1. Looks like they might have actually found the tomb of St. Philip.

2. I literally nerded out when I learned the man who played Cornelius Fudge in Harry Potter was a student of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien.

3. I miss Michael Spencer and am thankful for such posts as this. (Ducking.)

4. John Stott has gone on ahead of us. Here is a good short tribute.

5. A friend of mine has started a new “mom blog.” Go give her some blog love, moms.

6. I’m not a prophet or the son of one but the day I bought Adele’s 21, I told all of you it would be the album of the year. And…

7. A feel good baseball story for ya.

8. Tonight my wife and I will be going to see the last Harry Potter movie. Watch this video of my former seminary professor, Jerram Barrs talk about the redemptive themes of the story.

9. Speaking my former Seminary – which I think is singular – Check out the Worldwide Classroom and you can “take” the classes there for free. I paid thousands and they were worth every penny.

10. “Being Radical for Jesus Is Boring.”

Tuesday’s 10: Thoughts One Month After Reading ‘Love Wins’

Even though I finished Love Wins about a month ago, I’ve not been all that anxious to weigh in with a review. Below, I will explain further. But as the publisher sent me a copy to review, I feel as though I should. And to be honest the more toxic the debate got, the more I wanted to at least wait if not just forget it altogether.  I’m pretty convinced waiting is always good idea. It is my chief concern in the whole affair – the desire for the heavyweights to weigh in as-soon-as-possible. And even before then.

The following are ten thoughts I have about Love Wins one month later. Please do not read into the order of these. For those who do, your condemnation is just.

1. The storytelling and the stories themselves were compelling. Bell certainly has a gift for telling a story. Most people have no idea how hard it is to do what he does and do it well.

2. On the whole, I did not like the way Bell’s book is written. The starkness felt shallow, not artsy. Choppy not profound. I think if you are going to challenge the traditional view of Hell, you may wanna play by the rules of the traditional book. You know, a footnote or two would have been nice.

3. Speaking of footnotes, it felt sloppy. I mean, if you are going to challenge a truth almost universally accepted throughout Church History, when you use Church History to defend your questions and assertions, you better damn well get your quotes right in context and let people know where you got such assertions from. (All puns intended.)

4. Just so you know, I do not agree with Rob Bell’s view of Hell. He does great violence to common sense and instead of doing what he sought to do – make the gospel more gracious – he actually strips it of its immediate meaningfulness. It becomes tangential whether one believes now if we know everyone will believe it eventually in a salvific way.

5. However, I do not dislike him for it. I get it. Like most in the Anabaptist tradition, their trajectory is off a smidgen to start with but every golfer knows it only takes a smidgen. But I understand his desire for an orthodoxy which is gracious and loving. I sympathize with his questions. And I am not unhappy he asked them. The church should be able to handle it.

6. I think Justin Taylor and John Piper should have waited till the book was read completely and released.  By not doing so, they made the book far more a threat to orthodoxy (their fear) than it would have been if they had waited. Instead of striking the tone of conviction, the din of prejudice.

7. More than anyone, I would have liked to hear an apology from John Piper. In a debate/discussion/argument, the way you do it is important, even if you are right. I find it hard to believe – and saddening that so few, who agree with his theology have not publicly asked him to apologize for his flippant tweet and his doing so, without reading the book first. Or is reading a book first only for others?

8. I think we need a robust discussion that takes into account John Stott’s annihilationsim and the Calvinist’s love of him.  Some argue that Stott is simply unsure and is floating a what-if? scenario. Really? Because that is precisely the criticism leveled at Bell. If this cannot be done in a dignified manner then we need to reckon with the fact that we are respecters of people.

9. I think the parodies of Rob Bell and his book are disgusting. Funny? Sure. But to make fun of Bell on facebook will only give geeky sophomoric neo-Calvinists something to puff up their insecure egos between listening to Lecrae albums. It will convince no one. And will win only the respect of those who already had it.

10. I cannot prove it, but a few people have seemed fairly cold towards me because of my criticism of the criticism. One criticism that some have of the neo-Calvinists is their tribalism. I always denied it till now. But it’s true. It’s not enough to think Rob Bell is wrong, you must defend his critics at all costs. If this is the case, God help us.

More Thoughts on the Rob Bell Controversy

There are still lots of people talking about this. My main concern is not about the Universalism issue and whether it is true or not. If Rob Bell is a Universalist then I think he is wrong. Simple as that. I actually think even if he is one, it is of less importance and will have less of an impact on the evangelical landscape than the present response to his book…which has not been released. I have already posted some thoughts on this issue. The following are some more:

1. John Stott’s annihilationsim is important to this discussion. There is no person (Piper, Taylor, Burk, Wax, DeYoung, et al) who has been critical of Bell who is not a fan of Stott. I love Stott. But young neo-Reformed men and women are more likely to listen to Stott’s views on hell than Bell’s. The young people I work with are more likely to read Stott’s the cross of Christ and then take seriously his eschatological views than they are to read a Rob Bell book period. Last night I sat in a room and discussed this one some of them. Only one person in the room had read one of his books.

2. We need a Gamaliel.  I assume the best of those who I think have acted poorly. I assume Piper and the rest have done all their tweeting and blogging because they love God and his people and want to protect the sheep as shepherds are wont to do. But the Reformed world needs someone – with gray hair and years – to stop this madness and ask everyone to wait till the book comes out so we can have a discussion on this issue. My hope would have been for John Piper to be that man. That is now out of the question. I would love for someone like Keller, Duncan or Sproul to do this.

3. Rob Bell is now considered a Universalist. Again, the book is not out. But if you look on Twitter (I use Tweetdeck to watch all the tweets about “Rob Bell”) he is now called a Universalist without equivocation. It went from concern about his supposed to view on hell to now him being branded as such within a few days. This should not be so.

4. Have I mentioned the book is not out yet? Should we know about his views before now? Maybe. Sure. But, in a way he has asked me – all of us – to wait. Where is the harm in waiting? Where is the harm in saying, “I would prefer clarity now but out of love and respect I will wait. Can we then seriously and passionately debate it all after it comes out?”

5. Speaking of clarity, we have all wanted the Scriptures to be more clear on certain things. Haven’t you ever wished Paul was more clear on the Trinity? The Hypostatic Union? Predestination? Creation? Even Penal Substitutionary Atonement. I believe in the Trinity but a verse or a letter from one of the Apostles that said, “3 persons, one God” would be nice. Should I want other people – especially pastors – to be clear? Yes. Should I want to be clear as a pastor? Yes. Should I write someone off for not being clear about the questions I want answered? Not so sure. Can I think about it?

Thoughts on Rob Bell and the Controversy Surrounding His Yet-To-Be-Released Book

If you have no idea what is going on, read this.

The post that started it all is here.

If you are clueless on who Rob Bell is, go here.

Update: Here is a really interesting post on Rob.

1. I have never read a Rob Bell book. And have never wanted to till now.

2. I have however prejudged a book of his before and then been found to be wrong.

3. It will not commend the gospel of grace to anyone who does not believe the gospel (or who you might think is in error), to denounce a book and it’s author before it has been released. The young people we keep saying we are worried about will not take us and our concerns seriously. Only the ones who agree with orthodox views on hell will listen. And retweet.

4. Rob Bell may be a universalist. Or he may just not be all that on clear on purpose.

5. John Stott is an annihilationist. Lewis believed in Purgatory. Would we be nicer to Bell for these beliefs?

6. I love John Piper but his ‘farewell’ tweet to Rob Bell was poorly done.

7. Harper Collins Wins.

8. The Synod of Dort took 6 months, the council of Nicea at least two months. Not sure if 6 days is enough.

9. If I had to make a prediction, I think this will end up being a non-issue when the book comes out. The worried one will not see a crystal clear declaration and the fans of Bell will keep on being fans. Again, all it would have taken to get a listen from those who do not already agree with them, would be for the Calvinist bloggers to wait till the book comes and and be able to say, “I have read it, this is what I think.” But now? Impossible.

10. I’m hoping the Publisher sends me a free copy. If I have to wait I may forget about this by the time it comes out. (Just heard from publisher and I should get a copy soon.)