A Blurb on Bell

Consistency and Logic?

Love Wins by Rob Bell

One critic who has read Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins, noted that: “It seems that where Bell’s arguments begin to break down, he simply walks away instead of pursuing consistency and logic.”

I wonder if perhaps the same could be said of Jesus, whose chief values were not consistency and logic, but of challenging people where they were with provocative parables and stories that often left them scratching their heads, confused them, and did not always conform to consistency and logic!

Yet somehow we presumptuously assume to know exactly what Jesus meant (even when his immediate audience often did not), and then we draw all kinds of concrete literal realities from *parables* (acc. to our conceptions of consistency and logic) and then get up in arms when someone does something sorta like Jesus did.


Kevin DeYoung has proposed eight points as to why we need a doctrine of divine wrath and eternal punishment, in his pre-emptive attempt to throw Rob Bell off the orthodoxy train: (you’d think he read my post: An Angry God?)

They are as follows:

“First, we need God’s wrath to keep us honest about evangelism.”

“Second, we need God’s wrath in order to forgive our enemies.”

“Third, we need God’s wrath in order to risk our lives for Jesus’ sake.”

“Fourth, we need God’s wrath in order to live holy lives.”

“Fifth, we need God’s wrath in order to understand what mercy means.”

“Sixth, we need God’s wrath in order to grasp how wonderful heaven will be.”

“Seventh, we need the wrath of God in order to be motivated to care for our impoverished brothers and sisters.”

“Eighth, we need God’s wrath in order to be ready for the Lord’s return.”

Fairly convincing, right?

If I had time, I’d respond to each of those points, but thankfully someone has already done it.  Here is a great post by Andrew Perriman deconstructing Kevin DeYoung’s points biblically and common-sensically (is that a word?):
Kevin DeYoung, Rob Bell, and the argument about hell

Any thoughts you have are welcome, as always, below.


6 thoughts on “A Blurb on Bell

  1. In keeping with Rev. DeYoung’s second point, I forgive you for posting about Rob Bell’s new book (otherwise God would be effin me up). Oh how I wonder if all of the posting I see about Rob Bell’s books are just opportunities for people on all sides of the issues to virtually pleasure themselves with blog posts and facebook updates. You’re excluded from that criticism, maybe. 🙂 And, here I myself am indulging in the opportunity. Damn it! They will know we are Christians by our: a) certitude! b) love!, c) prolific internet postings!, d) choice of beverage!

    BTW, have you read any Doug Campbell? Bell’s book sounds like a popularized version of his stuff.


  2. There’s a nice summary of Rob’s interview by Kurt Willems at Pangea Blog, which includes these points:

    Freedom… complete and un-coereced freedom of humanity is at the core of Rob’s beliefs. If humanity if free in this life, it seems that they have a choice to make in this life… will I live in light of heaven or will I bring hell to earth. The continuation of this freedom is what happens in the life to come.

    Rob was speaking to a general audience and is trying to build bridges into the larger culture rather than to perpetuate the cycle of defining religious bounded set types of approaches to Christianity. Jesus and his good news is the center, not our dogmas and ability to sniff out “who’s in and who’s out.”

    Rob affirms the radical exclusivity and inclusivity of Christ and the good news. Again, he wants to live in the tension between these two rather than simply to lean towards the exclusive as many evangelicals have done.

    Finally, I think it is safe to say that Rob is NOT a universalist, but that he is hopeful that everyone will eventually choose to be gathered into the New Jerusalem. If I were to “label” him, which he hates and I personally am hesitant to do, I would label him a radical inclusivist.

    Check it out the rest


  3. Came across a Luther quote: “Faith does not require information, knowledge and certainity, but a free surrender and a joyful bet on God’s unfelt, untried and unknown goodness.”
    I have this trust that in God’s goodness, justice, mercy, and his love, he has the ability to sort things out. And if all are reconciled to himself, it wont be compulsory. That would deny free will and would not be loving.
    I’m all for discussions and debate, but when lines are drawn in the sand in such a defined manner, I can’t help but see Jesus taking a stick and annihilating it.


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