Monday, April 04, 2011

Love Wins chapter 2

Chapter 2 is dealing with questions relating to heaven and what it means.  Aside from Bell's "twitter-esque" writing style, I found this chapter to be relatively enjoyable.  This is probably because I can relate to many of Bell's thoughts as it relates to heaven.  As he correctly observes, many Christians hold to the misconception that eternal life means going somewhere else.  With that, we are left with a fuzzy, spacey, cloudy, and floaty picture of what the "where" in eternal life is.

However popular this notion might be in Christian circles, this is not the Scriptural position (again, as Bell correctly observes).  Instead, eternal life for believers starts right here, right now; on earth.  Unfortunately, Bell says very little, if anything, about the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and its connection to the kingdom.  If the kingdom of God is coming to this earth (Matthew 6:10), then we should live in accordance with this reality; not in terms of living out a so-called "social gospel," but actively proclaiming the good news of eternal life and what one's must do to enter (Matthew 7:21).

Though it may be premature for me to say at this point, I anticipate a reason for which Bell will not speak too much about the exclusive nature of the kingdom; that is, if he believes it is exclusive at all.  The next chapter is on "hell."  I'm very curious to see how Bell views this difficult subject.


Christie said...

the Bible Answer Man podcast is doing a week on this. Just thought you would be interested to hear it. :)

Ron Krumpos said...

Which Afterlife?

In his new book "Love Wins" Rob Bell seems to say that loving and compassionate people, regardless of their faith, will not be condemned to eternal hell just because they do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Concepts of an afterlife vary between religions and among divisions of each faith. Here are three quotes from "the greatest achievement in life," my ebook on comparative mysticism:

(46) Few people have been so good that they have earned eternal paradise; fewer want to go to a place where they must receive punishments for their sins. Those who do believe in resurrection of their body hope that it will be not be in its final form. Few people really want to continue to be born again and live more human lives; fewer want to be reborn in a non-human form. If you are not quite certain you want to seek divine union, consider the alternatives.

(59) Mysticism is the great quest for the ultimate ground of existence, the absolute nature of being itself. True mystics transcend apparent manifestations of the theatrical production called “this life.” Theirs is not simply a search for meaning, but discovery of what is, i.e. the Real underlying the seeming realities. Their objective is not heaven, gardens, paradise, or other celestial places. It is not being where the divine lives, but to be what the divine essence is here and now.

(80) [referring to many non-mystics] Depending on their religious convictions, or personal beliefs, they may be born again to seek elusive perfection, go to a purgatory to work out their sins or, perhaps, pass on into oblivion. Lives are different; why not afterlives? Beliefs might become true.

Rob Bell asks us to reexamine the Christian Gospel. People of all faiths should look beyond the letter of their sacred scriptures to their spiritual message. As one of my mentors wrote "In God we all meet."