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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh oh oh, Love Wins Alright!

"My name is Rob and I live in Grand Rapids MI. And I'm a Christian. And I believe in Jesus. And I believe Jesus is the way. And I BELIEVE in HEAVEN. And I BELIEVE in HELL. And I believe the Bible is God's word. I am not a universalist, because I believe God's love is SO great God lets you decide. I believe in the communion of the Saints. I believe the CHURCH is the fullness. I believe in a new heaven and a new earth. I believe in healing. I believe in miracles. I believe in salvation. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God is ALIVE and WORKING. I believe there has been a r e s u r r e c t i o n and there is a whole new creation bursting forth in the midst of this one right here . . . . . .and I also believe it's best to only discuss books you've actually read." I was brought to tears this morning by the first seven minutes of Rob's sermon from Sunday. I'm have the utmost respect for his congregation and elders, as I can only imagine the turmoil they have faced over the last weeks has been heart wrenching. I'm glad I didn't say much about this subject until Rob had a chance to, because I couldn't have stated it any better. A Response From Rob Himself So just for the record. . .I love Rob Bell. I love Rob because he loves Jesus. I love Rob because he teaches the Bible as the word of God, and teaches from it in a way that in order to learn I need to open it up myself. I love Rob because he preaches love, forgiveness, and grace like no one I have ever heard. I love him because he leads me to ask hard questions, and search to find the answers. I love him because he never speaks ill of those who speak ill of him, and that must take AMAZING Spirit given restraint given the things spoke of him. If THIS man is the definition of a heretic, tell me where to sign up because I'm pretty sure Jesus wishes we were all so heretical.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I pray for you during this time that you seek God's comfort and not the comfort of man. It is out of God's holiness that God brings about His wrath and His judgment. Jesus talks more about hell than he does heaven. God put his own son, Jesus, on the Cross and crucified Him for our sins. God killed His own Son. It is wicked audacity to call God a liar by preaching and teaching contrary to what God says in His Holy Word. I applaud you for holding close to your Savior, and I will pray that you cling to Him and His words, and encourage you to question every word out of any MAN/Pastors mouth as there are many sheep in wolves clothing and Satan is eager to lead you astray.

Ken said...

Thanks for the post,Stephanie! That confirms all that I have thought about Rob Bell in the past and makes me more anxious to read the book!
Blessings,
Pastor Ken

A Young Widow's Rant said...

Thank you Ken :) - I'll be excited to hear what you have to say about it.

Anonymous - My blog is about facing fears, mostly my fear of loss through my tragedy. But also my fears of honesty and transparency in my faith. This post is me facing one of those fears, fears of what those in my faith community might think of me if I step out and say, "I enjoy the conversation going on over here." I have faith in my walk with Jesus. I have faith in the Holy Spirit who convicts me. I have discernment in those who teach me. And I have faith in my biblical knowledge. I have a church family who is surrounding me in love and support. And through this whole thing what I continue to come back to is that I really love and relate to those who LOVE GOD AND THEN LOVE ONE OTHER above and beyond everything else. And even better if we can then have a question or a doubt and discuss it in a loving and fear-free space.

John said...

That sermon is fantastic, isn't it? I got pretty excited when I heard it, too. What's been going on surrounding this book is crazy. It catalyzes so much of what has been going on in Christianity and I'm hopeful/confident that Rob's message will open the hearts and minds of many, both in and outside the church.

We are indeed in the midst of a great emergence! And I couldn't be more excited to be a part of it.

Anyway, your transparency about your grieving and seeking God in the midst is beautiful and inspiring. The body of Christ needs brave souls such as yourself to be open and honest about their pain, darkness and unknowing to give the rest of us courage to do the same. Only after we do that in community can we truly experience Resurrection, so thank you.

And yes, love wins alright!

Sam said...

I agree, God's love is such an amazing thing and that is why He sent Jesus, to die for us so that we would know how to perfectly die to ourselves that we may live for Him. But I am honestly troubled by the Universalist aspects of Rob Bells' book, because they are there. Matt 7:13-14 says that many will go to destruction and reject God. His book isn't completely Universalistic in nature, but has many aspects that go contrary to God's word. Also, if we can just change our minds after this life to accept God, then why did Jesus have to die for us in this life? Why should I be any different in the way I live in this life? Why should I deny myself in this life if I can just accept God in the next? I find no answers and just more questions in his book. Instead of opening up a territory into the unknown that has been around for centuries, why can't we just stick to the actual teachings of the Bible that are spelled out clearly and concisely? God gave us His word. He definitely gave us everything we need.

A Young Widow's Rant said...

John - your comment brought me to tears (which doesn't say a whole lot right now. . . but still;) Thank you!

Sam - I don't think Rob is "right" on everything he says, actually I can't remember the last time I heard a pastor [or anyone] speak and thought they had it all "right". I LOVE the questions that arise. For me, especially in a time of such darkness, it engages me to dig deeper and wrestle with what I have been taught - it allows me to draw closer to Him. It is okay for me to question, to doubt, to dig - not just okay, but natural. I can question/doubt and still long only to glorify His name. . .I'm not through this journey so I can't say with any certainty where it will lead, but I am certain Jesus is walking with me on it:)

Anonymous said...

Jesus was offensive and scandalous to people. Was not their problem with Jesus the same as our problem with Jesus? We embrace the Jesus WE want, the popular Jesus who listens to our problems, offers us comfort, and easily forgives our sins, and would never send people to hell for not freely accepting his gift while on earth. But, we quickly reject the unpopular Jesus, the Jesus who offends us. Jesus was very offensive! Yes, this is the offensive Jesus, the one who is not so popular. This is the Jesus, that if I am honest, I do not like, for instead of comforting me and affirming what I want, he haunts me. But he is the real Jesus. He is the radical Jesus. He is the Biblical Jesus. Indeed, this Jesus refused to be popular, for although he called for people to follow him, he called them to embrace his radical unpopular way of living. Is this Jesus popular and a warm fuzzy, all encompassing person? , I don’t think so.

The Jesus WE want is our friend. He is our ally in the face of our enemies. This Jesus is always on our side, answering our prayers, and blessing us. This Jesus tells us what we want to hear, makes us comfortable, and looks pleasingly at our self-righteousness. The real Jesus is the one who calls us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, to sell all we have and give to the poor, and to take up the cross and follow him. This is the Jesus who calls us to reach out to others and cross the boundaries of race, religion, culture, and gender. This is the Jesus that dined with tax collectors, beggars, diseased, and various persons of questionable social standing. Not Presidents, not Kings , not the "popular crowd". His message made people uncomfortable. People didn't like it. And this is the Jesus, who, by being so offensive and so scandalous to his contemporaries, was crucified on the most offensive and scandalous instruments of Roman power-the cross.

THIS is the Jesus I Love. There is no sugar coating what the Bible says. Being a Christian and believing Jesus died for our sins is to be persecuted and not be accepted by society. Jesus wasn't and he exemplified what it means to be a Christ follower. It will be hard, you will be persecuted, some are killed, and to live a life following Jesus' example is going to be hard. But turn to him and he will Bless you like manna falling from heaven. Jesus' message is not warm & fuzzy and feel good. Any questions you have will be found in the Bible and God's word doesn't lie.