If I follow Rob Bell then I have to believe that our free will is non-existent as all of us will eventually be forced into Heaven because "God always gets what God wants." If I follow John Piper then I have to believe that our free will is non-existent as some of us will eventually be forced into Heaven because "God always gets what God wants." You misunderstand Bell, I believe -- or at least, you misunderstand what Bell is trying to say. God will not force anyone into heaven. But, if God's Love is more attractive than anything else, is it reasonable to believe that any one human's resistance to that Love will remain in force for all of eternity? Bell suggests that Love, in the end, will win, when the last person freely wills towards God.
So where's the difference?
I'm not misunderstanding him at all. What I stated is 100% accurate. We will all be forced into Heaven. At least, that's the logical underpinning of Bell's argument that Bell is reluctant to admit.
Essentially, he's taking the argument of "irresistible grace" (which is a Calvinist doctrine) and applying it on the universal scale. All of Chapter 6 is about how God always get what God wants and that nothing can stand in His way. From there he goes on to discuss how God wants all of us to be saved - therefore, all of us will be saved.
If I put chocolate cake in front of you and tell you to eat it, then tie you to the chair and refuse to feed you anything else, at some point you're going to eat the cake. If I force the cake down your throat, then I've removed any possibility for your choice. This is essentially what Bell is saying (whether he wants to or not); "You can't outlast the love of God, you will eventually succumb to it." Well, if that's the case, then how can I claim free will?
If love will eventually overpower us to the point that we choose God, then how can we say we have a choice in the matter? Fact is, we don't, thus we're forced into Heaven. That's why he's no different than John Piper on that regard. The only difference between the two is on limited atonement; other than that, both are working from a Calvinist foundation.
Your argument in fact proves too much. God is our one and supreme good. The desires of our hearts can find no true satisfaction except in him, and apart from him there is only eternal misery. In that sense, we are all tied down in our chairs and told that unless we eat the food we are given, we will die of eternal starvation. This is a given of our creaturehood. Does this mean that we are not free? By your logic it would seem that the only people who are free are those who do not need and desire God as the fulfillment of the being. But who might those people be? Certainly not anyone I know. Certainly not anyone who has been created by the Holy Trinity.
I would also note that both Orthodox and Catholics believe that the redeemed in Heaven cannot reject God, presumably because they now possess their true happiness. Does this mean that they are not free?
I have never read Rob Bell's book, but based on what I have read about his book, he seems to belong to the hopeful universalist camp, in which can be numbered many Orthodox believers, including Met Kallistos Ware and Met Hilarion Alfeyev. A hopeful universalism is a perfectly legitimate Orthodox position. It is grounded in the conviction that God is absolute and infinite love who will never abandon the creatures he has made in his image. The Orthodox Church prays for the dead. She believes that these prayers are heard by God. The Orthodox Church does not reject, out of hand, the possibility that some of the "damned" might be saved through the prayers of the Church. If one can be saved, why not many, most, all?
Two of the greatest Church Fathers, St Gregory of Nyssa and St Isaac of Ninevah, were convinced that God would, by his grace and love, bring all human beings to repentance and faith. Their views have not been dogmatically rejected by the Church. The 5th Ecumenical Council condemned the Origenist formulation of apocatastasis; but this Origenist formulation must be carefully distinguished from the views of Sts Gregory and Isaac.
One of my favorite books on universalism is The Evangelical Universalist
, written by Robin Parry under the pseudonym Gregory MacDonald. Orthodox Christians will find much of value in this book.