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Rob Bell--Love Wins

349 posts in this topic

Persona said:

:"Bridges are more beautiful than bombs... Love will change the world."

You betcha

Hey Marge, can I have a cup of caffee? :)

Well hopefully some of my comments haven't grated on you (at least to much :) .)

No. Actually I didn't mean in the conversation here at A&F, which is typically miles above much other conversation that's out there. I think one can be challenged here in a constructive way, a way that really makes you think things through. I appreciate this forum for that. Don't always agree with everything I read, but the forum is nonetheless appreciated on a regular basis.

Just for the record I agree with what your saying, but my posts come at least in part, from the understanding that it's real hard, if not impossible, for many people to not worry about the next life, in this life, if they believe in eternal punishments. Many many people are tormented by this, and can't get past it. To me.... if the hope of ultimate restoration of all through Christ is true, then this belief can lead Christians to trust that God will continually work to bring people to himself, help them get past the troubling thoughts of others eternal destinies, give them a sense of relief, so that they can move to a place of rest and joy. It also, I think, opens up the doors to seeing the human race as more of a Global family that God has not forsaken, which leads to a person having a world view which is more inclined to connecting, and building bridges. I wonder if many Christians would also be more likely to move on to loving others.

I believe I started weighing these thoughts years ago, over a decade or two before I'd heard of inclusivity or Rob or Brian McLaren, etc. I think it was when I first saw "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames," and a few years later was in a position where I had no other choice but to take part in the play. I hated it. The manipulation and lack of thinking through, things like sin, redemption, the love of God, pride and the church, oh, I cannot tell you how much I hated that play! (This is the play that seems to have launched other evangelical movements like the fright fest seen in the documentary Hell House, for the record.) That is where the wedge first started for me. My background as an evangelical PK has a definite hell in it, and while my family didn't make this the focus of our faith, growing up in that environment you can't help but run into those who do. On a pretty regular basis.

:I don't think Rob or anyone have really arrived at an answer yet, because I don't think there is one (certainly not one that can be proven in this life.)

I agree that there isn't any direct answer that one could put their finger on. I just think that it comes from a long history with various forms of stinkin thinkin, that has made it into the current Christian climate. I expect a lot of this thinking has come from fear of the other. Or fear that others beliefs and culture will lead us astray. As Christians this is often what we are taught, especially those who grow up in the church. The thing is..... I think there is maybe some small truth to that caution. I guess my view would be to raise up Christians who learn how to interact with people openly and thoughfully, without stumbling into things that are hurtful.

One of the things I appreciated about the book is that is makes the differentiation between the hell of the Bible and the hell that was/is already understood in culture. I haven't seen this addressed in the "traditional" reactions around the web. Truly a fascinating part of the book.

Which I need to read again. I read it 1-1/2 times, but in order to draw specifics from it, I think I need to give it a quick read one more time.

Edited by Persona

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Persona said:

:"Bridges are more beautiful than bombs... Love will change the world."

You betcha

Hey Marge, can I have a cup of caffee? :)

Okey Dokey.

Persona said:

I think it was when I first saw "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames," and a few years later was in a position where I had no other choice but to take part in the play. I hated it. The manipulation and lack of thinking through, things like sin, redemption, the love of God, pride and the church, oh, I cannot tell you how much I hated that play! (This is the play that seems to have launched other evangelical movements like the fright fest seen in the documentary Hell House, for the record.) That is where the wedge first started for me.

I'm not a big fan of that kind of thing either. I've used to go to an evangelical church where our pastor said that those ways of evangelism largely don't work anyhow. Sure they scare lots of people into the "salvation prayer". But eventually a large number of them fall away.

Also. There is lots of talk about inclusivism, or Christian universalism being a heresy or blaspheme. But there are two sides to that particular coin, being that if the Christian universalists are right, then it would stand to reason those kinds of plays present a blasphemous view of God's character. As pertaining to what you have said earlier, even if eternal Hell were to be true, the "Hell house" view most certainly doesn't represent God's inclination towards people in this life.

Through my reading about Christian universalism, I began to learn more about the Abrahamic covenant, which has led to the theopraxis that because God covenanted with Abraham to bless and care for his heritage of the people in the nations, then myself as a Christian, am called to do the same under the Christian covenant.

You see (as a small rabbit trail) when you mention those plays and the Hell house documentary, I immediatly think of the end times movement and the various end times movies. In my current understanding not only are they problematic as film art (which is a statement that I don't expect is going to bring a whole log of argument from these forums), but also problematic in their views on how God treats peoples of the nations, and those outside of Christianity. It seems to me that the judgements mentioned in the old Testament prophetic books came from the complex interactions between God, Israel, and the Nations under the Abrahamic covenant, where the judgements on the nations had, at least in part, the intention of bringing the people of the nations to repentance and thereafter back under God's wings and care, because God was covenanted to their father Abraham. Some of these people upon repentance would literally walk through the open gates into Jerusalem.

I think that God's character is unchanging and that his judgements in Revelation, have the same shepparding purpose under this covenant (it says that he sheppards the nations with iron.) This is an understanding that the end times movies seem to completely oblivious to, or else completely neglect. Some Christians seem to have a hard time believing that God's love is not separate from his judgements.

But with my understanding God's heart is that no one will be left behind (I know... lame pun.) ::pinch::

But where I'm going with this, is that we have created a Christian culture that often sees through the world view of us completely separate from, or opposed to the other, where I think that, under the Christian covenant, which is connected to God's covenant with Abraham, we are called to care for and bless others. This of course leads to a connection with people through the common beauty of life.

In the prophetic books of the Bible God even weeps with some of the nations when he is judging them (for doing some pretty rotten things to), so it would seem obvious that God weeps and laughs with the people outside of Christianity in this life, and that we therefore are called to do the same. These folks are not separate from God's heart and therefore I would think, are not to be separate from ours.

This is an understanding that I think traditional Christianity, for various reasons often hasn't fully understood. As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure that I don't really get it. Therefore I posit that a Christian culture which influences Christians to unhealthily oppose or neglect those outside of its church doors is amiss, and that includes connecting with them through culture.

:One of the things I appreciated about the book is that is makes the differentiation between the hell of the Bible and the hell that was/is already understood in culture. Truly a fascinating part of the book.

Yep. I've read a bit on this as well. It's amazing how much our views have been shaped by the medieval arts take on the subject, which was influenced by some of the ancient pagan beliefs.

Yet I suppose that does show how impacting the arts can be.

Edited by Attica

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Link to the section in our thread on Tim Keller's views on hell where Ross Douthat's response to the Rob Bell controversy has come up.

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In a brilliant move on Sunday, Rob didn't mention the book at all, but in speaking out of 1 John Chapter 2 he specifically referred to the section where it says that Christ died for the whole world, and noted the difference between orthodoxy and orthopraxy, and how you never hear the latter in the same breath as the former. Link Here.

Edited by Persona

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In a brilliant move on Sunday, Rob didn't mention the book at all, but in speaking out of 1 John Chapter 2 he specifically referred to the section where it says that Christ died for the whole world, and noted the difference between orthodoxy and orthopraxy, and how you never hear the latter in the same breath as the former. Link Here.

That was some good stuff on. Thanks for sharing Persona.

On an interesting note, I saw the following in the comments section and was pleased with the effect that the message and your church has had on at least one person.... you might find

it encouraging.

FABULOUS TEACHING !!!

I wonder how my life might have beeen different if I had ever been told as a child that God is FOR me, instead of being taught that God was against me

because I was a norrible sinner (beginning at FOUR years of age !!!) and being taught that God was an impossible to please taskmaster.

How much more loving might I have been?

How many personal physical illnesses might I have avoided

instead of punishing myself subconciously with illness after illness?

Would I be legally blind today if I had truly felt the healing love of God? Would I have had a stroke last week? I believe in the God-mind-body connection. Can we love ourselves

and others with “completeness” if we don’t really KNOW down deep in the core of our beings that God loves us all?

I believe that the toxic way I was raised has inerfered wih my physicsl as well as emotional and spirirual health.

GUARD THIS !!! GUARD THIS WELL.

My husband and I are VERY grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers and help from Mars. We’re so happy to belong to the Mars community. Without love we have nothing.

LOVE WINS !!!

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Without getting into the specific arguments of this book, I have to say how disappointed I was with the writing and editing. There were grammatical errors and typos galore, which was particularly puzzling given the phalanx of editors Bell thanked at the end of the book. What happened?

And I'll add just one note on the rhetoric. I realize that Rob is more interested in posing questions than offering answers. But it's not helpful when those questions are posed as a series of mutually exclusive options when, in fact, they are no such thing.

So, did Jesus' death on the cross ransom us from death?

Or did it win a victory in a military sense?

Or did it free us in a judicial sense?

Which is it?

Here's the deal, Rob: it's a floor wax AND a dessert topping. The false dichotomies made me crazy.

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And when you are posing the classic atonement dichotomies, please include the moral example one, as it is kind of important.

Edited by M. Leary

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So, did Jesus' death on the cross ransom us from death?

Or did it win a victory in a military sense?

Or did it free us in a judicial sense?

Which is it?

Here's the deal, Rob: it's a floor wax AND a dessert topping. The false dichotomies made me crazy.

I kinda thought that was the point.

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So, did Jesus' death on the cross ransom us from death?

Or did it win a victory in a military sense?

Or did it free us in a judicial sense?

Which is it?

Here's the deal, Rob: it's a floor wax AND a dessert topping. The false dichotomies made me crazy.

I kinda thought that was the point.

The question "So which is it?," which resounds like a litany throughout this book, would seem to suggest that we have to choose between these alternatives. And we don't. It was a rhetorical device that rang hollow fairly early on, and didn't improve with extended usage.

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So, did Jesus' death on the cross ransom us from death?

Or did it win a victory in a military sense?

Or did it free us in a judicial sense?

Which is it?

Here's the deal, Rob: it's a floor wax AND a dessert topping. The false dichotomies made me crazy.

I kinda thought that was the point.

The question "So which is it?," which resounds like a litany throughout this book, would seem to suggest that we have to choose between these alternatives. And we don't. It was a rhetorical device that rang hollow fairly early on, and didn't improve with extended usage.

I don't see it as a rhetorical device to choose between the alternatives. I see it as a rhetorical device to suggest that it's either all of these things or none of these things, but it is certainly not only one of these things. In the context of the book, which is in the context of Rob's understanding and teaching over the years, it feels to me like he's tackling not just one, but many, boxed in perspectives. Maybe it is a language issue and you don't like the way he speaks, but what I'm saying is that I think you're agreeing with him (but I'd have to go back and see the context to know for certain).

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I don't know why this video is called "Love Wins" -- maybe it's just a coincidence and it has nothing to do with the Rob Bell controversy at all -- but anyhoo, just in case:

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That's a great video thanks for posting. I've always had problems with the idea of God fully turning his back on humanity after the fall. As well... the Protestant

idea of eternal separation from God hasn't quite worked to me either, as Revelation clearly says that the lake of fire is burning before the Lamb. Who is

of course Christ, who is eternal love.

In light of your post.... the funny thing is........ that just last night I was reading the linked to forum (below) where a protestant had written asking about the Orthodox view of universal salvation.

link to forum

Here is one of the more interesting responses.

Concerning the eschaton we have few dogmatic principles. The most important are contained in Scripture and the Nicene Creed. The possibility that all may be saved is accepted if not without (sometimes) fierce criticism.

Some prominent Orthodox Church Fathers and teachers like St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Isaac the Syrian, St. John of Sinai, Sergij Bulgakov, Bishop Kallistos Ware, Bishop Hilarion Alfejev, St. Siluan the Athonite and not a

few others seem to either (have) embrace(d) universalism or at least (have) cherish(ed) a strong hope of universal salvation, whereas others strongly deny it.

That would be the status of this theological opinion in the Orthodox Church.

Edited by Attica

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Ever since I read this post I've been pondering about C.S. Lewis in regards to the subject, and I think another thing to add to the mix is that C.S. Lewis expressed a great deal

of respect for George MacDonald and some of his spiritual teaching. George MacDonald is known to have believed in the ultimate reconciliation of all (or at the very

least had a hope that God could eventually be able to reach all people.)

I can't see how C.S. Lewis wouldn't have known this, yet he didn't dismiss George MacDonald like many seem to be doing to Rob Bell, and He obviously didn't consider

him to be a heretic or a false prophet.

On another note, a lot of Evangelicals do have a great love for C.S. Lewis, yet I wonder what he would have thought of Evangelicalism. He was afterall an Anglican, which

to me indicates tht he probably had some significant theological differences from evangelicals, not least of which is the belief in a real presence during the Eucharist,

and Apostolic Succession. My understanding is that he didn't really touch on some of these more divisive aspects of Christian thought in his writings, which is probably

one of the reasons why so many branches of Christianity accept him.

Edited by Attica

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I don't know why this video is called "Love Wins" -- maybe it's just a coincidence and it has nothing to do with the Rob Bell controversy at all -- but anyhoo, just in case:

Peter...... awhile back you had mentioned that one of the early important Orthodox theologians had universalist leanings. When I read this I immediately thought

that you were thinking of Maximus the Confessor.

If so..... you might be interested in this bit from some of his writings. I recently finished reading a book of his writings called "On the Cosmic Christ".

The following question and answer is taken from this book (page 115).

Question.... If in the coming ages God will show his riches (Eph. 2:7), how is it that the end of the ages has already come upon us (1Cor 10:11.)

Maximus's answer..... Also according to this plan, it is clear that God wisely divided the ages between those intended for God to become human, and those intended for humanity to become divine...........

..........Since , therefore, the ages predetermined in God's purpose for the realization of his becoming human have reached their end for us, and God has undertaken and in fact achieved his own perfect incarnation,

the other "ages" - those which are to come about for the realization of the mystical and ineffable deification of humanity - must follow henceforth.

I'm not sure if one can read from this particlar writing that he was saying that all of humanity would eventually be deified, or if he was referring to just Christians. Yet it would surely indicate that Maximus (being ancient Greek)

understood the Biblical use of the Koine Greek word aion/os, to refer to "age" or "ages", and not eternity (at least in the pertinent texts). He clearly thought that there were ages to come.

Edited by Attica

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Well, it's coincidence...he is not married to the actress. :)

Edited by Nezpop

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Shane Hipps is great. Peter Rollins would be an excellent new guy (he joked about it earlier today on twitter). But Sundays won't be the same. I may be getting more sleep on weekends soon - podcast is always available on Tuesday nights anyway.

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From MHC to ABC...

I've started a thread about Stronger here.

Edited by Overstreet

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Finally, God himself speaks up about the book. Edited by Attica

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A few weeks ago, This American Life re-aired "Heretics," an episode about Carlton Pearson, pastor of a large evangelical church with Pentecostal roots, Higher Dimensions, who lost most of his congregation after he "stopped believing in Hell." The position he comes to is that the crucifixion covers and redeems everyone, regardless of how/if they respond to it.

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which is not the kind of universalism that most theologians aspire to nowadays.

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Yes. Carlton's views are different than the strain of thought that Rob Bell has touched upon.

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