Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Don’t Want to Be Offended (Re: Love Wins)

There’s a lot of controversy in evangelical circles right now over Rob Bell's new book Love Wins.  I’m going to admit right up front that I’ve never read the book.  I read his book Velvet Elvis and watched some of his Nooma videos back in the day, but nothing of his since then.

That said, I can’t really discuss Love Wins in any detail.  I don’t think Bell is saying what people think he is saying.  He comes right out and says what he believes in.  Watch the video and see for yourself:

All that said, the controversy that the book spawned is a little more concerning than the book itself.

I’m going to layout what I believe before getting too deep into this.  I believe what the Bible says, “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  That judgment leads to eternal life or eternal hell.  Eternal life is knowing the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent (John 17:3).  Jesus made it possible to know the Father by removing our sins at Calvary, and if you choose to accept this gift, it’s yours.  You’ll be transformed, and you’ll stop doing those things that separate you from God.  If you choose to reject it, you’re damned already.  Damnation means hell for eternity.

To sum up: Hell is real. Everyone does not get a trophy for participation.

Now, let me add some more controversy to the controversy about Rob Bell and whether this salvation can occur post-mortem:

We tend to get riled up at the thought of someone who did not accept Christ in this life getting into heaven anyway.  But let me ask you this: if He chose to extend mercy to someone after death during judgment, would you really be that person who says to God, “It’s not fair.  I spent years on earth serving You, and this person is getting the same thing I am” like the bitter workers in Matthew 20:12? Would it not be better to rejoice in such a case that your brother or sister who was lost is found?

Again I want to be clear that I think in order to be saved in the next life, you need to be saved in this one.  But it’s one of those things that I wouldn’t be upset about if I were wrong.  Jesus was very clear that many who think they’re saved will not be, and many who we might not think ought to be saved will be.  He’s the One who sorts the wheat and chaff, not us.  Let us rejoice with Him in the salvation of any sinner whenever it may happen, and grieve with Him in the destruction of any sinner whenever it may happen.  And rather than worrying about who's going where all the time, let's spend more time pointing everyone to Jesus, most importantly ourselves since He's the only one who can change our destination plans anyway.

Solo Deo Gloria


Daisy said...

This review was helpful:

Stephen Phillip Porter said...

Thanks Daisy,

I haven't read it because I didn't agree with alot of what he said in the book I did read, and I can see the reviewers points in your link. And I agree with them, but all these things are abstractions, and I try to think in more concrete terms. If God gave Jeffrey Dahmer a chance to repent after he died, would it bother me? If he didn't give the native in India who never ever heard the Gospel a chance to repent would it bother me?

I have no idea if either of those scenarios will happen, but I choose to love and follow God no matter what He does. All His ways are just, and His mercies are everlasting.

Hopefully that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

I've got the book on my shelf but haven't gotten to it yet.

I love your image of going up to God and telling him that is grace isn't fair. God's justice is so far beyond our limited understanding. I'm going to trust that in the end, as you suggest, the wheat will be with the wheat and the chaff will be with the chaff. And if there's anything we can do to help move chaff to wheat, we should do that with every fiber of our being.


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