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Then why does he write so ambiguously?


Thanks, PETER

I admit amazement about how many people did comment of what they had NOT read, weren't going to read, and were offended that people thought it more reasonable to read a book before judging it.
Same thing happened with 'The Shack' a while back. Same commentators, same 'ire', the same 'I don't need to read to know what's in it' attitude.

I have heard of pulling things 'out of context' and saying that it's just as good as reading something 'in context', but I have never bought into that.

As for those people who have pulled Bible verses out of context and defended their behavior in that regard, a story:

A young man decides to randomly choose three verses in sacred Scripture to act on, 'cause he doesn't have to read them in context to get their message'. So what verses does he randomly find ?

'Then he went away and hanged himself. ' (Matthew 27:5)

'"Go and do likewise." (Luke 10:37)

""What you are about to do, do quickly," (John 13:27)

Needless to say, much horrified, the young man began to read sacred Scripture 'in context' and with a humbled attitude.

Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

Yea, you lost it on this one. You are a Rob Bell loving, universalist leaning, Calvinist hating, mean man. :)


RL Adler

"Then why does he write so ambiguously?"

the scriptures are ambiguous in certain ways. and Bell is an artist with a creative way to communicate.

that said, but nothing bell wrote has been outside of orthodoxy. and has been the thoughts of contemporary leaders like graham, lewis, wesley and many in antiquity. why hate on Bell for his optimism?

optimism you can even sometimes find in the curmudgeonly reformed camp.


I so 'tire' of the argument that "it's out of context" or "you didn't read it all" or "I know him and he doesn't believe that".
Frankly, if he cannot communicate better, express what he believes the Bible says better or continues to spend more time clearing up what he said than the time it took to say it intially...needs to find another line of work.
Quit misleading and distracting the people from the 'true gospel'.

Joe Blackmon

First of all, L's, all Christians (which you are not one) recognize this man preaches a different gospel, a different Jesus, and a different God. Because of what he has preached before, everyone already KNOWS what he believes. It has been reviewed. If you claimi the reviews are inaccurate, then it is YOUR responsibility to prove that. No one has to read it to prove "Yes, what Tim Challies and the other reviews said is true. This man has abandoned the gospel and is a heretic."

Now, maybe Peter has more time on his hands (LOL, Peter) and can afford to sit around his housecoat (LOL, Peter) reading this guys book. Peter, with the exception that he's not a Calvinist (LO...ok I'll stop now), has his theological head on straight about the gospel. He knows, as all Christians do, that no person of another faith is going to make it to heaven because the responded to the light they had available because God will accpet their sincerity and their nicey-ness as proof that they really had faith in Christ, they just didn't know it. Peter knows that if they don't repent of their sins and consciously trust Christ, God will not save them (no matter how good of muslim they are) but rather they will go to hell. Since you disagree with that, as does "pastor" Rob Bell, you have rejected the gospel, to your doom.


I think a lot of being a Christian IS 'listening', with patience, to the concerns and points of view of others. This element of taking the time to listen seems to be missing among those who anger quickly and lack respect for those who aren't 'like them';
but there is more need in this world for 'listening' Christians now than there has ever been before.

People have concerns to share . . . can we take some time with them ?

Eric Opsahl

For the sake of argument let's say the words are Biblically sound. When you consider all the other things he has said and written over the years, it really doesn't mean a thing.

I have family that are Mormon, In my teens, I was taken to the Mormon church for years. I have talked with countless Mormon Missionaries. We do not have the same beliefs as the Mormon Church. Yet, if you talk with them They will say that they believe the Bible, that Christ is the savior, That thru faith we can have our sins forgiven, that there is a heaven and a hell. that Jesus is the son of God. etc.

The huge problem is that those words mean very different things to a Mormon than they do us.

All one has to is utube Bell to get many quotes.
I hope for the sake of those under his charge that he is orthodox.

Doesn't his quote below raise many red flags? (this is just one of many)
"If I am a Christian do I have to consign all Buddhists to hell," he asks. "No, you don't. You don't at all."

RL Adler


'Doesn't his quote below raise many red flags? (this is just one of many)
"If I am a Christian do I have to consign all Buddhists to hell," he asks. "No, you don't. You don't at all." '

I think you should look at the massive generalisation Bell is rightly avoiding (see my emphasis). This is right in line with Graham:

"It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won’t … I don’t want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have."

Btw, the only people who went after Graham with this quote are the Fundies. and like I said, the crusty reformed group even talk about how nobody knows who the elect are, and that logically would include those who haven't even heard the good news (i.e. some in the "all Buddhists" group).

Joe Blackmon


He is not sharing "concerns". He is denying the gospel and preaching a false gospel. Paul, in Galatians, sure didn't seem to think people who denied the gospel were to be "listened to". He said they were "accursed" which means damed to hell. Peter, in his second epistle, sure didn't seem to think those who preached false gospels were to be "listened to". He said those who followed them shamed the church.

Finally, you're not a Christian. Therefore, you can't number youself among "Christians sharing concerns". You have rejected the gospel and are an enemy of that gospel, no matter what the Enid crew has told you.

Joe Blackmon

Also, L's, saying that Bell denies the gospel and is a false teacher is NOT disrespect. It's the truth. Deal with it.


Billy Graham's words reflect the humility and the wisdom of a Christian who knows that we are told in sacred Scripture that ONLY God can judge the heart of another.

RL Adler

Joe Blackmon,

Who are you responding to? Who is "L's" or the Enid Crew.

Am I not seing a conversation thats here?


Hi RL,

Joe is calling me L's.
Joe and I go way back to a time when I used that as my 'call sign'.
Now, I use a part of my confirmation name.


peter lumpkins


You write to Christiane "all Christians (which you are not one)" and "you're not a Christian." I am not interested in your making flat out condemnations toward others on this site, especially toward one who is making observations without being combative. I actually don't know Christiane, but she is making sincere contributions on the thread whether or not you, me, or anyone else agrees with her. In addition, if I did know her, and I even thought her not a believer, I certainly would not goad her as you are doing. Whatever are you thinking?

So, if you want to log comments which dispute her or another's observations, please do so. But do so without the inciting insults.


With that, I am...

Joe Blackmon


Duly noted.


peter lumpkins

Thanks, Joe. Have a great weekend.
With that, I am...

Joe Blackmon

'Preesh, Peter. I've got a sick kid so we'll miss worship tomorrow. You have a good one to.


Can I just say I don't like the comparison of the Shack to what was done to Rob Bell. With the Shack many of us have read it and denounce it for the heresy it is and it should in no way, shape or form be sold in our Baptist Book store (do I date myself?) When I make such a statement people who have made an idol out of Paulwhatsisname sceam and rant "you've never read the book!" What was done to Bell is people who had never read the book and we know they didn't read it because it wasn't actually available yet jumped to conclusions based on some advance video.

Now I don't particularly like Rob Bell, I think at best he is guilty of sloppiness in handling the Word and that's actually a pretty serious thing for someone who does have a level of influence. But it's not right for anyone to throw out the word heretic based on a book they hadn't read - if there's videos and whatever that can point to his previous heresy, fine, but that's not what happened here. He was deemed to have crossed the line into heresy - no one called him a heretic in such a public manner before Love Wins - he was deemed to have crossed the line based soley on what people thought he was going to say in a book they hadn't read. It was as if they were gleeful to finally have a chance to declare him a heretic.

Now as to what the man actually really believes? My impression is even he doesn't know but he wants to be oh so cool and come across as oh so loving while he's oh so cool. Nobody can be loving if they are hiding the Bibilcal fact of hell.


RL, the scriptures are not ambiguous when it comes to salvation, Christ, and hell. I'm not sure what else you'd say they were ambiguous on. I don't care about Bell questioning hell or whatever, I care about his dishonest means of communication and instigation. If he can say all that in his sermon, then why the heck did he have so much trouble affirming hell in his many interviews? Also, he may be using "hell" in a different way than is traditionally considered orthodox.

Eric Opsahl

"It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won’t … I don’t want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have."

I am dumbfounded that the statement above would only be criticized by "fundies" and those rascally Calvinist.

Are you seriously saying that if one were at the deathbed of his father, Let's say a true blue Muslim. And that true blue Muslim asks if he will be in heaven.

You would answer: Pop I know you are about to die and give an account to God, But it would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won't. I don't want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute, (he loves you Pop). He gave his son for the whole world, (that includes you Pop) and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have, (don't worry that you are a Muslim Pop, It's just a label, God loves you).
Moments later the father dies. What does the Bible say happens to those who die without Christ?

Considering what God says, can we really make the statement above? Does that show love for a father? Does that statement show love for those who we come in contact with who are lost in their sin. I say no, I say my love for my father would lead me to tell him that while it's not for me to be the final judge of who is and is not in heaven, God is very clear that only those who have true faith in Christ will be saved. In fact pop, you have clearly rejected Christ, God says your eternity will be Hell. But please, today can be your day of salvation, put your faith in Christ.

May your day be one that worships God in truth.

RL Adler


Wow... You created a very big strawman and, as is customary, burned it down rather quickly.

Thank you for proving my point... The defense rests.

RL Adler


i dont see where Bell has been ambiguous about salvation, Christ, and hell. just look at his church's website/statement of faith. his method may seem ambiguous to left brainers though . but Jesus' method was ambiguous too, he called them "parables".

yes he may be using hell in a non-traditional way, but it's not non-christian. the tradition he is avoiding is the Puritanical or Romantic (see jonathan edwards) model. which obviously isn't that old.

btw, like I've said before, I dont even like Bell's style or method.. but he's been given unfair treatment by the christian community.

the ironic thing is, if the haters would just been quiet, Bell's book and popularity wouldn't have risen like it has just now. they all got played.


How about that book review? Still relatively silent...

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