“Heaven is, after all, full of surprises.” says Rob Bell in Love Wins.
Also, in one of the most worrying bits of the book in my view, he lists a whole load of questions which have the effect of undermining any sense we can have of knowing what it is that leads to clear salvation. Do we really know he seems to be saying who will be be in heaven and who not? In this quote he is speaking about who, in his view, will get to heaven at the beginning:
“Is it what you say, or who you are, or what you do, or what you say you’re going to do, or who your friends are, or who you’re married to, or whether you give birth to children? Or is it what questions you’re asked? Or is it what questions you ask in return? Or is it whether you do what you’re told and go into the city?”
The BIBLE is very clear: Paul tells us in Romans 10:10 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead you will be saved” But if he is Lord we must tremble at what he says not sit in judgment on him and decide which of the things he said we can believe and which we must explain away. Jesus spoke about hell and the wrath of God, if we are to follow him as Lord we should take what he says seriously!
“And so there’s a woman sitting in a church service with tears streaming down her face, as she imagines being reunited with her sister who was killed in a car accident seventeen years ago. The woman sitting next to her, however, is realizing that if what the pastor is saying about heaven is true, she will be separated from her mother and father, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends forever, with no chance of any reunion, ever. She in that very same moment has tears streaming down her face too, but they are tears of a different kind. When she asks the pastor afterward if it’s true that, because they aren’t Christians none of her family will be there, she’s told that she’ll be having so much fun worshipping God that it won’t matter to her. Which is quite troubling and confusing, because the people she loves the most in the world do matter to her. “
My reply to this is that we are not meant to judge who is in heaven and who is not. Who knows what happened to those family members? There are accounts of people having encounters with Jesus in their dying moments, to be spared and live a changed life. The point is, we cannot know with confidence that anyone will be saved unless they have truly put their faith in Christ and their life is showing the fruit of that. But that by no means implies that everyone who does not appear to have faith to us either truly doesn’t or wont at some point in the future. We work towards and pray for our family and friends to share in this wonderful salvation. But if they are apparently rejecting God’s offer of salvation that no more invalidates the offer than if those same friends were refusing medical treatment we knew could save them from certain death from cancer.
Rob Bell doesn’t seem to believe in the traditional view of heaven either!
BELL: “Much of the speculation about heaven—and, more important, the confusion—comes from the idea that in the blink of an eye we will automatically become totally different people who “know” everything.”
But, that Idea comes directly from the Apostle Paul in the Bible! “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52), and “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Where is the clarity in Bells writings? Does he ever clearly have an answer to the question Peter was asked on the day of Pentecost, “What must we do to be saved?”