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Love Wins: God is Bigger than the Boogeyman.

There's a song by David Crowder Band that inexplicably makes me like them again, despite only really having a mild affection for them in college, and a sort of hometown affection for them while I was living in Waco. From their Church Music album, the song "Oh, Happiness!" bursts out, loud and celebratory, proclaiming loudly and happily about the grace of God.

The chorus is one that would make a lot of Calvinists balk, however: "Oh happiness! There's grace enough for us and the whole human race."

The verses get worse. The only nod to the exclusivity of the Gospel message - an exclusivity which the American church holds onto with a death grip - is the line "all who come." The rest of the song refers to "something that mends all of it," and the sounds of church bells ringing, celebrating the fact that "everything can be redeemed, we can be redeemed, oh, all of us."

But let's think for a minute what we're singing there when we sing along with this song in the car, on KLOVE or (if you're in South Dakota), KNWBC.

"Oh happiness! There's grace enough for us and the whole human race."

Grace enough. For the whole human race, including us.

Crowder's message in this short, sweet, simple song is one, ultimately, of inclusion. Very few theologians would deny that Crowder is correct when he sings that "everything will be redeemed," and that this is a reason to rejoice. It's straight out of the letters of Paul and the mouth of Jesus - all this world will eventually pass away to reveal a new heaven and new earth, a phrase likely meaning simply new world altogether. It will be a world in which, as the Lord's Prayer hopes for and solicits, God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven. The two will be joined as one and the kingdom of heaven will reign over all - a world of perfect community, perfect love, perfect relationships, a world without murder, rape, greed, robbery, or Wall Street.

But things get better than that! Grace is extended to ALL.

Crowder is not alone in his assertion that redemption is extended to all of us. This is a notion passed down from the Biblical fathers to the Church fathers throughout the Christian Church for centuries upon centuries. Jesus' blood on the cross is redemptive, for any and all.

Full stop.

How many of you mentally added an "if" to that sentence?

Come on, raise your hand.

Many of us been trained so hard and so long in that particular doctrine of the church that to question it, to cut off the "if" statement at the end of the sentence is like hitting the brakes right after getting the car up to 60mph. It's jarring. I bet, even now, some of you readers are scrolling back up, looking for some wiggle room, some place where I don't propose what you're thinking.

But hitting the brakes on that sentences is precisely what Rob Bell does in his latest book, Love Wins. Even before the book was released, it caused a massive stir, based mostly on pre-release materials about the book, and not actual analysis of the book itself. In it, critics say, Bell proposes a theology that borders on univeralism, if it is not outright univeralist. He proposes a new way of looking at heaven and hell and proposes that hell may not be eternal.

Now, I need to clarify a few things before we go on: This book is not a theological treatise. You'll probably read, if you look around the internet enough at enough blogging sites with reviews of the book, commentary that makes this mistake. Bell is not attempting to create a new version of the Institutes. Or Luther's Theses. Or Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics.

It simply cannot be read that way. If you go into the book looking for precisely laid out Biblical proof that gives you a definitive answer, you're going to find what appear to be gaps, holes, leaps, and misreadings. And that's purposeful. Because Bell isn't concerned about giving us "the answer." He isn't giving us a volume on "Why I Am Not a Believer in 'X' Doctrine" to use as a clobber book when we get in late night arguments with friends in the dorm. He's giving us thoughts on a topic.

Toward the end of the first chapter of the book, Bell has asked a series of Socratic questions, questions that are, in a sense, rhetorical. He's going to try to give us some sort of response. This is precisely what he tells us, and the word he uses - response. And that word choice is important - he doesn't ever claim to be giving the answer, he doesn't even really claim that what we think right now is totally and completely wrong. What he does want us to do is be open to the possibility. Be receptive to the idea that there are alternative interpretations, and nothing, especially Hell, is as set in stone as we have made it in the modern day evangelical church.

Second, and related to the first, the genre of the book is "sermon." It is what it is. It reads like a sermon (when you get a copy, read a couple of pages out loud - certainly sounds like a public speaker, eh?). As such, it doesn't end on the last page, just as a sermon doesn't end at the benediction. You are supposed to take it home with you and discuss it. You are supposed to pull out your Bible and examine it. You are supposed to go "oh, I didn't think of it that way before," and sit and digest it for the rest of the week or month or year or however long it takes to pass from your brain to your heart. That is, quite obviously, the type of writing Bell has always done. This genre is especially evident in how he cites Bible verses - he doesn't give us chapter and verse as though he's providing evidence in a court case. No, he references book and chapter, indicating that he wants his reader to go take a look at it for herself, to examine the whole verse in context. It is important that he does this, because he is saying: "Feel free to do your own research. Go on, challenge it, but you'd better have done the reading."

He isn't lazy. He knows what he's doing, and it has been done purposefully. We need to look at the book as a starting point for discussion, not the ending point.

Alright, clarifications are out of the way: let's get down into the nitty-gritty.

If you've paid any attention to this whole debacle surrounding his book, you'll have heard, well, any number of things about the content. But let me clarify what Bell is not proposing: he is not proposing that Hell does not exist. He is not proposing that everyone will just "go to heaven" after they die and therefore Christianity is useless. He is not saying the work of the church doesn't matter.

What he is saying is that God is way bigger than the box we've put on him with our concept of Hell - a place of neverending torment and suffering, all because you didn't respond the right way in the few short years you had here on earth.

What he is saying is that the Bible talks a whole lot more about loving your neighbor than it does about how that neighbor's going to end up in Hell.

What he is saying is that the work of the Kingdom is vastly more important than the fire insurance we've turned it into. And that God is way bigger and more loving than Hell allows Him to be.

And he's also saying: Didn't Jesus, like, defeat Hell? So why are we all sorts of worried about whether or not we're doing it right? As Bell says in the promo and in the book, our current concept of Hell does plant the notion that Jesus and the Father are in opposition, that Jesus saved us from the Father. When, really, didn't Jesus save us from, like y'know, ourselves?

Now, it would be silly of me to go back and rehash everything Bell has to say. You need to read the book to do that.

But I do want to point a few things out: Bell is not groundbreaking. In fact, not a whole lot of what he says is all that new - he just brought the argument into the open in the 21st century. And I'd like to take the rest of this post to examine one of Bell's major influences, CS Lewis, as the ideas presented in Bell are so similar that an examination of one is an examination of the other (indeed, in reading Love Wins, I was writing the titles of Lewis' works in the margins, referencing where these ideas had probably originated for Bell).

CS Lewis, a writer revered by many in the American church, a writer whom many of us read to our kids before bed, a writer whose work has challenged and worked on many of us and brought us to a new life in Jesus, had a very, very similar conception of Heaven and Hell. For Lewis, Hell was not a place of permanent suffering. In The Great Divorce, his major work on Heaven and Hell, he writes of a dream in which he wakes up in a grey town and takes a bus up, up, up in the sky into a green countryside. Upon leaving the bus, he discovers that he is a ghost in this country - the blades of grass are sharp and hard, and everything is immensely more real than he ever could imagine. He and his fellow ghosts from the bus encounter solid people who are residents of this green country. Lewis meets with his childhood hero and the man likely most responsible for making Lewis the man he is: George MacDonald. He and George walk about and discuss the nature of this new, green countryside. Eventually, it becomes clear that, in this green field, they are standing basically at the entrance to heaven.

Lewis asks: "But I don't understand. Is judgment not final? Is there really a way out of Hell into Heaven?"

MacDonald replies:
It depends on the way ye're using the words. If they leave that grey town behind it will not have been Hell. To any that leaves it, it is Purgatory. And perhaps ye had better not call this country Heaven. Not Deep Heaven, ye understand. ... Ye can call it the Valley of the Shadow of Life. And yet to those who stay here it will have been heaven from the first. And ye can call those sad streets in the town yonder the Valley of the Shadow of Death: but to those who remain there they will have been Hell even from the beginning.
After a puzzled look, MacDonald goes on to explain that in our present state, there's no possible way humans can understand eternity. Eternity begins before death, he says, and the glory of Heaven and the torment of Hell both work backward, turning agony into glory, and pleasure into pain, even for our earthly life, in retrospect.

And when, after a discussion about the reality of Heaven versus the mental state of Hell ("Every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind--is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself."), Lewis questions whether or not there is a real choice after death, MacDonald cuts him off, tells him not to bother himself with such questions because he cannot really know and understand the relationship between choice and Time "till you are beyond both."

So, Lewis' answer to the Heaven and Hell question in The Great Divorce is, "Maybe there is grace after death. We don't know. And it's not really our place to speculate, in either direction."

Now, The Great Divorce is a work probably not many are familiar with.

So let's look at one which many people know and love: Narnia.

In The Last Battle, the end of the earth and Narnia tale that closes out Lewis' seven book series, the last two chapters are probably my favorite of any book series - even over and above Harry Potter. Lewis paints a picture of Heaven that is full of grace, beauty and glory. And here, he proposes two things that have made readers over the years scratch their heads, things that only make sense in light of how Lewis views Hell as expounded upon in his other works.

The first is the fate of the dwarves. The children and Aslan bound into that New Narnia, the Heaven like area where you can go running and running and running and never get tired, and where it is impossible to feel frightened, and it's bigger on the inside, so you just keep running further up and further in to this glorious countryside, bounding alongside Aslan and the rest of the happy citizens of that far green country under a swift sunrise. They have discovered that this place is Narnia, but is more real than any Narnia they had ever experienced before.

And as they are running around and rejoicing, they realize that, through the stable they have just come through, the dwarves who had entered with them, are not enjoying the beauty of the land, are not jumping and celebrating with them. They are sitting, huddled together, by themselves in the same spot where they had first entered.

They are still in the stable. They are, as Rob Bell puts it, at the party but not experiencing it. When the girls try to force the dwarves to see the world around them, the dwarves reply obstinately, "The dwarfs are for the dwarfs" and insist that they are still trapped in the stable.

Hell is being at the party and not knowing it. Hell is a state of mind, a separation that YOU have put up between yourself and God, not a place that God sent you because "you didn't live right."

The second thing that happens is very unusual, and is probably the one thing people point to if they want to call Lewis a heretic. There is a Calormene, a separate race in the world of Narnia which is often believed to be either Muslims or Hindus. And he is there, in Heaven. He had served his god, Tash, in good faith and had lived out a life that resembled more closely that of Narnians than Calormenes. Aslan tells him upon finding him in that heavenly countryside: "I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For he and I are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him."

There's not really a way around it. This theme shows up over and over again in Lewis' works, reflected in Till We Have Faces, A Grief Observed, Mere Christianity, That Hideous Strength, and Surprised by Joy. Lewis' view of Hell as a mentality, and his view that people would be given a chance at redemption after death, a chance to see that far green countryside should they choose to have it, permeate all his works.

If we're going to call Rob Bell a heretic, we have to put down Narnia as well. And I know far fewer Christians willing to do that.

Luke 20:38 tells us that God is not the God of the dead, but instead the God of the living.

Instead of emphasizing a theology of Hell which turns God into a bastard of a dictator, commanding that you arbitrarily say the right words in the right order in order to be saved from something, we have a God of the living, a God concerned about how you "drag the future into the present," concerned about how you are treating your neighbor and about how you love in community.

We are not saved from Hell. We are saved to Heaven. We are saved to living a life of grace, beauty and love. Jesus' atoning sacrifice was not about saving us from Hell, which, despite lip service to the contrary, is the main thrust of theology in the American church (I blame John Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," frankly). Our theology has become sin-focused and Hell-focused, when it was never meant to be. We are concentrating more on the fate we are saved from than what we are saved to.

That, my friends, makes all the difference.

How we think about Heaven and Hell does affect our life here and now. If we place Heaven and Hell as far off, far away things, we separate ourselves from them. We put them far in the future. And we devalue our life now - our lives merely become pit stops on the way to eternity, a mere 70 years or so (or less) in which we have to choose what we're going to spend all of eternity doing. When we put the emphasis on being saved from Hell, by acting through a magic prayer or what have you, or even by living your life in a certain way, we place the emphasis wrongly. We are to work on bringing the love of God to our neighbor, not by telling our neighbor he is going to Hell if he doesn't respond correctly, but by telling him of the infinite, unrelenting, all forgiving, all loving and all good God who is working right now to bring more good and more life and more joy into the world. We do not tell our neighbor of the fate that awaits him if he decides that his pleasure is more important than some far off, far away eternal torment. We tell him of what God is doing, right here and right now. Of a God who died not to save us from Hell, but to take us to a further up and further in community with Him. Of a God who knows him, who created him, and who knows, understands, and wants to be a part of his story.

That is the God I speak of. My God doesn't "test me" to see if I'm getting it right and, if I'm not, sits back and wags his eternal finger over the button that sends me to a fate worse than death. My God calls me to participate in a loving, graceful, beautiful world with him, one which will be a fuller experience of a more real world, regardless of whether or not a Hell exists eternally.

Isn't that, ultimately, a better story?

In closing, CS Lewis writes in a little known sermon called "The Weight of Glory" about this mental status of Hell - emphasizing that the choices we make every day are steps that we take into creating our own Hell, into building that wall between us and God that will be harder (but not insurmountable), after death. He writes, in what is often quoted by not always understood:
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously--no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat--the glorifier and the glorified, Glory himself, is truly hidden.
Every choice we make creates a Hell or calls Heaven into our lives. In my choices, I choose, ultimately, to err on the side of Love. And it is in that truth that we can sing along with David Crowder: "There's grace enough. For us. And the whole human race." And we know we can experience that grace right here, right now. Grace that is about so much more than avoiding Hell. Or even about whether or not Hell is eternal. A grace that defeats death. That goes beyond death. That maybe, just maybe, bypasses death altogether and says that you have a chance. Dead or alive, you have a chance because my love is infinite, and extensive, and unfolding in numerous different ways and numerous different places all over the world.

It is, ultimately, a grace we can't understand, but we can celebrate and not fear.

And it is bigger and better than anything we can imagine, even bigger than Hell.

And isn't that, in the end, the Gospel story?


  1. good connections to Lewis. I love Lewis, but I often disagree with him. Just a couple of thoughts:

    You suggest that when we love our neighbor we should not tell her about hell or eternal punishment but rather about God's love. I certainly agree if you are talking about emphasis; the world desperately needs to understand God's loving grace. However, I still think there is a time and a place to share with that neighbor the reality of hell also. If you don't think we should be concerned with hell, what do you do with the numerous passages where Jesus talks about hell, or at very least the place of torment or a state of mind that we choose (I'm much less interested in the discussion of what hell is "like" than the fact that it exists, it matters, and it is eternal.). Take just for one example Matthew 25 and the parable of the talents. Jesus tells us that the unprofitable servant was to be cast out into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Again, I'm not saying that this is necessarily describing an eternal torment or that this is even necessarily a description of hell (although I believe that both are true). My point is that throughout his ministries, Jesus warned that those who rejected him would be punished. Which suggests to me that hell does have a place in apologetics, although I would quickly and ardently add that the vast majority of the time when hell is used in apologetics in American churches it is unhelpful and unloving. So, I suppose my question is this: if you think that we should not be concerned with telling our neighbor about hell, why do you think that Jesus told many people on many occasions about hell, or at the very least about the punishment of rejecting him?

    My other concern was with the way you presented the view of hell as literal (whatever that means) and eternal:

    "My God doesn't 'test me' to see if I'm getting it right and, if I'm not, sits back and wags his eternal finger over the button that sends me to a fate worse than death."

    It seems to me that you are presenting a very shallow and horrible version of the "conservative" view of hell, much in the same way that many critics uncharitably responded to Rob Bell's book. If we are to ever have any meaningful dialogue in the church about important doctrines like heaven and hell we need to admit that people who hold different views than our own might have intelligent and logical and loving reasons for holding those views. As much as many people might dislike the "conservative" view of hell, the reality is that many wise, loving, intelligent, studious people have accepted and defended this view, which doesn't make them right necessarily, but it does mean that they deserve a better representation of their belief than the image of a "bastard dictator" wagging his eternal finger at us.

    anyway, good post
    – Alan

  2. Thank you, Dianna, for such an eloquent, thoughtful post. I have read the works referenced here and you quoted many passages dear and delightful to me. Admittedly, until now I had no desire to read Bell's book - having watched it cut through recent conversations and facebook comments. However, the firm gentleness of this post and my love for the Lewis quotes makes me feel far less averse to picking up Bell's writing. I like the idea of viewing his book like a large, rhetorical question (or questions) instead of a treatise. This puts an emphasis on the pull towards thought, instead of argumentation. It is always good for me to re-examine my perception of Love: so often, my own view is shrinking into something puny and narrow, instead of growing toward the magnificent Love of the Almighty.

    Gratefully Yours, Elise

  3. Love it. Great job with all of the Lewis connections. I think I'll sprinkle this around through some of the "Love Wins" discussions I've been having on Facebook. :)

  4. Hey Alan! Thanks for commenting!

    I carefully avoided a lot of the description of discussing those specific questions because Bell does a lot of that in his book - which is why I didn't cover a lot of that here. And you're right in that there is a time and place for discussing Hell because it is important to understand what this separation from God means. But what Bell proposes (and what I mostly agree with) is that Hell is not some "otherwhere." It's not some place that we'll go to when we die - it starts now, and as the result of sin, we have all sorts of suffering in the world. We create our own Hell, which we get to continue living in post-death. But, what's "revolutionary" about Bell (and Lewis, in my contention), is that he proposes God's call doesn't end at our death (which, in turn, stops us from being the sole actors in the conversation).

    When it comes to talking to your neighbor, what is important is that they see the love of God before they see the fear of hell. And that's really my point. Hell can and does have a place, but we need to shove it back into its right place. Rather than being the people on the street corner holding signs that say "Turn or Burn," we need to be the people serving in the soup line, saying "This is the love I have. Come join me." And eventually, Hell can become a discussion point. But it's not the selling point. And that's mainly my beef with modern day evangelism (I'm thinking of The Way of the Master in particular here) - we use safety from Hell as a selling point, and not living and experiencing a deeper, greater, more amazing love as what really should be a selling point.

    I hope that makes sense. Again, like Bell, I wanted this to be a starting point for discussion. I would suggest reading Bell's book for yourself, but he responds to a lot of these objections, and his main response is: "We don't really know. You don't know. And neither do I. So we need to leave room for the possibility that Hell is not the terrifying place that fundies say it is.

    And you're right: The testing thing isn't fair, but that's a clobber verse I really hate. The way it's often used makes it sound like God is sitting there waiting for me to mess up, which I know is not really the case, but it's how it's been presented to me throughout my life, and it's a really hard image to shake.

    Elise and Jared: I'm glad you liked it. As I said, the Lewis connections were obvious, and I knew that was the case when I read the acknowledgments and Bell thanked someone for making him read Lewis in high school. :) The book itself is a really refreshing reminder of how truly BIG God is.

  5. "Our theology has become sin-focused and Hell-focused, when it was never meant to be. We are concentrating more on the fate we are saved from than what we are saved to."

    Amen, lady. I've been noticing this with Christians lately and it frustrates me. Of course it's important to recognize and avoid sinning, but it shouldn't be the focus of everything you do - i've also noticed a significant problem with people confusing 'sin' with 'human nature'.

    I've also always wondered about the Calormene at the end of The Last Battle, and i had debated placing that theology in the heresy pile. But it's good to read your opinion on it and reopen myself up for that contemplation.

    I seriously appreciate this because I respect you and your perspectives on theological matters. I knew Bell was going to challenge and stretch our perceptions of heaven and hell - and it is controversial! There's no denying that. But let's be honest, I don't know what heaven or hell is, 1 Peter 3 and 4 say Jesus went down to hell and preached to those who had disobeyed God so that they could still live in the spirit. I'm so limited and i have no way of understanding a limitless God, but i'm glad for it - if i understood a god then there'd be no reason to worship it.

    Let's get coffee.

  6. Awesome. I agree with you about the importance of putting Hell in its right place. I disagree with quite a few of Bell and Lewis's other points, but I certainly agree that using hell is a primary tool of evangelism is unhelpful and generally harmful.

    I wonder to what extent Bell is responding to a conception of hell found in extreme fundamentalism, the "turn or burn" mentality. It just seems to me that there is a fairly respectable middle way between Bell's view and the turn or burn view that needs to be reckoned with in this discussion.

  7. 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."

  8. Well Ron, you certainly have not helped defend Bell against charges of heresy.

  9. Diana,

    Liked the post and the connection with Lewis.

    I like using traditional concepts of Heaven and Hell as metaphors for realities in this life. In my mind there is no good evidence that warrants belief in an afterlife. Whatever happens after we die is a complete mystery that goes beyond what any holy book or spiritual experience can pretend to tell us. Rob Bell and Lewis may not complete agree with me here, but at least they realize that Heaven and Hell are best understood as being intertwined with our present existence.

    You said: "That is the God I speak of. My God doesn't "test me" to see if I'm getting it right and, if I'm not, sits back and wags his eternal finger over the button that sends me to a fate worse than death. My God calls me to participate in a loving, graceful, beautiful world with him, one which will be a fuller experience of a more real world, regardless of whether or not a Hell exists eternally."

    It is about time that Christians start voicing this kind of stuff. Many thoughtful Christians for centuries have rejected the God who assigns people to eternal torment, yet these thoughts have not been adequately voiced by the lay people in the church. If there ever was a Christ-like position on the traditional view of hell as eternal torment for the unbeliever, it is one that completely and publicly rejects it. This book is pretty bold on this issue given the present state of American Christianity, but it shouldn't be seen as bold. It should be seen as an exercise in stating the obvious. People should be wondering why he even bothers challenging such a pathetic and twisted view in the first place. But because much of the church has its identity wrapped up in being saved from this twisted God, this book is necessary and important.

  10. I followed you over here from MPT's blog. Love your post. Very eloquent.

  11. Dianna,

    I LOVE this: "We are not saved from Hell. We are saved to Heaven."

    We have been on the Lewis brainwave a couple of times over at MPT's blog. I've been talking about many of these same things over on my blog.

    I can't help but wonder if people in another couple of decades will look back on "Love Wins" they way we do with "The Great Divorce?" I doubt Piper would glibly dismiss Lewis but wonder if any of Lewis' contemporaries dismissed him? Or is some of the controversy a byproduct of our unique brand of American evangelicalism -and it's hero worship tendencies- combined with the ability to instantly communicate knee-jerk reactions via blogs, Twitter, etc...

    Ironically, I think sometimes our expanding ability to communicate actually makes us less discerning with what we say.

    Thanks for a great blog post! I now feel the urge to pick up more Lewis and dig deeper than I have already!

  12. noneuclidean, my initial comment was primarily about alternate views of an afterlife. Rob Bell has never claimed to be a mystic, but is open to contemplative prayer and meditation. While not a Universalist, he does respect people of other religions.

    Even within Christianity there are differing views of afterlife between Protestants, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Mormons, etc. In any discussion between people, there will be varying personal opinions and interpretations of scriptures. Most mystics, of any faith, would agree with Jesus: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within." If you want to find Hell just read, watch or listen to the daily news or study the unkind history of humankind.


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