The Pangea Blog
Kurt Willems' Blog at Patheos
Follow PatheosProgressive Christian:
From the Love Wins Enhanced E-Book: http://bit.ly/uUWpOe
The Love Wins Enhanced E-book includes the entire text of Rob Bell”s Love Wins, The Love Wins Companion – A Study Guide for Those Who Want to Go Deeper, and eleven exclusive videos from Rob Bell.
I wish Bell would have
Oh my gosh! Thank you! This, I think, was maybe the most frustrating thing about the book. He was so harsh, non-loving, judgmental, and unfair to those whom he was criticizing and disagreed with. Tim Keller’s comments in this video at about 31 minutes in just nailed so much of what I felt about the way Rob wrote this book.
I mean come on, Jeff and Derek, Rob in no way judgemental, and didn’t exactly misrepresent anyone’s view, but by stating them in particular contexts made them appear silly, because they are. Now of course the neo-reformed crowd are in no position to be sensitive to ridicule, but that’s beside the point. When people are teaching the mass genocide of non-believers (especially at no fault of their own, per Reformed doctrine), then I’d say it’s ok not to take them totally seriously from time to time. If either of you can point out a single passage from “Love Wins” in which you think Rob is “unfair,” to those like Keller, I’d be shocked.
Bo: You wrote: “When people are teaching the mass genocide of non-believers (especially at no fault of their own, per Reformed doctrine)”
All due respect, but all this statement shows is your complete ignorance of Reformed doctrine. Please tell us one Reformed teacher, past or present, (or Scripture for that matter), that declares people will go to hell “at no fault of their own”.
It’s one thing to disagree with a position on its own merits and then, with boldness and sincerity, explain why disagreement is there; but it’s entirely another to be so intellectually dishonest that all that is proclaimed is radical crudeness.
Grace be with you – Jr
Now this, this is a model of true rhetorical restraint and humility in dialogue. There isn’t any sense of caricature, mockery, or self-righteousness involved at all.
Umm, for examples of Rob’s straw-manning, caricature, and uncharitable tone, see pgs. vii.-198. Here was a good blog review of the book pointing out some of these problems chapter by chapter. (Also, the guy isn’t even Reformed.) http://wisdomandfollyblog.com/2011/04/27/love-wins-and-logic-loses-the-fallacies-of-rob-bell/ In all seriousness though, he just didn’t exhibit the Christian charity involved in honestly presenting the views of those he disagreed with in a way that they would recognize or put it themselves before he proceeded to argue against them. He consistently caricatured them and presented crude straw-men to knock down. Caricature is a form of bearing false witness against your neighbor. I mean, it’s fine to eventually move on to sharp disagreement and even sarcasm. But at least be honest enough to present the best version of the position you disagree with before you criticize it. An honest dialogue did not appear to be his goal with this book. I say this as a former Bell fan. Also, if you want to actually understand Reformed Theology before accusing your brothers in Christ of believing in mass genocide, I suggest Michael Horton’s “The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology For Pilgrims along the Way.” Or any of his other works. Finally, I admit to being totally snarky myself. I will repent in dust and ashes later on today.
What Keller et al consider harsh and uncharitable is simply Rob’s stating out of the logical conclusions of their beliefs about salvation, e.g. that a 16 year old atheist who dies tragically in a car crash is headed for eternal conscious torment in hell because in his 3 or 4 years in even considering such matter he came down on the wrong side of an metaphysical debate.
I wonder if Rob read the book to you would it make a difference. Most of the time the written word can come off harsh or strong when in reality we are the ones that take it that way. I’ve had this experience many times in the past and am very careful now in how I read something; in case I take it in a spirit it was never meant to be taken in. Just a thought….
Bell’s harsh tone wasn’t just in the written form. The promo clip, which many of the first anti-Love Wins blog posts and articles were responding to, was very contentious: “Gandhi’s in hell? Really? You know that for a fact?”
When I heard Bell say that, and the manner in which he said it, I knew the response would be contentious, because Bell’s tone was contentious. The fact that he and many of his readers were so surprised by the reaction is astounding to me. He came out swinging, then acted surprised that others swung back.
That video clip set the “us-vs-them” tone which follows the book to this day.
That he succeeded in convincing people that he was merely asking questions, when he was actually making harsh judgments about those who disagree with him, is a marketing stroke of genius, but a lot of folks saw right through it.
Do you know as a fact that Gandhi is in hell? Or anyone for that matter. One of the other points that Bell makes is that all of our conversation, no matter what view point it comes from, about the afterlife is speculation. Even if we read books that are written by people who claim to have had near death experiences, they all have details that are different. They may have similarities between the stories, but none of them are exactly the same.
Whether I know about Gandhi’s whereabouts is irrelevant to my comment. MY point was that Bell created a video with a contentious tone, and then acted surprised that anyone took him up on it.
I couldn’t disagree with you more. I thought Bell’s tone in Love Wins was one of meekness and humility. He never once said his way was the right way. In fact, he made it pretty clear this is only a discussion, not a “set-in-stone” theology. Instead, I was deeply dismayed to see the unloving and harsh tone displayed towards Bell by those of the larger Evangelical community. How do you explain John Piper’s tweet, “Farewell Rob Bell”? How do you explain the frivolous use of the word “heretic” flung around by Kevin DeYoung and others like him from the neo-Reformed camp? Entire books were written in order to refute Bell. The blogosphere was rife with juvenile name-calling and dismissiveness towards Bell. I think it was at that point that I had become ashamed to call myself “Evangelical” and have since dropped the label from my identity. No, I think the evangelical community has a lot to learn from Rob Bell, namely the humility and the comfort in knowing it’s okay to question centuries old theology. I look forward to the continuing work of Rob Bell, including the Love Wins E-book.
wow. he looks tired!
Rob has said this past year has been the hardest year of his life. I think the stress and feedback is taking a toll on how he looks.
side note. I wish him the best in his TV endeavor with Carlton Cuse.
I like what Rob had to say in this video. And, I couldn’t agree with him more. Creating an environment where we can safely and honestly ask questions and explore complicated aspects of our faith journey is absolutely critical, especially if we desire people to become anchored in something. No topic could be more important than God and his love. I enjoyed the book and the companion guide seems like a great text for further exploration.
LOVE. . .That just about sums it up.
kurt, you have to share something here. what are your thoughts?
Follow Patheos on