14 March 2011

Midday extra: it's just questions, right? (Jim Hamilton re. Rob Bell)

by Dan Phillips

Professor James Hamilton, most recently author of the terrific God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment, has a little throw-down on Rob Bell in the form of a "guest post" titled In Defense of Rob Bell.

The guest-writer's name is Bill Z. Bull. There's no CV, but I think he works with personages named Screwtape and Wormwood.

Check it out.

(Has a study-guide and everything!)

Dan Phillips's signature


CGrim said...

Oh, that is clever.

I've had Hamilton's book in my Amazon cart for a while now, I suppose I ought to go ahead and buy it now.

Mike Westfall said...

Clever, yes. Prof Hamilton makes his point well. Bill Z. Bull is an appropriate pseudonym for this exercise. Questions aren't always "just questions."

Peter Pike over at Triablougue posted something similar that uses the same sort of rhetoric to point this out quite effectively.

John Dunn said...

God is Love. And Love indeed wins in the end. God's full orbed Love is always holy and just. He loves' mercy and grace as it is displayed in the fulness of the cross. And he loves the vindication of his own righteousness and justice for all who reject the shame and reproach of this blessed cross. God is Love. And Love indeed wins.

trogdor said...

"He's just axing questions" is rapidly moving up the list of all-time lamest dodges. It still has a way to go to catch "It's just a story, not a theological treatise!", which was so common among fans of The Shack.

"This stupid book is teaching me so much about God!!1!"

Yes, but so much of it is directly opposed to what God reveals about himself in scripture.

"Ugh! It's just a story! Stop being such a jerk."

Ah, those were the days....

Steve Berven said...

Without Hell, there is no need for redemption. Sin becomes a quaint euphemism for unpleasant behavior, and Jesus becomes just another crazy man with a god complex.

The uncomfortable truth is not that we need Jesus to keep our lives from seeming like hell, but rather, that we are all destined for Hell, and only those who confess Christ will be saved.

But, yeah, that doesn't sell NEARLY as many books, right?

Steve Berven said...

I am reminded of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus:

"If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." --Luke 16:31

This passage suggests that not only do we not just fade away after death, but that there is no way to cross from one group (deniers) to the other (redeemed). So you "make your bones" here in this world, and receive your fate in the next.

"And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

Do you notice it doesn't say "hearing" or "trial," but simply "Judgment." Our time before God isn't where we make our case. It's the sentencing hearing, and only Jesus stands in our defense to mitigate the penalties for our crimes.

so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Heb 9:27-28

To save who? All? Or, to save those who are eagerly waiting for him?

Say what you want about the "tone" of his critics, but it sounds to me like Mr. Bell is preaching an un-Biblical doctrine.