Chapter 2: Get Down Your Harps

“Scripture renders a living, breathing, demanding personality, not a set of freestanding, self-evident, abstract, allegedly biblical propositions. Yet then again, a personality with whom we are in relationship obligates us, demands that we take our place in the relationship. In Jesus, salvation and vocation are linked. The pardon and freedom of salvation carries with it a summons. Friendship is inherently demanding, which is one reason why we have so few friends. A proposition asks only our intellectual assent to what makes sense to us. An abstraction or a generality, no matter how noble, will never move us to love or to give half of all we’ve got to the poor” (William Willimon, Who Will Be Saved?, 116)

“Sometimes the will of God is scary because he is asking us to choose between a life that looks successful and a life that is actually significant, between a life that wins the applause of our peers and a life that actually transforms lives through love” (Gary Haugen, Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian, 119)

“The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1-3, NIV)

Rob Bell and Don Golden continue to insist, in chapter two, Get Down Your Harps, that God is interested in a relationship with his people. In this chapter, relationship is spoken of in terms of a marriage. They also continue to insist that God’s salvation is much bigger than we sometimes want to admit-and that it has always been much bigger than the people Israel wanted to admit-that it is for all. But I wonder if perhaps the authors of Jesus Wants To Save Christians are not hinting at something else in this chapter, something Christians tend to overlook, something we tend to, however inadvertently, neglect and despise. Get Down Your Harps…it does make me wonder if they are getting at something else. I’ll come back to this.

But, and here’s the thing, in my estimation if your mind is not steeped in the New Testament you are not likely to make the connections that Bell and Golden are making subtly and not overtly. I fully grant, they are asking the readers to read between the lines-maybe that’s why they chose such an odd format-and figure out what they are saying. They want us to think about it, they want us to remember the New Testament. They want us to put two and two together and imagine the only way possible for these things the prophets spoke of to happen. They don’t need to come right out and say it because the person whose mind is baptized in the New Testament will have already figured it out before the end of the first page of the chapter. Some may not like this. To me, it is the essence of a great sermon.

I think it is a brilliant strategy. Those who are experienced preachers know all too well that there are times when you build the intensity as you go along. African-American preachers (at least the ones I have had the joy of listening to) excel at this art. The preacher keeps giving hints, clues, adding a piece here and a piece there, stacking words upon words, images upon images; sentences and paragraphs become large canvases upon which to paint other sentences and paragraphs. You tie it in at this point and leave it dangle at that point. You regroup, retrace your steps, go back and repeat it all over again. The intensity builds like the steam in a pressure cooker. You hold the audience on the edge of the precipice until they cannot help but cry out the “Amen!” And then the preacher says, “Gotcha!” And the listener cannot help but draw the intended conclusion without the preacher even saying it. There’s no escape.

Bell and Golden follow the Old Testament in this respect: “And this is how the Hebrew Scriptures, also called the Old Testament, end. With all of these suspended promises, hanging there, unfulfilled, undone, waiting” (72). They build the intensity page after page after page and like good preachers leave us dangling, wanting more, hungering for what we already know to be true: “What if David had another son?” they ask. We already know the answer; they need not even say him. But this is no let down. This is no shock. This is no surprise. They have been doing this since the beginning of the chapter. In this regard, they simply follow the Old Testament pattern. The Old Testament left us dangling, sitting on the edge, waiting for the preacher to drop the bomb. The end of the Old Testament makes us want to read the New. It leaves us hungry and with an appetite for more. But it never quite gets us there. It’s that old saying, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” Ah, yes.

The mind steeped in the Scripture-they don’t quote a lot of Scripture verbatim in this chapter-will know exactly what they are getting at. But like good preachers in need of another sermon the next week, they leave us hungry and wanting more. We know the answer is Jesus. I couldn’t help myself as I read this chapter. Page 65, for example: A new exodus, “Jesus!”; a new way, “Jesus!”, a new marriage with a new covenant, “Jesus!”; a new city, “Jesus!”, with a new temple, “Jesus!” Or page 69: a Prince of Peace, “Jesus!”; David’s throne, “Jesus!”; servant, “Jesus!” Or page 68: like Moses, “Jesus!” Or page 70: who would crush all evil once and for all, “Jesus!” Or page 67: a new heavens and new earth, “Jesus!”; wolf and lamb feeding together, “Jesus!”; salvation to the ends of the earth, “Jesus!” As you read this chapter, if you are thinking about anything but Jesus, you have seriously missed the point of the chapter. Seriously.

Now, just a couple of final points in conclusion, and, obviously, I’m not commenting on every single aspect of the chapter. They are unfolding a theology for us, chapter by chapter, and theology takes its time. The other day, I hate to do this, one of the commenters here wrote this: “From what I could discern, there is little emphasis on redemption and a focus on curing the world’s ills. I fear a moving away from the gospel, death, burial, and resurrection, and a moving toward a humanitarian message. Humanitarian expressions are vital to showcase God’s love, but only the gospel message can elicit faith and a genuine conversion.” (Rick) This may well be true, but that is not the entire point of the book. The book is written to those whose faith has already been elicited, and not necessarily to those whose faith needs to be elicited. And to the point, after faith has been elicited (whatever that really means), what are we to do with it, what should God do with it? Leave it sit? Leave it stagnant? Or shouldn’t that faith get involved in the story that God is telling and involved in the work that God is doing?

The book is not even about ‘curing the world’s ills’ as much as it is about curing the church’s ills and reminding us that, in Willimon’s words, ‘salvation and vocation go hand in hand’ (paraphrase). If we suggest this series of theological sermons written to Christians is a move ‘away from the gospel’ (which necessarily includes, death, burial, and resurrection) then of course we are going to object to the content. But that’s just the thing about this book. Even if, and I’m not conceding for a minute they are, but even if the authors have interpreted the Scripture in a way that is not ‘reformed orthodoxy’ they have done no damage to Scripture’s intent. They followed the apostle Paul’s dictum that “these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Cor 10:11). They are not interpreting Scripture any differently than Paul did in Galatians when he wrote about Sarah and Hagar and Isaac and Ishmael and mountains and faith.

On the other hand, it is about redemption. It is about the New Exodus promised by Isaiah, Jeremiah and the prophets, Moses, David, the Psalms, and culminated in Jesus of Nazareth. They do not explore the ‘hows’ and ‘means’ of this yet because the Old Testament only gave hints and clues (1 Peter 1:10-12). But they do explore and explain the necessity of it, and the scope of it. It is this New Exodus that has offended some people, but it is there. Their job in the book is to remind us of the fact of our liberation, of our freedom, of our Exodus. They do a fine job of it, and point two below explores what they mean by this exodus they speak of.

Second, the authors talk about our bondage to sin. They describe this bondage as ‘Egypt’: “There’s an Egypt that we’re all born into, and that’s what we really need an exodus from. So when Isaiah speaks of this new exodus, he doesn’t just speak of liberation from a particular oppressive empire; he speaks of liberation from anything that oppresses anybody anywhere” (57). And they do a fine job of emphasizing the ‘all’. It’s what Karl Barth noted, “For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all” (as quoted in Willimon, p 38). This is also what the apostle Paul wrote, “All have sinned.” And just to clarify what Bell and Golden mean, “The real problem, the ultimate oppressor, is something that resides deep in every human heart. The real reason for their oppression is human slavery to violence, sin, and death” (57). That sounds strangely orthodox to me.

To go along with this is the emphasis that ‘All peoples will see it together’ (58, quoting Isaiah 40:5). The authors lay heavy emphasis on the fact that if all are held in bondage, all have equal access to freedom as God intended. This is the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 12 and announced by Jesus early in his own ministry (Matthew 4:12-16). This chapter goes a long way to undoing any narrow ideas about salvation being limited to a particular nation or tribe: “By the rivers of Babylon, the prophets began to reimagine grace. They started to see what it would look like for Israel’s debt of sins to be paid. And what they saw was a reconciling grace so big, so universal, that it could bind all human beings into a brand-new way for the divine and the human to relate” (60-61, my emphasis). They thus rightly express this as possibility and not certainty. (Their argument is a little more detailed and contains much more Scripture, but I think this is the gist of their point. Some of you may wish to highlight other aspects of what they are saying, but rest assured, I did not personally pick up any hints whatsoever that this was a universal proposition guaranteeing salvation for everyone, everywhere. Thus the ‘could’.)

Finally, I’d like to explore their points about ‘marriage’ between God and man, the ‘forever’ aspect of the rule of the One to come, and what I’ll call the national reconciliation into one body of all all the peoples of the earth (Ephesians), but I don’t want this to be too long and any more cumbersome than it is already is. Their point about an ‘altar being built in Egypt’ is an excellent point and I think properly echoes what the New Testament says about Jesus in Philippians 2 and Revelation 7. Suffice it to say that these were the expectations, written in the prophets, that are easily overlooked and ignored. A fitting conclusion to these is found on pages 70-71, “What started as predictions about an earthly ruler exploded into an expectation of a divinely sent servant who would in some powerful new way rule forever…Israel’s failed marriage to God had never produced that child….The promise is so poignant because from the beginning, from the first moments when our primal ancestors began longing for a way out of this mess we’re in, the ache had centered around the birth of one who would crush evil forever.”

That is a very, very orthodox interpretation of Scripture (and I can point you to the lectures that prove it.)

I will close with this. The title, Get Down Your Harps, indicates that the harps had been hung up, left desolate, forgotten; put on a shelf and silent. “They hung up their harps” (52). “The harp was an instrument of joy and celebration. People played the harp because they had reason to praise God” (52). This chapter begins by reminding us that we have been rescued. “If God freed people once before, couldn’t God do it again?” (54) The implication being, of course, that He already has! He has freed us! We have a reason to be playing our harps! And we are still acting like we are in exile; our harps are still hanging, we are still weeping beside the waters of Babylon.

Or worse, we are like the older brother who refused to go in and rejoice with the family when the younger brother came home. Or we are like Jonah who sat outside Ninevah angry at God for being forgiving. I certainly doubt we are like Jesus who wept over the lost Jerusalem. Whatever the case, I think Bell and Golden’s point in this chapter is to say: “Get down your harps! God has freed us! You know how he did it! You know who did it! Get down your harps, you Christians, and start singing, rejoicing, and worshiping God! Join the party!”

Like good preachers, they don’t say it in so many words. But we know who they are talking about on every single page.

Jesus.

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211 Comments(+Add)

1   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

It seems PB does not believe “Jesus is our only hope” and that “through Jesus we have reconciliation and right relationship” with God. His new post seems to state that Bell is wrong in stating this on the Mars Hill site.

Jesus is our only hope for bringing peace and reconciliation between God and humans. True- I believe this! Through Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into right relationship with God. God is now reconciling us to each other, ourselves, and creation.

PB states this:

Huh? This is pretty general. It sounds as the whole of the universe is being reconciled to God. This, my friends is Christian Universalism. It is the belief that God is reconciling all people (actually all creation) To Himself, He did this through the cross. Notice the words us, humans, we.

He then takes selective scriptures to prove his point but overlooks other scriptures:

Rom 8: 19. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21. that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

1 John 2:1. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Strange that PB selectively denies some scripture to show that someone is wrong.

iggy

2   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 9th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I just wish that Rob Bell was a bit more detailed in the 450 year gap between Solomon and the actual exile, for it would seem that he jumps from Solomon to Exile to emphasize the whole misuse of wealth/war thing.

3   nc    
January 9th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Why be more detailed? What we see after Solomon is continuing deterioration under the monarchy…it’s one drawn out slide from the excesses and vices of Solomon that end in conquest and exile.

4   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 9th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

PB,

Here are the details
Israels king history:
bad king
bad king
bad king
bad king
bad king
bad king
extra bad king

Judahs King History
mostly bad king
mostly bad king
good king

Hope that clears it up for you as far as the history up to the exile.

iggy

5   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
January 9th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Iggy,

I tend to agree. The history of Israel’s and Judah’s kings is abysmal. There’s not much worth talking about and besides, that is quite beside the point. Bell and Golden did talk about those kings by talking about the prophets who spoke to those kings.

I believe their point is simply that David was the ideal failed by every king (and every other king’s failure was epitomized by Solomon). Thus, there is only one ‘Son of David’ who accomplishes what Sheba talked about. That was Jesus of Nazareth.

Really, it’s brilliant on their part.

jerry

6   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 9th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I might add that this book is not a comprehensive and detailed commentary. It is a short book addressing an issue or issues which the authors are slowly building a case for.

To have asked them to go into so much detail would have made the book into volumes and way out of my price range.

If PB needs the details, they are there in the bible and also there are many good and marginally good commentaries out there so he can study and look at it. Though I am pretty sure if PB was forced to write a book with less than 200 pages, he too would leave many, many details out. In fact even the best commentaries I have seen leave out a ton of things.

iggy

7   Neil    
January 9th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

It has become patently obvious Pastorboy has no intention of honestly reading Bell to see what Bell has to say. He is only interested in twisting and selevtively quoting Bell to bolster his own preconceived caricature.

8   Neil    
January 9th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Plus – it is a book written to the Church, to believers, to those already born-again… To suggest he is a universalist because he does not adequately explain salvation (in a very narrow predefined set of words that must be used for it to be valid) – misses the genre of the book completely.

9   Neil    
January 9th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Pastorboy,

Although I will give you credit. Most people would just read the Mars Hill theology statement and be satisfied… but you do not let the meaning of words stand in your way… regardless of what words mean… you forge ahead with your caricature.

10   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 9th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

“I am convinced that WHO binds us together is greater than WHAT might separate us.”

11   nc    
January 9th, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Bo Diaz, are you on facebook?

12   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 9th, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Can someone please start discussing the OP? I will only be able to buy the book next month but I am so curious…

13   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 10th, 2009 at 1:57 am

Because of the issues with the link to one of a commenter’s sites, and in order to make sure that nobody’s reputation is harmed because their site was hacked, I have taken the extraordinary measure (for this blog) of deleting all of the comments in this thread that reference this bit of malfeasance.

I think we can all agree that the person did not intend for their site to be altered in this manner, and it is fair to say that the comments following this reference do damage to multiple individuals.

Please refrain from mentioning this again in the comments, as such references will be deleted, and offending parties put on moderation for a time…

14   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 10th, 2009 at 9:43 am

Jerry _ Chris has graciously sent me a copy of the book, I will read it. From what I could glean reading your review and John’s, I do not immediately see a problem. I will admit Bell brings some perspectives that are new, but not necessarily unbiblical. If we assume that this book is written to the redeemed, then we can understand the lack of gospel references, especially the actual salvation message. The return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity is not a picture of salvation but of revival and restoration.

I found it interesting that Jewish babies born in Babylon were born in captivity, and therefore the sins of their fathers were immediately visited upon them. And conversely, the babies that would be born either on the trip back to Jerusalem or in Jerusalem itself would experience the grace that God had shown to their fathers (parents).

I am intrigued and spiritually stimulated by a boroader revelation of Christ through acts of love and benevolence in a believer’s life and the life of the church as a whole. I also cannot help but do sentry duty, guarding the Ark of the Covenant itself, the gospel of Jesus Christ or simply – Jesus the Christ.

Reading John’s review (and let us give him credit for reading the book, surely no one expected a wholesale endorsement) I thought about his contention that Bell minimized sin as it concerned the Babylonian captivity. Two things. First, I cannot agree. Bell states right off the bat “Because of their sin…” and with that foundation he proceeds. This book does not seem to be written to deal exclusively or even in depth with thge sin issue, although the entire narrative of Exodus and Babylon etc. are products of former sin and it consequences.

Secondly, While reading John’s review the second time I believe I had a “moment”. (no Joe, I did not double my meds) Just what do we mean by “dealing with sin”? John delineated some specifics concerning Israel’s transgressions and to be sure there were many, many more. But let us reel the entire subject into the present and discuss what it means to “deal with sin”.

If we are not careful, our “dealing” with sin can be verbal and written articulations that seem thorough and make sin appear “exceedingly sinful”, but upon further inspection they are shallow and self serving enunciations of theological principles that in fact unwittingly keep our own sin at a doctrinal arm’s length and accentuate the sin at the expense of that which should overshadow that sin – redemption.

If we read the OT narratives without seeing and undertstanding the obvious, subtle, but ever present references and shadows of the coming Redeemer we may fall into the trap that lifts up sin and inadvertently obscures the Redeemer. Many times this obsession with showcasing sin makes the entire gospel story a lopsided revelation of the nature and character of God Himself. Yes the cross paid for our sin, and yes our sin was wretched and repulsive and had the smell of death all over it, but the “love that drew salvation’s plan” comes in like a flood and washes that sin, not with a bucket and a wash cloth, but with an eternal tsunami of God’s infinite love that must be the centerpiece of any discussion of deliverance and salvation.

In essence, the Old Testament, including the Babylonian captivity, is not about Israel’s sin at all, and in fact it isn’t even about Israel at all, they are part of the story and provide relief for the subject but they are not the theme. The theme of the story, the core, the topic about which the author is dealing with is – God Himself. In fact, the Bible itself could be named “The Revelation of Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ”.

Jesus said “If I be lifted up I will draw all me unto Me”. The gospel is about Him – the Babylonian captivity is about Him – the Exodus is about Him. It seems so self righteous for us to hold competitions about who deals with sin more thoroughly on paper when the revelation of our lives exposes an absolute tie, meaning none of deals completely and thoroughly with our own sin and therefore we are all in the same condition – fully dependent on God Himself to provide us with a continuing stream of His grace. And when grace enters the narrative, the playing field is level and everyone is either guilty without Christ or holy sons of the living God. And in God’s family there is one Older Brother and “the rest”.

And the Older Brother has sent “the rest” out to be witnesses of Him. Sin may be a sub topic, but it is not our theme and obsession. Our message, our theme, our words, our hearts, and yes, our lives must be Him. Not merely some disjointed expressions of Him, and not only dedicated to Him. We must BE Him, or in reality, He must be us.

I plan on expanding this “moment” further but as I was reading the reviews I felt impressed of the Spirit with these few thoughts.

15   Bo Diaz    
January 10th, 2009 at 11:22 am

I hope that Pastorboy will not that he’s been shown far more mercy by Chris L than he’s ever shown to anyone he’s written about.

16   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 10th, 2009 at 11:40 am

Rick,
That is a great point- that the OT is filled with types and shadows of Christ. It all shows us man’s sin and God’s salvation. I see that in this book, I was just a bit disturbed that the emphasis seemed to point to one thing- misuse of blessings, not helping the less fortunate rather than seeing the sin of man as an offense towards God primarily; and that misuse of wealth specifically towards the poor is not the only reason that Israel-or America- is going into exile. It is also nothing that we do that gets us out of exile!

17   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 10th, 2009 at 11:41 am

BTW

Thanks Chris L.

18   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 10th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Yes, Chris, charitable.

The Scripture declares “God is love”. And that love is expressed throgh the sacrifice of Christ.

Jn.3:16 – Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life;

God is redemption at His core. Why would God create man when He knew man would sina and fall? Because redemption is the greatest expression of God’s love. It is impossible to overestimate the love of God inherrant within the death of the Christ. That is exactly why our spotlight must be on Christ, and not man.

The only reason to spotlight sin temporarily is to quickly draw people’s eyes back to Christ.

19   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 10th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Chris L,

I am a bit offended that the original post I made was removed… I had no issue with the others but the one was to make a point on the selective reading that PB does.

iggy

20   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 10th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Igs, I didn’t want any search terms to remain, either, and that’s where the problem originated.

Please let it drop…

21   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 10th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

That is a great point- that the OT is filled with types and shadows of Christ. It all shows us man’s sin and God’s salvation. I see that in this book, I was just a bit disturbed that the emphasis seemed to point to one thing- misuse of blessings, not helping the less fortunate rather than seeing the sin of man as an offense towards God primarily; and that misuse of wealth specifically towards the poor is not the only reason that Israel-or America- is going into exile. It is also nothing that we do that gets us out of exile!

Have you read the whole book, or are you just writing your summaries as you go?

Bell says multiple times throughout the book that we are helpless to save ourselves. Only Jesus can.

Also the book isn’t really about how to become a Christian. It’s about how to live the Christian life. I believe the writers’ purpose of telling the whole story of Israel is to try put some solid ground under the feet of American Christians who have grown up in an environment where being a Christian either meant you went to a particular church or said a specific prayer at some point in your life. It’s like there’s a bunch of people who have no history and no story to become part of, and therefore no real identity.

So if you think about it, the story of Israel – a relatively small, nomadic people group whom for much of their history was without a real home is an apt comparison.

22   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 10th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Phil,

No I have not read the whole thing. This is an as you go project for me.

The problem is they have not told the whole story. There are huge gaps- which is okay, but it seems to me to ride on the theory of the world is in exile because there are rich that mistreat the poor. That is a part of the sin, part of the reason, but really only a very small part. The focus is on sins against other humans, not against God. And it seems we can atone for our sins if we will only use our resources more wisely.

23   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 10th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

I do not see America as part of the conversation. I do not see the misuse of wealth in and of itself as the issue of exile, however the accumulation of wealth and the ignoring of the poor is indeed a symptom of a spiritual problem within the church.

And the ignoring of the poor, and the accumulation of wealth for personal use, can aptly be decribed as “sin”. Part of the problem is our definition of sin. We have limited our view of sin into a list of things we do (smoking, drinking, cursing, etc.) and have ignored things we don’t do and other things we do that are western capitalist behavior but are in variance of Scriptural mandates.

The western church hasn’t just lost its influence and divine power because of the usual suspects of sin, we have ignored the plight of the poor, been comfortable with out bigger barns, and been self righteous about everything from our moral issues to our gospel outreaches. There is no doubt that only faith in Jesus Christ can save a lost soul, but just like Jesus obsrved to the Pharisees, “These things you should have done but not left the others undone”.

Regardless of he systematic accuracy of some of Bell’s word pictures, the question looms large o all of us. How in God’s name can western believers sit in a padded pew, enjoying expensive air conditioning, paying millions of dollars of interest on a building, paying for a variety of programs designed for their families, and leave on Sunday moring to return to their own palaces and debt, and fully believe that is the will of God and the human revelation of Jesus Christ?

All of this takes place in a vaccuum of voluntary ignorance. Ignorant of starvation, idnorant of disease, ignorant of refugees, and ignorant of the massive suffeing that blankets much of the world while we debate the finer points of doctrine and feel good about knowing the “true” gospel. And we suggest that given a choice we should share the gospel message to a dying sinner rather than give him some food, and yet millions upon millions around the world are in a position to receive BOTH.

The self righteousness of the church is astounding. Perhaps the overarching message of a book like Bell’s is “take a look in the mirror, do you see Jesus?”.

24   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 10th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

And in the midst of colossal suffering and darkness, CRN posts an article that points out that Bell’s suggestion of aorist tense in Mark 3:5 is inaccurate. And how many angles can fit on the head of a pin?

25   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 10th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

All,

No I have not read the whole thing. This is an as you go project for me.

The problem is they have not told the whole story. There are huge gaps- which is okay, but it seems to me to ride on the theory of the world is in exile because there are rich that mistreat the poor. That is a part of the sin, part of the reason, but really only a very small part. The focus is on sins against other humans, not against God. And it seems we can atone for our sins if we will only use our resources more wisely.

As a recent graduate of the Chisham seLetivo Divinity School of Comprehensive Reading, I hope none of you noticed on page 57 where Bell stated:

The real problem, the ultimate oppressor, is something that resides deep in every human heart. The real reason for their oppression is human slavery to violence, sin and death.

There’s an Egypt that we’re all born into,

And that’s what we really need exodus from. (page 57

Please don’t let that get out it might distract from the whole “Universalist” assertion that PB has accuse Bell of and the assertion that Bell is soft selling sin.

iggy

26   Neil    
January 10th, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Iggy,

You are correct. No one can read this book and not come away with the impression that Bell is serious about sin.

He talks about sin, repentance, confession, the need to trust Jesus…

27   Neil    
January 10th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Jerry,

In particular, I had a similar impression as you… the chapter (and book) was all about Jesus. Even in a chapter that hardly mentioned his name – it was obvious that they see Jesus as the ultimate answer.

28   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
January 10th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Neil,

Nailed it! Jesus is on every page. I didn’t see the gaps others seem to have seen. I thought they did a fine job of cramming a few thousand years worth of narrative into 181 pages.

Jerry

29   Neil    
January 10th, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Well, there are gaps, but as you say – it’s a short book and it’s written to Christians so a lot is assumed.

30   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 12th, 2009 at 9:47 am

I truly enjoyed the writing in this chapter, as Jerry points out, it was very dramatic, but unfortunately, it really has a narrow focus on why the Israelites were exiled and why we must be saved by Davids other Son.

31   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 12th, 2009 at 10:13 am

John,
I want to stay out of the back and forth but I find it interesting that you say they don’t discuss sin in this book. I’m only in chapter 1 and already I’ve seen the actual word s-i-n a couple of times.
It’s sad to see your bias.

32   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 12th, 2009 at 10:19 am

Joe,

Its sad that you do not see the fact that I have mentioned that he does say sin. He also says anti-kingdom, mistake, etc.

33   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 12th, 2009 at 10:24 am

Well, then as they say, “You are sad, and now I am sad. Sadness all around.”

34   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 12th, 2009 at 10:24 am

John – I have not as yet seen any glaring doctrinal errors either in your review or Jerry’s. Some of the portrayals are interesting and generate real thought.

If Bell is not a universalist and judging from what he says and Chris L’s agrressive rejection of it he is not, then some of his ideas can expand our humanitarian aspect to God’s ministry without doing despite to the gospel. That is my charitable understanding.

35   nc    
January 12th, 2009 at 10:32 am

#22

Sin against humans is sin against God.

Remember…the murderer David when he repented?

Addressing God he said:

“Against you and you only…”

36   nc    
January 12th, 2009 at 10:36 am

Isn’t the reality that constitutes “sin” by it’s very nature “anti-kingdom”?

Doesn’t the reality of “sin” sometimes constitute “mistakes”? Mistakes of belief, how the world works, your place in it, etc. etc. etc.?

I just see a lot of concern for people “getting told”. In other words, people have to admit to their brokenness in terms that satisfy the linguistic preferences of the imams.

Maybe I’m on to something…if people just admitted they were “crap” then they might have a chance with the self-appointed magisterium…

Nah, they’d get bashed for saying “crap”.

37   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 12th, 2009 at 10:38 am

#35
AMEN Nc.

Bell fails to make this point. The focus is on humans. The focus on God is that He somehow is sitting back watching, responding, not planning, not knowing what He is doing. So, the exile is all about God being surprized, and the redemption is all about God responding to the cry of the people, not His plan.

38   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 12th, 2009 at 10:38 am

#36

The spiritual term is scubalon.

;)

39   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 12th, 2009 at 10:39 am

As long as the message is that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, then the rest can exist within some expanded parameters.

40   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2009 at 10:46 am

Bell fails to make this point. The focus is on humans. The focus on God is that He somehow is sitting back watching, responding, not planning, not knowing what He is doing. So, the exile is all about God being surprized, and the redemption is all about God responding to the cry of the people, not His plan.

Big whoop. Bell’s not a Calvinist. Neither are the vast majority of Christians. Get over it.

41   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 12th, 2009 at 10:49 am

PB,

I saw a completely different picture… of God knowing, warning, then following through on what he told them what would happen… a very interactive God trying to work with the Israelites…

Strange how one can read it and see one thing and another something entirely else.

iggy

42   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 12th, 2009 at 10:52 am

The spiritual term is scubalon.

That’s the original language yes, but does that make is “spiritual.” Wait, I get it, you’re saying “everything is spiritual.” You’re coming along nicely.

43   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 12th, 2009 at 10:54 am

Phil,

Be him Calvinist or not in the book itself Bell seems to indicate that God was in control… and since the Israelites did not heed warning after warning and become more and more like the pagans He handed them over to them…

To me to say it is “man centered” misses that God did all that not man.

Also sometimes though this “man centered” thing gets too much God centered… meaning, God is saving man so the center of attention God has is man… to deny that overlooks God became a “man” ( how man centered is that!) and died on a cross (God died on a man made cross! again how man centered!)

I mean there is a bit of balance and to say the story is ALL about God misses that God is interacting with man and there is a relationship in the story. I feel like some purposely overlook that is the point of the Bible…

iggy

44   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 12th, 2009 at 10:55 am

I would argue that God’s plan was always to call out a group of people who would know His heart and represent it to the rest of the world. So whether or not His plan changed or whether or not it was set in stone since the very beginning seems like a moot point to a large extent to me.

I tend to think that the reason some people find comfort in thinking that everything is preordained is that it is a way for them to deflect personal responsibility. I’m not saying all do this, but if you start believing God never reacts, it seems like you’ll eventually think your actions don’t really matter.

45   nc    
January 12th, 2009 at 11:25 am

RE: #40

too funny!

So true.

46   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 12th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

I find it interesting that someone would say that the reason for the exile was “sin” yet miss what “sin” the prophets focused on… Mostly that Israel did not fulfill their vocation as being “priests and a holy nation” to all the world. That the main sin was turning their back on God by mistreating and oppressing others… so that God placed them back under oppressors to learn from their own sin and be reminded that oppression is sinful and not what God wants for them to do or be under. Israel paid for their sins.

Reading through the prophets they state over and over that Israel mistreated others… they did not take care of their own either as they did not care for the poor as the Law (God’s word to them) commanded.

Yet for some reading this they seem to focus on some important things but miss the details in the why God put Israel into exile in the first place. They seem to act as if the specific sins named by Isaiah and other prophets mean nothing…

Isaiah right off the bat starts with the details of Israels sin.

Isaiah 1:12-17:

12. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13. Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations– I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 14. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; 16. wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, 17. learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

So right off the bat their sins are:

1. Not being Just… notice it is #1
2. Not stopping oppression.
3. Not defending the fatherless. (selling orphans into slavery)
4. Not taking care of widows. (Making them become prostitutes)

So to state this unspecified “sin” that some state is sooooo important then cry foul over Israel being oppressive… seems anti-biblical and shows a lack of understanding of the prophets cry.

iggy

47   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 13th, 2009 at 8:36 am

Have any of you seen the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) created to go with Jesus Wants To Save Christians? http://jesuswantstosavechristians.blogspot.com
They created a game, Citizens of Virtue (COV). COV is the fictitious parachurch organization in the game complete with a website. The website is very Onionish and hilarious.

48   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 13th, 2009 at 8:37 am

The COV website link.

49   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 11:43 am

Why did David’s other son come? Was it for our universal salvation? or was it to make the world a better place?

50   Bo Diaz    
January 19th, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Why did David’s other son come? Was it for our universal salvation? or was it to make the world a better place?

You really do embarrass yourself.

It must be some sort of mental illness that prevents you from understanding the difference between universal atonement and universalism.

51   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Why did David’s other son come? Was it for our universal salvation? or was it to make the world a better place?

What’s the point of this Pastorboy? In the book Bell is clearly NOT promoting universal salvation. Why do you insist on continually implying he does?

We have shown repeatedly he does not. His own words are obvious that he does not.

You have even agreed when you did not know he was the source.

Yet you persist with this line of offense. Why do you insist on perpetuating what is not true? Why do imply that Bell says all will be saved when he clearly says no such thing.

52   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Distributing wealth to the poor could not be more Christian, it is a priority with God. I cannot believe you bring in politics to this conversation. Justice does mean prosecution many times, however it sometimes means taking up the cause of the least of these around us. It is in that context that Bell applies it here.

53   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 19th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

What’s the point of this Pastorboy? In the book Bell is clearly NOT promoting universal salvation. Why do you insist on continually implying he does?

Because the man has sold out to a system, and when you do that, you’re willing to lie to be right.

54   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Joe,

I really hate to say Pastorboy is outright lying… He is, after all, a pastor in a well respected denomination. A denomination that is far more balanced than he…

Yet, he perpetuates the same old song and dance even when shown wrong repeatedly. I suspect he knows he’s wrong, and only posts such things to goad a response.

Then again, I wonder what he tells people in private or at his church? He did accuse us of attacking the Bible… I suppose it’s possible he tells people who do not know any better, who think he’s reliable, that Bell promotes universalism.

I hope not.

55   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Because the man [Pastorboy] has sold out to a system…

I believe this is correct. When I was reading “Jesus Wants to Save Christians” there were several things in there that made me wonder if Bell really was a (salvation) Universalist… this was probaly exacerbated by knowing PB was reading it as well.

Yet, later in the book it became obvious through some very definitive statements that Bell is indeed NOT promoting (salvation) Universalism.

But if you are already convinced that he is, it’s easy to ignore the parts that argue the opposite.

I think Pastorboy has such a modern way of looking at the Gospel that he cannot discern or rightly understand what Bell is actually saying.

56   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

“Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born this day…a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

That sounds like universalism. Sometimes expressing the universality of the message gets confused with the unversality of eternal salvation. I believe that is what can be confused with some of Bell’s verbiage.

57   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 19th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I really hate to say Pastorboy is outright lying

Hate it all you want. I’m very comfortable with it.

58   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

The writers want to make it very clear that this new Son of David isn’t just leading a new exodus for a specific group of people; he’s bringing liberation for

everybody everywhere
and ultimately for everything everywhere for all time (JWTSC 83 emphasis mine)

Then, pray tell, what does this mean.

Right now I am researching NT Wrights new perspectives on Paul, and trying to discover the influence that he has on Bell. This general justification, or Christian Universalism seems prevelant in both the New Exodus Theology and the NPP.

59   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

#57

That a way to be a true Christian, Joe. Good civil discourse.

60   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Let us be clear, John is not lyng, and some of Bell’s language can be misinterpreted, especially by those predisposed to perceive his theology in that way. That is not lying.

61   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

In response to number 58, here is a quote that Neil posted back in the comment section of One (Universalism) Thread to Rule Them All…

“I find it quite impossible, reading the New Testament on the one hand and the newspaper on the other, to suppose that there will be no ultimate condemnation, no final loss…I wish it were otherwise, but one cannot forever whistle ‘There’s a wideness in God’s mercy’ in the darkness of Hiroshima, of Auschwitz, of the murder of children and the careless greed that enslaves millions in debts not their own. Humankind cannot, alas, bear very much reality, and the massive denial of reality by the cheap and cheerful universalism of Western liberalism has a lot to answer for.”

N.T. Wright
Surprised by Hope
Rethinking heaven, the resurrection, and the mission of the Church
(pg. 182)

It’s pretty clear that the incomparable NT Wright also does not believe in Universalism.

62   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 2:54 pm
“Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born this day…a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

That sounds like universalism. Sometimes expressing the universality of the message gets confused with the unversality of eternal salvation. I believe that is what can be confused with some of Bell’s verbiage.

Rick, you are correct. Plus I think Bell nay be purposefully provocative – but I’ll leave the motivation assigning to the ADM’s.

63   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 2:59 pm

PB,

Sounds like universalism again.

I guess all that discussion over the difference between Universalism and Universal Atonement meant nothing…. or that you really cannot understand the difference or choose not to.

We are justified at the Cross as we receive Christ through faith and receive the Life. we do the works of God through Christ… which are Just and righteous works…. so we implement these and begin doing what is Just. These do not equate with works righteousness at all… After all it seems that you deny “the Just shall live by faith”…

I cannot fathom that you are reading this book with real understanding in what is being said… it seems that there is a real agenda on your part to not grasp what is stated and instead twist it as you do with so many.

I also cannot understand the obsession in harming another persons ministry which harms their church and family. You seem to not care that your lies against others do harm and actually seem to relish doing so.

I am truly sadden by you.

iggy

64   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

The writers want to make it very clear that this new Son of David isn’t just leading a new exodus for a specific group of people; he’s bringing liberation for

everybody everywhere
and ultimately for everything everywhere for all time (JWTSC 83 emphasis mine)

Still wondering, then, what this means. Please explain, if you can, Iggy.

65   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I completely view PB as a totally dishonest person now. He accused me of harming his ministry his church and family with some improper remarks I made and apologized for, then continues to harm others with his words.

I am more amazed though in his ignorance of Scripture and continuing in denying many of the tenants of the faith…. this last one… the denial of “the just shall live by faith” and calling being and doing what is just as works… shows to me that PB is unfit for ministry as he has no understanding of biblical things as well as what the Christian faith is.

Sorry if I offended anyone… if I followed PB’s theology, I would not be saved… so I must conclude from the false doctrines he teaches here he is not.

iggy

66   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

PB,

Taken in the context of the whole book… and that it is written for Christians… you seem to miss that all those of faith WILL be saved.

Or do you deny Election now?

iggy

67   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

#62
Look into the greek phraseology for all people.

It means all kinds of people, not just Jews but Gentiles as well. If it meant all people, it would include Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and all other evil folks.

68   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

If you are claiming the Elect will not be saved PB… explain yourself!

iggy

69   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:06 pm
The writers want to make it very clear that this new Son of David isn’t just leading a new exodus for a specific group of people; he’s bringing liberation for

everybody everywhere
and ultimately for everything everywhere for all time (JWTSC 83 emphasis mine)

Then, pray tell, what does this mean.

Pastorboy,

My copy of JWTSC is at the office, so I cannot comment on that without seeing the context. Furthermore, I cannot post the quotes from JWTSC that clearly show Bell is not promoting Universalism… but I will.

Like you, John, some of the things they wrote made me raise an eye-brow. But, unlike you, I am willing to take the greater work as a whole into consideration, I am willing to take his audience into consideration, I am willing to let his other very clear statements shed correcting light on those that are not so clear.

What could more clear than

Jesus is our only hope for bringing peace and reconciliation between God and
humans. Through Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into right relationship with God. God is now reconciling us to each other,
ourselves, and creation. The Spirit of God affirms as children of God all those who trust Jesus. (emphasis mine)

The first BF shows Bell is not a Universalist in the “all -roads” sense.
The second BF shows Bell in not a Universalists in the “anonymous Christian” sense.

70   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Pastorboy,

You read Bell the way Chad reads the Bible. You allow the passages that are more vague and general to instruct the passages that are clear and specific.

Or, to put it another way…

If you read the Bible the way you read Bell, you would come to the same Christian Universalism as Chad.

71   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

#66
Iggy, the question is who is everyone everywhere…who is the all people?

If justification (liberation) is for all people, as Bell presents, then is that Christian Universalism? If it is not, what does it mean???What does everyone, everywhere mean?

If everyone is going to be ’set right’ when Jesus comes back, who (if anyone) is left out?

What is a Christian? How does one become one? Or, are you just one?

Please answer without all the personal invectives, Iggy. Or can you do that?

72   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Jesus is our only hope for bringing peace and reconciliation between God and
humans. Through Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into right relationship with God. God is now reconciling us to each other,
ourselves, and creation. The Spirit of God affirms as children of God all those who trust Jesus. _ Rob Bell (emphasis mine)

The first BF shows Bell is not a Universalist in the “all -roads” sense.
The second BF shows Bell in not a Universalists in the “anonymous Christian” sense.

73   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

#72

Where is that from? The Narrative theology?

74   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Pastorboy,

Using your logic, Paul is promoting Universalism in Romans when he compares Christ and Adam – through Adam death came to all… through Jesus life comes to all.

Again I say, you read Bell as Chad reads Paul…

75   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

#72

Where is that from? The Narrative theology?

Yes. And when I said this as my own (without sourcing it to Bell) you agreed. I even gave choices of verbs and you chose the same verb Bell uses.

76   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

The Universalism of Paul?

To the Corinthians: For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

To the Romans: Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

To the Colossians: For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (HT Nathanel)

Since we cannot balance statements such as these against staments that are even more clear – what other conclusion can we come to?

Paul even goes as far as to say “Just as” – well, the sin of Adam was applied to all universally and without regard to belief and/or behavior. Are we to assume the same of Christ’s salvation.

We are if we read Paul as Pastorboy read Bell…

77   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1.19-20 ESV).

Taken out of context of the whole scripture, PB, it appears that Paul might be teaching Universalism.

To grab one quote from one book of Rob Bell’s and to demand that we answer for Rob what he means by “everyone everywhere” is bordering on lunacy.

Take that quote and blend it with the whole book, with Rob’s teachings on Sunday, and with Mars Hills statement of faith. And then you’ll have a better understanding of what he means.

78   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

#72,73

Christian Universalists affirm Jesus is the only way. They believe that all wiil be saved through Jesus. It is the same as the Mormons who say Jesus is Savior. It is simply not the same Jesus, and it is not Biblical theology.

79   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:30 pm

#72,73

Christian Universalists affirm Jesus is the only way. They believe that all wiil be saved through Jesus. It is the same as the Mormons who say Jesus is Savior. It is simply not the same Jesus, and it is not Biblical theology.

You are right, that is why I pointed out that.. the second BF (…all those who trust Jesus…) shows Bell in not a Universalists in the “anonymous Christian” sense.

Bell is denying not only General Universalism, but Christian Universalism as well.

80   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Again, PB at the Cross which is the New Exodus, we were justified.

Romans 3: 22. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24. and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

“For all have sinned and are freely justified by His Grace”… so… is Paul a Universalist!?!?!?!

The Just shall live by faith… you are twisting this to mean that we are not to be just.

Now let’s look at the context.

Matthew wants us to see that through Jesus, a new creation is coming into being.

John echoes this, beginning his account of Jesus’ life with the phrase “in the beginning”. (28) THis is how the Bible starts. With the creation poem of Genesis explaining how everything came to be – everything.

These writers want their audience to connect what Jesus is doing in the first -century Israel with the creation of the world.

The first creation was out of chaos.

The writers want to make it very clear that this new Son of David isn’t just leading a new exodus for a specific group of people; he’s bringing liberation for

everybody everywhere
and ultimately for everything everywhere for all time .

Jesus claims that his message will be preached “in the whole world” (29) and it will be a “testimony to all nations.” (30)

Jesus promises that when he’s lifted up, he will “draw all people” (31) to himself. JWTSC 83

Note this is much different from what you are claiming and instead of dealing with the biblical text Bell gives (that would be the footnotes) you assume and twist it into something else.

You need to deal with the scripture that is there that backs up Bell’s statements. Again, Bell never states “everyone will be saved” rather that the gospel of Jesus is preached and all are drawn to himself by him. In that I see that all that come to him in this new creation and become part of it will be saved.

Really also Bell has stated elsewhere and I am sure Neil will do a great job later showing you clear passages of the book where Bell is not stating this in a Universalist manner.

Yet, even reading the context itself salvation revolves around Jesus so one should conclude that without Jesus there is no salvation for those when one takes the greater context of the other statements Bell made.

Again… Was Jesus a Universalist for saying “all” or John” or Matthew? or Paul?

Your argument seems to state they were… so explain yourself here.

iggy

81   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Matt Slick Explains it way better than me, Iggy….

Christian Universalism

“Christian Universalism” is the position that all of mankind will ultimately be saved through Jesus whether or not faith is professed in him in this life. It claims that God’s qualities of love, sovereignty, justice, etc., require that all people be saved and that eternal punishment is a false doctrine. Salvation is not from hell, but from sin.
There are two main camps in Christian Universalism:

Those who teach that the unrepentant will be punished in a future state, and that their punishment will be proportional to the degree of sin committed in the mortal state. They generally hold that the punishment is moral and not physical. There is no hell. They do not maintain that salvation is merited through these sufferings.

Those who teach that all the punishment for sin occurs in this life and that God’s discipline in our lives is for the purpose of purifying us, though this purification is not our merit for salvation. In eternity, there will be a loss of reward for those who did not trust in Christ in this lifetime.
Christian Universalists claim to hold many of the tenets of historic Christianity: Trinity, deity of Christ, deity of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace, etc. As always, it is necessary to inquire and ask what is meant by the terms they use because the diversity that exists in universalist beliefs warrants further examination. Nevertheless, the Christian universalists claim to affirm:

The inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible.

From what I have seen here, they hold to the orthodox position.

There is only one God.

From what I have encountered, most universalists who claim the title “Christian universalists” do not accept the standard doctrine of the Trinity, but lean more towards either Arianism (God is one person, Jesus is created) to modalism (God takes different forms in history). This is, of course, heretical.

Jesus is the Son of the Living God

Many cult groups say the same thing. What they mean by the phrase is what is important. The Christian Universalists tend to say the Son is a manifestation, an image, a representation of God’s essence, yet he is not equal to the Father. Therefore, they are denying His true deity. But, not all who claim to be Christian Universalists deny this.

Some hold that Jesus is not God but that He is divine. This is perplexing since divinity is a quality of God, not angels or men.

Jesus’ Resurrection

Most Christian Universalists affirm the physical resurrection of Jesus. But, some claim he did not rise from the dead physically, but was assumed into heaven to dwell with God. “The Crucified is living forever with God, as our hope. Resurrection does not mean either a return to life in space and time or a continuation of life in space and time but the assumption into that incomprehensible and comprehensive last and first reality which we call God.”1

If, by the above quote, the physical resurrection of Jesus is denied, as it seems it is, then anyone who holds to that position is indeed a non-Christian since it denies one of the essential doctrines of Christianity.

The Holy Spirit is God’s presence

There is a surprisingly common denial of the personhood of the Holy Spirit. (personhood is self-awareness, a will, the ability to speak, etc.). This is a serious error on the part of those who hold to it. But to be fair, many universalists affirm the Holy Spirit as the third person in the Godhead.

There is no salvation without accepting Jesus as Savior

This statement is problematic for two reasons:

Since to many universalists, Jesus is not truly God by nature, they have an improper object of faith (denying the Trinitarian nature of God and the deity of Christ). Their faith, then, is useless since they have violated the command to worship no other God (Exodus 20) and are worshiping a false god. The Jesus they believe in, is not the real one. This means they are definitely not Christian.

There is a second chance theology at work here where people who have rejected Jesus in this life can come to faith in the next life, even though he has flatly rejected Jesus’ sacrificial atonement.

Some Universalists believe…

in consciousness after death, others do not.

in limited punishment of sinners in a type of hell that is not of fire, but of some moral chastising.

that punishment in the afterlife was for a limited period during which the soul was purified and prepared for eternity in the presence of God.

Conclusion
“Christian Universalism” really isn’t Christian and it is meshed with many other unorthodox and erroneous teachings. This belief system should be avoided.

______________
1. Quoted from “On Being a Christian: Twenty Propositions, By Hans Kung, “The Christian Challenge”, pages 313-316, 1979) as found at http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/challenge.html. #10.

HT CARM

82   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

And?

83   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

PB,

Personal invectives are what I am concluding in your consistent denial of Biblical things!

Again, explain this verse in Romans 3

22. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24. and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

It is clear ALL were justified, but you miss that when one come to faith they become the Just that live by faith.

You are falling into the misunderstanding of justification and that it is only for those saved… without all being justified there is no forgiveness… we must have our debts settled (justification) before we receive forgiveness it is a package deal.

So all are justified at the Cross and forgiven at the Cross, yet until one comes to faith in Christ they do not enter the New Creation… they are still forgiven dead men. For dead men do not need forgiveness but life.

Yet, in order to die with Christ (the Cross) and be forgiven we must also die at the Cross with Christ, and then we must receive Life from Christ to live eternally. That is when salvation comes to it potential.

You are confusing justification with sanctification.

About Hitler and all… they could have been saved and for all you know, might be as we are saved by Grace which covers our sin. Am I saying the are? No… I am saying that the Cross applied to Hitler as much as it did me. Or do you deny the Cross has the power to save all men if they be drawn and come to faith in Christ?

iggy

84   Bo Diaz    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Let us be clear, John is not lyng, and some of Bell’s language can be misinterpreted, especially by those predisposed to perceive his theology in that way. That is not lying.

He’s reading a book in which Bell explicitly affirms basic orthodoxy of the Christian faith (just as he did in Velvet Elvis), and yet Pastorboy somehow comes out with heterodoxy.

Just check out his methodology. The entire theme of the book is X. Pastorboy pulls a single sentence out that seems to say Y. Pastorboy claims that Y is the entire summation of Bell’s theology.

If that’s not lying then the word “truth” has no meaning.

I’ll just leave you will Bell’s own words: “reporters can use little sections of anything to twist what I say”. Presumably that also applies to book reviewers with no discernment and malicious intentions.

85   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

PB,

I understand Universalism… but you do not see the difference between Universalism and Universal atonement.

Here is a site that once again will explain the difference.

I quote them:

Scriptures could be multiplied that show the universality of the provision of the Atonement, but these will suffice to make it clear “that He (Christ) died for all” (II Corinthians 5:15).

The opportunity of being born again, of beginning again in this life, is given to all men, for when Christ died as our substitute, universal Atonement was provided. The risen Christ said to His disciples,

Until you grasp the difference I see no need to talk to you anymore… as you are either dishonest or purposely choosing ignorance to lie about others and harm their ministry, family and church.

iggy

86   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Pastorboy,

Re #81… interesting, but not relevant to what we are discussing.

87   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:02 pm

#84

I have stated, I am going chapter by chapter through the whole book. I am waiting for Bell to be clear on who is saved. I have shown throughout that he repeats over and over again that all are saved.

That should not be so hard to understand, even for a dead catcher.

Iggy,

You are wrong about what I am saying. You are wrong about my motives. I will not discuss any further with you.

88   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

As is my custom I have read the epilogue in Bell’s book first (sent to me by my friend Chris Lyons). This statement strikes me:

“At the center of the Christian experience is crying out in our slavery and being heard by God. Trust that through Jesus, God has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Rescue. Redemption. Grace.”

Assuming Bell is not a universalist, my observation is this. The book is not designed to broach that subject, and in fact the book is not designed to address any part of systematic theology, and seems written loosely in the literary style of a Max Lucado. It seems devotional, poetic, thoughtful, metaphorical, and a quick perusal doesn’t indicate any tackling of doctrinal issues.

It may be meant to move us, to shake us out of what is our western comfort zone and our all tooconvenient way we translate theology into our own standard of action without sacrifice. In some places he challenges our love, our grace, our forgiveness, our pride, and in fact our entire myopic view of the Great God. I personally am moved by anyone who provides a voice for the millions of voiceless and destitute throngs that get lost in a sea of systematic theology.

So my challenge is this:

On one hand I hear a voice who doesn’t articulate in a doctrinal pitch about which I am familiar. It may be due to style and it may be generational, but I must admit it is not as clear as I would have it. But he speaks to the complacency of the church, the doctrinal assuredness that so often brings out satisfaction rather than sacrificial outreach.

On the other hand I hear a voice which speaks with boldness and specificity about the gospel. No blurring and no compromise comes forth from this voice. And yet mixed with this gospel symphony I hear an unmistakeable dissonance that makes the song itself inharmonious.

So to remain entrenched in assuredness, not about Christ, but about you, is counterproductive to the gospel and stymies the very meaning of spiritual growth and sanctification. The challenge to me personally is not about Bell or MacArthur or anyone, it is and always will be about Jesus and my commitment to knowing and serving Him. If I can be challenged by some of the writings of this book then that is a good thing.

I have little time or inclination for tracking down Bell in any depth, I have spent 34 years tracking Jesus and I have a long, long way to go.

89   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

I have shown throughout that he repeats over and over again that all are saved.

I do not remember anywhere in the book, or any other for that matter where Bell said all are saved.

90   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

The book is not designed to broach that subject, and in fact the book is not designed to address any part of systematic theology, and seems written loosely in the literary style of a Max Lucado. It seems devotional, poetic, thoughtful, metaphorical, and a quick perusal doesn’t indicate any tackling of doctrinal issues. – Rick

Exactly. Plus it is written to Christians… a point Pastorboy misses or ignores.

Again I say – Pastorboy reads Bell like Chad reads the Bible.

91   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

#89

Its on my site. I am not going to copy and paste it neil.

92   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:14 pm

I just read the epilogue, and I am not going to comment on it here yet, but it actiually didn’t work the same for me….it just gave me more questions.

But I agree with Rick; I have been following Jesus for 31 years now, and I still have a ways to go.

93   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Its on my site. I am not going to copy and paste it neil.

Two questions:

Your site?
You have an actual quote in which Bell says “all are saved?”

94   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

But I agree with Rick; I have been following Jesus for 31 years now, and I still have a ways to go.

Well this just warms my heart… but it means very little in our discussion if you continue to refuse to read a brother in Christ in the manner in which he intended his writings.

That is dishonest.

95   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I just read the epilogue, and I am not going to comment on it here yet, but it actiually didn’t work the same for me….it just gave me more questions.

Questions are good… as long as they are honest question raised by the text, not questions raised by a preconceived notion.

96   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Did I mention that readin Paul the way Pastorboy reads Bell would lead us ALL to Universalism?

97   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

#93
http://www.crnnfo.wordpress.com

2. No, quotes that seem to say that Bell believes that all are saved.

98   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:25 pm

2. No, quotes that seem to say that Bell believes that all are saved.

OK, you have quotes in which he seems to say that. Yet there are other quotes where he clearly says the opposite. Kinda like Paul in the New Testament.

So, if in the latter you accept that the clear statements shed light on the vague… why the reverse with Bell?

99   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

#98

I have yet to see Bell make a clear statement.

100   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

#99

Thats why I have so many questions.

I am #100!!

101   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Reading Descarte and Sartre in the original language is clearer than Bell.

102   M.G.    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

PB,

You read Latin and French? Wow… color me impressed!

103   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Not everyone will be liberated or saved from sin, only those who believe. – Pastorboy

Therein lies your confusion. When Bell speaks of salvation as he did in his Narrative Theology he is clearly exclusive (cf. #72 – the WHOLE post) and nary a hint of Universalism – Christian or otherwise.

But, in JWTSC he is not talking about salvation in that sense. Bell never said “saved” in that sense. And, obvious to most of us, his reference to libertion as a parallel to Exodus is not about being saved… in the narrow modernist sense.

Pastorboy, now we I see your confusion and have cleared it up.

104   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:35 pm

RE #99 – Alright, I am done with you (AGAIN) John… it is obvious you refuse to read Bell honestly. As far as I can tell all you are interested in is being provocative. You’re as bad as he is in that matter.

You cannot get any clearer than the statements I quoted in #72.

You agreed with the statement when you thought the words were mine

Let me know when you are ready to address the question with honesty.

Let me know when you are ready to stop diverting the topic.

Let me know when you are ready to address my comments.

When you are, I will.

105   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

But, in JWTSC he is not talking about salvation in that sense. Bell never said “saved” in that sense. And, obvious to most of us, his reference to libertion as a parallel to Exodus is not about being saved… in the narrow modernist sense.

Then what is it about?

106   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:42 pm

There are some Calvinists who believe the teachings of Calvin flow naturally to a final restitution of all things including every sinner’s salvation. It is all in how you approach the subject, and how you pre-interpret the theology of the author.

107   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Then what is it about?

I am hesitant to answer other questions when you have been so disingenuous with what we have already written.

Bell is clear in his narrative theology – you mock this.

You agreed with his words when you thoght they were mine – you ignore this.

Paul looks like he promotes Universalism if you read him like you do Bell. – you ignore this.

If I answered your question would it really make any difference to you… are you really interested in actually knowing what Bell means… are you?

108   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I tell ya John, this really pisses me off, that you treat me this way. I thought things were actually better between us… guess my “nobility” was wasted – if doing the right thing is ever wasted.

109   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

John believes Bell is a universalist, others do not.

And never the twain shall meet. What Bell believes does not alter my life one whit. Rudy still needs to be fed and walked, that my friends, is what my life has come to mean! :)

110   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

#107, 108
Not at all, Neil.

Just because I do not agree does not mean you could be right. I am truly seeking to understand what Bell means when he states, quite forcefully, everyone, everybody, all men, all nations, all things…etc. I really and truly want to know.

The narrative theology you pointed to, when you read the entire thing, is not clear. And the quotes, as I study them, from my perspective are true. But a Christian Universalist would affirm the same statement (as would a Mormon, or even a JW!!)

So your kind discourse is not wasted. Not on me, anyway.

111   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Jesus is our only hope for bringing peace and reconciliation between God and
humans. Through Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into right relationship with God. God is now reconciling us to each other,
ourselves, and creation. The Spirit of God affirms as children of God all those who trust Jesus. _ Rob Bell (emphasis mine)

It isn’t “anonymous Christian” because Christian universalism believes Jesus is the ONLY way all people will be saved. And I’m not saying Bell is a universalist; I’m saying he’s a Christian universalist the same way Chad is declaring himself one.

A Christian Universalist will say the same things above, as would NT Wright. In dealing with Justification, it is not a settled Issue according to Wright, until the final day. And that is the problem with Bell; there is a lack of clarity that is needed to understand who is involved and how they are justified.

112   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 5:03 pm

What is the sub-title of the book?

113   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:05 pm

John – I do notbelieve you can say that with certainty. The most you can say is that he is unclear on his view of Christian universalism.

114   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

#112
Which Book?

115   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

A manifesto for Christians in Exile?

116   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

PB,

Iggy,

You are wrong about what I am saying. You are wrong about my motives..

Your motives and what you say are right out there for all to see…

I will not discuss any further with you.

Thank God!

Again a refusal to try to understand things… and the persistence in fulfilling Titus 3:10-11

There is nothing more to say to you as you are a huge hypocrite that loves division and harming others churches, ministries and families.

I am seriously considering writing to CMA and warning them about you and what you are doing in harming others… I am also thinking about using the quotes here and elsewhere where you deny basic tenants of hte faith.

iggy

117   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

A Christian Universalist will say the same things above, as would NT Wright.

And let’s see – we’ve already pretty much shown that N.T. Wright is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a Christian Universalist. AND we know that, prior to having their Narrative Theology on their website, MHBC referred folks to a rather long essay by Wright.

So, I think we’d be much more charitable by linking Bell w/ Wright’s NON-universalist view, rather than the one you’ve assigned to him, based upon no solid evidence but your hatred of Bell…

118   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 5:20 pm
Neil: What is the sub-title of the book?

A manifesto for Christians in Exile

So – who is the audience of the book?

When Bell uses “we”, is he referring to all of mankind or to that subset of mankind who have answered the call to follow Christ?

(Hint (just to avoid too much subtlety, which is not your forte): The subtitle of the book gives you the answer to the question…)

119   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Chris L,

I guess the real issue is that PB is suggesting that “Christians” who have placed their faith in Christ Jesus will not be saved…

He can claim I am putting words in his mouth, but that is the logical conclusion one easily gathers from PB’s own words.

So… what do we have?

Bell who teaches that all the Elect will be saved and the world redeemed and set to right?

Or PB’s denial that God will save the Elect as that is too Universalist of God to do so?

Again, we have a false teacher in the midst and it is not Bell…

iggy

120   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 5:26 pm

OH MAN – I did some googleing of the book and just discovered the whole ARG behind it… how brilliant.

Did anyone know about this?

It even discussed the footnotes – I thought I had discovered a typo in the book but it was part of the game.

Anyway, if you follow the game sites you’ll see it’s not a book about salvation – case closed.

http://jesuswantstosavechristians.blogspot.com/
http://www.jesuswantstosavechristians.com/

121   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

The sub-title of the book?

“Let the Arguments Begin!”

122   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

…Two days later I finally deciphered what the boxes on the cover meant.

Reading this caused me to look at the cover again… I was able to decipher it as well… though knowing there was something to decipher allowed me to do it in a couple minutes, not days.

Again, brilliant (the cover, not me)

123   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

A Christian Universalist will say the same things above, as would NT Wright. In dealing with Justification, it is not a settled Issue according to Wright, until the final day. And that is the problem with Bell; there is a lack of clarity that is needed to understand who is involved and how they are justified.

And why is it our problem to say who and who is not justified? Why can’t we be content to say that final judgment is up to God and not us?

Bell (and Wright) clearly say that people need to be reconciled to God or that they need to live in the reality that they are reconciled to God (which is really just semantics), so it’s clear they’re not saying that people are simply OK the way they currently are. So what is the issue?

124   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 5:40 pm
But, in JWTSC he is not talking about salvation in that sense. Bell never said “saved” in that sense. And, obvious to most of us, his reference to libertion as a parallel to Exodus is not about being saved… in the narrow modernist sense. – Neil

Then what is it about? – Pastorboy

OK John, I am assuming you are sincere.

It is about social justice.

It is about fighting the reduction of the Gospel to nothing more than a transaction about the removal of sin that ignores the promise of new creation. The Gospel is the former, but it is also the latter.

It is about the parallel of empires and how they oppress… and how Christians should act within and against them.

It is about the church, it is not about getting saved, it is about being saved.

It’s about the truth of a new earth in the future (Revelation 22) and how that fact should effect how we live today.

It is not a tract.

It is not a Gospel presentation.

It is not a social Gospel, but a Gospel that is also social.

It’s about Jesus saving Christians from just sitting around lamenting how bad everything is and hoping the rapture takes us all away form it.

It is about a God who stands against the injustice of empires that subjugate people with fear and power.

And the effect of this portion of the Gospel is potentially universal.

125   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

OH MAN – I did some googleing of the book and just discovered the whole ARG behind it… how brilliant.

Ok, now I feel like I’m being ignored…
See comments #47 & #48! :cry:

126   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

John,

You may disagree with Bell about America as an empire.

You may disagree with him on the war in Iraq.

You may disagree with his take on Solomon.

You may dislike his blog style book.

You may disagree with his belief that we can make the world a better place.

BUT, if you continue to question his promotion of a Christian (or otherwise) Universalism…. Be very clear here, now, henceforth — you are not disagreeing with Bell – you are misinterpreting him,

you are twisting his message,

you are addressing an argument

he

is not making.

127   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Eugene,

Not ignored – missed. I saw Pastorboy’s post #49 and my eyes started to bleed… I thought, not again? The started addressing him.

But I think the comments posted above should end that debate once and for all…

128   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

How about the cover Eugene – see the message in the boxes?

129   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Eugene forgives Neil… :)

130   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

How about the cover Eugene – see the message in the boxes?

My book budget has been blown! JWTSC will have to wait till next month…

131   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 5:54 pm
How about the cover Eugene – see the message in the boxes?

My book budget has been blown! JWTSC will have to wait till next month…

Go to http://www.jesuswantstosavechristians.com/
and click on “cover” -

132   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

The…blocks:
[OK - I've never edited someone comments before... but do you really want to give it away? - Neil]

133   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Sorry!!! :oops:

134   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

That whole cover desing just goes to show ya… what might look random… what might look annoying… what might look meaningless…

…might have real depth of meaning.

135   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

That’s OK – I’ll undo it if you like… since it was you comment. I just figure, why give it away?

136   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Perhaps we should tell PB about the hidden messages as he finds it so hard to get what JWTSC is all about… You know – A little help from his friends

137   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I’m not sure it will help, besides the issue should be resolved with comments 118, 124, and 126. There is now no room for questioning Bell on this one.

And also, I suspect that Pastorboy will just find the cryptic message even that much more annoying since he’s such a modernist.

(PB – I don’t mean that in a negative way… pomo and mo are just ways of thinking – it’s how you apply it that matters. I too have to fight from being overly mo)

138   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Where are the “orthodox” or “reformed” voices crying out for the poor and needy? Where are the discernment voices growing hoarse from raising the clarion call to pick up the fallen and bind up the wounded? Where are the voices that stream with dcotinal purity calling out with passion about the millions of Samaritans lying naked in a ditch?

Where are the orthodox ears that listen to endless hours of redundant teachings but the cries of senseless suffering around the world arrive silent upon those same ears?

Go ahead, make Bell a universalist if you must, and even assume that he is, how does that absolve us all from what he says? How does that allow us to return to doctrinal dormancy while letting the poor “eat cake”? How in God’s dear name can we use the writings of one man as an excuse to look the other way while millions suffer and die, and millions in our own backyard are in desperate need as well?

Where in the Scriptures does call call a sower to be a seeker of tares? If you believe Bell to be a universalist or even the greatest heretic of our time, how does that absolve anyone from obeying Christ?

“What is that to you…follow Me.”

139   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Rick,

“Why polish the brass on a sinking ship?” – they would ask.

“Why feed the body if the soul perishes?” – they would ask.

“The Bible says it will only get worse and worse, so nothing can be done.” – they will charge.

“To address these issues is what the Anti-Christ will do…” – they will warn.

140   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Neil – are we suggesting that as a jetliner begins a nose dive descent over land, and it becomes obvious that no one will live, and an old lady with asthma next to you loudly asks you to reach her breathalizer in her purse, do you ignore that need in view of her impending doom?

141   Neil    
January 19th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I’m just say’n what I learned from the Rapture Ready folks – they oppose any efforts to help the oppressed.

142   M.G.    
January 19th, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Reading the Rapture Ready bulletin boards is strangely addicting. It’s just such a fascinating stream of urban legends, conspiracy theories, and extreme right-wing politics.

I wonder if PB thinks the commentators there are generally spot on or if they are too extreme even for him…

143   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 19th, 2009 at 9:19 pm

#141.
Well, Jesus did say…

144   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Okay, I do not get the cover. I tried the site.

145   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 10:34 pm

#138

This reformed voice cried out about Obama’s 170 million dollar inauguration.

146   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 19th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Well, one would think the “reformed voice” has bigger things to worry about but hey…making the world a better place is important to the “reformed voice.”

147   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 10:45 pm

The reformed voice was more about criticizing Obama and the emergents than the plight of the poor. Meet the new boss same as the old boss.

148   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

170million could buy a lot of food and clothing and homes. Where are the emergent voices?

149   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 11:03 pm

I am sure Shane Clairborne and Greg Boyd are speaking of it.

150   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 11:07 pm

not on their blogs!

151   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I revise my statement. After visiting Clairborne’s site, it seems he is not versed in criticizing and condemning. So instead of speaking against Obama, he seems to have adjusted his own life instead.

I respect him for that, even though the picture on his blog is a little creepy. :cool:

152   M.G.    
January 19th, 2009 at 11:13 pm

PB,

Did you protest Bush’s inauguration in 2004?

And if you think the costs are different, here is the actual story…

http://mediamatters.org/columns/200901170003

153   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 19th, 2009 at 11:20 pm

ABC is a lot more in the pocket for Obama than this guy is for Bush, so I trust ABC’s #’s more than this bitter character.

A little too obvious here….

The point is, whoever spends it, its ridiculous in terms of the supposed economic problems.

154   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 11:21 pm

All of them spend obscene amounts of money. I love the firewall that divides “conservatives” and “liberals”. Ingrid calls Obama a “baby killer” which seems to be her connection with the Roman Catholic Church that Ken calls apostate.

It is such a pleasure to pronounce judgment on everyone from the comfort of a blog. And when the ones you criticize are “totally depraved” its a win-win situation, a gift that keeps on giving!

155   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 19th, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama – who cares? That is not our business, let the dead bury the dead, we must follow Christ.

I will watch the inauguration, though, the entertainment value is too much to resist. And a confession – I really like to see people treat each other nicely. I’m a sucker for grace, I guess.

156   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Actually the truth is Shane Claiborne has much to say about the inauguration.

http://www.sojo.net/blog/godspolitics/2008/11/07/a-prayer-for-a-new-president-and-a-new-america/

Also that is a fabricated story and amount…

See here and here

iggy

157   Bo Diaz    
January 19th, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Interesting that the only time we see Pastorboy raising a voice for the voiceless is when it can be couched in an attack on a political enemy.

158   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 19th, 2009 at 11:38 pm

170million could buy a lot of food and clothing and homes. Where are the emergent voices?

What do you care? We don’t need to worry about making the world a better place.

159   M.G.    
January 19th, 2009 at 11:41 pm

PB,

The two articles don’t contradict each other… It’s just a matter of reading comprehension…

“We have a budget of roughly $45 million, maybe a little bit more,” said Linda Douglass, spokeswoman for the inaugural committee.

That’s more than the $42.3 million in private funds spent by President Bush’s committee in 2005 or the $33 million spent for Bill Clinton’s first inaugural in 1993.

In terms of private donations, it’s a difference of 2.7 million. But the 170 million, 45 million comparison is inapposite.

I see now why you struggle with Rob Bell…

160   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 12:32 am

What a load of crap… bitch’n about the inauguration when the current Republican President promoted the bail-out… a trillion dollar war… etc… blah blah blah…

John, the fact that you are willing to speak in stereotyping hyperbole such as “All the social justice emergent church type…” and use the Obama inauguration to attack your brothers in Christ… arrrggghhhh! – SNAP!

I was right in posts #107 and #108, and I feel duped,

foolish,

tricked

for believing you were serious when you said you wanted to understand what Bell is writing.

All you are interested in is
attacking your brother in Christ.

All you are interested in is
looking for a speck in

THEIR
eyes.

All you are seeking is
some chink in their supposed armor that you can exploit and say “SEE – they really are heretics.”

I have been a fool
for thinking you really wanted to know
what the book was about.

I have been a fool
trying
to show
you how you missed Bell’s point.

How you were complaining about things he isn’t saying.

I have been a

fool
wasting
so much time
pointing out the obvious
to a man who has no intention
of seeing.

I am so disappointed.

Ya know John, when I saw your church’s site… the real one… and your wife, kids, concern for the lost… it really put a human face on you… a pastor…

in a normal denomination.

Then this!

It’s late,
and I should not give a damn about your insincerity…
it’s just I put all that time into answering your questions (cf. 124, 126, 137) and they are completely ignored… what a waste!

No acknowledgment.

No interaction.

No learning… just another

another gripe session starts about something completely different

another switch…

a complaint about what they did not do.

How dare you insinuate Claiborne, Bell, Warren, are unconcerned about the poor.

Well, ya know what John, I didn’t speak out about the cost of inauguration either… guess that makes me a Universalist as well.

161   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 12:57 am

Okay, I do not get the cover. I tried the site.

Go to the site: http://www.jesuswantstosavechristians.com/

Click on the cover to make it enlarge.

Focus on the white boxes and observe. Take some time. Notice each larger box is broken into quadrants. Ask yourself “Why are there gray boxes in some of the white boxes?” What significance might that have?” “Is there a pattern to them?” “What do they form?”

Or just ask and I’ll tell ya…

162   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 1:00 am

Reading the Rapture Ready bulletin boards is strangely addicting. It’s just such a fascinating stream of urban legends, conspiracy theories, and extreme right-wing politics.

No doubt. I loved it until they kicked me off. The one ting they will not tolerate is dissent from the party line… you’re either in the Amen Chorus or you are out.

163   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 20th, 2009 at 8:01 am

I looked at the dots and I still don’t get it. How does that affect my IQ?

164   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 9:32 am

Count the number of words in the title and then the blocks… really it is pretty hard to see… but they are related.

165   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 20th, 2009 at 10:19 am

I am decidedly right brained and things like that often miss me.

166   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 10:47 am

Rick,

I sorta had to have someone point it out myself…

167   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 10:48 am

Now tell me is this code throughout the book? as I notice on the green pages there are white dots.

168   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 11:56 am

I can’t imagine the outside being more interesting than the inside.that’s just me though.

169   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 11:57 am

If it takes that much effort to figure out the cover who will understand the theology?

170   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 11:59 am

SPOILER ALERT

Rick,

Since you asked: The large white boxes (that are sub-divided into quadrants) spell out the name of the book. It’s easier to recognize of you look at the second and third boxes (starting in the upper left hand corner and read across) The second box in us an “E” the third an “S” the fourth as “S” – it’s very subtle… very cool.

171   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

If it takes that much effort to figure out the cover who will understand the theology?

I don’t think there is any correlation there. The theology is easy to understand, unless you are looking at it as something it is not.

172   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I’m done discussing this with Pastorboy as long as he keeps making a fool of me with his…

But since I promised to show how Bell is not advocating any form of Universalism from the book itself I will.

At the center of the Christian expereince is crying out in our slavery and being heard by God. Trust that through Jesus, God has done for us what we could never do for ourselves.

Rescue.

Redemption.

Grace…

…And in exile we can slip into despair,

or we can reimagine everything.

Confession.

Repentance.

A fresh start.

A clean slate.

We cry out in our exile and God hears us and we experience rebirth.
[JWTSC, pgs. 173, 174]

There we have it; no universalism.

173   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

But Universalists say “fresh start” also!

LOL!

Gag me… I cannot see how someone can honestly state they see Universalism of any form in the book… I can’t even see Christian Universalism in it… I see the Gospel plain as day and that it is about Christians… Like the title states!

So it seems that PB has an agenda to prove himself right instead of taking some humility and stating he is wrong, wrong, wrong… again, and again, and again. All I see from him and his fellow ADM/ODM are those who desire to prove their own righteousness by using the world’s tools to harm others. And then cry like babies when it is done to them.

“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

Romans 2:1. You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
2. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4. Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? 5. But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

Instead of humility and gentleness they swagger in their slander and choose to not be a light, but boast in all the darkness their eyes can see.

Matt 6:22-23 22. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

iggy

174   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Neil, no disrespect, and I am not trying to bait you, so please forgive me in advance..

This does not disprove Christian Universalism.

Rob Bell still says all people everywhere

He believes it is through Christ, yes….

But it is individual justification that we differ on. He believes (as does NT Wright) that justification is a corporate issue. We are all justified. All things will be made right at the judgement. All people will be in the new heavens and the new earth. All people will be able to be part of the reconciliation. There is no Hell. All will be Christians! (It is sort of like the JW’s teach)

And why doesn’t Rob Bell mention the Inauguration festivities as an inappropriate way to spend money…. not just on war…Total Rabbit trail I know…just sayin…

Neil, really, not trying to bait you. And I will not address Iggy. I think at least Neil is honest, here.

175   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:08 pm

But it is individual justification that we differ on. He believes (as does NT Wright) that justification is a corporate issue. We are all justified. All things will be made right at the judgement. All people will be in the new heavens and the new earth. All people will be able to be part of the reconciliation. There is no Hell. All will be Christians! (It is sort of like the JW’s teach)

This is a lie. Plain and simple. Quit lying, John.

176   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

And I will not address Iggy.

Thank God again as I no longer care or desire to hear what PB has to say… He is just so sad and blind to things… always pushing to prove his lies.

I am ashamed he thinks he represent Jesus…

iggy

177   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

The “gotcha” game of who hasn’t addressed an inconsistency among their own camp will always end in a tie. Why hasn’t the reformed group criticized the “Christian cruises” that MacArthur hold every year and costs tens of thousands of dollars?

To criticze Rob Bell for not criticizing the inauguration price tag is just silly. If you are suggesting Bell is not perfect I am sure he pleads guilty with enthusiasm.

178   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Phil,

It is not a lie. Read NT Wrights treatise on the New Perspectives on Paul. The justification he says that Paul spoke about was universal and corporate.

179   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

NT Wright on Hell:

180   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

(p. 45 of What St. Paul Really Said), “[The gospel] is not . . . a system of how people get saved.


“The announcement of the gospel results in people being saved. . . . But ‘the gospel’ itself, strictly speaking, is the narrative proclamation of King Jesus.” “[The gospel is] the announcement of a royal victory” (p. 47).

181   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Pastorboy,

I do believe you honestly believe this, but it will take some time before I engage with you again.

For you to say N. T. Wright believes there will be no Hell, that all will be Christians is… words fail me…. all you need do is read Wright (cf. #61).

For you to say Bell believes there will be no Hell, that all will be saved, that all will be Christians despite the clear statements Bell has made to the contrary is mind-boggling.

And since you have chosen to ignore all my posts about Paul sounding like a Universalist, how you read Bell like Chad reads the Bible, how you have mistakenly assumed Bell was taking salvation, how words were clear when from me but not clear when you found out they were Bell’s, your lack of showing where Bell says the things you claim… I am through.

I do not know why you insist on twisting Bell’s words.

But if you want me to spend any more time with you – I say Put up or shut up.

Outlandish statements such as those in 174 will no longer be addressed by me.

When you are willing to take words at their face value, I will discuss them with you…

182   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:24 pm
What Paul means by justification . . . is not ‘how you become a Christian,’ so much as ‘how you can tell who is a member of the covenant family’” (p. 122)

.

“Justification” in the first century was not about how someone might establish a relationship with God. It was about God’s eschatological definition, both future and present, of who was, in fact, a member of his people. In Sanders’ terms, it was not so much about “getting in,” or indeed about “staying in,” as about “how you could tell who was in.” In standard Christian theological language, it wasn’t so much about soteriology as about ecclesiology; not so much about salvation as about the church.” (119)

I accept your apology, Phil.

183   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

From the video, above. NT Wright:

If there is, deep down, a rejection of the good Creator God, then that is the choice humans make.

In other words, I think that human choices in this life really matter. We’re not just playing a game of chess where tomorrow morning, God will put the pieces back on the board and say “OK, that was just a game, now we’re doing something different.”

The choices you make here really do matter. There is part of me that would love to be a universalist and say “it’s all right, everyone will be together in the end”, but I actually think the choices you make are more important than that.

NOW, will you finally admit you have misrepresented Wright and Bell?

184   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

This does not disprove Christian Universalism. – PB

SO WHAT!!!!!!! You assume something then ask me to disprove it.

&*@#%#&!!%*&@!… I say NO!

The burden is on you to prove it…

185   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

NT Wright is right… it is universal or else none of us could be forgiven… but we are not saved by the death of Christ… we are saved by his Life.

Romans 5:10. For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Note when justification comes…

18. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

It is that we have been justified at the Cross that the resurrected Life of Christ is now imparted to us…

PB, you confuse salvation and justification… when we enter into salvation we then become the just that live by faith.

This is basic… and you do not understand what the bible is clear about.

We continue to learn to be Just as Jesus was Just.

iggy

186   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

#182

am I supposed to guess who said that?

187   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

am I supposed to guess who said that?

See the video in #179… NT Wright

188   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Now I am wondering why I tried to explain that to PB again? He will choose not to understand so he can still be right and prove Bell wrong even when PB is disagreeing with Scripture itself…

It is truly disheartening to see someone so blinded by their own need to be right in their own eyes and blind to the truth of God’s word.

iggy

189   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

neil,

if i am supposed to prove it, then don’t get angry with me when i try to do just that.

190   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Chris L…

I came to the conclusion a while back that PB is sick… He cannot help but fill his need to be right in his own eyes.

I forget that at times… and recognize it as I do it myself too many times.

I pray for his healing by the Grace of God in Christ.

iggy

191   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

It is truly disheartening to see someone so blinded by their own need to be right in their own eyes and blind to the truth of God’s word.

I feel that way with you, Iggy.

192   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

RE 180 and 181:

What book is this from?
Did you read this book, the whole thing, yourself?

193   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I think, therefore I am.

Universalism and Calvinism have liabilities both common and unique. One supposes all will be saved which surely tempers evangelism, and Calvinism supposes only a very few can be saved which surely tempers evangelism.

Both must be rejected wholesale. Both can have true born again believers espousing their views.

194   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

What St. Paul Really Said, By NT Wright

I have not read the whole thing yet, working on it in conjunction with JWTSC, because they coincide in many areas.

195   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

neil,

if i am supposed to prove it, then don’t get angry with me when i try to do just that.

So far all I have seen from you is the practice of taking what someone says, missing/ignoring what they are talking about and then attacking what you think/say they are talking about.

So far you have not addressed my points, but trend to switch topics when your ascertains are rebutted.

What say you about the Wright video – you may diagree with his denial of Hell as a literal lake of Fire, but if you watch this and still say he advocated all will/are saved I cannot discuss with you further.

What say you?

196   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

If I prove Bell is a universalist, will that cause me to spend less at the grocery store? Will it help keep my children to follow Jesus? Will it help me to know my Savior more deeply?

Why would I spend time and energy on Rob Bell? Ideas, yes. Men, no. I wish Rob Bell and his family the wisdom to follow Jesus with all his heart, I have yet to achieve that myself.

197   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

(p. 45 of What St. Paul Really Said), “[The gospel] is not . . . a system of how people get saved.

I distrust “…”

In other places I have read Wright say the gospel is not only a system of how to get people saved… t which some omit the “only.”

198   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

PB,

I stated I recognized it in myself… my prayer is that you see it also in yourself.

Did you not see that in my comment above or did you do you Selecto Divinity comprehension reading again and choose to see only what you wanted me to say?

I have not been dishonest with you, nor lied about you… I have taken your direct quotes and pointed out your error which you then will back-peddle and come to a biblical view. Sometimes that is encouraging… yet most the time you then fall right back into your obsession lies about others. You are proven wrong over and over and yet seem to never see it…

On occasion you are right or agreeable sadly it is rare.

I try to have patience with you and use scripture for you to consider… instead you seem to disregard it.

It makes me sad for you.

iggy

199   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

The issue with “a system” is that the Gospel then becomes a formula to be worked so that one can be saved. This nullifies Grace and reduces it to works salvation.

So to argue that NT Wright is wrong is to argue that works righteousness toward one’s salvation is right.

Once again, I am amazed that PB falls into this sort of thinking as it cuts the heart out of the Gospel. Yet John Chisham promotes this teaching of works that nullifies grace again and again…

iggy

200   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 20th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

PB,
I’m sure I have read more Wright than you, so I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove. I’ve read all three of his “big” academic works, and I’m well aware of his view of justification. It’s not difficult. Basically, he believes in election in the corporate sense, which isn’t much different than the typical Wesleyan/free will theism view.

So Jesus died for all people and all creation. Whether or not people participate in that is a matter of free will. Our choices matter.

201   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Neil,

Believe me I feel your frustration…

202   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Phil,

What so many Wright haters do is lump him in with Borg and others that are more liberal in their views. Wright is the good guy in that conversation and they miss that.

Now I don’t agree with all that Wright states. I see that not all Jews saw the Law as a way to attain righteousness unto salvation… meaning “Legalistic” as it is used. Rather that some understood the Law, and some also used it to justify themselves before God. Wright may goo too far in stating that justification was just between the Jew and gentile.

I see that both views are valid. At times Paul is addressing the Jew/Gentile’s about justification and at times he is addressing our individual standings before God.

Since Jews and Gentiles are made equal in the Law as all have sinned, all are justified at the Cross and made into new creations by the resurrected Life of Christ.

I love Wright… he is thought provoking and can inspire more thoughts in one sentence than some can in an entire sermon.

I agree though that justification is not just a one time event, but a continuing process of events as we work out our salvation while God does His work in and and through us. In that we become as Christ being the Just living by faith bringing justices as Christ did. JEsus was the Just and the Justifier… and that is imparted to us.

So many misunderstand that it does not just pertain to the Elect but to all. For we were justified at the Cross by the death of Christ… and without that justification, we could not have had our debt of sin taken away. Sin was dealt with at the Cross for it was judged and died as the bible states “He became sin for us”.

But, this whole idea that Wright is a Christian Universalist is ludicrous… and a gross misrepresentation of what he teaches. So anyone who seriously believes that Wright teaches that would be laughed out of the room by Wrights more serious critics. There may be some room for criticism of his writings but to state he is a Christian Universalist is so out of touch with reality it is in the realm of La-la land and straight jackets.

And so that leads us to PB…

iggy

203   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

I don’t think Wright is a universalist, but he is quite adept at not entirely making that clear to people. And I can fully understand why some believe he is. I don’t believe he is, but I’ve only read six or seven of his books.

204   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
January 20th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

That is, some of statements seem to lean that way at times. Also, his understanding of “hell” is, in my opinion woefully inadequate.

205   Neil    
January 20th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I don’t think Wright is a universalist, but he is quite adept at not entirely making that clear to people. And I can fully understand why some believe he is. I don’t believe he is, but I’ve only read six or seven of his books.

This is true… but they cannot maintain that he is after seeing the video in which he flatly declares he is not.

Though clarity seems to be in the eye of the beholder…

206   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 20th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

That is, some of statements seem to lean that way at times. Also, his understanding of “hell” is, in my opinion woefully inadequate.

Well, I guess his view is that we just aren’t told the specifics of what it will be, so we shouldn’t focus on it too much.

Seriously, I grew up in the type of Evangelicalism that loved trying to scare people out of hell. In my experience, this only goes so far. It scares little kids and eventually the older ones will laugh at it. The people who make decisions based on this fear seem to have a huge rate of recidivism.

My little pet theory is that many American Evanglicals are drawn to the graphic descriptions of Hell because most of have had pretty posh lives, and we need to try to convince people they need to be saved from something. I would think that in different circumstances, people have an inherent understanding that they’re not in a good place and they need saved.

207   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I have a hard time that someone would have a question whether one is a Universalist when they state some will be in Hell. I understand some might believe hell is not eternal, yet even in that view, the idea of some either being annihilated or left in a state of non-humanness should at least be acceptable to answer that issue.

To be less than human would be hell in itself as it is now at times. We have no idea what being fully human means. At least not until we are resurrected and given our immortal bodies.

I can see a debate around hell itself whether it being eternal or not… Some like Stott see that it is not yet those who are tossed into the lake of fire are utterly destroyed.

To me I have read a few books of Wright and listened to many of his lectures and never once heard anything to lead me to even think of him as a Universalist… of any kind.

Again, the issue I see with Bell is that when taken out of context his words can be made to sound as if he is, which is what PB does… yet, in context, all those in Christ are to be saved which is what the book is about. Jesus The Son of David that leads us out of exodus into the New Creation as New creatures. In that we do as He does and imitate Him in His work. To state the True believer will go to hell seems to be adding and reading into Bell’s words and not taking an honest look at what he is actually saying. Again, if one does not understand the context and subtext Bell is building on, they will not “get” the book…

iggy

208   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 20th, 2009 at 2:56 pm

In Matt 25:46 the word “eternal” has in it the idea of “perpetual” or “past as well as future”. Meaning it is not like a timeline as we think of it in terms… but more like a continuation of what was into what will be.

I see that hell itself is like Wright stated, a state of being that is of life continued in everlasting death. Again, that is not that clear, but of a constant realization that one is not whole and will never be.

I see that Dante may have taken it to be a a perpetual doing of whatever sin held one in bondage… fornication with no release, the murderer being murdered over and over with out the release of death, the coveter always pushing bags of gold but never feeling the satisfaction of using it. All this in a real sense is what is happening now, but in a real sense (though maybe not as Dante suggests) will be present in those lost forever.

Imagine being raised to New Life at the resurrection only to desire to be away from God out of fear of their punishment only to find that is their punishment. They will never have the opportunity to be redeemed and will stay in an ongoing torment over it.

Again, the bible does not paint a clear picture but only alludes to Hell’s likeness in things like an ever burning garbage dump… or death that has a living person being eaten eternally alive forever… or a fire that is never quenched. These are but pictures but we really do not know the reality any more than we know the reality that Heaven will be.

iggy

209   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 20th, 2009 at 3:10 pm

For the record – I have never lumped Wright in with Marcus Borg who is by any standards an apostate.

210   Neil    
January 21st, 2009 at 1:16 pm

neil,

if i am supposed to prove it, then don’t get angry with me when i try to do just that. – Pastorboy

Agreed. I will get angry if you continue to ignore rebuttals, deflect and switch topics when confronted, and offer objections to things not said.

Historically these have been your three main tactics.

211   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 25th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I noticed on little phrase in the book that totally annihilates PB’s assertion that Bell is a Universalist let alone a Christian Universalist.

“Everything and everybody could then come home.” JWtSC page 89

Notice that IF Bell was a CU or even U believer Bell would have stated it, “Everything and everybody WILL then come home.” or “Everything and everybody could is now home.”

Yet, that Bell stated, “could” means that some might not… only that the potential that everything and everybody might… and if the reader noticed the othe clues such as Bell stating that one needs to “repent” and “believe” it should be obvious that PB is so far off the mark.

To me to state that Bell asserts Universalism and then with this statement Bell seems to leave it open that some might not come home even though they can, means that those who do assert that, miss huge clues that Bell in not saying everyone WILL be saved.

There is a big difference between “could” and “will”…

iggy