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Love Wins: a Book about Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived


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1 hour ago, socks said:

So - I finished re reading the book, Mr Rocky and figure to close the loop on this discussion.
 

I can't think of anything Bell says logically or scripturally that makes me want to adopt his position, to be honest. Saying that, I think the emotion, the charis, of his message is closer to the truth than the hell and damnation stuff. As I understand and teach salvation, "hell" isn't really a topic. Jesus did talk about it but not in a way that I think me spreading His message now, needs to deeply consider. In the big context, it's another topic. 

Jesus Christ revealed God to mankind, gave the pneuma of God a visage, form, in which His intents could be seen, known, considered and even understood. 

Jesus Christ functioned in a very small corner of the world and the lessons and teachings of His life are better understood in a small community, familial context where a group (He and His disciples) exist within a larger familial style group (Jews) that function in an extended community spread over an area (land, geography, distribution of population) and that all are rooted in the same customs and culture while having their own twists and turns on them as the community border grows and spreads over time...and all of which exists in another different and separate social governmental community that exercises a degree of control over them (Rome and Roman rule and occupation).

In that context when Jesus said that seeing Him was like seeing the Father - He made an incredibly powerful point that was impossible to miss by those who were with Him.  Jesus forgave, offered mercy and forgiveness, grace. He healed and restored people to health. He wouldn't have done so if it were not what God willed. And He did that in a very small intimate context. 

Although we live in a time of global awareness I am not of the mind that the Christian message is best understood that way. The "body of Christ" is a very large community of course but it won't be fully congregated until the future and then into it's much larger context. We need to be aware of the larger church community of which we are a part and to which we can have an impact, but our direct part in it is immediate. I think some of today's conflicts in the church come from the desire of members to see themselves on too large a level, where pastors try to teach the entire world, apostles try to speak for the destiny of the entire church, teachers want to reach vast congregations of listeners. The real work of the church that most closely resembles what Christ DID ON EARTH is local, personal, intimate and real. His greater purpose was of course, infinitely vast. Selah, as they say. 

That's about it for me, just tying up loose ends. Peace n love! 

Thank you very much, Socks, for sharing your insight. Indeed, I see the human nature of Christian pastors/teachers wanting to reach the entire world. And that's how I view it, as human nature. But your point about the intimate nature of Jesus' work is wonderful. 

Hopefully many more Christians will have their eyes opened up to that insight.


Peace n love back at you. Selah. 

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While I can't say I agree on ALL points, I agree with Mark that a lot of the doctrine was adapted from Greco-Roman mythology,  of shades in the underworld, tortured for eternity.   I agree with him an

You are entirely right that God works in small settings.  Early commandments and instructions to the fledgling people of Israel include this: Deut 7:7 7The LORD did not set His affection on you a

At the risk of over generalizing and not really getting into the weeds on his book (yet) I would say I agree more with the side he's on (I think) .... more than not. I'll try to come back to this Rock

8 hours ago, socks said:

Jesus Christ functioned in a very small corner of the world and the lessons and teachings of His life are better understood in a small community, familial context where a group (He and His disciples) exist within a larger familial style group (Jews) that function in an extended community spread over an area (land, geography, distribution of population) and that all are rooted in the same customs and culture while having their own twists and turns on them as the community border grows and spreads over time...and all of which exists in another different and separate social governmental community that exercises a degree of control over them (Rome and Roman rule and occupation).

...

Although we live in a time of global awareness I am not of the mind that the Christian message is best understood that way. The "body of Christ" is a very large community of course but it won't be fully congregated until the future and then into it's much larger context. We need to be aware of the larger church community of which we are a part and to which we can have an impact, but our direct part in it is immediate...
 

The real work of the church that most closely resembles what Christ DID ON EARTH is local, personal, intimate and real.

You are entirely right that God works in small settings.  Early commandments and instructions to the fledgling people of Israel include this:

Deut 7:7 7The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than the other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples

and if you read the early chapters of Deuteronomy (it's well worth the re-read), it's all about staying pure and close to the heart of God, rejecting falsehoods, and taking care of those who can't look after themselves.  This tiny nation was to be an example to the rest of the world and to draw people by that example into knowing God, the God of love and not the god of hate, or of human sacrifice, or of nature or animal worship (or whatever else, you name it).

We are all part of at least one community; we can impact that community.  We don't have to make a big name for ourselves, but people will notice that "there's something different" about us.  Many will have read Betsie ten Boom's works; whilst in a Nazi prison camp, she led people into Christian love and worship and even, at one point, thanked God for the fleas that infested their hut - because it kept the guards from harassing them (the guards were terrified of the fleas and the typhus they spread).  That attitude of gratitude, and of service, makes for stand-out behaviour that can demonstrate God's love to others.

It was the kindness and gentleness of my church, and its outward face to serve the local community, that drew me to it.  It's helped and healed me from my TWI wounds.  It helps and heals so many from debt, addiction, poverty - just by being there and offering help and solace.  Right now, there's a lot of emphasis on giving out food parcels to needy people injured by CoVid restrictions on work or ability to go out.  In school time, there's homework clubs - a quiet place where schoolkids can study, not in noisy households or on the end of the bed in a room shared with another child.  We have action days when we organise skips to take away bulky refuse within the area around my church - a poorer community, with more than its share of single parent families and cheap social housing.  we have social events that are free: Needles and Natter; a lunch club (donations welcome) that anyone can attend; Mums & Toddlers, where (often single) mums can go for a coffee and cake after dropping older kids off at school.  We do lots to help. 

And we sing and offer services, easy "classes" and the like, where people can come and learn more about God, Jesus, and living in love.  We have a big impact, for a little congregation!

 

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On 9/3/2020 at 6:50 PM, Rocky said:

Thank you very much, Socks, for sharing your insight. Indeed, I see the human nature of Christian pastors/teachers wanting to reach the entire world. And that's how I view it, as human nature. But your point about the intimate nature of Jesus' work is wonderful. 

Hopefully many more Christians will have their eyes opened up to that insight.


Peace n love back at you. Selah. 

Thanks! I'm glad you brought this book into the forefront. 

It can probably be summed up in one of the review quotes, the one you started out with that said "develop a thoroughly biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances in love and for salvation. Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination."

A lot of theology takes an exclusionary view of salvation - working from a platform that keeps the sinner out. Yet if we're sinners we're already "out" and we aren't even born knowing it. We don't need to be kept out or denied anymore than we already are. We need "deliverance", we need to be brought in. 

Yet the N T asks me "Do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"

Then there's the ol' "That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

Bell really (to me anyway) sets up the the point that this life, our lives now aren't simply one of justice withheld. I think something I held for a long time in my former Catholic training was the idea that this life is some kind of a test or puzzle and if I pass I get to proceed. That's over simplifying Catholic theology but a lot of it does tend towards an attitude of "this too shall pass" where the human condition is indeed temporary but WHOA! you better get it right or - well, they'll be hell to pay later. 

Jesus Christ was the epitome of an "ocean in a drop of rain". If He is and was everything I read about and I accept that, then this very moment, this day, year, is of vast eternal significance because the Creator has focused His creative expression ("Love") onto us and into us and this life we're in right now. It's a window to the future yes but in and of itself it's an incredible thing we are living here, now. 

 

Edited by socks
Now many moons and many Junes have passed since we made land. A salty dog, this seaman's log, your witness my own hand.
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On 9/4/2020 at 2:44 AM, Twinky said:

You are entirely right that God works in small settings.  Early commandments and instructions to the fledgling people of Israel include this:

Deut 7:7 7The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than the other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples

and if you read the early chapters of Deuteronomy (it's well worth the re-read), it's all about staying pure and close to the heart of God, rejecting falsehoods, and taking care of those who can't look after themselves.  This tiny nation was to be an example to the rest of the world and to draw people by that example into knowing God, the God of love and not the god of hate, or of human sacrifice, or of nature or animal worship (or whatever else, you name it).

We are all part of at least one community; we can impact that community.  We don't have to make a big name for ourselves, but people will notice that "there's something different" about us.  Many will have read Betsie ten Boom's works; whilst in a Nazi prison camp, she led people into Christian love and worship and even, at one point, thanked God for the fleas that infested their hut - because it kept the guards from harassing them (the guards were terrified of the fleas and the typhus they spread).  That attitude of gratitude, and of service, makes for stand-out behaviour that can demonstrate God's love to others.

It was the kindness and gentleness of my church, and its outward face to serve the local community, that drew me to it.  It's helped and healed me from my TWI wounds.  It helps and heals so many from debt, addiction, poverty - just by being there and offering help and solace.  Right now, there's a lot of emphasis on giving out food parcels to needy people injured by CoVid restrictions on work or ability to go out.  In school time, there's homework clubs - a quiet place where schoolkids can study, not in noisy households or on the end of the bed in a room shared with another child.  We have action days when we organise skips to take away bulky refuse within the area around my church - a poorer community, with more than its share of single parent families and cheap social housing.  we have social events that are free: Needles and Natter; a lunch club (donations welcome) that anyone can attend; Mums & Toddlers, where (often single) mums can go for a coffee and cake after dropping older kids off at school.  We do lots to help. 

And we sing and offer services, easy "classes" and the like, where people can come and learn more about God, Jesus, and living in love.  We have a big impact, for a little congregation!

 

That's a cool verse in Deut Twinky, thanks!

Your church sounds like it's got the "right stuff".  

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