The Bible is very clear on how one does that, but many of those pleading the universalist case on Bell's behalf -- which is odd since the line seems to go "We have no idea if Bell is a universalist and he's probably not, so you critics should shut up about it . . . but universalism isn't heresy." Talk about bet-hedging -- are already asking us to see the biblical references to hell as fuzzy. It is not a big leap to go from "What the traditional church believes about hell is wrong" to "What the traditional church believes about justification by faith is wrong," especially when the discussion is being framed in such a way to pit "good people" who don't believe in Christ against a caricature of an angry God arbitrarily throwing them into hell for really no good reason.
Bell may or may not believe, as he suggests in his video, that if God were truly love he would not condemn Ghandi (which begs the question, "why Ghandi?" If you're not trying to implicitly assert a works salvation, why not ask if a loving God would let Hitler into heaven?), but the trajectory of such a question leads to this: "Shouldn't a loving God let people into heaven because of their good works?"
I've already been taken to task by some inclusivist types for misunderstanding the theology here: Ghandi would not be let into heaven on the basis of his good works, they say, but on the basis of Christ's righteousness which he unwittingly was exhibiting. (This probably makes Angelina Jolie a better Christian than you, although making such judgments is silly, of course.) Aside from the idea that one can do good works unwittingly to Christ while explicitly rejecting Christ's gospel -- as Ghandi did -- being utterly unbiblical, it makes nonsensical both the Bible's passages on justification by faith alone and the passages on good works. For instance, Paul should have saved his breath with that letter to the Galatians.
The means of condemnation in the Scriptures is simply this: rejecting Christ. The idea that rejecting Christ while doing all sorts of charity -- which the Bible calls self-righteousness, which is idolatry, which God forbids and for which he promises wrath -- is still in keeping with the righteousness of Christ is ludicrous. It may make sense in the world where grace and love are defined by us, where God is made in the image of the altruistic Christian hipster who wants to be nice to everyone (except those mean Calvinists and fundamentalists), but it doesn't make sense in the Scriptures. The inclusivist would have us go to the words of Jesus on this, and to those words we'll turn, and see that this doesn't even make sense in Jesus' world. The Pharisees were awesome at good behavior. But they rejected Christ. ("Ah, but their heart wasn't in the right place," we may be told. And this is true. But "the right place" is Christ.)
Here is a passage inclusivists/universalists like to say demonstrates that Jesus lets people into heaven who do good works in his name without knowing they did:
Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'Leaving aside the fact that as the passage continues, Jesus is sending goats to a separate place than the sheep, a place Jesus says is "eternal punishment" (although we're asked to understand here that eternal doesn't really mean eternal (except when it qualifies "life"), what does this passage as it stands teach? Does it indicate that salvation is on the basis of good works, even good works not done intentionally in Christ's name?
-- Matthew 25:32-40
Using the context clues alone, we see that this conclusion is unwarranted. The "sheep" are not indicating they didn't know they were doing good works in keeping with repentance to Christ; they are indicating they didn't know they were doing good works to Christ. That is what is being revealed here. So on a basic rhetorical level, this passage is not teaching that workers of good works may be doing good works in consistency with Christian faith without having that Christian faith. They are learning that ministry to others under the Lordship of Christ is ministry to Christ. They are learning that they have built up the Body of Christ. Indeed, elsewhere we are told that good works done outside of Christ's name are filthy rags. This is true whether they're done unto Buddha or unto our own sense of being a better person. The works of the "righteous" are done unto Christ.
The other problem with thinking this is a passage teaching good works as the grounds for salvation -- aside from all the other passages teaching that good works as the grounds for salvation is not only a false gospel but a damnable false gospel -- is another, similar judgment passage from Jesus' teaching. In Matthew 7, Jesus says that many who did good works using his name will not enter heaven. The inclusivist would have us think that this actually means Ghandi has a better shot than, say, Fred Phelps, and of course, on that sort of meritorious scale, I totally agree. Ghandi is certainly more resembling of Jesus than Phelps. But the point of both passages in tension with each other and in the context of all else the Scriptures say is this: good works is no basis for eternal life.
What I love about the Matthew 25 passage is that Jesus connects good works in keeping with repentance to tending to him. And in Matthew 7 while condemning lip service he commands following the will of the Father. Is it the Father's will that we reject his Son unrepentantly and yet this faithlessness be credited to us as righteousness? When Jesus tells Peter that it is upon him and his confession "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" that he will build his church, does he mean that confessing Jesus is "John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets" is cool too?
Let God be true though every man a liar.
It is not good works that get Christ's righteousness applied to us. It is our faith in Christ, which is to say, it is our despairing of our works.
This ongoing discussion is larger than whether hell exists and if it does, what it's like. Lying in wait beneath this debate is one that is at the heart of the true Christian faith: how does one receive eternal life?
Let us commend faithfulness in caring for the least of these. When the Father welcomes his children with "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter the joy of your master," he means to commend our faithfulness. It is not optional for believers. But let's obey God remembering what the word faithfulness means: persistent obedience that is full of faith. And if faith in anyone but Christ earns a "pass," it will not mean God is love (as 1 John 4 means it) but that he's a liar.