Jesus Wants to Save Christians
Chapter 3, David’s Other Son

“One thinks of the prophets of Israel, of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, all of them. They were par excellence the putters of words to things, and the words they put are so thunderous with rage and exultation, with terrible denunciations and terrible promises, that if you are not careful, they drown out everything else there is in the Old Testament and in the prophets themselves. At the level of their words, it is not truth they are telling but particular truths. They are telling about the nations and naming names, telling about Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Persia, and, above all, about Israel as a nation, and the truth they are telling until the veins stand out on their necks and their voices grow hoarse is the truth that by playing power politics Israel is not only bringing about her own destruction as a nation but is acting against her holy destiny, which is to be not a nation among nations but a nation of priests, whose calling it is to be a light to the world. -Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale, 17-18

“It is important to read Jesus’s parable of the lost son in the context of the whole of Luke, chapter 15, but the story has an even larger context. If we read the narrative in light of the Bible’s sweeping theme of exile and homecoming we will understand that Jesus has given us more than a moving account of individual redemption. He has retold the story of the whole human race, and promised nothing less than for the world.”-Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, 90

In my estimation, this is the best chapter in the book. I mean that sincerely. The authors bring us into the story in the earlier chapters, but in this chapter they focus our attention on a single point within that history. All eyes are turned towards the powerful, the Solomon son of David, the power-brokers like Rome and her Caesars. The prophets kept pointing and looking and searching–and they were not pointing to the powerful, the wealthy or the influential except to say ‘look at what won’t work.’ No, they pointed to God and said, ‘Behold God!’ Then one night, there in the midst of a dark and frightful place, all the light in the universe converged on a single human being: Jesus, the son of David.

And this chapter sets about the problem of understanding what it really means to be a, the, son of David.  They also point us in only one direction for it seems to me that the authors have taken this approach: there is only one true son of David. So over the course of 16 choppily written pages, the authors of the book scatter that Name 61 times. You may think I am merely making a rather pedantic observation that proves absolutely nothing. What can mere word counting prove or accomplish? Maybe you are right. My point is, however, that usually when an artist wants you to see something in a painting, something rather particular, she draws her picture in such a way that the perspective is drawn towards only one point. For example, the Last Supper by Da Vinci. All the perspective is focused on Jesus. Or a musician who writes a symphony will add in a refrain and come back to the refrain at various times throughout the piece.

That’s what Bell and Golden did in chapter 3: they brought our attention back to Jesus over and over again. As I read through the chapter, I kept seeing the name Jesus, over and over and over again. These men want me thinking about something…someone…in particular. They are drawing the perspective in such a way that I can neither see nor think of anyone else but Jesus. In other words, David’s other son can only be one person: Jesus. And they did so masterfully. For people who are routinely accused of being un-orthodox or anti-christian, or heretics, or whatever other label you may have heard–they sure do spend an awful large amount of energy to work their narrative and understanding of Scripture and history around Jesus of Nazareth.

It’s almost, dare I say, as if they were constrained to do so. It’s almost as if these god-haters read the Bible and see that there is only one possible outcome to the story. It’s almost as if they can could do nothing but write the name of Jesus over and over and over again in this chapter. Almost? These are men who have read the Scripture and they know where Scripture leads and the story it tells. Of course they were constrained! Of course there was nothing else they could write! Of course the only possible outcome of this story is Jesus. Of course.

Now I’d like to make a couple of pointed observations about the chapter that I found either heartening or troubling. I’ll keep these brief so as not to give away too much or overwhelm you with minutia.

First, one reason why this book resonates with me is due to the authors’, in my estimation, proper understanding of Israel as a kingdom of priests. I know there are all sorts of ways to understand and misunderstand the role of Israel in redemptive history. I doubt seriously any of us will ever fully exhaust the literature or debate. But in my judgment, I think many theologians have overplayed the ‘Israel’ card much to the detriment of Israel. Jesus, yes, was ‘sent to the Jews’ first, but I don’t this was ever meant to mean that he was sent to the Jews only. In fact, when Matthew tells us of Jesus’ beginnings, he quotes from Isaiah’s prophecy and said that Jesus fulfilled it. What does he quote? A passage about Gentiles! (Matthew 4:12-16). So Bell and Golden note, “Jesus hears everyone’s cry, even the cry of the Canaanites” (79). Or, another way, “Not just Jewish exile but human exile [...] So if all creation is in a sort of exile, east of Eden, estranged from its maker, far from home, what’s the penalty for that?’” (88, 89). This also comports with the quote from Kellar above.

I guess I sort of grow weary of the typical John Hagee approaches to Israel. Bell and Golden rightly view Israel as priests, a son of God (‘out of Egypt I called my son’), who were meant to fulfill an important, redemptive role, but failed. “The prophets had declared that someone would come who would be willing to pay that price, the price for all of creation breaking covenant with God. And if that price was paid, that would change everything” (89). Indeed. And they say that it was Jesus who was Israel, the son of David, the Adam who didn’t fail, the Suffering Servant, the new Moses. Jesus and only Jesus. That’s a rather important and exclusive thing to say because if it was Jesus it cannot be anyone else; there can be no other way.

Second, a complaint. On pages 83-84, the authors bring up an important point: “The writers [prophets] 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” (83). The problem here is that this language is a wee bit fuzzy. I’m fully on board with the former statement (‘…not just a specific group of people…’), but that latter part of the statement is a bit fuzzy and unclear and unrefined (and to an extent, undefined). Jesus did, indeed, promise that he will ‘draw all people’ to himself (83) and I think Bell and Golden are right to emphasize the ‘all’ of this, but here I think they can easily be accused of espousing a non-exclusive version of redemption (not a Calvinistic sort of limited atonement, but an atonement that makes no demands on those who are saved). “The ‘whole world,’ ‘all nations,’ ‘all people,’ ‘all things’ are the biggest, widest, deepest, most inclusive terms the human mind can fathom. And they were on the lips of Jesus, who is describing himself” (84). I think this statement is far too vague and indeed I didn’t think they spent enough time or space unpacking what they mean by this. They step to the edge, but never walk over it. Maybe it was intentional.

I really don’t want this to relapse into a discussion concerning universalism. They are clear, I think, that Jesus is the way (81). They are unclear on who will follow that way and exactly what ‘Jesus is the way’ means. I’m not saying they don’t clear it up later, but I am saying that this is an easy place for someone who is nit-picking to do just that: nit-pick. Here I think the language should be clarified or they are open to the very charge they probably don’t want to be labeled with. I’m not saying they are universalists. I am saying that they open themselves up to the possibility of being accused as such. (In my judgment.)

Third, the authors are wholly dependent upon Scripture to make their case. They rely on the prophets. They rely on Moses. They rely on the Gospels.  In fact, the last 8 pages are an exposition of sorts on Luke 24. The best sentence in the chapter highlights the importance they place on Scripture: “In a couple of hours, using nothing but the Hebrew Scriptures, this man converted all of their despair to hope and a vision of the new future” (90). They are pointing out what Jesus saw as the real problem: “In Jesus’ day, people could read, study, and discuss the Scriptures their entire lives and still miss its central message” (90). This is their point: By taking those two disciples on the road to Emmaus back through the Scripture (Law, Psalms and Prophets) Jesus was saying, ‘Look, I was there all along. God had already told you what to look for and you missed it.’

The authors are warning us, as preachers should, not to miss Jesus. It is far too easy and far too often that people miss the greater point. We get so consumed by systems and ideas and proof and (being) right (thinking we know when really we do not) that we miss the point of Scripture which is, surely, Jesus. We want to carry around Scripture like a sword in our hand instead of as sword in our mouth which it really is. In doing so, we miss the point; we don’t hear the refrain; we get caught up in a detail and miss the perspective, the focal-point. This, it seems to me, is their warning: We cannot afford to miss Jesus. And if those who walked with him did, how much more easily will we if we are not cautious? “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27; see also, Luke 24:44). 16 pages. 61 times. And if you have read the book and noticed the style of writing and sentence structure then you know that this is a much greater ratio of words to words than it is words to pages. Don’t miss Jesus. (See page 91.)

There are some other things that are important about the chapter, but these sort of stood out to me. Other points that could be discussed are: their use of exclusive terminology (81), the importance of the suffering servant (87), their discussion of exile (89), the importance of non-violence (88), and the crusher of serpent’s heads (90).

The Scripture presents to us the history of humanity. A pretty picture it is not. It is a tragedy. According the Buechner, “The Gospel is bad news before it is good news. It is the news that man is a sinner, to use the old word, that he is evil in the imagination of his heart, that when he looks in the mirror all in a lather what he sees is at least eight parts chicken, phony, slob. That is the tragedy” (Telling the Truth, 7). But it doesn’t end there: “But it is also the news that he is loved anyway, cherished, forgiven, bleeding to be sure, but also bled for. That is the comedy” (Telling the Truth, 7)

But if we miss Jesus, the world will never know that. Bell and Golden’s point is that if we miss Jesus how in the world will anyone else get him? David’s other son is, and can only be, Jesus. This is the Jesus who crushes the head of the serpent, this is the Jesus who suffers, this is the Jesus who leads us out of exile, this is the Jesus who instead of resisting violence absorbs it, this is the Jesus whom Scripture speaks of in exclusive terms. This is the Jesus of bad news and good news. “In Jesus’ day, people could read, study, and discuss the Scriptures their entire lives and still miss its central message. In Jesus’ day, people could follow him, learn from him, drop everything to be his disciples, and yet find themselves returning home, thinking Jesus had failed” (90)

Jesus wants to save Christians from thinking that he failed. Jesus wants to save Christians from missing the point of Scripture. Jesus wants to save Christians from missing Jesus. And if there wasn’t a real danger that we might, or a dangerous reality that we have, there wouldn’t be a need for a warning, would there?

Soli Deo Gloria!

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98 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

“They are clear, I think, that Jesus is the way “

So are most universalists. This is the problem I have with Bell (big deal right?). After a while he reads and hears some of ther uncertainties about his views and it would be easy to include even a sentence that would be a lockbox against any reasonable accusations. Here is an example of a sentence, one sentence, that would give great perspective:

“And without getting into the debate about those who have never heard the gospel, we realize there will be some who reject Christ and incur eternal consequences.”

Easy, right? There are those who avoid any negative observations concerning Rob Bell but a non-partisan evaluation asks the question “Why doesn’t he give some small perspective so that some of the “universalist sounding” language would be more fully defined?”

Speak clearly. Gracious, loving, humbly, poetically, but clearly nonetheless.

2   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Or even better:

“I am not a universalist.”

Game, set, match.

3   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 7th, 2009 at 7:17 pm

I’m not going to engage this debate Rick. I said in the post that he was fuzzy about it, and that’s just as far as I wish to go on this thread. We have hashed and rehashed this debate time and time again. I didn’t say Bell is a universalist, and I don’t know that he is. All I said is that his language is a bit fuzzy.

4   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 7th, 2009 at 7:19 pm

It doesn’t take away from the fact that in the chapter they continue to bring our attention back to Jesus time and time again.

I grant they do not define ‘all’; neither does William Willimon in his book. It doesn’t mean they are universalists just because they hold out the hope that ‘all’ might just mean nothing less than ‘all.’

Fact is, we don’t know what will happen when Jesus returns and every tongue confesses and every knee bows before him, do we?

5   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 7:20 pm

That was my point as well. Not that Bell is or isn’t a universalist, but that it is confounding why the language cannot be even slightly more clear. I have no answer to that.

6   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 7th, 2009 at 7:30 pm

“Fact is, we don’t know what will happen when Jesus returns and every tongue confesses and every knee bows before him, do we?”

II Thess. chapter one gives a small glimpse.

“It doesn’t mean they are universalists just because they hold out the hope that ‘all’ might just mean nothing less than ‘all.’ “

The first generation “holds out the hope”, the succeeding generations will teach it as absolute truth. A genuine problem. Let us be clear about what we believe, I will continue to be uncomfortable about nebulous language concerning the eternal destination of those who reject Christ.

This is not a conversation about universalism, it is a conversation about who believes what and what do words mean.

7   supralapsarian    http://www.worldviewweekend.org
February 8th, 2009 at 7:38 pm

I really don’t want this to relapse into a discussion concerning universalism. They are clear, I think, that Jesus is the way (81). They are unclear on who will follow that way and exactly what ‘Jesus is the way’ means. I’m not saying they don’t clear it up later, but I am saying that this is an easy place for someone who is nit-picking to do just that: nit-pick. Here I think the language should be clarified or they are open to the very charge they probably don’t want to be labeled with. I’m not saying they are universalists. I am saying that they open themselves up to the possibility of being accused as such. (In my judgment.)

Their lack of clarity, in my view, is very clear and speaks volumes.

There is no ambiguity; they are Christian Universalists. They may believe Jesus is the only way; but they also believe that salvation is universal in Jesus. This is clear by statements made by both Bell and Golden within this book and outside of this book. They also believe that redemption is universal, extending to the plants and animals and earth.

scary stuff, all.

8   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Super – I would say that extending Christian charity in the matter, particularly since both have been clear on the matter elsewhere (in contradiction to your aside)- would be the better route to go. In Bell’s recent sermons, as well, he’s been clear that one must choose to follow Jesus, and that some will not accept the offer given.

As for believing in universal reconciliation, they take the view that God is restoring his Creation, not obliterating it and starting over from scratch.

9   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

BtW, super – tell Pastorboy I said Hi, since you’re at his IP address…

10   Bo Diaz    
February 8th, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Anyone here believe that Pastorboy II has actually read Bell?

Yeah, me neither.

11   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

I agree. The language that Bell uses cannot lead to a firm and unambiguous interpretation concerning universalism. Even universalists say you must follow Jesus. I continue to offer him this sentence without charge:

“I am not a universalist”. (written, spoken, braille, or sign language is acceptable)

That usually solves the question for anyone who doesn’t have an axe to grind.

12   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 8th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Well, there’s a picture of him at Facebook reading it. I take him at his word that he did.

I’m not suggesting, by my criticism, that Bell and Golden are Christian Universalists or any other sort of universalist for that matter. On the contrary, my point is that their language is fuzzy and would be nit-picked by those who want to do nothing more than nit-pick; my point is amply justified in the case with Supra above.

I wish the language had been clearer at that point in the book just so as to avoid the sort of statements made by Supra. However, I think it is also fair to take into consideration the entire corpus of their work before judging them as such instead of taking comments out of context and making blanket accusations. I will leave it up to others such as Chris L to make those sorts of defenses since he has most likely read more of Bell than I have and is therefore better informed.

Again, I want to reiterate that my complaint is that the language is fuzzy and that a first time reader like myself might be confused by the use of such words as ‘all’. That’s all I am saying.

jerry

13   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 8:22 pm

“my point is that their language is fuzzy and would be nit-picked by those who want to do nothing more than nit-pick”

Not everything is “nit picking”, there is such a thing as a genuine desire for clarification.

14   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 8th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

There is no ambiguity; they are Christian Universalists. They may believe Jesus is the only way; but they also believe that salvation is universal in Jesus. This is clear by statements made by both Bell and Golden within this book and outside of this book. They also believe that redemption is universal, extending to the plants and animals and earth.

If God is reconciling all things to Himself as Paul says in Colossians, why wouldn’t the rest of the created world be included too? I don’t see what’s “scary” about that. To me, it’s a very inspiring thought. God hasn’t abandoned His creation to decay.

15   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Phil – hoping that all men would live together in unity is an inspiring thought as well, but it’s not reality. One verse does not a doctrine make. It seems God mentions something about a large fire at the end instead of a flood.

16   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 8th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

John,
Can you provide any of these quotes in context? Especially by Golden? I’d love to hear them. Of course you could quote them when they talk about the Bible saying God is reconciling all things but that all there doesn’t mean all, right?
So come on John, crack researcher, you made a statement show us the support.

17   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

“If God is reconciling all things to Himself as Paul says in Colossians, why wouldn’t the rest of the created world be included too?”

I have seen this one verse quoted by those of the universalist bent, including Chad. How can that one verse be isolated to prove anything? Peter claims a coming fire, Paul says the Savior comes in flaming fire taking vengeance, and even Jesus suggests “away from me into everlasting fire…I never knew you”.

And now we suppose that plants and dogs and bacteria are all going to be “reconciled”? Where does it all end??

18   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 8th, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Oh, seriously. I wrote about a whole bunch of things in my review. Can we Please not talk about universalism? That is not the point I was trying to make. We agree the language is a bit fuzzy. Let’s talk about something else.

Sheesh. For example, let’s talk about Jesus who is the focus of the chapter? Isn’t this conversation about universalism the very thing we are being warned against? You know, Don’t miss Jesus in the Scriptures you are using to prop up all sorts of debates and myths and controversies?

Let’s talk about Jesus.

Pretty Please?

19   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 8th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I have seen this one verse quoted by those of the universalist bent, including Chad. How can that one verse be isolated to prove anything? Peter claims a coming fire, Paul says the Savior comes in flaming fire taking vengeance, and even Jesus suggests “away from me into everlasting fire…I never knew you”.

And now we suppose that plants and dogs and bacteria are all going to be “reconciled”? Where does it all end??

Well, even in 2 Peter 3:13, the author says, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” So yes, he is describing some sort of judgment before Christ’s coming, but in the context of when the book was written it seems that exhorting Christians to not give up hope under the persecution of Domitian and to not believe the naysayers.

The way I view it, Colossians and other passages describe creation being put back to the way that God originally intended it. So insofar as bacteria, plants, and animals were originally intended to be in creation, they will be reconciled back to that purpose. I won’t deny there’s a mystery involved in that. I don’t know how a reconciled tree will be different from one now, but I believe they are part of God’s creation, and He is reconciling it all to Himself. People are unique from all of creation in that they have a choice to take place in that or not.

20   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 8th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Rick,

Since Chad isn’t blogging right now or here to defend himself, I think we should leave him out of the conversation.

jerry

21   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 8th, 2009 at 10:16 pm

My mention of Chad was not an attack, just an observation. I guess the thread p0lice are on the prowl, even in the absence of any out of bounds rhetoric.

Jesus – Son of the Living God.

Good night.

22   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 8th, 2009 at 11:21 pm

So to me this debate is really a silly and stupid argument that “some” seem to read into Bell’s book as opposed to just reading it as it is and understanding where he is coming from and going. I have had no issue and have yet to see real examples of Universalism other than Universal Atonement… otherwise I just here stupid things like “their ambiguity speaks loudly…” well so does the judgementalism and condemnation of the person that wrote that!!!!! Maybe even more loudly… yet for all the warning against judging… there they go… adding to Bell’s words to make him fit their agenda of libel slander and hate of him…

Really it all has become boring and sickening… Christians who hate their brothers and sisters and claim they love Jesus… really that is clearly covered in the bible but the systematic theology of some seems to just cut and paste that part out… and as they ignore clear statements in the bible they focus on the sins of others while they sadly miss the truth is not in themselves…

iggy

23   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 9:51 am

The point is, it is not nitpicky to say that Bell’s language is fuzzy, and putting any construction on it, you can say in your view he is a universalist or he is not.

When you put a book out there, and young people read it, specifically young, post modern types, they take it as Gospel, and apply what they feel. Therein lies the danger, which is why we need to be crystal clear.

I am not going to give this book away, I am going to treat it like my Judas Priest and Van Halen records in the late 70’s….I am going to burn it! I do not want my kids to get a hold of it!!

24   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 9:54 am

I didn’t say it was an attack, I merely suggested that we leave him out of the conversation. You are free to ignore me.

25   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 9:58 am

#24

Please do not use the word conversation…it sounds so….emergent.

26   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 10:06 am

PB,

Can I have your Judas Priest records? Yes burning the book will certainly solve all the problems. You are doing the very thing I was warning would happen. You are worried about the wrong thing, really.

27   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 10:09 am

Besides the last paragraph, John brings up a valid point. I can read the book with 34 years of studying the Scriptures including a Bible college education as a perspective. But what if I had read it in my first year of conversion? What if I read it as one of the spiritually lethargic members of a mega-church?

The issue is not universalism, it is the importance of clear and unambiguous, albeit creative and modern, language which stimulates, inspires, as well as reinforces the truths of Scripture.

But true to form, the battle lines are drawn according to the “I am of Cephas…” principle. If McArthur had a new book which drew the lines too sharply as opposed to too fuzzy, he may not receive the same charitable reading that is offered to others.

A non hyperbolic, non ad hominen, non salvation questioning, and respectful conversation is only possible when it conforms to certain approved topics. And if we are limited to speaking about Jesus let’s go for it, but first check the archives of most blogs and He gets very little pub. :cool:

28   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 10:15 am

Rick, my point is that I wrote about 5 or 6 different things and the first thing you jumped on was the fuzzy language issue. And I agree with your point about a new covert. That’s why we read their entire corpus of works to see what they say elsewhere. My point is with the language not the issue it obfuscates. All I am saying is don’t get hung up on one point when I made many.

29   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 9th, 2009 at 10:22 am

Remember chat rooms and how you could push ignore and not have to read some peoples comments? That would be a nice feature to add here…

iggy

30   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 10:28 am

http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2008/04/eternal-scandalon-rom.html

31   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 9th, 2009 at 10:32 am

Personally for a new convert I would start in a different direction. I would give out books dealing with their new identity as a believer… then as they grow I would give them a book like this to show them that it is more than just about “me” getting “saved” but about building for the Kingdom of God…

Really to me the books context is about believers and as I read the bible, all that are Elect, will be saved… I do not read it as every single person is saved, but the potential for anyone to be saved is there. Salvation is universally announced to all people so that many might be saved. Bell seems very clear to me in all this… (unless I decided to read him with such an agenda that blinds me from seeing what he is actually stating.) The further contexts is that we are to be builders of God’s Kingdom and not be like the world and build our own… which is built by oppressing others…

iggy

32   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 10:33 am

I would recommend Bell’s books to new Christians without any qualms, actually. I’m not saying that they wouldn’t have some questions, but seriously, isn’t it part of our job as a more mature Christian to help answer their questions?

As far as the hell thing goes, I think that the conception of hell is so ingrained in the Western mindset that even non-Christians no about the idea. It’s not as if it’s some mysterious, secret belief that no one has talked about for the last several hundred years. It’s well in place in the American psyche.

I think Bell and Golden have done a good job of articulating a narrative theology that explains the story Christians are in, and what they are working toward. It’s gives people something to believe, not just something to be against.

33   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 9th, 2009 at 10:39 am

I am going to burn it! I do not want my kids to get a hold of it!!

How Hitleresque.

34   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 9th, 2009 at 10:40 am

BTW, I’m still waiting for quotes in context. Especially Golden.

35   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 10:45 am

I am going to burn it! I do not want my kids to get a hold of it!!

Telling your kids you don’t allow them to read something is probably the quickest way to make them want to read it, actually… Just sayin’

36   Joe    http://joemartino.name
February 9th, 2009 at 10:54 am

#21
Little touchy?

37   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 9th, 2009 at 10:59 am

Phil,

It is not that I would not recommend the book… I have no issue with the book. With new converts I just try to get them grounded in who they are in Christ before I talk about the mission they are called to. So, if someone I was discipling decided to read the book on their own I would try to have them focus on who they are in the big picture of their new vocation.

And then we would gather all the John MacArthur books we could find and build a huge bonfire… (j/k)

iggy

38   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:00 am

“Jesus insists that His work will lead to the renewal of all things. The “whole world”, “all nations, “all people”, “all things” are the biggest, widest, deepest, most inclusive terms the human mind can fathom. And they are on the lips of Jesus.” (pg.84)

“It is the way to a universal religion adequate to the challenge of saving human community and the ultimate renewal of all things.” (pg. 168)

“Because there’s blood on the doorposts of the universe.” (pg. 168)

Part of me hears fuzzy, but part of me hears clear.

39   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 9th, 2009 at 11:09 am

Matt 19: 28. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

1 john 2: 2. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Funny but I guess if I read the bible like some are reading Bell… Jesus and John are a bit fuzzy at times…

They must be Universalists… :wink:

iggy

40   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:19 am

Seriously what’s you problem?

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.

Case closed!

Neil

41   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:22 am

And once again I am constrained to remind Pastorboy that when I used this exact same language you agreed with me and you were satisfied… but when told the words come Bell…

42   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:22 am

#38

Thats what I do not want a new Christian to read…because it sounds like clear universalism. The blood on the doorposts of the universe?

43   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:24 am

#40
Out of context, great.

In context? Who are us? who is we?

44   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:26 am

They also believe that redemption is universal, extending to the plants and animals and earth.

Just out of curiosity Pastorboy, just what do you expect our eternal state to look like?

45   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:27 am

“Who is we?”?

46   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:29 am

Who made who, who made you?
Who made who, ain’t nobody told you?
Who made who, who made you?
If you made them and they made you
Who picked up the bill, and who made who?

Who made who, who turned the screw?

47   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:30 am

#40
Out of context, great.

In context? Who are us? who is we?

Context: It’s a doctrinal statement. From these questions John, it is obvious you are unteachable when it comes to Bell. Even when he makes clear statements of the exclusivity of Christ you are not satisfied – because they come from Bell.

48   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:32 am

This earth and universe will be burned, not reconciled. God will reconcile all things by creating new things. But there will be a great company of fallen humans that will never be reconciled or redeemed. I would think that if indeed you believed that, it bwould be wise to warn unbelievers of that as well as encourage believers to spread the gospel.

Most of Bell’s book centers on a “good neighbor” type of Christianity without much emphasis of the saving aspect of the message of the gospel.

49   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:35 am

#44

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw a the holy city, new Jerusalem, c coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and s he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem
9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And a he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve g foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

50   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:36 am

I started to post the whole paragraph for Pastorboy to see the context… but decided against it. He asked “Who are us? who is we?” While neither is used in the statement I quoted.

Maybe he meant the “our” and “all who” – but the referents to these are obvious from the context.

51   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:37 am

This earth and universe will be burned, not reconciled. God will reconcile all things by creating new things. But there will be a great company of fallen humans that will never be reconciled or redeemed. I would think that if indeed you believed that, it bwould be wise to warn unbelievers of that as well as encourage believers to spread the gospel.

How do you reconcile the belief that God is going to totally destroy the earth with the covenant He made with Noah after the flood? More specifically, that covenant is between God and all creation.

So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

I think the view that God is going to ultimately destroy everything is quite dangerous, actually. Heck, by polluting and destroying creation, we’re actually helping Him out. Might as well start burning styrofoam cups…

52   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:39 am

RE 49,

So you agree then that redemption may extend to the plants and animals and earth.

53   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 11:41 am

This earth and universe will be burned, not reconciled. God will reconcile all things by creating new things.

That’s one option of how it will take place, but there are others that are equally biblical.

But there will be a great company of fallen humans that will never be reconciled or redeemed. I would think that if indeed you believed that, it bwould be wise to warn unbelievers of that as well as encourage believers to spread the gospel.

No argument there.

54   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:43 am

Most of Bell’s book centers on a “good neighbor” type of Christianity without much emphasis of the saving aspect of the message of the gospel.

I don’t get what the problem is with Bell teaching Christians to love their neighbor. Loving God and loving our neighbors are our two mandates as Christians. So how is Bell doing anyone a disservice by encouraging Christians to love their neighbors?

55   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:54 am

#48 he is writing to the church for crying out loud. He doesn’t need to spell it out. These are sermons to people who already believe they are saved. And they are saying that we need to be careful not to miss Jesus. I don’t get the problem. This is why I said don’t get hung up on that one point.

56   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 9th, 2009 at 11:56 am

2 Cor 5:18. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19. that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

This earth and universe will be burned, not reconciled. God will reconcile all things by creating new things. ~ Rick F

Now Rick… will we be “burned”? or will we experience regeneration… I mean have we already been regenerated or not? To me the corruption will be burned away and the heaven and earth will be restored but in a glorified state… just as we are now clothed in corruption, but will later exchange that for incorruptible and imperishable bodies.

The idea that God did not reconcile this creation really is unbiblical… as I have quoted above, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,” which means not just us humans, but all of creation was reconciled.

Also, creation will not be judged… it was only subject to sin because of man’s sin…

Romans 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.

As far as the earth being destroyed by fire. I do agree, yet fire is most often about purification. God is a consuming fire. When Peter in 2 Peter 3:18 states that the earth will be made bare… it does not say the earth is destroyed… the elements are cleared away… and then the New Heavens and New Earth will come out of the old in a glorified state.

57   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 11:56 am

#54. Yes. I agree!!

Heaven forbid someone suggest we love our neighbors.

58   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 9th, 2009 at 11:59 am

I don’t get what the problem is with Bell teaching Christians to love their neighbor. Loving God and loving our neighbors are our two mandates as Christians. So how is Bell doing anyone a disservice by encouraging Christians to love their neighbors?

You don’t?

Think about the critics of Jesus for a moment… where they loving of others?

Think about some of Bell’s critics… are they encouraging and loving of others?

I think that should clear up that confusion… :smile:

iggy

59   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:00 pm

“So how is Bell doing anyone a disservice by encouraging Christians to love their neighbors?”

He isn’t. His problem isn’t what he does say, it’s what he does not say. The overall flavor of the book is filled with great observations, even craetive ones, about how we have seen the world in a limited view concerning justice and human compassion. I love some of his thoughts.

But he remains painfully light on the concept of justification by faith, and the commission before us to PREACH THE GOSPEL alongside those good works of compassion.

That is my problem.

60   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

As far as the earth being destroyed by fire. I do agree, yet fire is most often about purification. God is a consuming fire. When Peter in 2 Peter 3:18 states that the earth will be made bare… it does not say the earth is destroyed… the elements are cleared away… and then the New Heavens and New Earth will come out of the old in a glorified state. – Iggy

Furthermore, in the immediate context Peter references the flood:

By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

The parallel is unmistakable. Just as the earth was cleansed by the flood (but not destroyed and re-created) so it will be by fire at the end of the age.

61   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Per #57 and #58 -

I thought the thread was being cleansed last night, but if the door to sarcasm is now open let me know, I am well equipped to accommodate. :cool:

62   Joe    http://joemartino.name
February 9th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

But he remains painfully light on the concept of justification by faith, and the commission before us to PREACH THE GOSPEL alongside those good works of compassio

n.

Do you believe someone could say that about your blog?

63   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

But he remains painfully light on the concept of justification by faith, and the commission before us to PREACH THE GOSPEL alongside those good works of compassion.

That is my problem.

I believe your problem untimely lies in the fact that you want the book to address a subject that is not within its scope. It’s not a book about preaching the Gospel per se.

64   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

But he remains painfully light on the concept of justification by faith, and the commission before us to PREACH THE GOSPEL alongside those good works of compassion.

I don’t know. I think it’s a kind of an odd criticism to make of someone who makes his living preaching the Gospel. Specifically someone whom I’ve heard describe justification by faith multiple times in multiple sermons.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll continue to say it. If preaching were all the was required of Christians in the way of evangelism, America and a good deal of the rest of the world would already be Christian. We’ve preached until we’re blue in the face. The problem is that are words are betrayed by our action or lack of action.

Preaching is not enough.. if it were, we’d just beam Billy Graham all over the world and be done with it.

65   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

“Do you believe someone could say that about your blog?”

No, I do not. And here is some evidence.

http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2008/09/god-is-love-g-od-is-love.html

http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2008/06/preaching-and-bearing-cross-ll.html

http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2008/03/cross.html

And just in case it seems fuzzy, let me say that no sinner can have eternal life in heaven without being regenerated by the Spirit by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Most humans will die lost, few will be gloriously saved.

I trust I have been clear.

66   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

The parallel is unmistakable. Just as the earth was cleansed by the flood (but not destroyed and re-created) so it will be by fire at the end of the age.

Yes, and whenever the New Testament authors speak of fire, they most likely imagining as a purifying thing, not simply a destructive force. The fire rids the dross and saves the good. So the impression is that God will burn away all that is not of Him and leave the pure and holy.

67   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

God is perfectly capable of preparing a new heaven and a new earth. We are not called to do this; we are called to populate it through the preaching of the Gospel and new birth given by God.

Since it will only be populated by those who have their sins forgiven and are thus written in the Lamb’s book of life, shouldn’t we be about the business of getting the Word out?

68   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Since it will only be populated by those who have their sins forgiven and are thus written in the Lamb’s book of life, shouldn’t we be about the business of getting the Word out? – PB

You are so fun, John… you say things like this as if anyone here was advocating we should not be.

69   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

We’ve preached until we’re blue in the face. The problem is that are words are betrayed by our action or lack of action.

Perhaps you missed this:

The overall flavor of the book is filled with great observations, even creative ones, about how we have seen the world in a limited view concerning justice and human compassion. I love some of his thoughts.

Again class, I have no problem with the works he suggests and the scope of our call to minister to the earthly needs of humanity. My problem is the downplay of the message, without which no one can be saved. And if that is true, that should at least be part of the picture and not left on the other sdie of the pendulum swing.

But even though I have expressed praise for aspects of the book, I am left with the understanding that some find it most unpleasant to even suggest any problem with any writings on the approved list. To Jerry’s credit he did mention the fuzzy aspect. And if someone found a problem with any of my writings, I would love to know them and make my views very clear. Not a problem.

70   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

God is perfectly capable of preparing a new heaven and a new earth. We are not called to do this;…

As a whole this comment is a false dichotomy. As a statement of our calling it is just plain false.

71   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

But even though I have expressed praise for aspects of the book, I am left with the understanding that some find it most unpleasant to even suggest any problem with any writings on the approved list.

Rick,

This kind of lament is below your usual contribution… you may suggest problems all you like.

I think the problem is best described when you say

My problem is the downplay of the message, without which no one can be saved.

It appear you have missed the point of the book, and therefore troubled that it does not adequately answer a question it really never addresses at all.

72   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

But even though I have expressed praise for aspects of the book, I am left with the understanding that some find it most unpleasant to even suggest any problem with any writings on the approved list. To Jerry’s credit he did mention the fuzzy aspect. And if someone found a problem with any of my writings, I would love to know them and make my views very clear. Not a problem.

I’m not saying your not within your rights to express your opinion. It’s just that mine is different. Perhaps I am just not expecting as clear an articulation of Bell’s theology on all fronts. I don’t mind a little ambiguity. To me, there are times when a writer can be ambiguous, depending on his original intent in writing.

I think a big part of the motivation for Bell and Golden’s writing is to be provocative, and to be provocative sometime means leaving some questions unanswered.

73   Bo Diaz    
February 9th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I’m still waiting for answers from Pastorboy, when he said:

Christian marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. We as Pastors need to do everything in our power to make that picture looks good to the world.

does that apply to Ingrid and Steve Camp?

74   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

“It appear you have missed the point of the book, and therefore troubled that it does not adequately answer a question it really never addresses at all.”

And yet some are suggesting it does address salvation by consistently pointing to Jesus. Oh well.

75   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

This whole argument reminds me of discussions I’ve had with Christians about U2’s music. They say things like, why can’t Bono just come out and say “blah, blah’ blah” or why did he say this? “Why hasn’t he found what he’s looking for?”

To which I say, “why does he have to”? He’s writing a song from a certain perspective at a certain time. Why does it have to contain some universal, tightly-defined answer? It’s an expression of what he’s thinking at the time.

Do people live up to this standard of clarity in their own lives? Does everyone who knows you completely understand everything you say and do? I would think it’s an impossible standard to live up to.

76   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

“Do people live up to this standard of clarity in their own lives?”

No, obviously. But if you write a book that is filled with references to the Eucharist, Jesus, Christians, blood, and many other aspects of redemption one would think a certain foundational clarity would garner at least one small chapter.

The question remains, if indeed God has called us to minister to the earthly needs of humans, which he has, to what end?

77   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

The question remains, if indeed God has called us to minister to the earthly needs of humans, which he has, to what end?

To the furthering of His Kingdom, of course…

I think this argument gets down to different definitions of what the Kingdom is, really. I define it as anywhere where God’s will is done. I don’t know what definition others are using.

78   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

#76 you answered your own question by noting things such eucharist, Jesus, blood, etc. Again, class, the book was written to Christians so a certain amount of assumption exists necessarily.

79   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Bell himself suggests in interviews that his book is founded upon the Exodus model of redemption, so even though the book is written to Christians, as are the epistles of Paul, it deals with redemption and should be clear as to how redemption can apply to us and others.

The book is not just about being humanitarian, it’s about rescue and redemption. I cannot find any Biblical outline as to how that comes about. The gospel is always to unbelievers and Christians alike, and it provides the relief and foundation upon which all other truths are seen and understood.

I appreciate Chris sending me a copy and I have read it a few times. Again, class, I have found some great literary tools that bring out great truths with poetry, prose, and metaphors. Some I wish I had written. Class. :cool:

There will be a quiz.

80   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Rick,

Maybe this will help:

“Or did the stranger on the road teach them about exile? Not just Jewish exile but human exile. Not just exile from Israel but exile from Eden. Cain moved east, away from the garden. And we’ve been moving east every since. Everything is in bondage to decay and slavery; the whole cosmos is in a sort of Egypt. Everything is drifting east. Moses had told the people that if they weren’t true to the covenant, if they failed in the ‘if’ part, there would be consequences. A penalty to pay. The prophets picked up on this, insisting that the exile was that payment. So if all of creation is in a sort of exile, east of Eden, estranged from its maker, far from home, what’s the penalty for that? What would be the payment to end that exile? The prophets had declared that someone would come who would be willing to pay that price, the price for all of creation breaking the covenant with God. And if that price was paid, that would change everything. Everything and everybody could then come home. Did the stranger explain to them that the recent public execution of Jesus was that price?” (Jesus Wants to Save Christians, 88-89)

That seems a rather strong statement contra your angst.

81   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I have no angst. I just read that chapter again this morning, and I find that paragraph good but general and untethered to personal faith, and deals wholly with the the church community without addressing the personal aspect of faith, which seems to be a perspective of Tom Holland’s.

We will just have to see things differently.

82   Neil    
February 9th, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I have no angst. I just read that chapter again this morning, and I find that paragraph good but general and untethered to personal faith, and deals wholly with the the church community without addressing the personal aspect of faith, which seems to be a perspective of Tom Holland’s.

I know not of this Tom Holland of which you speak… but it would make sense to me, since Bell and Goldman are using the Exodus as a pattern, that they would speak in terms of the community not the individual.

83   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 9th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I believe Tom Holland is the author of the New Exodus view. The synergism model is useful, but almost all evangelical teachings with application use the Red Sea crossing as a metaphor for personal conversion through faith in Christ.

The entire church approach gives new insights into Biblical commands pertaining to the church, and that is good. The book is entitled “God Wants to Save Christians”, not the church, so it would seem applicable to at least mention the path of personal faith.

I will always wonder why Bell, so gifted in prose and Biblical insights, does not include some specific language that would indicate the necessity of personal faith in Jesus Christ as the exclusive door that must be opened before all the wonderful benefits he extols can be realized.

He is well aware of current discussion of issues and of where he stands, so either it is not important to include on page with unambiguous language or he chooses to ignore it completely.

84   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 9th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Rick,

I seriously think you are missing the point. He is talking to Christians who are saved and yet who are living under the delusion that faith is entirely personal and that it has no objective standard of measurement. (Love God, love people…where love God is nearly entirely subjective and love people puts flesh to it.)

You keep coming back to this thing about personal salvation thing:

I will always wonder why Bell, so gifted in prose and Biblical insights, does not include some specific language that would indicate the necessity of personal faith in Jesus Christ as the exclusive door that must be opened before all the wonderful benefits he extols can be realized.

He is assuming this to be true in those he is writing to. He is calling the Church, those already saved, to action. What’s the blurb again about the church in his community that spent $20 million on a building while people in that same community are starving. As one who preaches, I am well aware that there are times, many times, on Sundays when I don’t offer an invitation at all or tell the ‘plan of salvation’ either. It’s not necessarily necessary every week or time.

That’s not always the point of the sermon. And that is true with this book as well. They are showing Christians, already saved people, that what the church has been doing is contra what Christ did. That is, we try to work with power brokers and money and violence and these things have never worked–not in Israel, not in the USA, and they cannot work in the church because that defies the work of Christ who used none of them.

I don’t understand why you keep insisting he do something in the book that is not the point of the book? He points to Jesus as the model, the example, for how the church is to be and act in this world. And when we are stacked up against Jesus, we fall short. That’s his point, at least a major part of it.

jerry

85   Bo Diaz    
February 9th, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Big surprise, when confronted how specific application of his own words apply to his ADM masters Pastorboy is no where to be seen.

Dance puppet dance!

86   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 9th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Is not the church comprised of Christians? That’s like saying the book is written to white people not the human race.

87   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 9th, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Joe and Bo and Jerry,

That is why I just do not get this need for some that Bell must spell out salvation in this book… it seems that for some Jesus has not saved Christians yet…. which is funny as here Bell assumes that Christian are saved… names the book Jesus want’s to save Christians… (which is the call to work out of our salvation) and yet some seem to think the Elect will not be saved as the bible states….

So here we have some like PB denying scripture all over himself to disprove Bell who calls us to do the good works we were created to do…. and then stating Bell is a Universalist for stating that Christians are saved.

It is a strange and bizzaro world of the ADM/ODM… such none issues raised up to a Jihad level…

iggy

88   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 9th, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Yep… I think ODM/ADM’s come from here.

89   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 10th, 2009 at 12:57 am

Isn’t it strange that some of the very ones who are crying out that Bell needs to put statments in context usually do care about context?

Sort of like this…

90   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 10th, 2009 at 12:58 am

Derrr…. this should read…

Isn’t it strange that some of the very ones who are crying out that Bell needs to put statments in context usually don’t care about context?

91   Neil    
February 10th, 2009 at 11:19 am

Is not the church comprised of Christians? That’s like saying the book is written to white people not the human race. – Joe

Joe, I don’t follow what your point is here. How does this comment relate to the book being written to Christians?

And I would say that someone could write a book to/for white people but not the whole human race.

92   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 10th, 2009 at 11:32 am

Neil,
It’s a good thing you and I aren’t married. I can’t say that the sun is out and communicate it clearly to you.

My statement was in response to this statement.
The entire church approach gives new insights into Biblical commands pertaining to the church, and that is good. The book is entitled “God Wants to Save Christians”, not the church, (emphasis mine)

I was pointing out that I believed Mr. Freuh was constructing a dichotomy where one does not exist.

93   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:44 am

(Frueh) My point was in response to the suggestion that Bell had no obligation to address the spiritual condition/need of each individual believer, or at least present a short outline of faith upon which to build and expand.

The book is a great treatise on the expanse of our calling, and humanitarian works are largely the core which have many times been neglected within the church. The message of personal faith, and indeed the gospel itself, has been neglected in the book.

Perhaps it was as some have suggested intentional. It would be well for us to remember, when we see the Risen Christ He will display hands full of wounds, not hands full of food. There is at least a message of our foundational calling in that revelation.

94   Neil    
February 10th, 2009 at 11:46 am

Joe,

Context is everything – thanks.

95   Neil    
February 10th, 2009 at 11:50 am

Rick,

At this point I guess we;ll just have to disagree that a book written to Christians about expanding their call in a culture must/should include an indepth delineation of something assumed…

That said, I’ll launch one disappointment I had with the book. I suppose he did not include many examples or applications so we would have to figure it out and apply it ourselves… I would have liked more illustrations of what his “call” looks like when applied.

96   Joe    http://joemartino.name
February 10th, 2009 at 11:53 am

#93. I understand Rick, I was just disagreeing
#94. :)

97   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 10th, 2009 at 11:58 am

And I will again openly express my admiration for expounding issues that go largely ignored by the evangelical community. I especially have a heart for the plight of Africa, and his view of war is very balanced and should help to remove the blind hawkishness in much of the evangelical community.

There is much good, much good in this book.

98   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 16th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Just for laughs