March 01, 2011

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Before You Dismiss Rob Bell, Let's Learn Some Terminology The hub-bub over the weekend about Rob Bell's trailer video for his new book made me wonder if we need to learn some vocabulary. (Nevermind the fact that we should wait to read Rob's book before making a judgment of it!) I'm no scholar, but as C. S. Lewis often wrote, sometimes a fellow student can be helpful in ways a teacher cannot be. Here is my rough sketch of the terms and the issues being discussed. My hope is that you join me in a journey of rigorous study and thoughtful discussion rather than adopting a blind fervor that may lead to the unkind labeling of others. To begin, it may be helpful to differentiate between the discussion of "who gets in" and the discussion of "what happens to those who don't." I have made two lists accordingly. LIST A: Who Makes It "In": 1. Universalism The belief that everyone, regardless of faith or behavior, will be counted as God's people in the end. All roads lead to Him. All religions are just different expressions of the same Truth. This view, in my opinion, is impossible to defend from Scripture. 2. Ultimate Reconciliationism The belief that those who know about Jesus but chose to reject Him while they were on earth will suffer judgment and punishment, but that punishment will not be forever. It will be a refining "fire" that will ultimately lead "every knee to bow." This view is defended only by some serious redefining of key words, phrase, verses in Scripture. 3. Inclusivism The belief that everyone is accountable for how they lived in response to the revelation that they had. For the ones that never heard the name of Jesus, there is Creation as their witness. For those that only knew the religion they grew up...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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