Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” Brings Out The Hate

John Piper

John Piper

So, it seems that Rob Bell is a trending topic on Twitter today thanks to an ambiguous tweet from John Piper that simply said “Farewell Rob Bell”.

You see, Rob’s got a new book coming out, “Love Wins“, that seemingly questions the common view of hell.  This isn’t anything new, theologians have been doing this for millenia.  However, it seems that the mere mention of anything that may be interpreted as universalism gets Calvinists like Piper all in an uproar.  But I guess that’s bound to happen when someone suggests that heaven might actually be bigger than your denomination.  I wonder if these same folks feel the same about Billy Graham.

Here’s the promo video for the new book.  Me, I’ll wait for the book to be released before commenting.

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.

 

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  • http://simuliustusetpeccator.com Craig

    Just pre-ordered mine today from Amazon. Also threw in Sex God.

    • http://homebrewedtheology.com Christian

      I have a signed copy of Velvet Elvis… :-) Got is signed when he was here on his “Drops Like Stars” tour.

  • william

    A quote to think upon “polygamist author claims polygamy good” when someoine says something is wrong, they are surprisingly, “and i kniw it doesn;t look this way” on love. for example, if i were your freinde and i saw you bleiving garbage, i would show you whwere you are wrong, and why so you belive what it correct, that marriage is between two partners, man and woman “thats what i belive” that is beside the point. tehre could have been better discourse n the aricle, but you need to try and see where we come from, the BASIS for our faith is rooted in the Bible, if it were not for the Bible, Chrsitianity would not exist, we would no know of a loving God, or jesus. SO, the basis for our faith says something completelty contrary to what Bell says, no i think you see why it got such a reaction.

    • http://homebrewedtheology.com Christian

      the BASIS for our faith is rooted in the Bible, if it were not for the Bible, Chrsitianity would not exist

      No, the basis of our faith is Christ, not the bible. If not for Christ, Christianity would not exist.

      To elevate the Bible above Christ is idolatry.

  • william

    what does earth and science tell us Jesus was? i know Chrsit is our basis, but dont forget how we know he exists. The Bible. heres the thing: How do we know we are saved? by christ how to we know he exists? the Bible. DId you meet christ yourself? Paul did, he was blinded by God light, and changed immediately from hurting Christians to teaching the gospel. one thing that is most important. To elevate human thought above what Jesus says is also idoltry, not submitting to christ and ruling yourself, what you want that is what angers many christian about this blatant disregard for scripture. the answers to his many questions are in the Bible. still this question, the Bible is th source of faith. we are rooted in chrsit yes, but scripture tells us of this. without it we are lost. this is important it it not?
    people say, there are countless “good” people who have never read the bible. Definitions matter. Our good we see or good God sees. has anyone ever had a PURE thought? a verse that comes to mind is James 4:17 anyone who sees the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins”. my answer would be. after we do good, we find ourselves becoming prideful for it,(also sin) we also see things we could do and choose not to do them. We show what we do to the world to see what we did. Instead of showcasing what Christ did.

    Point is, man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks atthe HEART”
    another way of saying this, Man looks at what people do, GOD cares WHY you do it!

    Scripture is imprtant to the christian life. Ignoring its clear statements will always lead us away from the truth of Christ. it might not appear so on the outside, but Only God knows people’s hearts.

  • http://www.crystalstmarielewis.com Crystal

    It always amazes me that people can claim to know SO MUCH about a theoretical afterlife they’ve never actually visited… And more amazing are the people who bash folks for exploring competing afterlife theories…

    As I’ve grown older, I’ve also grown suspicious of folks who claim to have “the truth.” We’re all just trying to make sense of God, justice, hope, peace and suffering. I feel that when people claim to have the indisputable truth, they miss the whole concept of God’s mystery. But that’s just me. :)

  • william

    God is mysterious, but what is NOT MYSTERIOUS is salvation, im sure youve heard all the rhetoric about how “we can’t really KNOW anything” but remeber this: we have a dictionary, and words have meaning. It has been said “If someone tells you there is no truth, they are simply telling you to not believe them, so don’t” the definition of an absolute truth is ; something that is “univereslliy true” well it is universlaliy true, the we can;t know anything for truth” see how i contradicted myself? and by the way, there is someone who has been to the grave and back, His name is JESUS, and i wish you would know him as i do he has changed my life, he gave us a Bible to see what he did and what he died for, by your definition we can;t be sure there even is a God. Are you sure person you talk to isn;t a figment of you imagination, science has said that its true, How are you sure there is a God, youve never been to heaven. I dont have the indisputable truth. i think a mistake people make is contributing the glory for having the “Truth’ to their own intelligence instead of God’s grace, it not MY truth, it is The truth, God’s truth, and it is what matters it defines life, and it answsers many questions. for instance why do infants disobey at birth? people ask. My parents have said “WHY DONT you listen to me???” now this is not an excuse, it is truth. i heard “toddlers dont know what going on” but that is EXACTLY the point, if they dont know what is going on, WHY do they DISobey instead of Obey? see even on the internet there are rules about language. It seems instictive to us to say we are good people, but if you ask youtr parent how you were when you were little, they say quite the opposite. everyone has had parents to teach them good, or a foster parent or guardian. and usually those that havent had a good upbringing are mostly seen on the news.

    • http://homebrewedtheology.com Christian

      Ok, Jesus didn’t give us the Bible.

      Second… to claim that someone else’s religious upbringing or theology or christology or soteriology, when it doesn’t agree with yours, is not “truth” is the height of arrogance.

      You claim you don’t have indisputable truth, yet you question anyone else’s views under the guise of the “I have God’s truth” defense. There’s currently over 38,000 denominations in Christianity alone. That means, if there is one truth, only 0.002% of all Christian denominations are correct.

      What is it that people have to claim that they have the only correct interpretation. To have it perfectly right implies perfect knowledge, which means the person making that claim is putting themselves, and their intellect, on the same level as God.

      An idea I find blasphemous.

  • http://www.crystalstmarielewis.com Crystal

    William… thanks for replying… Your response offers a beautiful illustration of my point.

    In one line you claim to “not have the indisputable truth”… but the rest of your comment basically says “Believe MY truth… Duplicate MY religious experience… or you’re going to hell. To DISPUTE what I believe is to lie…”

    I hate to break it to you, but only 7.5% of the people in this world are Protestant Evangelicals. I refuse to believe that your little tribe of systematic theologians is right and the rest of the world are wrong. Especially since agreeing with you would require me to believe that trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of people prior to our generation are in hell for failing to jump on board with your brand of right-belief.

    I’m just asking you to consider that maybe the other 92.5% of us might be on to something. Or that maybe God’s “Way” isn’t so black and white. That’s all.

  • william

    No, it doesn’t as for you statistics, i Know that already, for What i belive is this and youve proven a verse of scripture, look at that!
    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only few will find it.

    7.5% is a FEW.
    You did not break to me, I already know that.

    SO thank you again, I did not say “my” truth was correct, i said GOD’s truth,
    I do find it interesting that that number you presented is so true with the verse from the Bible verse I posted. God’s way means God way, not what we make it. i have other passages in the Bible that say “not many will find the way” so that number does not surprise me. should it be OUR Way or god’s way. see that? you definition would be our way of seeing God, i assume you mean the wheel analogy, meaning all religions lead to God? well Chrsitainity is different. We believe God saved us, God reaching down to man if you’ll look, every other religion in the world speaks of cermonies you have to do, actions that get you into heaven, not the grace of God that saves. Christianity is the only religion that does not lead to God it says God reaches down to man.

    Example,
    I refuse to believe that trillions of people were wrong about slavery and
    that is why I have slaves. see how your argument for “the majority is not wrong” fails? see how silly the statement sounds? slavery is wrong. what determines that? obviously It wasn’t because a lot of people thought it was wrong when slavery was common. what were they, stupid? no, it was because it was common.

  • william

    the verse was matthew 7:13-14

  • http://www.crystalstmarielewis.com Crystal

    William… It saddens me to know that NOTHING about a god-concept that wishes to destroy 92.5% of his own creation sends up a red flag for you. But I suppose this is the point where we agree to disagree. Have a good night.

  • william

    I know, but please let me say 1 last thing God doesn’t wish to destroy his creation, Inever said that,. the thing is though, no one knows when Jesus will come, i i presume, using your theology, that he wont come until those numbers are reversed? maybe he’ll come when protestanism is greater, alright i believe in a god who is in control, And he NEVER wishes harm upon people.

    one last analogy, say there is a judge is a court, and his son comes up becasue he has murdered someone, what would happen here, they’ed probably find a new judge right, someone who is impartial. so the Judge judges by the Law, the law is the standard, like on a test, a grading scale, that the teacher creates, there is failing, there is passing, the teacher does not want everyone to fail, but some students do. No bring that back here, We all have failed the test that god requires, God needs us to be without sin, so he sent Jesus to die, and take the punishment for failing the test in our place, like the punishemnt a judge gives for a criminal, does the judge want that person to have life in prison? by no means, but he must keep to the law, lest he not be Just. God kepto the law by placing his son on the cross, which is an incredible act of love, taking the punishment for the sins of every human being, inlcuding you! now that is love more than you or I will ever know. for those that belive jesus DIED for their sins, they will be saved jesus paid the penalty, for tjose that reject the reality of jesus death, they will not they will get what they deserve. it exactly like someone offering to take you place in a punihsment, and you refusing it.
    Remeber God does not wish to destroy all he has made, christianity speaks of a new creation. where god will dwell with humanity. but before god rebuilds, he must destroy.

    it is a liberating thoelogy, the sad part is is when chrsitians claim it to make them better then anyone lse because God saved “them” that is not the point. the point is that jesus died not to exalt us, but to save us.

  • http://www.crystalstmarielewis.com Crystal

    I just want to respond to William’s rebuttal…

    Quote: “i presume, using your theology, that he wont come until those numbers are reversed? maybe he’ll come when protestanism is greater, alright i believe in a god who is in control, And he NEVER wishes harm upon people.”

    Response: This would be a fabulous concept if it didn’t exclude the gazillions of non-Protestant-Evangelicals who are already writhing in torment in your theology hell. Remember, your interpretation of the Bible makes no provision for them.

    Quote: “one last analogy, say there is a judge is a court, and his son comes up becasue he has murdered someone, what would happen here, they’ed probably find a new judge right, someone who is impartial.”

    Response: Okay, stop right there, homey. Your judge is not impartial. Your judge was handcrafted by HUMANS who had biases, enemies, trials, tribulations, and a strong desire for cosmic vindication. Oh– and INK… They had ink and paper… They wrote down their ideas of how God’s vindication would be carried out… but not with impartiality.

    Quote: “for those that belive jesus DIED for their sins, they will be saved jesus paid the penalty, for tjose that reject the reality of jesus death, they will not they will get what they deserve.”

    Response: What they deserve? I would submit to you that there are people in this world who don’t believe your version of the gospel because they CAN’T believe it for emotional and psychological reasons… not because they don’t want to go to heaven. Your version of the story asks child abuse victims to believe in a God who had to brutalize his own son before he could accept the rest of his kids. Your version of the gospel asks women whose spouses have tried to kill them to believe that an all-loving God sent them a new bridegroom, whom he also had to brutally murder in order to accept us. Again, theology can only offer us a HUMAN interpretation of Christ’s crucifixion. There are other HUMAN interpretations that don’t require us to make God a sadomasochist with an unquenchable temper. To state that people who can’t believe what you’ve been able to believe is to elevate your experience above those of others. I can only ask you to be careful not to do that.

    Quote: “It’s a liberating theology…”

    Response: I would disagree. It’s a gory, incomplete, and in many ways sad theology. Your theology postulates that an all-knowing, supremely intelligent being would require a real man to die for a tiny infraction in a notoriously mythological garden. (Real death for a fake Adam’s sin? Another red flag.) Your theology makes god a blood thirsty, unreasonable, task master who requires us to forgive our neighbors unconditionally despite his inability to do the same. Your theology makes people afraid to engage God in ways that they can understand– and it forces them to accept Patristic and Pauline theory that is flawed by nature of its human origins. And seriously— your theology makes your little group right while devaluing the experiences of the rest of the entire world.

    For the record, I believe strongly in God. I follow Jesus to the best of my ability every day, but I don’t support traditional Christian theology. We need to rethink what we believe and ask ourselves why we believe it.

  • william

    The thing that I fail to understand about professing Christians that deny the inerrancy of the bible is why not just “roll their own” completely? Why would one profess a faith they have no faith in? Just call it my-own-ism or my-ianity and stop saying you claim Christ as Lord. How does the Lord exercise his lordship in ones life if they deny his word?

    God has never sinned! you know that right, well the ONLY reason we can forgive each other is becasue all have sinned. we say “i mess up too” so i forgive you, we all screw up sometimes God doesn’t that is a major differenc ethat i think we overlook a lot.

    we dont like authority on our lives. tis could be not more present then the unrest in the middle east. God is bigger than our denimination he is bigger that anything, BUT God will not disobey himself or theten commandments

    You profess a faith that you have no faith in. if you interpreteed the Bibe differently that i would agree, but since you murder it, and burn it, and regard it as trash, then you have no basis for jesus existing. he claimed to be the son of God.

    so you are saying, and implying im sure, is that the influences of the times in the Bible made the writers determined what they wrote. ARE YOU kidding? There is one thing im sure you can attest to as well. in Paul’ s time, there was no TV, Interent, Phones, cars, media, influence, tv violence, videogames, texting, the list goes on and on!!! its extremely hard to imagine what life was like back then some 2000 years ago and you say that Paul had more influence.
    I’m pretty sure that Paul had the best way of speaking from God. every time he wrote his letter, where was he? prison. prison. he was by himself, in prison all he had was God. he had no Oprah, koolaid producers, he was prayings and writngs
    what do we have? countless distractions, media influenes, people who tell use what we want to hear about ourselves, we want to hear we are good, we dont want a saviour, we want to save ourselves.

    we dont like being punished for what we did wrong, this is evident in your theology, as you dont think there is punishment for doing something bad.
    ‘why do you live for jesus, you dont have to answer, but its not becasue he is you Lord, You are now His Lord, youve comlpletelyy ruled out the possiblity that God can do anything he wants, becasue we hindered him from producing truth in the Bible.

    SAying God didnt inspire the bible to give us truth puts the cart before the horse, creation over creator! dont you see my point???!! the holy spirit is a part of the trinity, 3 and 1 at the same time. FOR God all things are possible. he can and did insipre the writers if the Bible to say truth saying he couldn’t is ridiculous, for youve just commanded God to be something he not: a finite human being, which he is not, God is so much bigger tha we could ever imagine. infinite God can do anything, and hew has done so, and your mysteries you speak of are myths.
    again the bible claims to be true, in many verses, even jesus says it is

    remember finite fits inside infinite, bit infinite cannot fit into finite
    we can’t fit God into our perception of love
    is it not loving to warn againt what is to come??

    You sound like this verse again, so similar:
    2 timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry

    what we want to hear is not always what we NEED to hear.

    God would sentences us to life is prison. that prison being hell but I said, before, THE DEVIL is the punishment, God hands us over to the devil. he handed jesus over instead, so tha those who believe would be saved.

    God did not give us the Bible to tell us that “its wrong” are you kidding me, give me one verse that says “everything in this book is wrong”.
    first question did God give us the Bible.-
    Well of you cliam the name of chrsit he DID. it either all wring or all correct??

    I am curoius though why other books of today dont get this criticism, how about this upcoming book? HUH, the one with all the arguing. BY your standards, Bell’s book is complete garbage, because he is influenced by trials he has, and influences. (im pretty sure paul had less influence tha rob bell has today in his upbringing)
    The only reason people like it is because they agree with it. see the contradiction?
    We say things in the bible are written and influence by their surroundings, by there are MORE surrounding influences today then ever before, and books today are values as high as the BIBLE? why? because Jesus says ” Beware of false prohpets, the come to you in SHEEP’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” satan appears to us as an angel of light. like a candy bar with poison.

    For im sure you know this statement: Man looks on the OUTWARD appearance, but the Lord looks at the Heart.
    meaning: Man cares what you do, God Cares WHY YOU DO IT

    Jesus Loves me this I KNOW, for the BIBLE tells me so.
    -out of the mouths of babes
    why do we believe in jesus, becasue the bible says so.

    as for those who cannot understand becasue of psycological reasons:
    For God all things are possible miracles happen :)

    “Relativism which is not willing to speak about truth but only about ‘what is true for me’ is an evasion of the serious business of living. It is a mark of a tragic loss of nerve in our contemporary culture. It is a preliminary symptom of death.” -Lesslie Newbigin, on the distinction between openness (which is good) and religious relativism”

    another great quote:

    Postmodernism tells us there’s no such thing as truth; no such thing as meaning; no such thing as certainty. I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts. He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.” I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?” He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.” I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?” He said, “That is correct.” I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?” All of a sudden there was silence. You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.
    -Ravi Zacharias

    Foundations Matter: what is yours?

  • http://www.crystalstmarielewis.com Crystal

    I could cite a hundred reasons why I don’t regard the Bible as “inerrant”, but I know that they would be lost on this conversation. There are people all over this world who follow Jesus without adhering to your brand of radical fundamentalism. And I certainly don’t have to affirm a certain theology in order to be “Christian” enough. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. Good night William.

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  • william

    I know, that is my whole point, i agree there are reasons that we dont have to support the bible as inerrant, but i ask, what do you have faith in? and how do you know that the God you think about really is God/ That is what i am trying to say her whie. What you are saying is radical “deconstruction” saying that you dont hae to belive is Jesus to be saved. the question is, Which jesus” the one of the Bible, or the one we create in our minds? you see there is a difference in belivei ins something tangible amd beliveing in somethings that we want to belive in. and NO you are right, you dont have to affirm calvinism/arminianism to to be a better christian, but what my exact point is, is that Which jesus do you belive in, the One who has been made known by the writers of the NT and OT? IF there is no foundational support for what we belive, its somethings we create, it needs to be measured by something.

    forgivie me for using scripture again, but this is an important. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, he said “I’ll Give you all the kingdoms of this world, if you will bow down and worship me” tht is relativism at the heart,right there, The devil is saying: Rules don’t matter, just bow before ME, and i’ll let you have all this good stuff” And what does Jesus say? “He says, Away from me satan! for it is WRITTEN you shall worship the Lord your GOD and him ONLY shall you serve,” the devil is saying “it does not matter what the rules are, as long as you get good stuff” see what i mean? weRE SUPPOSED TO serve THe God. not A god that appears to us as an angel of light. it looks good, i admit, to be able determine what you want for yourself, but that is not what God wants, he want us to follow HIM. that is the absolute measurement, and then everything we do is measure by that.

    all of this is because of human nature of teh desire to not submigt to a higher authority. its why there is so much unrest in tyhe middle east again, not only becasue the dictators are corrupt, because they have absolute power, but the people want freedom, to be able to choose what they want for themselves. But Christians aren’t call to do thath, we are called to serve the God of creation.

    “It may be the devil, it may be the Lord, but youve gotta serve somebody”

    when we serve ourselves, we serve the devil, when we follow God, we please him.

  • Jeff Straka

    “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ~Anne Lamott
    LOVE WINS

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  • william

    You are missing my whole point! Love does not equal no correction! If I want to correct someone’s teaching, it is out of LOVE, trying to show them where they are wrong. Ifthey are ignorant of it, tha is theor decision.

    Don’t you see, if you saw someone following a cult that says “murder is ok” or the Ku Klux Klan, you would want them out of it, wouldn’t you? GOD wants us to follow Him. God does not hate people, Were did you get that from? God corrects us when we are incorrect through teaching in the Bible. There is a major distiction bewtween identifying error, and pretending to be God and judging the person’s heart and where they are in their walk with God. People can be preaching false stuff and not realize it. You’ve warped the definition of hate. Hate does not equal disagree, Just becasue I submit to a HIGHER POWER, does not mean I hate people who don’t, I want to show people the way, its out of love. Tey can decide for theselves whether to believe it.

    We always twist correction into an insult, intead of an act of love.

    What if I’m right, ever ask yourself that??

    some of my comments can and already have been interpreted as hate, I understand that. Maybe i should have been more clear:

    God does not hate what he created. He hates what his people HAVE DONE
    he commands us to follow, the LORD, make him Lord of you life. no be Lord over him. He is disappointed when we follow falsehoods. “No other Gods before me?”

    Just as a parents are disappointed when you disobey them, right? by you definition we should not be disciplined. It matters how we act/teach. We aren’t God’s parent, he is our FATHER. a difference, here the father in heaven has never “screwed up ” or “made a mistake” that is why we forgive each other here on earth. God needed to send his son to take the penalty that sin requires becasue he is perfect. “SIN requires a penalty not GOD”. If your sin has not been paid for, it is still a part of you.
    We killed Jesus, our sin held him there.
    You know you’ve created God in you own image when you say these words to yourself “God can’t do that” becasue “I wouldn’t do that”
    We are not God. Period.
    We know what God would Have us know.
    The Bible.
    God has shown us what is right and wrong in the Bible. and the consquences of it. we dont need other authors to “interpret” false ideas out if clear words.

    Remember, the ideas are wrong, that does not equal judging. Words have MEANING. we have a dictionary. We need to realize correction is not motivated by being “right”, but out of love, not forcing my beliefs on you, but TELLING, people the truth. It is up to you to accept/reject it.

    Please dont assume hate is involved here, its not. I dont think i’m better because i’m right, THose two phrases are intertwined so much today, right does not equal better, where did we get this idea that being right makes us better than anyone??
    It doesn’t. we just don’t like to be taught about anything that we don’t agree with.

    So jeff, I have No idea what you mean by “God hates people”, but its not a part of Christianity. God hates SIN, and that is drastically different from what you think.

    God hates what we’ve done, Its not a parts of who we are In Christ Jesus. Its been paid for.

    “In Christ there is no Condemnation” apart from Christ, there is. It is a sad reality.

    Reality is just that, REAL.

    • http://homebrewedtheology.com Christian

      William,

      Here’s what I think. In order to “correct one’s teaching”, the correct-or would have to assume that they, alone, have the correct interpretation of what scripture teaches. That’s a pretty bold assumption, one that not even the apostles made at the first Council of Jerusalem (see Acts 15). Instead of saying “you’re wrong, I’m right”, they all got together, debated, argued, discussed, and then came to a consensus on how to include Gentiles in their faith community.

      They prefaced their decision in the letter to the brethren with the words “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”, a position of great humility. They did their best to interpret the Law and determine how it applies outside the Jewish faith.

      You are absolutely correct that you could be right and I, and others like me, could be absolutely wrong. However, that won’t be known until the day we stand in front of Christ himself. So, until then, let’s heed the words of Paul in Romans 14:

      Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

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  • http://www.crystalstmarielewis.com Crystal

    Quoting William: “What if I’m right, ever ask yourself that?”

    I find it fascinating that you want others to reflect upon the very question you refuse to ask of yourself. William, what if 92.5% of the world’s citizens are right and YOU’RE wrong? Stop parroting the party line for a moment and ask YOURSELF that. What if God is bigger than your Bible, and bigger than your religious experience, and bigger than your theology, and bigger than your conceptions of the afterlife, and bigger than anything you’ve conceived until now? What if the interpretation of the Bible you hold so dearly is WRONG? Has it occurred to you that humans developed the systematic theological interpretation you use, and that it may have serious flaws? What if God has already accepted the people your tradition has labeled “lost?” William, what if you’re wrong?

    As for what I “believe” in… I find that question quite strange as I’ve already told you that I believe in God and follow Christ. I, like 29,999 other Christian denominations in this world, don’t agree with your theology. That excludes me from your communion table, but certainly not the presence of family of God.

    Again, we’re at an impasse. It was nice talking to you. (Sort of.) I won’t be responding to this thread again. Have a good week.

  • william

    I have reflected upon that question many many many tiimes. for you information, and have come to the Truth. And remember, i do not belive thath you are excluded from God;s communion table No one is. tha fact is we dont want to! We dnot want to follow christ. that is my point, and you have confirmed it. =you dont have to be lost, i never said you were. You have made yourself that way.

    I know that i am not wrong, i am sure of jesus, like you have to be. Yet you say know that you aren’t right as well. you say it is a mystery. You believe that no one has it right!. so there is a major difference in both our theologies. YOu are right that everyone is right… see the contradiction? I already have “rethinked” what i believe, that is why it is called “reformed” theology, actually following the faith we profess. not redefining words of the bible to suit what we “like”. But of course i have said this before, but maybe you’ll realize following Jesus is more than just following what you want…

  • Jeff Straka

    William – interesting that you use the “parent” analogy. I don’t know if you are a parent, but I am. No matter WHAT my child does, I would NEVER EVER EVER punish them with “eternal torment”. I may hate what my child has done (their “sin”), but burning them in fire could hardly be classified as “love”, and would certainly qualify for a DFCS visit, wouldn’t it?

    You say, “We know what God would Have us know. The Bible.”
    The Bible is, plain and simple, MAN’S messy interpretation of God in THAT time and THAT context. What God wants us to know is ALL AROUND us – the universe that’s been evolving for over 14 billion years, and has continued to evolve since men wrote the biblical text 2000+ years ago. THAT’S the OTHER Bible, and as the UCC so rightly says, “God is STILL speaking”.

  • william

    Of course you wouldn’t and neither would I, but i said WE ARE NOT GOD, period.

    but if you claim “God is still speaking” today, then isnt he also still speaking through scripture? why exclude scripture, i guess that is what i should ask?

    You say, “burning them inf rie would not be classified as love”

    Of course not! How did you draw that coclusion? Its a choice we make that sends us to hell. Why are you blaming God for something you did? its like saying that someone doesn’t deserve punishment for what they did.

    we sentence ourselves to hell. by disobeying the decree of god. that is not the good news however, the good NEWS is tha Jesus DIED a death for you has saved you.

    saved- defined as salvation from what? punishment?

    God the father and our earthlyfather are so drastically different. perhaps it was a bad analogy on my part.

    With regards to you saying of the Bible, you have
    destroyed your own argument.

    The bible has been PRESERVED throughout the centuries, You die, can you admit that? i doubt anything you write will be known 1500 years from now.

    You say that it was THEIR interpretation, but what you say is also YOUR interpretation then? see the contradiction, if they were humans, you are alos huma,s what makes your opinion more valuable than theirs?

    I completely agree that God is still speaking. But I am sure he did not intend us to throw away a AMAZING document such as the BIBLE? The only way we know of Jesus, (you cannot deny this)
    It is amazingly consistent, and every prophecy in th OT is fulfilled in NT,
    and get this: even though they were written several hundred years apart!

    What makes our interpretation right? There is a difference between what i say and what the Bible says. It like saying what darwin said about evolution was for HIS TIME and HIS place, its not applicable to today, and yet scientists refer to his book “the origin of species” as truth, why do we give him this benefit, that we do not give the writers of the BIble?

    Then I know youll askk, what make the Biblle writer’s interpretation right?

    It simply becasue of this: God is not the author of confusion. We call, at least I do, the Bible God’s Word to man.

    here an analogy i;m sure you can relate to:

    Say i gave you an instructions on how to get to my house, they were CLEAR and specific. it is supposed to be a 10 minute ride. biut 4 hours later you show up at my house. I ask “what took you so long” you say I decide to “intuit” my way to your house, going the way i thought it was, not the way you showed me.

    I think of God as at the top of amountain, He is at the top, I am at the bottom. or , you could think of it as a maze, and God being on top, seeing the CORRECT path to the top, or out odf the maze of life. opr to the top of the mountain. You stil can’t argue with the answers the Bible gives to mysteries in life. Sure answers they are. He has showed us the answers, yet we dont see it becasue we are blind.

    You are all abviously part of some big organization grounded on nothing but human intuition. God gave us the Bible to HELP us not confuse us, I said already, why throw away the instruction book? I fully agree that God still speaks, why do you say he can’t speak (and i think authoritatively) through writings of the BIBLE?

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  • Jeff Straka

    So, William, in your analogy, if I show up at your house, albeit 4 hours late because I “intuited” the path, you going to throw me into a fire? Some host!

    I know this “debate” is going nowhere with either of us, but one last thought:
    You DO understand that when the Bible was written, scientific knowledge of the earth and the universe was quite limited, and that they had a “flat earth” view. Perhaps their limited understanding shaped the way they wrote about what might exist above the “dome” and below the earth. THAT’S what I’m talking about when I say “God is still speaking” – he expects us to embrace the new knowledge he unfolds before us and NOT stay stuck in the limited knowledge of 2000 years ago.

  • willph15

    You leave no option for both, do you, we dont stay “stuck” in 2000 years WE learn from both things. nature does not contradict the Bible, we make it becasue we want to seem error there.

    And to correct my analogy if I will. And I think this nails it. withou out any map, you would actually never find my house, would you? My point is i wouldn’t throw you into a lake of fire, you’d fall into it, like in a mountain, if you took the WRONG path, you could fall off a cliff?, becasue you think you’ve found my house, but you really have just followed the “wide road” that seems good. Try finding a house in the middle of a country with no map. you would never find it unless you ASKED somebody, or use a MAP, would you. the knowledge that i speak of is timeless, with no change in time, God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. people back then had a bible today we have a bible. No difference. the difference is, people have no faith today in wiser teachers, and create their own Bible to say what they want, instead of to say what they need to hear.

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  • william

    I just wanted to add one last thing for you all to think about:

    Lets say I wanted to be a Chicken, okay, now we no we all can’t transform into whatever we want right? but then I say, But with God all things are possible, And God can do anything, so God will turn me into a chicken, because i want him to.

    Dont you see how crazy that is?

    I propose you are doing the same things with the BIBLE, Just because God can reveasl truth in other ways nowadays does not mean He does! God reveal averything about him in His word,

    the logic i see here is, “well, since God can reveal truth anywhere, that means my truth is right” and he revealed his truth to me”. Its the same as the CHicken thin,

    just as i know God doesnt turn people into chicken, It sort of “manipulative theory” about God, controlling where and how he reveals truth, as if he hasn’t shown us already what the truth is. God did show us where truth is.

    I think you guys are asking God, and thinking that he has to do it again maybe through another person, then will you belive it?

    faith is being certain of what we DO NOT SEE

    beautifully written song:

  • Average Joe

    If I may add my own thoughts:

    The Christian Scripture seems to be univocal on the subject of the afterlife. The Biblical Jesus mentions more than once that there are two possibilities, one good and one bad – consider the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16-19), or the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46). These are the teachings of Jesus, the Christ. It would seem to me, then, that one cannot both be a Christian and be a Universalist. To be the latter is to ignore the teaching of Christ, and to be the former demands believing the teaching of Christ. Therefore, any Christian seeking to put forth a theory of universal salvation must first explain why these and other Bible verses do not mean what they seem to so clearly mean.

    • http://homebrewedtheology.com Christian

      To some its univocal, while to others, not so much. Agreed that in order to be a universalist, you have to find scripture that backs that up while discounting others. Same can be said about the predestined elect of Calvin, free-will Arminian, Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Methodists, Quakers, 7th Day Adventists….the list goes on and on.

      To assume that one is right and the rest are wrong (interpretations of scripture) is to assume that one has perfect knowledge. In order to make that assumption, one has to place themselves equal with God. That’s something I’m not willing to do.

      Do I think I’m right? Sure. But I also acknowledge that I could be 100% wrong, too. In fact, in my faith journey, things I believed 5, 10, 15 years ago are things I no longer believe today. Nothing and no one is perfect, except God. Even Eden wasn’t, as man was placed there to tend it. It had to be harvested, weeded, trimmed, watered, and cared for. The same with one’s faith journey. We must weed out the ‘dead’ and ‘unhealthy’ parts of our beliefs in order for the beautiful to grow.

      Just my two cents…. thanks so much for your thoughts, I really do appreciate them.

  • Average Joe

    Apologies… that first Bible citation should be Luke 16:19-31

  • william

    I Wholeheartedly agree,
    my comment on “one thing i fail to understand” at the beginning. But do agree that some people who commented on the article about rob bell’s book would do well to remember this verse,

    1 peter 3:14-17
    “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

  • william

    I just wanted to clear up who I was refering to when i meant this verse, I do include myself in that as well, but I was referring to the post with what now has over 1,000 comments on it. I seems some people don;t like correction from anyone, which I think Justin taylor’s article was meant to be, a WARNING, not condemning the man, but the teaching that what he is talking about usually leads to.

  • william

    I agree with you, I know that I could be wrong, faith is important But what is a little weird for me, and I m pretty sure you too, is when we take words taht have definitions, and twist them to mean what they want, once heard a person say this: “eternal” in this sense means “just for an age”. ???? That is what bothers me, taking defintion that mean eternal, which literally means “forever” and making them say what we want them to say., so that we dont have a punishement for the bad things we do.

    I do completely agree that there are parts of scripture that can be based on interpretation such as “faith” and “grace” the definitions of those words can have many different meanings,

    Words like “eternal” and “salvation”, however, have meaning. What we disagree upon is “how” we are saved, not that God saves, We should not be disagreeing about what we are saved “from” or, more importantly, If we are being saved from something at all.

    Bell says we are saved from God, and bases his whole arguement upon that statement, The fact is that statement is not a part of the Bible, God is not saving us from God, he is saving us from what we deserve. God made the rules, we broke them. Just becasue God made the rules does not make it his fault that we are punished! The fact is we don’t want to follow the rules, ( and by breaking the rules, we have sinned) so we try and eliminate the punishment, Eternal death is what we are saved from. We send ourselves there. Calvin/Arminians just disagree on “how” we are saved from that. Not the “reason” for salvation. Which is becasue God loves us and wants to save us from eternal death, if we will follow him, not our own desires.

    I would like to apologize for that “rant” that I posted a while back.
    I went a little overboard.

    I go by this verse a lot;
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
    Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

    I think its interesting how we can take criticism from our earthy fathers, but we can’t be corrected by our Heavenly Father, who shows us the way through the clear words of scripture in the Bible.

    But be careful, just because we are supposed to criticize our faith does not mean we should criticize the foundations of it. The foundations of the Christian faith are not to be tampered with, just like you can’t tamper with the foundation of a house, or it will crumble to the ground

  • william

    that verse is proverbs 3: 5-7

  • Average Joe

    Christian:

    I am basing my declaration of univocality (I think I just made that word up) on the fact that I cannot think of any Biblical passage that denies an existence of Hell. There are some passages in the Tanakh (the Christian Old Testament) that would suggest that all of the afterlife is akin to Hell, but there is not one that suggests that the entire afterlife is happy, to my knowledge. If I am mistaken, I would gladly be corrected. I am always happy to be corrected. Or rather, I dislike it at the time (I think that’s fairly normal), but in the long run, I appreciate it.

    • http://homebrewedtheology.com Christian

      Joe,

      For the most part I agree, particularly on any passage that denies the existence of Hell. Where my view comes in, is that I don’t buy into the common conception of Hell, born out of the influence of Dante’s inferno, as a place of eternal punishment. From my understanding, and yeah, I could be wrong, fire in both the OT and NT is typically referred to as a purifying element. While the afterlife may not be a happy place, I would question the eternity of it, and think of it as a smelter, of sorts, that rids us of our garbage so that we may be reconciled to God.

      Make more sense I hope?

  • william

    Exactly my point.

    I think Christian makes an even BOLDER, (forgive my use of caps) statement by sayings he knows for sure that no one has the right answer. He is is fact claiming that God did not give us any reliable source to base our faith off of. and that we can’t understand what He wants us to believe. You have claimed that it is true that no one has the truth, but I claim that I am sure that there is Truth, and Yes, God has given us it in the Bible. Read it.

    Never fool yourself into thinking that we can know all there is to know about God, We are not God. I Know that.

    LImited does not equal perfect!

    Your point about the book of acts is well taken, but the point is, Christian, that they deliberated, they fought, they found the correct answers for US. the apostles teach us!

    God did not give us this book, the Bible, and preserve it over 1500 years, ( I know that sounds impossible) to say we can’t know anything about God.

    My first statement still holds true “We know what God would have us know”

    Which statement is more arrogant? to state that it is Right that there is no truth? or to say that there IS a right answer?

    I never said I had perfect knowledge, I said “I know what God would have us know”
    God lets us have LIMITED knowledge, not no knowledge of God.

    Christian is redefining words to be able to attack me.

    God did not leave us confused, then he would be unloving, and cruel, leaving us no way to know of how much he loves us, telling us what Jesus did.

    I’ll give an example of how word’s meaning matters

    I say to you: “murder is wrong”
    By your definition, murder is only wrong for some, and murder could be right if interpreted differently??

    EX.
    Thou shalt have No other GODS before Me.

    That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus IS Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

    That’s clear enough for me.

    God WARNS us about the judgement to come, is that not considered an act of LOVE? It’s our choice whether to heed his warning or not…

    Hell exists, but we have a SAVIOUR. and those who believe will not perish, but those who do not belive, will perish.

    • http://homebrewedtheology.com Christian

      William,

      I appreciate your candor and your conversation, but I feel like you’re not getting what I’m saying.

      While, yes, I do claim that nobody has the right answer, that’s only part of it. Nobody has the COMPLETE correct theology and understanding of God. Unless one has perfect knowledge, it is impossible to know the totality of the mind and heart of God.

      I’ve never claimed that there is no truth. There is. However it is not the domain of one person, one denomination, nor one faith. I find that limiting the truth of God to one singular faith, Christianity, and for some to one singular denomination out of over 38,000, is simply limiting our idea of God. It puts an eternal and transcendental God into a very small theological box. I find that to be rather arrogant of men.

      Remember what Jesus said in Mark 9 when the apostles asked him about others who were driving out demons in Jesus’ name. ““Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.” Even though the other guy was an ‘outsider’, Jesus knew that he was doing the will of His Father.

      Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying. I’ll admit that I’m having a little difficulty trying to follow your train of thought. There is no malice intended.

      We’re confused because we’re imperfect and separated from God. Loving God is an action that entails the entirety of our existence… our words, our actions, our feelings, our physicality, and our minds. The purpose of parables, imo, is that Jesus was intentionally vague so that we would have to constantly reflect on his words. Remember, God gave ancient Israel instructions in pretty simple language and they screwed it all up. Why? Because they used it as a way to judge each other on a man-made scale of righteousness… something that still happens today.

  • Average Joe

    Christian,

    that is a fair interpretation. I definitely agree with you that modern Christianity has been too heavily influenced by Dante and Milton. I also think that modern Christianity relies far too heavily on Plato, but that’s another discussion for another time.

    One could far more easily make an argument for annihilation than for a Hell akin to the Inferno – passages such as “from dust you came, to dust you will return” in Genesis or “in Sheol there is no remembrance of you” in the Psalms come to mind. And I’m making an interpretive move with the Psalm, since one has to determine what is meant by “no remembrance” in the grave.

    But on the other hand, there are those passages which speak of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    All in all, I think the best I can say is that this is something to struggle with. I certainly don’t like the concept of Hell as a place of eternal torment, and annihilation doesn’t really seem any better, but I’m not willing to say that something is untrue just because I dislike it.

  • william

    Exactly,Chrsitian, that is what I am saying! We dont have Perfect and complete truth of mind of God, while that is true, but what is dangerous is interpreting stuff again that already has specific definitions.

    By the way, I looked at my own comments before, and I see how it would be diffcult to understand it, I’ll try to be clear here:

    With regard to parables:

    There is this “no brainer rule” of parable interpretation” That says: If Jesus interprets a Parable, THAT is what it means.

    See, Jesus did tell us the meaning of some parables, but others, were indeed vague, for us to discuss upon, like you said.

    I think we sometimes question the interpretaions of things in order to avoid hearing them and putting them into practice.

    It can go both ways, not wanting to admit that there is interpretation involved, or using “interpretation” as as excuse.

    Lets say I cheat on a test, and then say “I didn’t really cheat, I just looked at the test before we took it. I did not look at another person’s paper (while taking the test)” See what I did? I redefined “cheating” to make it “ok”

    As for being right, Ths is a question to ask, can I be right that God saves and not be right about how he does it? Its incomplete knowledge, being correct about some things, and other things to have good discussions about.

    Here we are all “correcting” each other in this discussion, whether we want to admit it or not.

    You are correcting me about not being able to know what is right and wrong, And I am tryinig to tell you that there are some things that we can know for sure, such as the saving power of God, and the death and rising of the Lord Jesus.

    Here is an analogy I’m sure you can relate to:

    Does a father tell his son everything he knows right off the bat?
    Is what the father first tells the child wrong? No, it is partial knowledge.
    God our heavenly father, has told us what he wants us to know,(but not all as I’m sure you agree to) through scripture.

    My whole point about this is, (I know i’ve said it before) Our heavenly father gave us scripture to tell us Truth, not confuse us. He put it in a way we can understand, if we read it, and study, and have faith in its reliabilty. (Its not easy to understand I admit, but it is also not impossible.)

    We have also confused ourselves by ignoring the clear meanings of words that already have been defined for us, and defining them “again” in order to make it appeal to us, so we don’t have to follow the original meaning, or there be a consequnce for what we did.
    (like the “cheating” analogy.)

    Take a look at this video, an interview with Ravi zacharias, who explains the central meaning of truth and its value, much better than I ever will:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwAD8FaOHgs

    Note: I copied this comment from the comments in the Video, I thought it made an excellent point:
    Most people who believe in Absolute Truth do not do so at the cost of reason, but rather at the cost of their own feelings, which invariably would betray them anyway. They do not seek to “annihilate” the beliefs of others rather to show them what they know to be true — just as a lighthouse shows a ship at-sea impending doom if they go forward (can’t apply relativism here!). Neither do the same abandon their capabilities of stepping into the shoes of another (even in thought)

    I’m trying to “guide you” as this comment says, not “annihilate your belief”

  • william

    Just weanted to probably say goodbye, as I don’t think Ill convince you otherwise of what you belive mught be on the wrong path, I want to be clear in what I am saying, and If you want a clarification of what I mean, or aren’t getting it, please comment back.

    Illl leave you with a verse from the Bible that tells us the importance of interpretatin, and why it matters what words mean:

    Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
    Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.

  • william

    Verse was 2 peter 3:15-17

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  • william

    Hello again, I cam across a video that I thought you guys should see,

    Please watch all of it, these guys are right:

  • http://differentcloth.blogspot.com Jeff Stewart

    “Rather than the other…” The bible does not portray *uni*versalism, but it *does* portray *re*versalism. (Mt 7:21-23; Lk13:22-30; Lk 18:9-14). Don’t replace reading with sitting and soaking.

  • Lisa

    Someone replied to a comment saying “the bible is the basis of our faith” and I would have to say in my humble- not- a- theology- major- by- any- means its kind of like the chicken or the egg “dilemna”. Yes, its true Jesus is the basis of our faith no if ands or buts about it, however the bible is, was and will always be Gods Word, a living, breathing love letter to His children. I can see how both commentor to the 1s post could think that way and think the person was practicing idolatry, but I think it was just a matter of miscommunication. Just my 0.02. xoxo

  • http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/ Chris

    I’d actually say that Love Wins is somewhat of a Rorschach Test: If you can’t stand Bell, or have always questioned what he had to say, you will read the book through that lens and find what you’re looking for. If you’ve been on the fence about him, you’ll still be there. If you’ve read him charitably in the past and found that, even when you disagree, he is still within the stream of orthodox Christianity, you will still find that he’s there. One of his stated purposes in the book is to get folks to study what is actually in Scripture, and to ask the tough questions – and accept fuzzy answers and to be charitable to others who do, as well. For example, here is an examination of what the Scriptures actually say about hell, and it is possible to take them seriously, yet come up with a different answer than eternal, conscious torture.

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