Archive for March 7th, 2011

The Anatomy of A Question: Rob Bell, Kevin DeYoung, and A Lesson In “Doubling Down”

Posted on March 7, 2011. Filed under: Apologetics, Atheism, Religion, Rob Bell, Universalism |

This subject should make me giggle.

I should be sitting back basking in the splendor of watching the faith that I grew up in-the faith that I taught and brought to people for a decade- the faith that I left in no small part due to instances like this one- humiliate itself by drowning in it’s own hubris.

I’m not laughing….and I don’t know why.  Perhaps it’s because I have a friend who will be publishing a book on Universalism in the next

That's right...I asked questions!

month, and watching the vitriol makes me overly protective of her.  Perhaps it is because I’m not as good at schadenfreude as I want to think I am.  Perhaps it is because I see a faith castigating a pastor for something he didn’t even say- something that I myself considered strongly before rejecting it and my faith years ago.

Universalism, right or wrong, is the elephant in the room in Christian circles today.  Whether it is biblically grounded is beside the point.  I’m not here to argue for Universalism-I’ll leave that to my friend and her forthcoming book.  What I am arguing for is a faith that asks and answers the tough questions instead of publicly crucifying someone for giving these questions their due.  Especially when all available evidence suggests that this someone, pastor Rob Bell, does nothing more than use questions about Universalism in order to clarify traditional Evangelical theology in his new book  LOVE WINS.

Universalism is not a fringe idea.  It is an idea that is gaining traction among young Christians, again- biblical or not- it is based on “evidence that demands a verdict” (to glibly use another apologist’s words).  There are, without a doubt, bible verses that seem to support universal salvation.  There are, without a doubt, bible verses that seem to contradict universal salvation.  The facts bear witness that it is not a subject that RealChristians™ will get away from by simply yelling “HERESY” loudly over the voices of dissent.  Rob Bell knows this.  He is taking the issue head on.  He’s answering the questions of those Universalists, and from the reports of all those currently in the know, he’s telling them they are well intentioned….and wrong.

If you doubt that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, I direct you to the words of Dr. Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University (Chicago, Illinois).  In his recent post “Waiting For Rob Bell”, McKnight says:

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