Mark Galli, Senior Editor of Christianity Today, recently sat down with pastor/author Francis Chan to discuss Rob Bell's controversial book Love Wins and Chan's book Erasing Hell, which is his response to Love Wins. Bell's book has generated massive amounts of controversy because at its heart, it proclaims a message of "Christian Universalism" (the false belief that Christ's death on the Cross made atonement for all people, whether or not they have ever heard the gospel message or the name of Christ). One of Chan's responses from the Q&A caught my attention:
Mark Galli: Your reaction to Love Wins was my experience as well and, I suspect, the reaction of a lot of its readers. That's the one thing that I've said is good about the book. It's forced us all to think more deeply, go back to Scripture, and read more carefully.
Francis Chan: There was a lot that was good in that book. There are some good principles in there. Some of the things that he dislikes about the evangelical church today are things I have a real problem with as well. I told Rob that some of the stuff that he writes needs to be heard, and the people who need to hear it won't hear it because of the tone and some of the other things that he writes.
He didn't think that was the case, but I do think there is some value in some of the things that he writes.
While I appreciate other comments made by Chan in this interview, his response to Galli's question above is entirely mind-boggling to me. It is somewhat akin to saying the following about a glass of water with a drop of arsenic in it:
"There is a lot of good in that glass. There's some good, refreshment there. There is definitely some value in that glass of water!"
The more biblical model for dealing with false teachers is to publicly mark them out, warn others and flee from them:
"They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good." (Titus 1:16)
"Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute." (2 Peter 2:2)
"Now I beseech you, brothers, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)