Tag Archives: rob bell
Posted on 20. Apr, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
I wonder why we have such trouble taking the biblical depictions of heaven seriously. It seems to frighten and shame us somehow. Whether conceived as place or state, it is weightier and infinitely more substantial than ours. So we must fold, flatten and reshape it. Do we find it embarrassing because it exposes our smallness and lightness of being? Admittedly, it is too bright and too concentrated by far. After all, it is where saints live, and maybe this is why we dislike the shattering images, because it reminds us that that is precisely what we are not. But, there is hope that we still can be.
Posted on 24. Mar, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
Recently, a thoughtful young man asked a question that jarred me. This was how the question was posed: “What’s so special about the moment of death that it suddenly cuts off the availability of God’s grace?” I had no good anwer until I happened to read through the story of the encounter between Jesus and a demonized Jewish synagogue attendee. What he screams at Jesus wipes off any ironic, postmodern smirk and reveals a lot about the irrevocable line between life and death.
Posted on 19. Mar, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
Something has been steadily seeping out of our discourse over several decades–the gripping awareness of God’s majesty. It is in this generation that the resultant lightness of God’s being is becoming impossible to ignore. There was a time when men and women lived in a world drenched with God, they blazed with a white-hot devotion. As I read Love Wins I was compelled to pick up a book by such a man: Knowledge of the Holy. It shows us why where there is no doxology Hell makes no sense.
Posted on 17. Mar, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
In Love Wins Bell is launching a serious critique against belief in the conscious, eternal torment of those who reject Christ. Now, the really bad news hidden beneath Bell’s sympathetic and generous dismissal of the church’s historic teaching is that it drives all evil and suffering, as well as catastophes like those in Japan, completely outside the providence of God. A good God who is too good to condemn to an eternal Hell is incapable of having anything to do with the major traumas of our life, except to (after the fact) put a kindly but impotent hand on our shoulder and sympathize with our pain. This good-natured, frustrated bystander to suffering can offer us no real hope or comfort at all.
Posted on 23. Jun, 2009 by Tim Stoner.
Paul appropriates what is good in the Athenian belief system. He does not jettison all of paganism as evil. Nor does he contend that they must burn down the temples, the scrolls, the ancient writings, nor stop dancing, or enjoying the plays, or the feasts. He recognizes that there is much truth embedded in culture. So he affirms what he can. This is where Rob Bell and Paul can properly be compared. But they diverge dramatically in their motivation for the affirmation. and in what they say immediately afterwards
Posted on 17. Jun, 2009 by Tim Stoner.
If God is not angry then He cannnot be God. Nobody really wants a God who is so loving that He must overlook and ignore blatant and persistent evil. If anger is antithetical to love then the death of Jesus makes no sense, nor, for that matter, do His repeated angry verbal exchanges before His death.
Posted on 17. Jun, 2009 by Tim Stoner.
My childhood struggle with stuttering and my discovery of the holy, unsentimental love of God kicks starts this autobiographical evaluation of “hot” issues facing thinking Christians. This leads to Velvet Rembrandts: why we don’t get to repaint every theological painting in the attic, then winds around to discussing how God can be Good, but not so Nice or Safe, and how Jesus is both compelling, troubling and heroic. Chapters on sex, and my friendship with a homosexual colleague dying of AIDS lead to pondering the role of art and beauty. I conclude with an honest look at the inevitability of final judgment, and, finally, our inconsolable, not so secret, longing for Father and Home.
Woven throughout is a critique of the basic assumptions and core values of Emergent theology. This is not a diatribe. My goal is to offer a biblical and cultural-current evaluation of its dangerous drift while also celebrating where it gets it right.