Posts Tagged ‘Love Wins’

I just finished Rob Bell‘s Love Wins. It was a quick read and just hurt my heart while reading it. Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle had similar feelings that I had and decided to co-write a new book called Erasing Hell.

There is a very interesting and helpful interview with Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle about why they wrote the book and their feelings about all of this. Please watch it here.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: People celebrate in the...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

So this morning I wake up at 5:00 am to do my P90X workout to then have my wife tell me that she just heard on the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by the US. She said that there were videos and pictures of people gathered at Ground Zero in New York City, as well as countless other places around the US, celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden. As soon as I heard this, I had no idea what to think, feel, or do. My heart sank. As a Christian I felt that it would be wrong to celebrate the death of someone created in God‘s image. But I also began to think of some deep thoughts, questions, and observations that I would like to share with you.

Here are some pictures of people celebrating over Bin Laden’s death.

Why was everyone celebrating? I understand that if he really did orchestrate the attacks on 9/11 then he must be punished for them. But why do I understand this to be so? It is part of our deepest desire to have the wrongs righted in our lives. 9/11 was a terrible event that saw many people lose their lives. We wanted justice. If Bin Laden died this week, which I think it is terrible that we just assume at face value that this is true because President Obama said so even though there is absolutely no evidence for this, then my question is where is he now?

Think over that question long and hard. Is Bin Laden in hell or heaven? Or is he in a temporary hell being offered the chance to still work through his 9/11 garbage, as well as other sins, and come on through the open doors of heaven? This is what Rob bell has written about lately. He suggests that it does not matter if you actually cognitively understand the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who alone saves from sin, death, and hell. He goes on to say that God wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and God has to get what He wants in order to actually be worthy of praise so then the natural assumption is that all men will be saved, even through the temporary correction of hell’s flames.

Rob Bell recently did an interview with NPR news. Hear it here. He says in his interview that he leaves the door open for people from other faiths to be getting to heaven through Jesus. He also says in the interview that he cannot trust a God who sends people to hell to be punished for eternity. What about Osama Bin Laden? Is he in a place of eternal flames right now without ever getting the chance or offer of escaping it? It is ridiculous for a Christian to assume that a Buddhist man who rejected Christ is not in heaven, but I do understand that it is not easy to admit this because he may have been seen as a good man. We don’t like to think of “good” people being in hell. I put “good” in quotes because the Bible is clear that there is none good or righteous (Romans 3).

But is it easy to go along with Rob Bell’s ideas and say Bin Laden is in Heaven? Or at least Bin Laden will be in Heaven… someday?

We want justice. That is why these people celebrate over the death of Osama Bin Laden. If we are all going to be in Heaven someday then who cares about 9/11? There would be no justice. While Bin Laden was alive, Christians should have been praying for his soul to come to know Jesus, but now his time is up.

And this isn’t even touching on the fact that all of our sin is actually first and foremost against God. That is the real matter. That is what brings out the discussion about Gandhi, or anyone else who rejects the Gospel of Jesus Christ, being in Hell, no matter how “good” they seem to be.

I leave you with this thought. Heaven is eternal. Hell is eternal. The way to God is through the atoning work of Christ’s blood. The grace of God through faith in Christ. The forgiveness of sins that is only found in Jesus. There is no other salvation outside of Christ. If both Gandhi and Bin Laden rejected Christ, they are both in hell. Their sin is equal in the eyes of God because they both trampled on the blood of God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ.

“If Rob Bell is right then the Bible is wrong.” – Sean Harris

I read this Time Magazine article today about Rob Bell‘s new book Love Wins. Read it by clicking here.

It is a very good read, although I don’t agree with some of what is stated in the article, but then again, it is a Time Magazine article. I think one of the most shocking statements from the article is what I titled this post;

“My generation wanted truth — these are folks who want authenticity.” – Fuller Theological Seminary president Richard Mouw.

I think I get what he is trying to say. Mind you that “these folks” he speaks of wanting authenticity are people who are flocking to Bell and his teaching. But this sentence sounds like he is saying that as long as people are around someone who is authentic then it does not really matter if it is the truth. He may or may not be saying this, but do you think that is an honest way to understand people these days? This has got me thinking…

Can we be giving Truth without being authentic? If so, can’t this be labeled hypocrisy? And should we be seeking out authenticity without it being ground in Truth? What are your thoughts?

Also, I have been really thinking about how debating and fighting for the truth of the Gospel is actually a good thing. More thoughts about this soon.

As the firestorm continues over Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins, I thought it might be interesting to look at what other books Rob Bell’s publisher, Harper Collins, is putting out into print. Before I do this I wanted to put up a few links in order to fill you in on this controversy if you haven’t heard anything about it so far.

  • First and foremost, the best link to go to that easily documents the time line of events with many early links would be here by the good people of The Resurgence.
  • Some more recent links that will also help is this amazing interview with Rob Bell about his book done by Martin Bashir for MSNBC. Just so you know, many news outlets have picked up on this story and are doing interesting stories on it. This interview is amazing though. Take a look for yourself and you be the judge how well Rob Bell answers these questions.
  • You can also watch this re-run of the live stream interview that happened Monday evening.
  • Also there is a great commentary on this live stream interview here. It is good to have a well informed Christian pause and interject some good information while listening to this live stream question and answer session. Thank you Pirate Christian Radio for this great resource.

So now that you have some links to bring you up to speed, let us just step back to the beginning of this controversy.

Harper Collins releases a description of the new book Love Wins and Rob Bell releases a 3-minute video in which he asks a lot of questions. These questions are dealing with heaven, hell, and also whether or not a loving God would really send anyone to a place of eternal punishment. Many people seemed very disturbed by his questions because they seemed to pull out the rug on all accepted traditional thoughts and beliefs about Christianity. Many people, including myself, were beginning to wonder if he was going to make the conclusions in the book that he seemed to be making in the video. Many voiced their opinions about how if he did go to these conclusions in the book, this would have to be thrown out of conventional biblical Christianity. It just goes so counter to the Bible, but also at the core, it goes so counter to the gospel as well. But some people took a step back and thought, “well we have to actually wait to the book comes out to make that kind of judgment.” My wife said this, and also she said, “who knows, maybe he will just be asking these tough questions and then in the book he will say something like, ‘well the traditional thoughts and belief’s in Christianity about Heaven and Hell are actually correct and let’s talk about these things.'” It was pure optimism on my wife’s part. She had a point though and we didn’t know for sure what was going to happen.

But the book has been released and everyone’s fears about the conclusions he possible was making from these questions has been confirmed. Many full and in-depth reviews have come out of the book that reaffirm that these conclusions and teachings are actually being made by Bell in the book. Such conclusions as, you can use your free-will in hell to go to heaven whenever you choose to, even if people never consciously have faith in Jesus, they can still go to heaven, and so on and so on.

Now my question, which I believe some people have begun to ask is, why with the release of this new controversial book, is Rob Bell no longer being published by Zondervan, which is the publisher of his previous books and videos, and they also publish the NIV version of the Bible? There are some articles discussing this, but we do not know why he is no longer with Zondervan, but what we do know from articles is that if Zondervan was given the opportunity to publish Love Wins, they would not have done so because it did not mesh with their mission as a publisher.

Zondervan’s website says their mission is as follows: To be the leader in Christian communications meeting the needs of people with resources that glorify Jesus Christ and promote biblical principles.

So Rob Bell has a new publisher called Harper One, which seems to be an imprint publisher of Harper Collins. Now to rapidly get to the point of this post…

Today I started to wonder what other works Harper Collins is publishing. This one book was on their front page. It’s called Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire.

Here is the publisher’s description of the book.

Book Description

Bible scholar Jennifer Wright Knust addresses the big questions that dominate today’s discussions and debates when it comes to sex and the Bible: Is premarital sex a sin? When, and in what contexts, is sexual desire appropriate? With whom can I legitimately have sex? Are same-sex relations permissible? In an era where the phrases, “the Bible says,” and “God says,” are so often exploited, it is time to consider what the Bible actually does—or does not—say about monogamy, polygamy, homosexuality, gender roles, and sex.

Unprotected Texts directly and pointedly takes on widely shared misconceptions about sex, arguing that the Bible cannot—and should not—serve as a rulebook for sexual morality, despite popular claims to the contrary. From the Song of Songs’ lyrical eroticism to the rigid sexual rules of Leviticus—and everything in between—Knust parses the Bible’s contradictory, often surprising messages.

Skillfully revealing the latest insights from critical scholarship, Knust provides a compassionate and liberating model for navigating these deeply personal issues that affect us all.

Now, notice just like Rob Bell did with Love Wins, Knust does with this book. Rob Bell seemingly just asked questions. Even in Bell’s book he states that it isn’t just a book about questions but a book that attempts to answer those questions. Even from this book’s description, it is claiming to do the very same thing. Notice how Bell’s questions attempted to tear down all conservative Christians’ idea of what the afterlife and the gospel are about. Knust is doing the same thing with these questions about how God feels and thinks about sex. Now this is not an attack on another random book, but I think it is interesting that we think questions aren’t used in order to create a certain way of thinking.

Harper Collins seems to like it when an author calls facts into question. Again this is nothing against Harper Collins or this random book about sex. But what this is about is simply this; if people are uncomfortable with what the Bible clearly says then they will eventually make up a new theology by playing with the Bible until it fits with their thoughts.

With Rob Bell, it was hell. The truth is nobody likes the idea of hell. It isn’t something we really want to believe but we know it to be true because the Bible is very clear on hell. It is clear that it is eternal and it is God pouring out His wrath on people forever. With Knust, it is sex. No single person with hormones really wants to wait until they are married to have sex. We are sinners. If someone has strong urges to sleep with the same sex, then they don’t want to believe that God is against homosexuality. So Rob Bell creates a new hell and now Knust seems to think that we have had it all wrong when it came to sex and the Bible.

I find it interesting that Rob Bell’s book didn’t even make it onto the Christianity section at my local Barnes and Noble. It was in the Eastern Religions section. I don’t know how they go about putting books under certain categories, but it seems as though Barnes and Noble has even rejected Rob Bell from Christianity. I say all this with one point in mind. If we don’t know what the Bible teaches on any subject, then we are open to believe anything and everything that people want to try to teach us. Ephesians 4:14 says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” We have to stand on our convictions about what the Bible teaches. I don’t write this to bash Knust or Harper Collins or even Rob Bell personally. I write this in an attempt to help us see that these people are not promoting a biblical system of theology. I am just a voice in the wilderness crying out saying, “read your bible, test the things these people are preaching, and don’t be tossed around by every crazy thing that wants to twist the Bible.” Questioning heaven, hell, and sex isn’t bad as long as we are satisfied by what God says about them in the Bible.

Finally, I don’t seek out to just make sure everyone believes that there really is a hell and that the Bible actually can be a book to look to in order to find out what God accepts and rejects when it comes to sex. I also want you to know that there is an escape from hell and sin.

[16] “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. [18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
(John 3:16-18 ESV)

and…

[35] The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. [36] Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
(John 3:35-36 ESV)

So I urge you today, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins and trust that Jesus really did stand condemned for you personally. Jesus came to save sinners from their sin (Matthew 1:21). You and I qualify. Let us look to Jesus as our Savior and worship Him forever.