Saturday, March 19, 2011

Compendium of Links #6: Rob Bell edition

I don’t usually have any sort of theme to these links, but this week I’ve had precious little time to read much—except that I’ve been kind of curious about the whole Rob Bell/universalism brouhaha surrounding his latest book, Love Wins.

Rob Bell isn’t really my type; I don’t have the patience for the artistry (so they call it) of the NOOMA videos he’s produced, and I’d rather sink my teeth into something forthright rather than postmodern (and something written rather than videotaped, for that matter). My pastors back home are no aficionados of his works, and I respect their reasons for it. But I know some big fans of his, and some of these fans are people I respect too.

So I’ve read a few links about it:

How I first heard about this controversy: from a staff member at my college. This staff member has written several posts about the whole deal in the last few days, and is definitely taking a side, as you can see. (FWIW whenever this guy speaks in chapel, he may as well be Rob Bell. He has the glasses, the clothes, the slow style, and the word choice for it.)

Then somebody read the book and disagreed with it. Tim Challies, that is. He also linked to an article called “How to have a good argument with Rob Bell,” in which the author urged Christians to respond in love, not vitriol.

Then somebody else, over at Christianity Today, noticed how odd it was that social technology and blogging on the Internet had changed the face of theological debates, taking the Rob Bell case as an example.

Finally, RELEVANT magazine published a general overview of the various permutations and related doctrines of universalism.

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll read this book. Something in me rebels at getting caught up in the latest Christian hoopla. For all I know, this controversy will be a forgotten blip on Christian radar in just a year. But I do intend to investigate some of the doctrinal issues at some point—those are of more importance.

2 comments:

Wesleigh said...

I've been following the Rob Bell thing a bit, especially after he trended on Twitter. I've only read Velvet Elvis, which I liked, but I haven't decided how a feel about a lot of his teachings. RELEVANT just did an interview with him about the new book, where he makes an interesting case as to why he is not a universalist, at least in the traditional sense. I like that even though it seems controversial in the conservative Christian world, he's looking at Scripture and trying to find truth in it. I have to give him kudos for that.

Here's the interview: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/features/25030-is-rob-bell-a-universalist

Sarah Einselen said...

Thanks, Wesleigh, for the link. It's definitely interesting, but it's making me more suspicious that he's not as orthodox as he insists he is, or that he's pulling a fallacy of two terms (redefining words). I'd be interested in how exactly he comes up with these ideas starting in Scripture.

Of course, I've not read Velvet Elvis either, though I've heard about it some. Judging from the NOOMA videos he didn't seem my style, really, so I never got into his books.