I am struggling with this idea of reviewing Rob Bell’s Love Wins chapter by chapter. I’ve re-read the chapter on hell and the next one posing the question “Does God get what God wants?” I’ll try to post my responses soon, but am getting more and more frustrated by the God that Rob Bell describes. He’s just too small.
So for some light relief I dipped into a book by Joni Eareckson Tada which I have been meaning to read for years, and I found this quotation from the great 19th Century Baptist preacher C H Spurgeon, preaching on the text from Matthew “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:11-12)
…my text has yet a greater depth of sweetness, for it says, that “many will come and will take their places.” Some narrow minded bigots think that heaven will be a very small place, where there will be very few people, and only those who went to their church. I confess, I have no wish for a very small heaven, and love to read in the Bible that there are many rooms in my Father’s house. How often do I hear people say, “Ah! small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. There will be very few in heaven; for most of the people will be lost.”
My friend, I differ from you. Do you think that Christ will let the devil beat Him? That he will let the devil have more in hell than there will be in heaven? No: it is impossible. For then Satan would laugh at Christ. There will be more in heaven than there are among the lost. God says, that “there will be a number that no man can count that will be saved;” but He never says, that there will be a number that no man can count that will be lost. There will be a host beyond all count who will get into heaven. What good news for you and for me! for, if there are so many to be saved, why shouldn’t I be saved? Why shouldn’t you? Why shouldn’t the man over there in the crowd, say, “Can’t I be one among the multitude being saved?” And shouldn’t that poor woman there take heart, and say, “Well if there were but half-a-dozen saved, I might fear that I wouldn’t be one; but, since many are to saved, why shouldn’t I also be saved?”
Fantastic! Far from preaching a kind of second-chance-universalism Spurgeon preaches nothing more or less than the Glory of Christ. God’s mercy is rich and wide and the invitation is for all, now. God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We can be saved NOW if we respond to Christ’s invitation. Why wait? Why risk being thrown outside?