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Kevin DeYoung has a helpful post about my post and whether or not (1) I needed to go to Rob Bell first before airing public criticism, and (2) I needed to remain silent until Rob Bell’s book is published.


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69 thoughts on “Two Questions on the Rob Bell Blog Post”

  1. Thanks Justin for speaking well to important topics like this. Public issues can of course be dealt with publicly.

  2. steve hays says:

    I wonder how many people who fault Justin for not first contacting Rob Bell in private before airing public criticisms of Bell first contacted Justin in private before airing their public criticisms of Justin.

  3. Robert says:

    I’m with Ray!

  4. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Justin,

    What’s your e-mail address? I need to know so that in case I ever disagree with one of your public postings I’ll know how to contact you privately to inform you how you’ve been offensive and to start the beginning of the Matthew 18 process.

    ;-)

    1. Mike W says:

      You should get his home number. I do know that Justin prefers to be called late at night.

  5. Dave Wilson says:

    Justin,

    Am I the only one who wondered if Bell’s video was good marketing instead of bad theology? I explored the idea on my blog today and would love to hear your thoughts on the idea.

    Dave

  6. Matt says:

    I just watched the video and… yikes. He questioned the core beliefs of our faith. If it’s a marketing stunt and the book isn’t what he just said it was a lot of people aren’t going to be happy about being lied to. I’ll have to read the book review once it’s released. Don’t think I’ll take the time to read it myself until then.

  7. Thomas Newell says:

    I believe Bell loves the people of his church, and no pastor would ask such questions just as a marketing ploy and have such a potential awful effect on his people’s spiritual well-being.

  8. Dan Stringer says:

    Sometimes it’s difficult to tell which is more lacking: Bell’s commitment to orthodoxy or DeYoung, Piper and JT’s restraint in declaring him a universalist ipso facto.

    To his credit, Trevin Wax (hardly a Bell supporter) exercised sober caution by saying, “Until the book comes out, I don’t think we can accurately label Rob a ‘universalist.’”

    Must everyone remain silent until the book comes out? No. But declaring it full-fledged universalism without the complete text is not the only other option.

    So what is driving the urgency to reach a final verdict on Bell today? What’s the harm in declaring him a heretic a month from now?

    1. Ryan says:

      No one has declared Bell a “full-fledged” universalist Dan.

      1. Dan Stringer says:

        Sorry, that was the impression I got after seeing the label attached to Bell with such frequency.

    2. Hayden says:

      Because the time is short, do you believe that? Paul, and Peter did. If he is a heretic he should be called out immediately. (whole book of Jude, 2 Peter , etc.)

      Bell does not live in a vacuum. One only has to go to his church site or listen to some of his sermons to see that his orthodoxy is highly in question. (His whole hemrneutical premise of ‘trampoline leads to this’)

  9. michael says:

    Why would Bell’s supporters demand a blogger or anyone follow Jesus’ teaching of going to one in private regarding sin when Bell apparently denies Jesus’ teaching of hell? Isn’t that kind of picking and choosing what you teaching you want to acknowledge?

    1. Tony Romano says:

      Great point.

  10. Ray Cowan says:

    I have been engaged with this whole thing from the moment it has been on your site. My first initial reaction was, to be quite frank, “Let’s get him!” It was almost the “ah-hah” moment we’ve been waiting for, to catch Bell in the act of heresy. It’s almost like someone who works for you that you suspect is stealing from you, but you never can catch them in the act. We’ll we have him, don’t we? I mean we had the McLaren blurb, the description, and the clip. Yet, we didn’t have page numbers, and we needed to respond WEEKS before it came out. This has been my frustration, in that Taylor, Harris, DeYoung and Piper, could not have waited two weeks? Two weeks? Yet they felt the necessity of now to denounce Bell, with such swift and united force. We’ve pitted camps, and we’ve taken up arms, not against Bell but his followers. You know why they should have waited til it came out? Tact. Courtesy. Maybe not to Bell, but to the ones who are eager to learn from Bell in his book, eager to be instructed. Now, all they will hear from the supporters of Bell are, “Look at the judgmental evangelicals.” “Be WISE as serpents, and harmless as doves.” There is no wisdom in this. While we look for reasons to justify this preemptive strike, and pull out the trump card, “If I’m wrong I’ll be happy to recant!(Which in itself, shows its own logical weakness)” we should understand we have lost precious ground in the battle of perception. Have him lay all his cards down, then you will be justified in the tone, manner, and veracity of what you say. The lack of patience and the use of “status” to parade this through the internet is frustrating. Piper, of all people, to use twitter with three words, “Farewell Rob Bell” is beyond comprehension. In three words, on the most concise of all social networking to proclaim someone a heretic is not God honoring. Judge Bell on his words, more precisely the ink that won’t rub off the paper, the millions of books with Bell right underneath “Love Wins.” Don’t be surprised when all of Bell’s followers won’t even engage conversation with you, and don’t just lay that at their false teachers feet. Remember you were swift to speak and slow to hear, and they will undoubtedly return the favor.

    1. lander says:

      Ray, so Bell’s publishers can send out chapters and encourage comment or endorsement, but those who receive them should wait until they have the full text and ignore the publisher’s request?

      Wonder if Boyd, Peterson and McLaren read it in full?

      Are these questons reflective of what I think and can you infer the direction of my questioning?

      But is it fair to assess questions that may or not really be indications of my true opinions?

      1. John says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the title of Taylor’s post a question? Clever that, Justin!

      2. Ray Cowan says:

        Lander, is the fish required to eat the worm on the hook?
        If this group knew the expected reaction, and that it would create this kind of buzz to spike up sells, then why are these bloggers required to respond. For the publisher’s benefit?
        More of what I am arguing is to be level headed and patient to go to the extent JT, KD, and Piper went. Just as they were implying Bell was arguing for some type of inclusivism is just as much as you can infer they were saying Bell was a heretic, which may be the case. Heresy is one of the most serious accusations of all Scripture, so I think it should have been handled with that amount of seriousness.

  11. steve hays says:

    Dan Stringer

    “Sometimes it’s difficult to tell which is more lacking: Bell’s commitment to orthodoxy or DeYoung, Piper and JT’s restraint in declaring him a universalist ipso facto.”

    That’s a blatant mischaracterization of Justin’s post. He offered a highly qualified assessment. You disregard his explicit caveats, then impute to him a position he didn’t take.

    1. Dan Stringer says:

      Except for the part about “full-blown hell-is-empty-everyone-gets-saved universalism” which sounded pretty blatant to me.

      If Bell is not being charged with universalism here, I’m not sure what the big fuss is about.

  12. Jay says:

    I wonder if you will post something publically about Piper holding the next Desiring God Conference at Saddleback?? Not sure whether you would be criticizing that choice or supporting it, but it sure would start another firestorm here :)

    1. Oh, brother… that’s disappointing.

  13. Ryan says:

    Ray I appreciate your thoughtful comment. But I believe you might be using to strong of language to say Piper, Harris, DeYoung and such have denounced Bell with “swift force.”

    All they have done is say that the video released by Bell, him speaking in his own words, is troubling as it seems to indicate universalism. I don’t think we need to be so hard on JT and others just for making a comment about a public video.

    1. Ray Cowan says:

      I agree, swift force, was a bit militaristic. I meant to imply it seemed more like a united effort. Which I also take back what I said about Piper being not “God-honoring.” God help me if Piper ever got to look at my life and write a blog about things I do not being God-honoring.
      Yet I do have to disagree that JT, KD, and Piper were as soft as you make it sound. They took a very line drawn in the sand stance, which I think is indicative of the amount of buzz the attention it drew. Thank you for the response though, it was very helpful.

  14. donsands says:

    Kevin wrote well, spot on really. Justin put forth a serious matter to consider. Is this Rob Bell twisting the Gospel.
    I would love to have someone ask me if I am twisting the Gospel, and in fact someone did, and it was good for me to answer that question.

    I wish Rob, for, perhaps, a paragraph or two defend the Gospel. Boast in the Cross of our Savior as Paul did, and boast in nothing else. Where the world is crucified to us, and we to the world. Gal. 6:14

  15. Dave Moore says:

    My first book was a sustained critique of conditional immortality (or annihilationism). It was a rework of my MA thesis at Trinity Seminary(Grudem and Nettles supervising). To his great credit, Clark Pinnock, endorsed it even though much of my book was directed at him. (JI Packer and Dallas Willard were also endorsers along with my supervisors.)

    The issue of an eternal hell has been the most difficult for me to work through in over thirty years as a Christian. I have been tempted to go the route of universalism or annihilationism, but the Scriptures (and the history of Christian thought) beckon me back to the “traditional” view.

    I pray there will be much discussion in the coming weeks over actual texts of Scripture, the role of evangelism, and missions.

  16. 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.

    http://www.bluecollarphilosophy.com/2011/02/is-rob-bell-a-universalist-or-just-being-deceptive-video.html

  17. Dave Moore says:

    Per my previous comment: And one should add the nature of the atonement to the list!

  18. Pastor Mike says:

    This is what needs to be done:

    John Piper ought to invite Rob Bell to his next conference.
    Have Bell speak.
    Then have Bell stand before a panel at the conference for Q&A from his peers.

    Here we will get the truth. He will be revealed as wheat or exposed as chaff.

    Book it, JT.

    Pastor Mike

  19. Willial Lynch says:

    Thank you JT …Stay strong and ever the watchtower. God doesn’t need your help…but I do!

    1. Andy Fitzsimmons says:

      We all do! We must promote God’s glory and vision. It need to be safeguarded. Hell needs to be protected and shown as God’s fountain of beautiful wrath. Only a Reformed vision accurately captures such a breathtaking and holy view of God. R.C. Sproul’s book the Holiness of God ought to be required reading in this regard.

  20. Justin,

    Just not sure either you or Kevin see the sheer nonsense being promoted by focusing on book covers not author content. Neither of you would want your views evaluated on such slim premises not to mention being dubbed a heretic based upon it.

    I’m also curious concerning the circumstances surrounding precisely how you gained access to Bell’s book. If you were assigned by HarperOne (or legitimate rep) to critique the book, why did you not engage the book, giving the public a genuine review? If you got hold of a copy sorta “under the table,” so to speak, well, that obviously raises questions. Not necessarily for possessing it understand. I get sent lots of things I didn’t request. So I can identify with that.

    Nonetheless, presuming for argument’s sake you received the book “under the table,” and hence could not in good conscience engage the content lest you call attention to your having an “under the table” copy (again presuming only for argument’s sake), to sound a “backdoor” warning based on what you actually read in the book by just focusing on the cover and video does raise profound integrity questions–at least to me–precisely why you were compelled to do so.

    Whatever the case, you evidently made a horrible gaffe.

    With that, I am…
    Peter

  21. steve hays says:

    Notice Peter Lumpkins’ Kafkesque duplicity. On the one hand he condemns Justin for allegedly drawing conclusions about the book without having read it. On the other hand, he also condemns Justin for drawing conclusions about the book in case he read it. If Justin is guilty as charged, then he’s guilty–but if Justin is innocent, then he’s still guilty!

    Lumpkins is a one-man kangaroo court.

    This is what happens to men who are blinded by their partisanship.

    1. Hey Steve,

      Trusting you are well today. And hope our Lord’s grace shines your way.

      With that, I am…
      Peter

      1. Bob Lemon says:

        Peter, will you be addressing the charge of hypocrisy? Or just slithering out like a snake with your little “have a nice day” quip?

        I must say, you bail with style.

  22. Mike Smith says:

    Dr. Robin Parry, Author of “The Evangelical Universalist” (pseudonym Gregory Macdonald) has a wonderful, Christ honoring, sober minded post at his blog at the following link concerning this- http://theologicalscribbles.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-to-discuss-rob-bell-without-killing.html

  23. Alex S says:

    Criticizing a book you haven’t read and only on the basis of a video and excerpt is exceptionally unprofessional. If you worked for a non-Christian organization, you’d be packing your office up today and looking for a new job.

    1. michael says:

      No way! Main-stream press does what you describe all the time to conservatives!

      If he worked for the NYT or any other main-stream media (ie. non-christian) he would be hailed a hero (so long as he was attacking a conservative).

      Besides, he did NOT do what you describe… he has read portions of the book. You said “only on the basis of a video and exceprt” when he has in fact read “some chapters” of the book, not just an excerpt.

      1. @Michael

        Are you being facetious or are you serious? If JT read the book (even portions) but refused to engage the book, but instead engaged a book cover then how responsible is that the reading public?

        You guys need to calm down and take a chill pill and think this thru carefully. None of us are perfect–including the otherwise more level-headed TGC bloggers. JT and KD just need to say, “O.K. You guys are right. We messed up. We should have waited till the book was released since we were not assigned to write a valid review.” And, from what I know of your community, that would be that. End of hype.

        With that, I am…
        Peter

  24. E. St. Sinn says:

    It’s interesting that everyone has such an issue with a disagreement in philosophy of doctrine. To be honest, the story of Christ is really just a retelling of a much, much older story. The gospels paint a picture of Jesus’s life that follows along with Joseph Campbell’s monomyth pretty well.

    The fact is, while the teachings are great, it is just a story, as the whole bible really is, so what’s the big deal with a different view of the doctrine?

    If anyone is interested in finding out more about the life of Jesus as compared to other mythologies of human civilization, feel free to read my book, Sword of the Christ: Book One to have a whole new experience of Jesus.

    Any replies would be welcome at my blog: blogofthechrist.blogspot.com

    Thanks and chill out!

    -E. St. Sinn

  25. Pajarita Sanchez says:

    Finally! 14 years after I heard it in my spirit, someone else is finally voicing it! THERE IS NO HELL OR HEAVEN ELSEWHERE! It is all here. Here is how I heard it; ‘Hitler went to the same place where all of you are going: back to me! Hell is here as is Heaven. Read the WORD, don’t just take the word of those behind the pulpit who use the word to make others walk in fear and therefore are controlled by those behind the pulpit! I was raised So. Baptist, and it was all about control. Everyone says, ‘we will get our reward after we die’. Pray tell, what reward is that? To be with God? I already am! Here, right now, today! That is why Jesus died, so we could walk with GOD NOW! I got close to God when I left the churches who want you to be a cookie cutter Christian, think and believe like them! I didn’t find God until I left the church! What a difference! It was the Holy Spirit Himself who told me, ‘Heaven and Hell are right here! Look for it!’ I did and I found it. You go, Rob Bell!

  26. Pajarita Sanchez says:

    By the way, the word ‘worship’ means ‘obedience’ in Greek! So all the jumping around and singing done in churches on Sunday means little IF the people doing it are still doing their thing. They say, ‘let’s elevate God by singing to Him’. How can you elevate the Creator of the Universe any higher? You are allowed to have fears and doubts, even Jesus did, before He died. That is why he prayed 3 times before the soldiers took him. He knew that if didn’t first say, ‘nevertheless, your will (God’s) and not mine’. Until we do that, even in fear and doubt, we don’t allow God to be God in our lives. Enough with the ‘Our Fathers’, God hates rituals, and get personal with Him, or just be quiet! He may even be able to get in a word edgewise. You know why they say in heaven the streets are made of gold? Because there is nothing you can buy or NEED up there! We need it here! People are hungry and homeless HERE! Quit being religious and get spiritual! Hell is just a scare tactic that’s been used since before Jesus was on the earth in order to allow the Sanhedrin to be ‘in charge’ of people’s wallets and free will! Jesus didn’t create any buildings and denominations! That party is over!

  27. Paul says:

    Theology – theories about God. That is all they will ever be. God is not threatened by our theories why are we?
    As I read through the various blogs and comments I feel a great sadness. This is behold how they love one another fleshed out? This will make the watching world want to be part of this Christianity? I fear that will not be the case.
    I teach communication. A simple task is to hold up any object and ask someone to describe what they see from the top, side and back. Invariably very different descriptions emerge. No single perspective reveals everything about even a coffee cup. If the topic, or object, is God’s view of salvation then the stance I take will always be both limited and flawed.
    I look forward to reading a book that seems to offer me a different view of salvation. I have much to learn. I look forward to reading it.
    If someone suggests that their perspective is the only perspective and includes everything I feel great dis-ease.
    Does anyone really disagree with love wins? I hope not for all our sakes.

    1. Pajarita Sanchez says:

      Yes Love wins, but only if we walk in it! Most dont even know what love is. We all want to go along with being ‘cookie cutter’ Christians. We disagree with anyone who makes us re-think our faith and beliefs, and yet, that is what we are to do, ‘steel sharpens steel’ but most just want to be left in their comfortable zones so we don’t have to think about it anymore. God doesn’t allow us to remain in our comfort zones. That is what has been going on for over 2000 years! Enough! THINK! Why would God create a world and then destroy it? Most want the world to end but they are dishonest about why! You want to escape the world, and that is not to be. If only we would answer the one question: ‘is our life fated/predestined or do we really have free will to do as we please?’ when you answer that, you will know much more than you thought possible! Free will? Yep, we got it? do we ever lose it? Not unless we wish to, but what do we get in return? That is what most of you won’t ask yourselves because you didn’t know you should ask it.

  28. donsands says:

    “Here is how I heard it; ‘Hitler went to the same place where all of you are going: back to me! Hell is here as is Heaven.”

    Now that is so far out of bounds, well, it’s out of the statium, and down the alley and in the gutter, and down the drain.

    Parajita, you need to do aome serious Bible reading.
    Jesus said to Judas, and others, it would better if you had never been born.
    What does our Lord mean?

    1. Pajarita Sanchez says:

      Donsands, Jesus meant that if we are to live life as though no one else matters, we were better off not being born. All of us make our own hell or heaven on this earth. Judas looked only at what he would get if he played out his own scenario. Look around you, how many are doing that? And hell is just something that the church invented as being elsewhere, so is purgatory. What an insane idea, and yet many believe it! The only hell is here, and if you don’t believe me, look at how many very, very old people wish to die and get off this mud ball. First you have to know what the word ‘love’ in the original greek means: ‘to be in harmony or in agreement with something or someone’. It isn’t the emotion we call love. Rob Bell knows this and that is why he said, ‘Love will win’. We must love God, be in agreement or in harmony with HIS WILL, and them guess what? And yes Donsands, I have read the Word, for over 25 years, and not just in English but in Hebrew and Aramaic and Greek. Why do you think I stay out of the churches?

  29. donsands says:

    “You guys need to calm down and take a chill pill and think this thru carefully.” Peter Lumkins

    Justin needs a chillpill?

    What do you think of Rob’s video Peter? He said some bad stuff didn’t he. And if he is simply playing marketing games, then that is even worse, isn’t it?

    1. E. St. Sinn says:

      I think everyone is entitled to their opinion and their own interpretation of the biblical teachings. Of course, that also means that it’s okay to criticize those opinions, but do we really need to crucify anyone else? Been there, worshiped that.

      Blog of the Christ

      1. Pajarita Sanchez says:

        Sinn, they crucified Jesus because He didn’t agree with the Seducees and Pharasis didn’t they? It is those who don’t want to be challenged in their thinking and beliefs that end up crucifying the messengers. I will tell you this, that God is coming out the BOX we put Him in and there is no stopping it. We have been segregated long enough! Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, what is that about? ‘You belong with us and for us’ that’s what! Jesus didn’t create one single denomination. For those of you who didn’t know, when Jesus said to Peter, ‘upon this rock, I will build my church’, the word rock translated in Greek was pronounced, ‘KA THA LIC’ and that is where the Catholic church got their name. Totally taken out of context. But isn’t that always the way? Famous television evangelists have become like Rock Stars, and Jesus is left by the wayside. Not one church in this country is names, THE CHURCH OF JESUS’. Not one. We have walked far, far away from the teachings of Christ, and now we are arguing that we are right and no one else is. ALL of us have been given a piece of the truth in the hopes that we will bring our own piece and join it with the others and finally complete the quilt and really see what Christ was saying. If don’t believe what Bell or anyone else says, so what? You aren’t following them, are you? If I told you what the ‘second coming’ really meant, you would all freak out! So I won’t. Most of you are not ready to hear it yet. I wish you were.

        1. michael says:

          Matt 16:18 – Greek word “rock” = PETRA; not “KA THA LIC”… Where do you get your info from?

          1. Pajarita Sanchez says:

            Michael, I am aware of the word Petra, I merely spelled ka tha lic in a phonetic way. It is actually ‘Petros’ but tomatoes, tomatos, let’s not get tangled up in how a word was spelled, better we learn what they mean. But thank you, and God bless. My point is that this passage is where the Catholic Church got their name and decided Jesus meant their church was the only church and the one Jesus was talking about. How could that be when those churchs didn’t exist yet? Only Synagogues? Then along came the Baptists, the Methodists (methods? what did they mean by calling themselves that?) Could it be they were saying, ‘this is the method we use and you can’t use any other? I don’t know, but I do know that denominations need to come down and let the Holy Spirit lead, AT LAST! People can get dunked, or sprinkled but in the end, it is the baptismal of the heart and the Spirit that means anything. Until we allow God to do a work in our spirit and heart, no amount of tithing, singing and jumping up and down will make any difference. King David danced before God and then came the Baptists and said dancing was a sin. Then the Catholics said it was a sin to eat meat on Friday (can I hear a ‘how ridiculous!) then they changed their mind when people preferred meat, ate it and decided not to go to confession so they wouldn’t feel guilty, and the church changed their minds and now ‘where’s the beef? became popular. By the way, I am far afield, but the Catholic church was against birth control for the longest time and did you know that the Vatican owns a great interest in some birth control factories? Hard to believe? check it out. I wonder, did those priests who were sexually abusing boys have to confess on Saturday? And if they did, how come nothing was done. I bring that up just to show you that we are WAY OFF THE MARK, even inside the vererable institutions we call the ‘houses of God’. Enough said. You see, we don’t need the Rob Bells to lead us astray, the churchs are doing a great job doing just that. Let’s not close our eyes and think that because they call themselves Men of God, that we should blindly follow without question. Jesus didn’t!

  30. John L. says:

    http://isrobbellauniversalist.tumblr.com/ – little extra time on my hands, so I made this.

  31. thejonster says:

    A friend thought that Bell might just be playing the Devil’s advocate and posing questions to challenge us in a good way, and then affirm sound doctorine once he’s into the meat of his book, but look at the facebook comments on the intro video to see the fruit of that.. universalists are rejoicing and people are being deceived

    link to view comments:
    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150104061084774&oid=10553794179&comments

  32. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    When I became a Christian I read the Bible.

    In both the Old Testament and the New Testament I saw and read of quarrels, disputes, arguments, heated disagreements, anger, name-calling, etc….

    I remained a Christian.

    In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons why I remained a Christian. If everything was just a lovey-dovey dopey unity with never an argument or dispute, I’d be very suspicious and skeptical. I’d think it was some kind of brain-washed cult or something where the Kool-Aid took deep root and effect.

    So all in all, I think it’s to God’s Glory that Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung, John Piper, Albert Mohler, Denny Burk, and many others have lovingly sounded the alarm over crafty universalism.

  33. Pajarita Sanchez says:

    Does anyone recognize that the way we think about God and Christianity is totally different than it was just 45 years ago? Little by little, we are being led to think outside the box that was created for Christianity those years ago. We are learning more and more about God and we are changing the way we think. This is why the word ‘REPENT’ means, ‘change the way you think and you will chnage the way you live’. But nobody seems to get it. Imagine is we still believed as the people did 1000 years ago? We would be living in fear, crawling on hands and knees to talk to God instead of ‘going boldly before the Throne of God’. the veil was rent, people, so we could have open communication with God, and not have to go through Pastors, Ministers, Rabbis and churches to get to God. That party is also over! We are supposed to be co-heirs with Jesus, and yet we act like we are ‘wretches (that hymn writer should be ashamed!) and garbage’! Shame on us! God thought we were worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus, and we still go around like we are scum! SHAME! We are children of the MOST HIGH GOD, not ragamuffins who should crawl for sustenance, read Matthew 6! This recession is nothing more than an opportunity for God to teach us that we are not alone, and that though we created this mess, He will show His hand,IF WE let Him. Everyone with money thinks they are in control. Well, they are not! Look around you and see what is happening, open your spiritual eyes! Rob Bell is only one of many who have learned some things that the churches won’t tell you. AND HE IS NOT THE FIRST! But messengers are always killed, if not physically, then emotionally. Look what they did to Jesus! Either be a disciple or be a Seduccee (sp?). Open your spirit to God, not the Bells or me, or anyone else. The Holy Spirit, ‘HE will lead you onto all truth’. So far we have played ‘church’ and the book of ACTS is not finished. We are supposed to finish it! When is the last time you laid hands on someone to be healed? When is the last time you actually spoke openly about your beliefs without being afraid of what someone else will think?

  34. Pajarita Sanchez says:

    What does ‘universalism’ really mean? God said we are all ONE, is that the same thing? The problem is that most don’t want that, and therein lies the problem!

  35. donsands says:

    “Jesus meant that if we are to live life as though no one else matters, we were better off not being born.’ Pajarita

    I beg to differ Para.

    You need to get back in a good church my friend. Where do you live? I’m sure someone here can guide you.

    1. Pajarita Sanchez says:

      Donsands; ‘You need for no man to teach you, the HOly Spirit, He will lead you onto ALL truth’. That is where I live. I will return back to church when and IF they ever finally get over religiousity and get away from controlling people and their pocket books! I have visited churchs, and when I find the spirit is dead, I leave. I am not a group follower, nor do I need acceptance from anyone. I have seen things that many just dream about, and there is a reason for that. If I told you, you would not believe it, so I don’t tell everyone, just some. Pearls before swine and all that. You aren’t a pastor are you? Jesus doesn’t belong behind walls where a ‘group’ that has a name belongs because they are ‘members’ of a denomination. Church walls are coming down my friend, and not too soon. Or haven’t you noticed that many churchs have filed for ‘bankruptcy’ in the last year? Ever here something so ignorant? God having to file for bankruptcy? Amazing. Maybe the pastor could no longer pay for lear jet, mansion? Could be. Nothing wrong with money, in fact, it was God created. But I am afraid it has become a god for too many. Why do you think this recession was ALLOWED?

      Stand back and watch, and you will see how God will use and is using it now. Open your eyes and you will SEE how HE is using it now.

  36. donsands says:

    “Church walls are coming down my friend, and not too soon.”

    My church is doing fine. We prayed and asked the Lord to help us, and He did. We are Reformed Episcopal in Catonsville MD. If you are ever in Maryland drop by, and we can look at the Bible together.
    I could a lot of churches that are being blessed by God as well.

    You are in serious deep error my friend Para. I pray the Lord would change your callous heart. Amen.

  37. Pajarita Sanchez says:

    Donsands, see what I mean? If I don’t believe like you, I am misguided and have a calloused heart! Thanks for making my point. I wish you lived near me so we could look at the Bible together, but see that’s the reason so many are being led astray; they go by how another humans interprets the Word. I also know a lot of people that are being blessed by God, and churchs, but we weren’t talking about the few, but the many who are still being spoon fed by those who interpret the world like they ‘told’ to in a seminary, not how to be led by the Holy spirit. The bigger the church doesn’t mean the church is blessed. In fact, the bigger the church, the less the ‘flock’ sees their shepherd. They are too busy writing books, appearing on TV that they have no clue who their flocks are. Rock Stars! I went to a 10,000 member church for 2 years and never once had the opportunity to speak to the Pastor, he was too busy with books, tv appearances, etc. JOHN HAGEE, I am sure you have heard of him. There are many others though. I actually had an easier time speaking to the Gov. in the state where I live! ‘Woe to the shepherds that scatter my sheep’, read Jeramiah. Jesus made himself accessible to all, not so our Rock Stars behind the pulpit. I don’t have a calloused heart, though you may think so, and that’s your right, what others think of me is none of my business, but I am tired of those who behave just like the Pharasees in the time of Jesus who simply took and took and gave nothing because they thought of themselves as better than the people they were supposed to guide. They were also their own judge and jury against the poor and the displaced. How has that changed, my friend? I suppose you think Jesus was calloused too when he overturned the money tables in the Temple? ‘Be angry but sin not’. And by the way, the word ‘sin’ simply means to make the wrong choices or to miss the mark. The church has been telling all for centuries that if we sin we will go to hell. No, when we make the wrong choices, we pay for it here, as I said, hell is here. And we can’t sin against God, only ourselves. Walk the path ‘alone’ for a year with the Holy Spirit guiding you andno one else, then we can talk. the prophets of old did it, and that is why they could hear God. Today there is so much chatter that its no wonder many say that God doesn’t talk to them. How sad. I don’t pray too much, I spend most of my time listening because I am sure what He has to say is much more edifying than what I have to say and I ask for NOTHING because He knows what I need, even before I do. I only know one perfect prayer: ‘Father, let your will be done’. No more, no less. Amen.
    God Bless you my friend, and I mean that. I enjoy sharing with you.

  38. donsands says:

    “I suppose you think Jesus was calloused too when he overturned the money tables in the Temple?”

    Nope.

    Para, you need to stop thinking you and God are the only ones who can communicate. That is dangerous. You will think everyone is wrong, except those who agree with you.

    If you want to discuss a particular Bible passage then we can. But other than that, we need to end this.
    Galatians 6:14

    1. Pajarita Sanchez says:

      Donsands, you really do like to put words in my mouth don’t you LOL. Of course I don’t think that I am the only one God speaks to! That’s my point, He speaks to us all, some of us just aren’t listening except to the wrong people. In fact, all my ‘close’ christian friends hear God. That is why we are close. God is not a respector of persons, he speaks to us ALL. But ‘faith comes by hearing, and HEARING by the Word of God’. Why do you think the word ‘hearing’ was mentioned twice in this verse? The first hearing is hearing with our ears, and the second is hearing with our spirits, Many do not have their spiritual ears open, YET, because they go through the ritual of church going, tithing, singing and jumping around and even praying ritually, but they don’t hear. They don’t listen. I have been there my friend, that’s why I am telling you this. I remember when I attended church and read the bible for years and never knew the presence of God. I don’t say this judgmentally about anyone, heaven forbid, but I remember the first time I heard HIM and it changed my life. Do you not think that I don’t want this for everyone? I have dear friends who blatantly tell me they don’t believe there is a God. I don’t judge them, I love them anyway, I know God’s timing is everything. And I have met some years later and guess what? They are now fully convinced that God does exist. We may plant seeds Don, but God alone waters them. What would you like to discuss? God bless you my friend.

  39. St. Gandhi? says:

    Exceptions to the author’s reserve mostly center on Gandhi’s limitations as a family man. Where the world sees a saint, Rajmohan Gandhi sees a cruel husband and a mostly absent father, paying scant attention to his children’s schooling and dragging wife Kasturba across continents at will, belittling her desire for the simplest of material possessions, then expecting her to comply when he turns from amorous husband to platonic companion to apparent adulterer. Gandhi took on a magnetic personality in the presence of young women, and was able to persuade them to join him in peculiar experiments of sleeping and bathing naked together, without touching, all apparently to strengthen his chastity. (Whether these experiments were always successful is anyone’s guess.)

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1609478,00.html#ixzz1FYQhGpaf

  40. JT Caldwell says:

    Whatever Bell actually believes about heaven and hell, it’s not pastorally helpful to others for him to intentionally be ambiguous in these matters.

    Let’s assume with hopefulness he answers (rightly) the questions he asks. 2Cor. 4.2

  41. James says:

    JT,

    In Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller recounts an experience where in a sermon the pastor was warning of the dangers of secularism and said that watching TV was like “sleeping with your eyes open”. Miller says that sounds great, and bought a TV that very day. I am afraid you are causing many people to “buy TV’s” that they might no otherwise been interested in. Bell’s book is now in the top 25 (!) of Amazon’s top sellers and now the media is getting wind of things…(sigh)

  42. Is it possible that something is entirely defensible, but still unwise?

  43. Aaron says:

    (1) Go to Rob Bell before public criticisms? No, it’s a public forum.
    (2) Remain silent until the book’s published? No, you have an advanced copy.
    (3) Read the book and comment on its contents, rather than the back cover and a video? Definitely.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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