Monday, May 27, 2013

Love wins

In 2011 a preacher called Rob Bell created a stir in the Christian world with his book Love Wins. He was accused of all kinds of heresy. For various reasons I avoided reading the book but I was given a copy a few months ago and finally, yesterday, I speed read it.

Now maybe in my speed reading I missed something vital but it doesn't seem particularly heretic to me. In fact what he says is what I've believed for years, namely that at some point in their dying people who've spent a lifetime denying God's existence or follow another religion are given another chance by God. (I think that's the crux of what he says and what the fuss is about.) It seems to me to be borne out by Christ's words to the thief on the cross and the parable he told about the workers who didn't start working until late afternoon yet got the same pay as those who began early morning. It still involves having free will and making a choice. From my understanding Rob Bell wasn't saying you go to heaven because you lived a good life nor was he saying that everyone goes to heaven.

I think I held out against reading it because it was 'the' book to read, and he is the 'in' preacher in some circles. And I'd assumed that he must be making light of the role Jesus played and that I wouldn't agree with him. But then it was recommended by someone I know doesn't follow fashion but is prepared to get his hands dirty for Jesus for people. 

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book keeps the focus very much on Jesus and working towards bringing God's kingdom to earth now, that faith in God isn't only - or even particularly - about what happens to you when you die, but about the here and now, and about the difference knowing you have someone who loves you unconditionally, who would give everything for you, can make to damaged lives. I'd rather people, especially those I love, discover that earlier than later but better late than never.

Rob Bell's style of writing irritated me on occasion but if you get past that, as I say, I didn't find it shocking. I can't see what the fuss is about. So either I'm a heretic too or I missed something. 

9 comments:

James Higham said...

So what is the heretical bit?

Liz said...

That everyone gets to heaven I think James.

CalumCarr said...

The gate is narrow and we cannot know who will pass through. We must await His judgment.

Leslie: said...

This is what I've always been taught actually at my church. It's never too late. On the other hand, I and my 2 daughters were members of a church when my husband took his own life due to serious illness. When my 12-year-old asked her youth leader if her Dad was in heaven, he told her that no he'd be in hell. Can you believe it? I've never returned to that church and neither of my daughters attend any church now. They were so terribly damaged by that statement after all they'd been through losing their father! Not everyone in leadership in churches know how to deal with tragedies like that.

Liz said...

It's true, calum. Only God knows.

That is horrendous, leslie. So sad - and so insensitive and stupid of the leader.

katney said...

God is merciful. We can't know the extent of his mercy.

katney said...

God is merciful. We can't imagine the extent of his mercy.

Ole Phat Stu said...

The new pope has stated that Atheists can go to heaven. Now rigid catholics here are demanding their money (church taxes) back ;-)

Liz said...

We can't begin to grasp it, katney.

Good for the Pope, stu!