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Quick thoughts on Rob Bell

Rob Bell's new book "Love Wins" has been a hot topic in the Christian community these last few weeks. Generally speaking, people are taking sides for or against Bell and his book according to what they already believed going in. That is, some are slamming Bell, and those people tend to have theological perspectives that are somewhat rigid. Others who liked Bell already are inclined to speak out against those who would dare speak out against Bell, especially since many of them didn't read his new book.

Criticism based on the promotional video alone is valid. In the clip, Bell specifically scoffs at the notion that Gandhi might not be in heaven right now. His points are made strongly enough that those who haven't read the book are certainly entitled to offer comments on the clip.

Jesus specifically said that many people will do good things, even spiritual things, and be shocked to hear “Depart from me, evildoers, I never knew you.” Whether Gandhi is in heaven or hell right now depends entirely on whether or not he was saved, and his salvation cannot possibly have been because he was a good man and did good works (See Eph 2:8). The fact that Bell opens up his video with his dispute of this very point was bound to rub people the wrong way. The fact that anyone is surprised that his Gandhi statement alone resulted in a backlash is, well, surprising.

One more thing: some who have said we shouldn't speak out against any professing Christian pastor/teacher, sure didn't have a problem saying things when Pat Robertson offered his voodoo explanation for Haiti's troubles last year. This is more proof that Christians are as bad as anyone when it comes to taking sides and defending questionable views made by those who we already decided we admire.

For some more balanced insights into the book, I strongly recommend Larry Shallenberger's journey through the book, one chapter at a time. Chapter one is here.

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