Thursday, 14 April 2011

Rob Bell and Love Wins, Article by Simon Vibert

[...] Unhelpful advanced publicity
The short video promotional focused on a response he records in chapter one of the book: “Gandhi’s in hell.  Really? … Has God created millions of people over tens of thousands of years who are going to spend eternity in anguish?”  Surely this served no other purpose than to stir up an unholy ferment ahead of publication.
 Unhelpful reactions
Following the initial publicity some initial comments, including from high profile speakers, were quite sharp.  I do not think that it helps to respond in this hasty way before the book was published and available for careful review.
Better was the debate between John Stott and David Edwards in Essentials which is a great model of how to disagree agreeably! See also chapter 6 of their book for extended discussion on Judgement and Hell.
Ultimately an unhelpful book
Bell begins with a key question:
Have billions of people been created only to spend eternity in conscious punishment and torment, suffering infinitely for the finite sins they committed in the few years they spent on earth?
 I think the Bible seems to say: quite probably; Bell thinks no.  Surely the point is God never made me the Judge!
 Of course we do not know the answer to every question.  But some things are very clear: God will judge the wicked and the only way to be saved is through faith in the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross.  James 3 instruction to teachers sounds a sharp warning, Bell!

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