I know in my previous post, I said I would not rant and rave, and I hope that here I am not doing such, but the buzz on the social scene is getting to me, so I must post.
Living in Grand Rapids, MI. I am acutely aware of the rock in the pond. By this I mean Rob Bell’s Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Everyone Who Ever Lived, quite a mouthful, and quite a statement. It is this, in the context of living in Grand Rapids, and attending Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, that I wish to comment. Note: I have not read the book, and I do not feel the need to read it for a couple reasons. I have heard arguments from both sides from real people, not just blogs. I have read critical reviews, Rob’s defenses, and credible, humble, views of those whom I trust on the issue. And I will stick with orthodoxy.
The hoopla has two views from what I can tell. One, the evangelical, conservatives are roaring that the message of Bell’s book is fundamentally unbiblical, and quite contrary to the Gospel message. Two, the Bell fans are roaring that evangelicals are being mean and not Christ-like in their love.
Here are some sources I have found useful. Not in any order. Right-click, open in new tab.
Response to Rob’s video from a GRTS Professor (watch Rob’s video first)
If you live in Grand Rapids, if you claim Christianity, if you have read Love Wins, if you are curious, take some time, peruse these links, read the Gospels and pray for the Holy Spirit to show you the truth. I am firmly holding that love does not win, I am firmly holding that God will win, and the Bible tells us that God is loving, but he is also just and holy. Rob begins with the assumption that “God is love”, I wonder why he assumes this when the Bible says this (1 John 4.8)? Should he not firmly believe this because the living Word of God says so? Anywho…The beginning assumption is wrong, look at Genesis1. The first assumption is that nothing exists that God did not fashion, his sovereignty is present in the world. I believe that God is sovereign. If I have learned anything from my seminary education, it is that you cannot build an entire theology from one Bible verse, thus I will comment no more on this particular issue.
I refer to Psalm 131, read it. I do not presume to know more than the Word says. Hell is real. It is eternal. Jesus is the only way to salvation. A professor of mine has read the book and we talked about it in class, and in private. He said that Rob quotes John 3:16-17 the most. I said above that I have not read the book, but I know what John 3:16-17 says and you cannot stop at verse 17, there is a verse 18 and that verse is rather explicit. We can pick and choose the passages we like, but that is not the narrative of the Bible. If we are to believe the Bible, we ought to believe it in its entirety, even if we do not like what it says sometimes.
I do not intend to attack the personhood of Rob Bell, I am going for the integrity of the Bible and the Gospel message of salvation through the saving work of Christ. It is faith in Jesus. Grace through Faith, my friends.
When I waver, this helps. The Cross.
Grace and Peace.