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March 1, 2011

Love Wins

Rob Bell has a new book coming out, which instantly means there are a lot of Christians who are going to draw their line in the sand. Christians are some of the harshest, most difficult and frustrating people to ever deal with, and I say that as a Christian myself. We don't handle it well when people say things or believe things that we disagree with. I couldn't take it when I was young and spent hours upon hours studying books that would help me prove other people wrong and then almost as much time trying to argue my point.

In the past ten years or so, I've noticed that, more often than not, Christians can't handle it when you even ask questions about why we believe what we believe.  I'm reading through the Old Testament right now, and let's be real...if God is the same yesterday, today and forever, the OT doesn't do a good job of demonstrating that.  It might be OK to have those types of thoughts, but it is not OK in most Christian circles to voice them.

Enter Rob Bell, who is more than willing to tackle the tough questions.  He is ready to look not just at what we believe but start to ask the motives behind why we believe it.  If you've ever read Velvet Elvis, you know what I'm talking about.  The book is phenomenal in my opinion, and has led to some incredible discussions with Christians and non-Christians alike. However, it has also drawn the harshest criticism I've ever received from other Christians.  I've been told flat out that I shouldn't be a youth pastor if I ask those types of questions or that I'm not fit to be a leader in a church if I subscribe to "those types of thoughts."

Why do Christians feel the need to tear down people who don't subscribe to the exact system of beliefs?  Why is this book already creating an uproar?  Here's a link to someone who is ranting about Rob Bell being a Universalist.  The book hasn't been released yet!?!  Let's be a Christian, who has not wrestled with the idea of a loving God allowing people to go to hell?  Yes, we can argue the same arguments I've heard my whole life about "God isn't choosing it, people are" or anything along those lines, but seriously, is this not God we are talking about?  Didn't He destroy creation once before because He didn't like how things were going?  Couldn't He simply decide that all people DO get to go to heaven...and if He does, who are we to question it?!  (to clarify, I'm not saying everyone goes to heaven because there's no Biblical evidence to support it, but if God is the creator and makes the rules, can't He simply change them if He chooses)

Thoughts About Rob Bell, John Piper, and Justin Taylor  This link is to an awesome response to the previous article.  Specifically, you should check out his bullet points 1-5 near the end of the post and let me know your thoughts on all this.  After I saw the video, I knew I couldn't wait to read the book.  Those are seriously tough questions and I'm curious what Bell's thoughts are.