The Perfect (Theological) Storm

I’ve been following this story since I got back from the gym this morning.  For me, it started off with a post from Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung over at The Gospel Coalition concerning Rob Bell‘s forthcoming book, Love Wins.  Little did I realize the theological storm that was brewing under the surface.

Apparently things started off with the trailer for the book:

Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung both chimed in with blog posts of their own.  John Piper and Josh Harris added fuel to the fire with these tweets:

And the twitterverse and blogosphere exploded.

Joel, Rod and Christian have all chimed in with posts of their own. As has Amanda over at Cheese-Wearing Theology (a new to me blog…thanks Rod!).

Here’s my two cents:

While I do not agree with everything Rob Bell says, my stance on him has changed over the past few years.  There was a point when I would have gladly condemned Rob Bell as a heretic.  Problem was, I had never read any of his stuff.  I was only going by what other people had said about him.  Since then, I’ve been using the Nooma videos in my Sunday School class and I’ve read God Wants to Save Christians.

As Christian, we are called to make right judgments about things.  In the case of a book that someone wrote, making a right judgment involves reading the book (go figure)!  I think people like Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung, John Piper and Josh Harris are not making right judgments because the haven’t read the book yet.  Read the damn book, then criticize it.



26 thoughts on “The Perfect (Theological) Storm

  1. I think there are people in the ministry nationally that know him and that’s why they are commenting. The rest of us will have to read the book.

  2. If I can put it so bluntly, and reverse the “prayers” of Justin Taylor, etc. for Rob bell, perhaps we should pray for the liberation of Piper & co. from legalism. Especially with his video about the ESV, Piper has no room to talk.

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  6. I am inclined to agree with the concern of Justin Taylor on this. Imagine this was not an ad for a book but for a movie. Based on the way Rob Bell says the things he says and what he actually says it seems a reasonable conclusion that he is moving towards Universalism. He also has a contempt in his tone over someone thinking Gandhi is in Hell. If Bell is not moving towards Universalism, then this video is inherently deceptive. If I see a movie trailer about football, I expect to see a movie about football, not baseball. This is what Bell is doing with this video, leading us to believe something that is not true about where he stands, and that is deceptive. I think the more charitable and accurate conclusion is that he is being honest and denies people go to Hell. If this is not the case I think Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung will correct the record and admit they were wrong. Time will tell.

    • The ad is meant to sell books. It’s meant to stir up controversy. Taylor and DeYoung are being dishonest, at least academically, by speaking out without reading the book.

      I’ve said this before many times…Luther explains the 8th Commandment this way:

      Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

      What does this mean?–Answer.

      We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.

      In my Lutheran opinion, Taylor, DeYoung, Piper, and you are guilty of breaking the 8th Commandment. When the book comes out, read the book and deal with Bell’s argument. Not what you think he means.

      • You should apply your concern about honesty to Bell as well. Should a Christian deliberately mislead people in order to try and sell books by leading people to think something that is not true? One or two sentences in this video could have cleared all this up very easily. But each word was carefully crafted and spoken in a certain way. The fault lies with Bell.

      • And when I read his book, if I feel he is being dishonest, I will call him out for it. But that brings us back to my original point. You have to read the book first.

      • And I’m in some pretty good company here. Roger Olson referred to Taylor et al as the “self-proclaimed evangelical inquisitors” and that you can’t judge a book by two chapters. I agree 100%.

    • It seems to me that there is a dangerous movement in Christianity when anyone who asks questions that go against what a select few in Evangelical Protestantism have said get labeled a heretic, Emergent, or Liberal.

      Last I checked, the Reformation never stopped. If they want to be Reformed, more power to them. Me, I’m Reforming.

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  9. If there is such a ‘place/state’ as eternal torment in hell, than poor, insane Andrea Yates had it exactly right and all the rest are just B team player wanna be’s.

    If eternal torment in hell is real, we need only one page in the Bible and it says TURN OR BURN. I mean, why complicate things? (gee, thanks God!)

    When did “if you eat you shall surely die” morph into “you shall surely burn forever and ever in the torments of an eternal hell”?

    As far as universal reconciliation being an unBiblical, heretical, minority opinion goes …

    I think what is fundamentally at issue here is the concept of free will. Personally, my will didn’t have a shred of freedom until God boxed me in a corner and “made me” choose Him. Self-will, yes, but free? Not in the slightest.

    Why do humans demand they have a free will? Aren’t there more than enough scriptures that prove God is the one in ultimate control of everything, even the hearts of the kings? Why not just accept that and go for the ride?

    Oh, perhaps because of the hell issue? How can one relax and enjoy the ride if one believes there is such a thing as eternal torment in hell? Most would *have* to come up with elaborate “free-will, choice” scenarios in light of that.

    All I’ve seen the belief in a free will do in the evangelical community, is give them the “right” to manipulate and pressure folks into “choosing” Jesus.

    The real issue is, what happens at THE END? The scriptures on my website bear out that GOD WINS in the end through Christ Jesus. If there is a ‘hell’, it can not be ‘eternal’. End of story.

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