Posts Tagged ‘Rob Bell’

Hell and the Ida Syndrome

Monday, May 30th, 2011 by Dale M. Coulter

In the past few weeks, there has been another splash on the internet with respect to the doctrine of hell. Yes. . .again. It was created by the popular Christian speaker and author Francis Chan’s video about his forthcoming book, Erasing Hell. You can view the video at his website. I find it somewhat ironic that there is a rush on the part of some detractors to critique a video, not unlike the rush to criticize Rob Bell. But then, this is the brave new world of the internet.

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.

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Rob Bell, Discipleship, and the Matrix

Friday, March 18th, 2011 by Dale M. Coulter

The book is out, and I read it; or, rather, I skimmed it at Books-a-Million tonight in about 20 minutes. I would not pay retail, or even half of retail through Amazon, for a book that requires so little to digest. Although I have nothing to confirm this hunch, the book feels like it was a series delivered orally and then transcribed into a manuscript, which is to say, this is not really a book. It is, however, Rob Bell at what he seems to do best: communicate with rhetorical flair to get folks pondering issues and contemplating questions.

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.

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Rob Bell and Hell

Friday, March 4th, 2011 by Dale M. Coulter

The Bell saga, which is only a “saga” in the 24-hour news cycle world in which we live, continues. In light of the chorus of voices surrounding Bell’s statements that “love wins” and his casting doubt on someone’s certainty that Gandhi is in hell, I thought I would say a few words about hell, and then point you to the long discussion of hell by Jason Wermuth on this site, which begins here. My aim is simply to set forth some basic ideas that all synergists would embrace because I think the Bell saga provides a nice moment to reflect on these ideas.

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Rob Bell and Reformed Madness

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 by Dale M. Coulter

When Marc Santom emailed the blog team at Renewal Dynamics about the recent round of comments over Rob Bell’s unreleased book, I thought to myself that it was not worth the effort to respond. I mean, the book has not even been published. Moreover, I tend to think that the entire situation is a tempest in a tea pot. Then I read Kevin DeYoung’s blog… Read the rest of this entry »

Locked in the Closet: Rob Bell on Pastoral Rest

Saturday, May 8th, 2010 by Jason Wermuth

In this video interview, Rob Bell talks about the need to balance his pastoral ministry with rest. Watch the video and then comment below:

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…