We got our house repainted this week. I know, I know. What does this have to do with Rob Bell's new book "Love Wins"? I'm getting to that. Anyway, we repainted our house. And it looks so good--better than I imagined! It almost looks like new.
You would never guess that it's a 50 year old house with plumbing issues and spotty electrical outlets. You would never guess from how it looks now that just a couple years ago we had a massive gas line problem and recently had to replace a busted water heater.
My freshly painted house reminds me of a section in "Love Wins:"
Because if something is wrong with your God, if your God is loving one second and cruel the next...no amount of clever marketing or compelling language or good music or great coffee will be able to disguise that one, true, glaring, untenable, unacceptable, awful reality. (p.175)
And that's when I stood up and yelled BOOOOOO-YA!
Because here's the thing, you can put a fresh coat of paint on a certain brand of Christianity, but underneath--it's still the same old, hurtful theology with the spotty electrical outlets (God might fry you if you never said the "sinner's prayer") and the plumbing issues (um, God might flush you down the toilet if you never read your Bible?). Yikes! I'm stretching that analogy, but I hope you catch my meaning.
The point is, the major thrust of evangelicalism in the last 50 years has focused almost exclusively on saying a certain prayer a certain way and voila! You're saved. I'm not saying this isn't true--that's how I came to faith in Christ--but I do think there's a danger in emphasizing this method to the point where we emphatically insist that this is the ONLY WAY someone can experience God.
I truly think Rob Bell is leading the way back to an orthodox understanding of God's love.
I mean, if I didn't know any better I'd think Rob Bell was almost turning Catholic. His view of hell is fairly orthodox (honestly, WHERE is the controversy, here? I kept waiting for it to get all controversial and heretical and, um, it didn't) and MORE IMPORTANTLY, his understanding of the constantly pursuing love of God sounded very orthodox. It's just that you don't hear that viewpoint in most Protestant churches these days.
The only place I've ever heard that kind of message preached is in Orthodox/Catholic circles.
The best part about "Love Wins" is that it's not just about Hell--as some early dissenters would have you believe. Instead, this is a book about the totally encompassing, all consuming, never relenting, always pursuing love of God. And it's about Heaven. And goodness. Life. Joy. Peace.
You know, the good stuff.
So, yes. Love Wins.
And now, onto other important considerations: GO DODGERS!!!!!!!!