Saturday, April 2, 2011

Best review of Rob Bell's book I've read

The best part of this review (and don't be scared off by the title) is how unimpressed it is. I don't mean that to be rude to Rob Bell (not at all), it's just that those of us who have been wrestling with this for years find the whole thing to be WAY over the top.

Most helpful to me is his breakdown of the three kinds of universalism. I would categorize myself as both hopeful and convinced. Many in my life would prefer I at least say that I'm only hopeful, because that keeps me "safe". But I must be honest. Now, to say I'm convinced is sort of strange, because on the afterlife and the end times, the sign posts of scripture point into a fog (as NT Wright says). So how can any of us be "convinced"? And yet deep within me I am, with Julian of Norwich, convinced that All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. I am convinced not in an intellectual way (though my hope is rooted in and informed my scripture); this is peace that passes understanding, and it is firm. I would not, however, join in the third category. For me, that is foolhardy - we cannot presume upon God. We don't know what He knows. We cannot require anything of Him. I would be quick to add, however, that many do preach and teach their own interpretations of heaven and hell as necessary, and in my experience, in doing so have hidden the Light of the Good News under a bushel.

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