Rob Bell, Theological Kerfuffles, & Universalisms…Pt. 13

OK: So, by popular demand: I have ordered Love Wins by Rob Bell. Actually, because we’re packing: I downloaded it to my Kindle. 🙂 If I added another book to this household of boxes, my wife would brain me. So, in my copious free-time, I will read it before chapter camp…which is two weeks away.

In a very convoluted way: this book has come into my messy home before I ordered it. I’ll withhold the details, but I was surprised to learn that the same kind of “behaving-badly” type of conflict you easily read on blogs reviewing Bell’s book intersected with my colleagues here in Houston. For now, let’s call it guilt-by-association: GBA. I hasten to add: my colleagues and I are more exclusivist in thought, speech, and behavior than those with loose lips.

I wish such people would simply ask us, “What do you think about Bell?” before yakking…I don’t know, maybe it’s about the following:

ἀληθεύοντες δὲ ἐν ἀγάπῃ αὐξήσωμεν εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα, ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλή, Χριστός, ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας κατ’ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ. (Eph. 4:15-16)

I intend at another time to describe what could be an important way forward in both the formal discussion as well as how we discuss the perceived discrepancies. Part of the wider discourse conflict involves the determination of universalism within Bell’s text. For a good- no, really, great- discussion starter in this regard, especially as it applies to Bell et al, see this recent post by James K.A. Smith.