At times it seems that there are Christians who have made it their life goal to point out the "heretics" and "false teachers" among us. I am not defending Rob Bell here since I am not sure what his position on hell is, but I rather would like to caution us about labeling people "false teachers" merely because they disagree with our position.
Rob Bell is somewhat of an enigma for me. On the one hand he has helped me rethink "Church" and I think he has some very good things to say in that regard. On the other hand I think that his doctrine can be a little suspect at times, and therefore it is very hard for me to endorse what he has to say.
What I am concerned about is not so much whether or not Rob Bell is a universalist, but rather how eager and flippantly some Christians leaders were in making the proclamation. What is even worse are those individuals that cloak their judgment in religious language: "I'll be praying for him." No, you just wanted to come off looking like a nice guy.
We live in a public world where we have access to millions of people because of the internet. The easiest thing in the world, especially if you see yourself as a guardian of correct doctrine, is to pass judgment on people via the web. This judgment then gets picked up and passed around (especially if you have a large following), all the while the real issue is never addressed. Notice how Rob's book isn't even out yet, but people want to comment on it even though they have not read it.
If these Christian Leaders were really concerned about Rob Bell, his teaching, and his salvation then instead of blogging and tweeting about him they should set up an appointment to visit with him, to pray with him, and to discover what the real Rob Bell thinks. The easy way is to make a declaration behind the comfort of a computer screen. The hard way is to engage the man personally. May we follow the example of Acts 18:26.
Rob Bell's Upcoming Book on Heaven & Hell Stirs Blog, Twitter Backlash on Universalism | Liveblog | Christianity Today