Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I am only a third of the way into it, but I supect that many of the negative reviews that proliferate the blogosphere are concerned with more than his view of Hell. From what I have heard so far, Bell is not just critiquing Hell, but the practical and evangelical practices that result from holding the popular Christian view of Hell.
This is Bell's true heresy. He critiques popular Christianity.
For many Christians, who have been trained to think in an us/them paradigm, when Bell makes a critique he places himself securely in the THEM category.
I was recently on David Hayward's (NakedPastor) facebook page. He was being taken to task by a Christian for a cartoon he drew that critiqued the church. The Christian said that David's cartoon was "anti-church" and that he should be making a "positive case for the Christian tradition". I would think that such a "rose colored glasses" approach would bring the accusation of "cult" were we talking about any other group.
When I heard the following quote in Love Wins this morning, I laughed outloud. However, when I was searching the Net for someone who had already typed it in, I found that most Christians didn't see the ironic humor. Most writers' defense mechanisms kicked in and they spent their sentences refuting the statement... rather than seeing Rob's use of irony. Either/or, Us/Them thinking.
So is it true that the kind of person you are doesn’t ultimately matter, as long as you’ve said or prayed or believed the right things?
If you truly believed that, and you were surrounded by Christians who believed that, then you wouldn’t have much motivation to do anything about the present suffering of the world, because you would believe you were going to leave someday and go somewhere else to be with Jesus.
If this understanding of the good news of Jesus prevailed among Christians - the belief that Jesus’s message is about how to get somewhere else - you could possibly end up with a world in which millions of people were starving, thirsty, and poor; the earth was being exploited and polluted; disease and despair were everywhere; and Christians weren’t known for doing much about it.
If it got bad enough, you might even have people rejecting Jesus because of how his followers lived.
And that would be tragic.
Posted by Andrew at 8:11 PM