'Love Wins,' ca. 1321

This is from Alice K. Turner’s fascinating The History of Hell, from Turner’s chapter on mystery plays. Biblical parables like the stories of Dives and Lazarus or the wise and foolish virgins were not commonly staged, partly because they were not “history,” and partly because of an intrinsic dramatic pitfall illustrated by the story of [Read More...]

Orthodoxy and ignorance

Mike Todd, writing about Rob Bell’s Love Wins and the (over)heated condemnation it has received, offers an insight into this fierce defense of rigid orthodoxies that collides neatly with our most recent Tribulation Force discussion. In particular, he explains why it is that real, true Christian heroes like Rayford Steele and Buck Williams cannot learn, [Read More...]

Quench not the Spirit

Rachel Held Evans responds to the recent Southern Baptist Convention resolution affirming belief in “conscious, eternal suffering” for all non-Christians, i.e., Hell. She quotes from Rustin J. Umstattd, a theology professor at Midwestern Baptist seminary, who criticizes author Rob Bell for not realizing that we Christians, apparently, are not supposed to listen when our conscience [Read More...]

They're spreading blankets on the beach

The Economist: “America’s transport infrastructure: Life in the slow lane” America’s dependence on its cars is reinforced by a shortage of alternative forms of transport. Europe’s large economies and Japan routinely spend more than America on rail investments, in absolute not just relative terms, despite much smaller populations and land areas. America spends more building [Read More...]

Love and Holiness

I don’t want to just leave this to a footnote in a Left Behind post, because it’s much, much more than just a footnote in the Gospels, in Paul and in the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures: There is no such thing as holiness apart from love. This is a frequent, vehement, anvilicious theme in [Read More...]

The parable of the erratically forgiving master

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him 10,000 talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his [Read More...]

The Missiological Case for Hell

One of the common, but strange, responses to Rob Bell’s infamous lack of enthusiasm for eternal torture has been what we might call the Missiological Case for Hell. This case was articulated recently by Russell Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Seminary, during a Team Hell Strategy Session at Al Mohler’s Southern [Read More...]

That chair doesn't belong in this play

Playwright David Mamet, from the essay “Realism” in Writing in Restaurants: In general, each facet of every production must be weighed and understood solely on the basis of its interrelationship to the other elements; on its service or lack of service to the meaning, the action of the play. A chair is not per se [Read More...]