Bell's hell

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A great deal of what is being published by writers in the religious tradition is a scandal and is actually turning people away from the church. The liberal writers who are continually accommodating and whittling down the truth of the Gospel are responsible. I cannot understand how a man can appear in print claiming to disbelieve everything that he presupposes when he puts on the surplice [clerical robe]. I feel it is a form of prostitution.

CS Lewis, 1963

When it first came out in March, Rob Bell's Love Wins was the number one Christian book on Amazon, and number four best seller of all books.

Controversy sells.

I'm thinking the next book I write will be an expose of Billy Graham as a secret Mormon.

Back in the 1960s Bishop John Robinson's Honest to God was also a best seller. It seems every forty years a new generation of second generation evangelicals has to drift from the faith of their fathers to embrace a more culturally acceptable faith.

As always it begins, not with outward denial of historic Christianity, but with unanswered questions, and musings.

I don't plan to read Rob's book. I hope this is my last post on the topic. I'm sure others will do a better job of responding to Rob Bell. Other's will defend him as a victim of the religious right.

It's a distraction.

For a hundred years Christianity in the affluent, sceptical West has been drifting from orthodoxy. Bishops, theologians and pastors have stood in line to question the very heart of our faith—the uniqueness and divinity of Jesus, the centrality of the Cross, the reality of the Resurrection and the coming Judgment.

Here's how Richard Niebuhr described this shadow of Christianity,

A God without wrath brought men without sin into a world without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.

We've spent the last 100 years discussing and redefining "mission" only to end up with a concept that is far from what Jesus actually did as recorded in the Gospels and Acts.

The results have been devastating for the church in the West.

Do not despair, the twentieth century was also the century of the greatest advance of the gospel. It happened in the most unlikely places wherever ordinary people, mostly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, take God at his word. Clerical scepticism is a luxury item that only Westerners can afford.

UPDATE

Derek Tidball of the UK Evangelical Alliance reviews Love Wins.