We need a loaded, volatile, adequately violent, dramatic, serious word to describe the very real consequences we expereince when we reject the good and true and beautiful life that God has for us. We need a word that refers to the big, wide, terrible evil that comes from the secrets hidden deep within our hearts all the way to the massive, society-wide collapse and chaos that comes when we fail to live in God’s world God’s way.
And for that, the word “hell” works quite well. Let’s keep it.
I’ve just read the preface and opening chapter to Rob Bell’s controversial new book ‘Love Wins’ that’s available from this coming Tuesday. I won’t say a lot until I’ve read all of it, but there are a few things that are immediately jumping out to me.
First, Rob is putting onto the table for discussion the questions that - like it or not - millions of people are asking. Whether we agree or disagree with whatever conclusions he may or may not reach, we should applaud his courage for not hiding away from what I think is THE question right now - both inside and outside of church.
Second, I can already tell I’m going to really enjoy reading the rest of the book. I don’t expect to agree with everything (I’ve yet to read a book where that’s the case) but I’m looking forward to embracing this conversation, both in my own mind and with the community of people I share life with.
Third, I don’t think there’s much to be afraid of. As Rob himself admits, there’s no new theology that has never been heard before in this book. So if you’re an anti-Rob Bell pastor, don’t waste your time telling people not to read it. Why? One, because you shouldn’t be afraid of people reading different view points from your own. Better to read it with them, than force them to read it in secret surely? And two, because, if you haven’t realised it yet, the more you tell people not to read something, the more they’ll want to. :)
Anyway, that’ll do for now. I’ll share more thoughts along the way.