Who are you going to believe – the Bible or a flashy, new-age spiritual guru who makes up the rules as he gets wealthier and more famous?
That's what it came down to for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who just couldn't get his arms around the concept of hell.
I get it. It's a tough one. He struggled with it. Almost every believer has.
No one wants to think about a loved one, a close family member, a dear friend who never turns away from sin and toward God.
Yet, there it is in the Bible – 54 times, 31 times in the Old Testament, 23 times in the New Testament and 15 times out of the mouth of Jesus Himself.
Rodgers met celebrity Rob Bell, the former mega-pastor, now one of the media's favorite turn-to "Christians," who embraces same-sex marriage and a brand of pop-spiritualism that is seemingly defined more on how the church appeals to the world than how the church can be the salt and light to the world. Bell offered the Packers a chapel service and distributed some of his books.
Bell doesn't believe in a literal hell. And Rodgers told ESPN he found comfort in that assurance.
Never mind what Jesus said. Rob Bell tells people what they want to hear.
"I remember asking a question as a young person about somebody in a remote rainforest," Rodgers says in the ESPN interview. "Because the words that I got were: ‘If you don't confess your sins, then you're going to hell.' And I said, ‘What about the people who don't have a Bible readily accessible?'"
After studying the issue and consulting with Bell, Rodgers had it all figured out.
Rodgers got the word and concluded hell was not a fiery pit after all: "That was handed down in the 1700s by the Puritans and influenced Western culture."
Thank you, Rob Bell, champion of universalism, sex-sex marriage and, best of all, no hell!
As a result, Aaron Rodgers no longer describes himself as a Christian.
There's just one problem with all this: God's Word says there is a real hell.
Jesus in Matthew 5:22: "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Jesus in Matthew Matthew 10:28: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Jesus in Matthew 18:9: "And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."
Jesus in Matthew 23:33: "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"
You missed hearing from Joseph Farah about the good news of the "the restitution of all things" on WND's Alaska cruise, taking place this week. But there's still time to tour Israel with him in November.
This stuff is not hidden.
There's no ambiguity about hell.
It's a really bad place.
And the Bible leaves no doubt about its literal reality.
But still people would prefer to pick and choose what they want to believe. It's man's nature. It's also man's nature for spiritual gurus to try to overrule God, add to His Word, take away from His Word.
And Rob Bell has made a career of it.
But, in closing, let me take a stab at answering Aaron Rodgers' no doubt sincere question asked as a child: "What about the people who don't have a Bible readily accessible?"
It's answered in Romans 1:17-21: We are without excuse. You don't need a Bible to be saved. Abraham didn't have one, and he was raised in a pagan culture. Everyone has an opportunity to know God and obey Him: "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."
Those of us with the precious gift of God's Word are not to ask questions about God's integrity and His perfect justice. Instead, we are to take the Word to the whole world, so everyone has a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance to know God and to have fellowship with Him through repentance.
What's so difficult about that?
And what business do men have attempting to be wiser than God?