2 years ago: That chair doesn’t belong in this play

March 25, 2011, on this blog: That chair doesn’t belong in this play

For Al Mohler, as for most of Team Hell, we can see that there are two distinct categories. On the one hand there is what is “clearly revealed in the Bible … teachings … doctrine.” And on the other hand there’s this evasive, fuzzy-wuzzy, extra-biblical, anti-biblical notion of “the character of God.”

And with that preconception stuck in his head, he cannot accept or imagine or even hear what is actually being said to him. He cannot accept or imagine or hear the argument that the character of God as clearly revealed in the Bible is incompatible and irreconcilable with his fondness for Hell. The character of God is a “teaching” or “doctrine,” but it’s also much more than that. It is, in Mamet’s terms, the meaning of the play. Anything that contradicts it does not belong on stage.

That’s how Rob Bell reads the Bible. And that’s how Eugene Peterson reads the Bible. And that’s how I read the Bible. “Everything has to be interpreted through Christ,” Peterson said.

That’s also a Pauline approach to the Bible. It’s how Paul read the scriptures himself, and it’s how he wrote his own letters to the early believers, letters which we have since canonized as our own scriptures. The evangelists who wrote the Gospels of the New Testament wrote them this way too. And they tried to live that way too.

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