Well with the announcement of Rob Bell’s new book, the evangelicals out there all want to start ringing Rob’s bell…probably with their fists. I want to make this clear up front, I do not know Rob Bell, I have never met Rob Bell, I have only read his first book and watched several of his videos. This new book is believed to “flirts with Christian Universalism” as Tony Jones puts it on his blog about said new book.
While Christian Universalism isn’t a brand new thing, personally, I still think it’s a load. While I do believe that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son (John 3:16); I also believe that latter part of the verse “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” And when Jesus comes right out and says that He is the only way to the Father…that pretty well sums it up for me (John 14:6).
We have feminized Christianity to the point that it makes me wonder how many “Christians” would really recognize Jesus if He came back today. Jesus was manly, a true mans-man. He worked with his hands, saved damsels in distress, and even flew to heaven. He became righteously angry, sat down and hand made a whip, kicked over tables and whipped people out of the temple (John 13:22, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46).
Back in the disciples time there were the Judaizers who told Christians that you first had to be a Jew in order to become a Christian; and that you had to follow the law. In essence, you had to be a Jew that believed in Christ…
I think we can all agree that legalism is not the answer. Paul shows us that the law is there so that you know you are doing wrong (Romans). So the pendulum has swung from the Judaizers now to the Christian Universalists. Jesus is the answer; not the Judaizers then, not the Universalists now…Jesus, just Jesus.
Again, I don’t know Rob Bell. I have not read his new book. There has been talk about his book on a ton of blogs and in Christian articles around the country. Rob Bell has even put out a promotional video (the video is in the middle of the blog) that makes even makes it look like this is the way the book will lean. Without reading the book (or at least having one of my trusted friends read it) I can’t say too much about the book itself. But remember, when reading a book you’re not sure about, bring your salt shaker and don’t drink the Kool-Aid.
I firmly believe that we can learn from all parts of Christendom…the trick is making sure that who you are learning from is a part of Christendom. Hold strong to your closed handed beliefs. Remember, if a group says Jesus + something gets you to heaven / God that it’s wrong. In the other direction though, if a group says maybe Jesus maybe not…I would then also say it’s wrong.
If you talk to someone who doesn’t believe the Bible, please remember that quoting scripture isn’t always the best answer. While it is God’s word, don’t say “the Bible tells us in _________ chapter ______ that it’s this way!” Show Jesus through your life. Show them and tell them what Jesus has done in your life. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be their first scripture…then they can move onto the Bible.
There seems to be some misunderstanding about what I meant by “feminized Christianity.” After talking with a few people I’ve come to realized that I didn’t do an adequate job of explaining my thought; I apologize. Feminized might not be the best term here, but quite frankly, I can’t find a better one.
What I intended to get across with this was that we, Christendom, have become complacent on the “Love” aspect of God. God is Love, don’t get me wrong. However, God does get angry, He did and does take vengeance. If you don’t believe me read about Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis. Read pretty much the entire Torah, and even the rest of the old testament.
God is love, but He gets angry. In all of the gospels we are shown a good indication of this characteristic in Christ as well (John 13:22, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46). What I meant by “feminized Christianity” was that much of Christendom now solely focuses on the love aspect of God and neglect all of His other characteristics. When that happens, as we are seeing, the notion of universalism (God wouldn’t let anyone go to Hell, so we must all be going to Heaven) comes out in full bore. It’s a natural step, if God is only love, how could He create someone and let them go to Hell?
I mentioned that I wondered how many quote unquote ‘Christians’ would actually recognize Jesus if He came back today. That’s a question that has been asked since Christ left (I’m sure). When pendulums swing, there is a far left and a far right, and typically both sides are wrong and/or bad. What I had hoped, and still hope, is that people take from this that God is much more than just love. And if you are going to love God, you need to love the whole God.