There are few things I don’t enjoy talking about or hearing others talk about but if I’m going to be honest, the afterlife tops that short list. There are two main reasons for this uneasiness: the first is that we are all, necessarilly, at least a bit (and most likely a great deal) wrong about our views regarding heaven, hell, and/or what have you. Anyone that speaks with uncertainty is being a bit too bold, and my advice is to run fast and run far. Doubly so if they are one of those that takes the revelatory visions of John literally. God bless them, but you should run.
My second source of discomfort is something having to do with the limits of language: how I imagine heaven to be is no doubt different than how someone else does, so though we would in one sense be talking about the same thing were we to converse about heaven, we would only be doing so to a certain extent.
Having admitted my own discomforts when it comes to discussing the afterlife, I will defend Rob Bell, if he did offer a possibility for the hope of universal salvation in his forthcoming book** I too hope for the possibility of universal salvation. Honestly, the Scriptural account about the afterlife is ambiguous at best, and I think that this is one of those places where we have to be OK with our not knowing everything, because God is God and we are not. The important matter is to be faithful to what I is clear; that these things are being so grossly overlooked make religious infighting about how many of us will get into heaven as though it is the ultimate, final Celestial Country Club is to me the pinnacle of unChristian behavior. If these defenders of the doctrine such as Piper and of course Driscoll think that this is an urgent matter: clarifying that some will go to hell, some of us happen to think it a far more urgent matter to try to lessen the hell that someone lives in every day, as that is clearly enough what we were instructed to do.
**I have not read his new book yet, but it should be noted that neither have a good deal of a great many of the most vociferous of his critics. This is ridiculous.