Without commenting on Chan, mainly because I weary of dissecting comments on a video that are explicitly designed to market a book and thus must be provocative, it seems to me at this point that both the defenders and growing detractors of the doctrine of hell get it wrong, especially in the evangelical world where this debate is primarily being waged. I’ll try to spell out several areas that both sides need to deal with before they arrive at any conclusions about hell, but the debate reveals how persons can be “biblical” without being biblical. This current debate in and around the edges of the evangelical world has confirmed my own growing sense that one cannot be authentically biblical without immersing oneself thoroughly into the great river of Christian tradition. I say thoroughly because folks like Bell will stand on the banks of the great river and cherry pick select authors in the same way that many individuals employ selective scriptures as proof texts.
Posts Tagged ‘Rob Bell’
Is it theology? Not really. If theology is akin to meat and potatoes, then this book is more like a light salad, a mix of greens with a dash of spice and a little vinaigrette for flavor. I feel somewhat confident with the thought that Harper must have pulled out all the punches to get the final product at over 200 pages. The font is larger and there is a space between each paragraph. If you reduced the book to a typed manuscript, my hunch—again, only a hunch—is that it would be no more than 40 pages, or the equivalent of two 20-page papers. So, all in all, light reading that requires only that the reader skim to get the main points that fall here and there, like slivers of carrots laced throughout the greens. The greens themselves are the steady diet of questions that Bells throws out. In short, theology, it’s not.
In this video, as in his book Velvet Elvis, Rob talks about the rapid growth in his church and how that effected him physically, mentally and emotionally. In the book he writes the following about this troubling time where he hid himself away in a closet in between the first and second service at this church (p. 104):
I was exhausted.
I was burned out.
I was full of doubt.
I was done.
I had nothing more to say.
After three straight years of working full time while in seminary, which will come to a culmination today at graduation, I often feel just this way, exhausted, burned out, full of doubt … through it all though, one of the best things I have learned in this process is the goodness of rest. Hard work without rest is just striving, but Jesus tells us that his yoke (not the stuff in eggs) is easy and his burden is light (Matt 11:30). The author of Hebrews tells us in chapter four that a major point of this Jesus thing is rest, not just in the eschaton, but right now! This doesn’t mean being lazy, on the contrary, rest is what happens after you have worked hard. The lazy do not rest, because they weren’t doing anything to begin with. But even God rested on the seventh day after his work, and if rest is good for God – it is for us too! Rest helps us to appreciate the work that we have just done. It helps us to regain perspective. Rest helps to reignite the fire that first got you doing whatever it was that you were doing. Rest is godly.
Do you feel burned out right now? How do you make time for shalom in your life?
If you don’t make time for shalom in your life, start today! It is the sabbath after all…