"These [Eucharist] rituals are true for us, because they’re true for everybody. They unite us, because they unite everybody. These are signs and glimpses and tastes of what is true for all people in all places at all times—we simply name the mystery present in all the world, the gospel already announced to every creature under heaven."From Kevin DeYoung's excellent evaluation of Bell's book:
-- Rob Bell, Love Wins (157)
Bell has a Joseph Campbell “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” view of Christ. Jesus is hidden in various cultures and in every aspect of creation. Some people find him and some don’t. Some call him Jesus; some have too much baggage with Christianity, so they call him by a different name (159).What this sounds an awful lot like is gnosticism's "secret knowledge," the esoteric truth that hides the divine light in everyone, uniting everyone. That Bell identifies the divine light as Jesus doesn't make it less gnostic, especially as he holds you don't have to explicitly trust Jesus to see the fruition of Jesus' spirit already present within you. Universalism, in fact, can fall under the general umbrella of gnosticism.
Bell finds support for this Christological hide-and-seek in 1 Corinthians 10. This is where Paul calls to mind the Exodus narrative and asserts that the rock (the one that gushed water) was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4). From this Bell concludes, “There are rocks everywhere” (139). If Paul saw Christ in the rock, then who knows where else we might find him (144)? Jesus cannot be confined to any one religion, Bell argues. He transcends our labels and cages, especially the one called Christianity (150). Christ is present in all cultures and can be found everywhere.
I find it extremely interesting that the title of Bell's book is predicated on 1 John 4's "God is love," which happens to be in a book ostensibly written in response to gnostic false teaching. It's the same book, in fact, where John says to reject Christ is not a-ok because it's all good in God's hood, but that to reject Christ is the spirit of the antichrist.
But I don't reckon Bell will say that on Good Morning America.