Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rob Bell: Love Wins. A Response

Mmk.  Here we are at post 3.  I know.  Here are 1 & 2 if you're interested.

Here's what I think about Rob.  He loves Jesus.  He loves people.  He wants people to love Jesus.  And to make the move from death into life.  He believes passionately and firmly that when Jesus said they will know us by our love, he wasn't just saying a pretty phrase.  It was meant for us to live out.  My heart and soul resonate with so many of the things he says.  Especially when he says it is often perceived that Jesus rescues us from God.  Because Christianity often sounds that way.  When the truth is that God is the rescuer from sin and death and destruction.  Yes. Yes. Yes.

I take this personally, because this very argument is one that my brother struggles with and that we have had long conversations about.  Is God good?  Is a God who condemns people to hell, good?

I think that Rob asks a lot of interesting questions.  One of the most interesting for me, was does God get what he wants?  Especially when he says that he wants all men to be saved?  And that none should perish?  I hear the echos of The Great Divorce a lot in this book.  Rob argues that heaven and hell are in our choices.  That they are here with us now.  And later.  I'm totally down with this concept.  We choose heaven and hell absolutely as our choices draw us closer in or further out from God.  Because he is the source of all goodness and love and light.  This life on this earth does matter.  It does affect later.  Yes, yes, yes.

Obviously, a lot of Christian circles are mad as fire about what he is saying and I think Rob prolly knew he was kicking a hornet's nest when he wrote this book and framed it the way he has.  One of my friends sent me this article.   I think there are two camps in the voices that are disagreeing with him.  One is the camp of the more conservative Christian circles who have wounded their own via judgement and pride and a whole lotta stuff that has nothing to do with Jesus.  They are gonna look at anything outside their own point of view and hate it anyway.  The other one is the more measured response of people who love Jesus and other people a lot, but are wary of teachers telling lies as truth, and changing the message of Jesus.  And rightfully so.

So then.  Do we need Jesus if the only hell we face is the consequence of our own choices apart from God? Do we need Jesus if heaven can be experienced now.   And what comes after isn't that different?  I think that if we just stop there, and look at that, the only answer is still yes.  How many wars are there right now?  Genocides?  Self-mutilation?  Suicides?  Bullying?  Racism?  Famine?  Yes.  We need Jesus.  If all there ever was, was the changing of humanity from the inside out in the now we still most definitely need Him.  


That's not all there is.  The issue I have with Rob in the book is that he takes the narrative of Jesus and treats it a lot like everything Jesus said, and the Scripture as a whole, is a parable.  A teaching story.  And IT IS.  But it's also truth and consequence.  I can't look at Revelation and be like, well, there's not gonna be a time when Jesus doesn't judge everybody.  Cuz it says there is.  Pretty plainly.  And there are going to be two different destinations for those people.  This world and this life are broken.  So we are going to be remade and everything is going to be new and different.  Because it doesn't work now the way it was meant to.  And ultimately it is about choices.  Rejecting all that is good(God) leads to hell of our own making, for sure.  And God cannot allow that hell to affect everybody forever.  So there is separation.

But Rob is right.  The point of Christianity is not a ticket in or out of hell or heaven.  It's about Jesus Christ.  And God.  And living in relationship with Him.

It's always been about relationship with God.  From creation, to walking around Eden looking for our ancestors when they'd screwed up, to a cross and to my everyday breathing and living and journey.  And yours. 

I don't agree with Rob.  Heaven and Hell are real places beyond our choices and our realities.

I do agree with Rob.  What they look like and how they are defined by God are probably nothing like what we've ever thought.  And I do think a lot of unexpected people will be in both. 

What do you think?


Ryan George said...

I've only heard a couple chapters, but I tend to agree with your take and ensuing response.

Amanda said...

I've not read the book so I can't say. But I kind of tend to agree with you. The Great Divorce is one of my favorite books and I think has important things to say about our choices to walk towards and away from God. But I also believe there is a real hell and that there will be a new jerusalem here on earth. And I can't wait for our new Jerusalem. :)

In the mean time, I'm thankful for this post. I think you make wonderfully heart-driven points. And after all, it's best to remember the heart in all of the head-stuff. :)

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