Love, Sex, God

Yet another post related to Rob Bell's Love Wins

So I am having a Conversation with Peter Baranowsky on Facebook about Love Wins and I am getting duly frustrated. I am probably not frustrated with Peter (whom I respect and love) but more so with the position that Peter and many of his fellow evangelicals have taken against … Against Rob Bell, against Emergent thought or whatever is the heretical flavor of the month.

I fail to understand why some people see it as their divine appointment to tell people who is wrong and who is right. Who is in and who is out. Why do we need to rail against Rob Bell or his book? Why can’t we passionately state what we are for, what we love, what our perception of God is. Why is it so important to tell people what isn’t instead of pouring all that passion and power into illuminating what is!

Why do we as Christians feel we need to tell other people that they are wrong and waste precious time on this instead of telling people what we believe or what we love. The good news, is a message of hope and love. It is definitely not a message about what or who is wrong.

I do realise the irony in me writing a post telling all those people that they are wrong for telling people that they are wrong. But I think most of all I am venting my frustration over the lack of love, compassion and willingness to embrace, to include in the name of him who embraced and included us all.


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Graeme Smith

I think the problem is that there are some things that people see as being absolutely fundamental to faith. An understanding of Heaven & Hell is part of this. Consequently anything that falls outside of the mainstream thought is seen to be heretical. The problem seems to be that everyone has decided, many before reading it for themselves, that Bell has embraced Universalism; and Universalism is outside of mainstream Christian doctrine and has been for many, many centuries.

However, this poses some more problems, because a pure Salvationist point of view is far closer to Bell’s than many Salvationists would be comfortable with. Most the the anti-Bell rhetoric comes from the Calvinist camp which of course teaches about God’s elect, those pre-destined to be in Heaven. Bell cuts right across this, hardly surprising as he is a North American Evangelical by background. The Salvationist viewpoint though is not is a pre-destined elect, but in the “whosoever will may be saved”. We already acknowledge that with the help of prevenient grace anyone can all choose to follow Jesus and therefore be saved. We would also be far more likely to accept that people who have never heard the Gospel message can be saved through faithful living.

The reality is that Bell has stirred up a hornets nest, something he knew full well that he would do. I personally like Rob Bell and believe that the questions he is asking are important as this generation seeks to find a way to communicate the gospel to this generation. My problem is though that there is a danger in asking questions, something I’m all too aware of myself, the danger of drifting into dangerous theological waters.

Having said, some of the rhetoric dressed up as loving chastisement is actually wrapped up in language that is extremely unloving. There is a biblical mandate to respond to false teaching and to test what is true and what is false, but this doesn’t allow us to speak unlovingly about those we disagree with. I believe that Rob Bell is still a Christian, just as most would accept Origen before him was. I’m not sure I agree with him on this particular thing but I salute the way he is seeking to speak to a lost generation who are asking tough questions!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x