Tuesday, March 1, 2011

just to say something

Hey all,

Sorry for no posts in awhile. We will put pictures of Elijah soon.

Just to have something new, here's a brief comment on the Rob Bell hooplah...

He has a new book (entitled Love Wins) coming out the end of this month; and the promo (video and publisher's description) intimates universalism (i.e. the view that no one ends up in hell).

First of all, no one is sure what his actual view is because the book is not out yet. So for all we know, he may not actually be a universalist (as various conservative evangelicals, such as John Piper and Justin Taylor, have suggested).

But even if he is a universalist, I'm interested in whether he has any good arguments for it or not (most arguments I've seen for it by "evangelicals" tend to be pretty poor). Univeralism has been defended by C.S. Lewis' hero George MacDonald, and the view is ably defended by bright minds today such as Thomas Talbott (I met him once at a conference; I doubt he remembers me, but he came to my talk--he was very kind).

Now I'm no universalist, but I'm all for hearing good arguments. Rather than condemning Bell as a "heretic" (which is strange for evangelicals to do), I'm more interested in finding out whether he can convince me (supposing that he is a univeralist at all). We ought to pursue truth, and I am not confident that every theological belief I have is correct or complete. So I'm willing to be persuaded; so present me with the argument. If universalism is true and the case is compelling, then I hope to be convinced; if it is not true, then I hope to give reasons showing where the view is in error. But to just say a view is wrong before any arguments are given, well, that's just plain silly (barring propositions that have such a low initial plausibility weight for any serious consideration).

(aside: if Bell really is a universalist and presents a case for it, my prediction is that the case will not be any more compelling than the fine work done by guys like Talbott. But again, I don't want to pre-judge the case. When I have time, hopefully I can read his book).

(aside2: I'm no fan of Bell; but he hasn't wronged me, and he seems like a good guy. He's a hipster, and not being very cool, I can't relate. So I have nothing against him [skimmed through Velvet Elvis], but I'm not a fan either... he is to me what Tito was for the Jackson 5; i.e., glad he's part of the group, but I didn't come to the show for him).