Archive for March 2011

Marketing Hell

Many of you are aware that there is a lot of discussion/reaction flying around the Internet about the doctrine of Hell.  Most of this is being driven by a marketing scheme designed to sell Rob Bell’s latest book.  The way the scheme works is to suggest that a book’s position will prove heretical and then to reinforce this by releasing a few provocative sections from the book designed to give it that impression.  This then creates a heated reaction against the book by more conservative theologians that generates a lot of publicity and interest in the book.  Readers then pre-order the book to see what all the fuss is about and lots of money is made before people realize that the content isn’t really all that important.

If this book is like Rob’s past offerings it will contain no actual heresy. (Why would someone cut themselves off from their market by actually stating anything heretical when vagueness is so easy and it sells so well?)  I suspect that the book will do the usual questioning and implying without ever stating much of anything.  Our culture is fond of having our vagueness about truth justified by those we see a spiritual leaders.  There will also be the usual, “See he really isn’t a heretic, you shouldn’t have judged him!” comments made with smugness and maybe there will even be another tour.

I would worry about sounding cynical if I hadn’t seen this so many times before.

If you are interested in learning more about the doctrine of hell I have posted a few links below.

http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=cgm_theo

http://www.redeemer.com/news_and_events/articles/the_importance_of_hell.html

http://theresurgence.com/2011/03/14/to-hell-with-hell

If you are interested in reading a review of Rob Bell’s Book: “Love Wins” I recommend the one linked to here:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2011/03/14/rob-bell-love-wins-review

Forgiveness

Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion – without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person’s humanity and imitate God’s love for him. And when one knows that God’s love is greater than all sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of God’s justice and so rediscover one’s own sinfulness.

Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace