One of the many examples of deceit and sloppy scholarship in Rob Bell's controversial book Love Wins, is his assertion that Martin Luther supports his theories. Dr. Gene Edward Veith has an excellent blog post on this:
The evangelical blogosphere is all abuzz over a new book entitled Love Wins by the influential evangelical pastor and author Rob Bell, in which he argues for universalism, the notion that God will save everyone, whether or not they have faith in Christ. I had assumed that this debate did not concern us Lutherans, since we have our theology thoroughly worked out and this is just not an issue in our circles. But now I learn that Bell enlisted Martin Luther in his cause, quoting a letter from 1522 in which he said that no one could doubt that God could save someone after death.
Now Luther, in his long and tumultuous and developing career, said all kinds of things, including things that were flat out wrong. They mean nothing for Lutheran theology, which is defined by the confessional statements collected in the Book of Concord. But Westminster Theological Seminary Professor Carl Trueman dug out what Luther actually said (with Bell's quotation in italics):
Talk about taking something out of context! Bell takes a sentence out of Luther while ignoring what he says about it! And ignoring Luther's conclusion, that, yes, faith in Christ is necessary for salvation.
HT: Cap Stewart