holy, and not only is God love, but God is Just, and he promises judgement:
7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)
What part of "Eternal Destruction" are people like Doug Pagett and Rob Bell not understanding? Actually he's not understanding quite a bit:
"When people use the word hell, what do they mean? They mean a place, an event, a situation absent of how God desires things to be. Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, slaughter--they are all hell on earth. Jesus' desire for his followers is that they live in such a way that they bring heaven to earth... What's disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about Hell here and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth." - Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, pg 148
The second sentence here is a direct, premeditated lie. When people use the word hell, they generally mean the biblical definition of hell, which biblical descriptions make Rob Bell's worries sound pleasant comparatively. To be honest, all of life on earth is absent of how God desires things to be, what he desires things to be like was called the Garden of Eden. Us human beings kind of messed that up. As for famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, slaughter - these are all man made nightmares that we brought upon ourselves, this is not divine judgement. And no where in scripture does it say that Heaven is coming to earth, in fact scripture says quite plainly that it's going to get worse and worse until only Jesus can save the survivors.
So why does Rob Bell preach that everyone gets saved regardless of their sins or intentions or their relationship with Jesus? To claim that everyone gets saved just for the act of existing denies not only Jesus sacrifice but God's righteousness and holiness. Instead we're left with a cheesy imitation salvation that we are required to share with the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao.
Thanks to Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries for finding this little gem: