The first line of the article really drew me in this morning:

A Methodist pastor who voiced support for a book questioning the view of hell as a place of eternal damnation is “shocked” by his church’s decision to fire him.

The book is Love Wins by Rob Bell, a pastor and leader of the emergent church movement. Apparently Rob has decided that it is just too harsh to think that God would condemn anyone to hell, or at least that we could know that that would happen. I watched a couple of youtube videos where he was promoting his book. His ability to avoid the direct question made it pretty difficult to know whether he believes anyone actually goes to hell or not. In one particular interview with Martin Bashir on MSNBC he avoids the direct question several times. That avoidance makes me think he probably does take a very unorthodox view of eternity.
And it also raises another question for me. The emergent movement is built in some part on the idea that the establishment church should be challenged, that fundamental truths shouldn’t be blindly accepted, but re-examined. Now if Rob Bell is part of a movement that is so bold, why would he hesitate to take the opportunity to tear down the idea that some may not actually go to heaven? It doesn’t make sense to me.
Of course, the whole idea that your decision about Christ before you die determines your eternal destiny is completely unbiblical. In the interview with Martin Bashir, Bell says that Universalism is a stream of belief within historical Christianity. While it is true that as a matter of history there have been theologians who have held to universalism, that doesn’t make it a stream of orthodoxy. This isn’t a preference for baptism by immersion or sprinkling, or a choice between traditional hymns and gregorian chants.
The worst part of the interview may be his excuse that as a pastor he has permission to not be a theologian or that comforting people demands a watering down of the gospel.
What do you think? Watch the video below and let me know your reaction.
One more thing. Bashir begins the interview with a false dichotomy posed from the tragedy in Japan. He asks basically, “Is God all powerful and uncaring or caring but not all powerful?” This is a false choice. God is both all powerful and completely compassionate. However, the chaos in which we live is our own doing as a result of our sin and the sinfulness of humanity. It isn’t a “paradox” as Bell says, it is a false choice. So, check out the video and let me know what you think.


Just got back from watching the new Matt Damon movie, “The Adjustment Bureau.” Really enjoyable movie with action, a love story and plenty of intrigue. It’s an entertaining movie and that is the most important thing to me in a movie.

The really interesting part of this movie is the push and shove between free will and sovereignty. I don’t want to give any of the movie away for those who will go to see it, but it should lead to some interesting conversations afterward. Can we choose or do we just think we are choosing? Not the little things in life, but the big ones. Who we marry, what we do with our lives. All of these can be affected by such small events. Or are they? Is our fate just the summation of the things we were going to choose anyway?

Lots to ponder. 🙂
I’ll give this one a Horn’s Up for overall entertainment value.
4 pulpits out of 5 for Christian Thought.

One of my favorite paragraphs so far is on this day. Here it is:

God wants us to follow Him daily, not just follow a plan. If we try to spell out all the details of His will in a planning session, we tend to think, Now that we know where we are going and how to get there, we can get the job done. Then we forget about the need for a daily, intimate relationship with God. We may set about to accomplish our plans and forget the relationship. Or God may try to lead us to do a new thing, but we reject it because it is not in our long-range plan! God created us for an eternal love relationship. Life is our opportunity to experience Him at work. (italics not added)

This paragraph is a very accurate description of what happens in my own life often and what I see in others also. It is a picture of the church at work so often. We get a plan in mind and off we go, “Hope the Lord meets us somewhere near the end.”

I really like the last sentence, “Life is our opportunity to experience Him at work.” This life is where we can see God at work. Don’t abandon Him or get out in front of Him. Wait to see Him do what He does. Rely on Him daily and seek Him and His presence daily. This is where the beauty of a “walk with God” comes out. We are on a journey with Him and the emphasis is on “with.” I want to go with Him, not just near Him.

Lord, help me to seek you everyday and to wait to go with You.