John Piper’s Tweet: “Farewell Rob Bell”

“Farewell Rob Bell.http://dsr.gd/fZqmd8

 

Here’s Scot McKnight on Piper’s tweet:

“Frankly, John Piper’s flippant dismissal of Rob Bell is unworthy of someone of Piper’s stature. The way to disagree with someone of Rob Bell’s influence is not a tweet of dismissal but a private letter or a phone call. Flippancy should have no part in judging a Christian leader’s theology, character or status.”  source

I’m with McKnight on this one.  This is unfortunate.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in John Piper, Rob Bell, Scot McKnight and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

121 Responses to John Piper’s Tweet: “Farewell Rob Bell”

  1. T.C. R says:

    Twittering is for the discerning. 🙂

  2. Lols, twitter and discernment,now that’s a sermon for you!

  3. Ms. Jack says:

    McKnight speaks the truth. This was unfortunate and should have been beneath someone of Piper’s standing in the Christian community.

    What’s sadder, that Piper did it or that the fact that he did it doesn’t surprise me in the least?

  4. T.C. R says:

    Rod,

    Well, a person only has so much words to work with, so discernment is in order. 🙂

    Ms Jack (I like the other name better ;-))

    Well, it should have come as a surprise to you. But perhaps Piper has opened himself to such over the years. I don’t know for sure.

  5. Ferg says:

    I wonder what he meant by it?
    Farewell from orthodoxy, farewell as a brother in Christ, farewell from sanity??
    I’m very surprised Piper would do something so seemingly childish. Perhaps he’ll explain himself.

  6. T.C. R says:

    Ferg,

    Piper clearly didn’t put much though behind this. Or perhaps he did. But I too hope he explains.

  7. TC,

    I am a bit confused? You wrote about the need and reality of the Christian doctrine of God’s wrath or hell, yes? So, what’s so wrong with Piper’s position? I can’t help but wonder sometimes what St. Paul would think about our so-called polite nature toward.. what I call ‘sloppy agape’? Note, 1 Cor. 16: 22! (Anathema, see too Gal. 1:8-9)

    • *Note I speak somewhat tongue and cheek! But, as Marc noted, we don’t need further politeness, when God’s Word looses its cutting edge! My take anyway.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      You’re absolutely right, Fr. Robert. I can picture a whole bunch of bloggers absolutely outraged at the Apostle Paul’s lack of mature reflection in telling the Judaizers to go castrate themselves!

      • The “Dogs”? Phil. 3:2-3 Yes, the “concision” meaning mutilation, is a term of contempt for literal circumcision. Real Christians are not “Judaizers” of the flesh, but of the Spirit, so “we” are the real “circumcision” who serve by the Spirit of God, and our boast is in “Christ Jesus” and we have no confidence in the our flesh, nor any human ability!

      • T.C. R says:

        Jon,

        We’re not talking the same thing here. Is Rob Bell question the sufficiency of the work of Christ at the cross and in the empty tomb? I don’t think so. Your Galatians reference doesn’t apply.

  8. T.C. R says:

    Fr. Robert,

    Well, we can always blame a social network like twitter. I say we direct the anathema at twitter. 🙂

  9. T.C. R says:

    Yeah, I like his position going to hell better. 🙂

  10. Dan says:

    That break seems have done Piper good. 😉

  11. kenny chmiel says:

    This whole episode is getting quite absurd with the addition of Pipers weird tweet.

  12. T.C. R says:

    Dan,

    🙂

    Kenny,

    I know what you mean.

  13. Bobby Grow says:

    Universalism is wrong.

    Christian hedonism is wrong. 😉

    Can’t let a good opportunity for more controversy pass 🙂 .

  14. T.C. R says:

    And I say Bobby is wrong on all counts. 😉

  15. carl sweatman says:

    While I can (somewhat) appreciate Piper’s little jab, I do agree with McKnight’s suggestion that things could/should have been in private. However, unless something has changed, I fear that if Piper had gone the private route that it would not have made a difference anyway. A few years ago one of my professors in College questioned (and refuted) something Bell said, and did so in a private e-mail, but Bell wound up blowing him off and carried on as usual.

  16. wm tanksley says:

    There is an absolute requirement to handle this in *public*, not in private — Bell set himself up as a teacher, not a private man with private opinions. If Bell had offended Piper, Piper should talk to him privately; but Bell is publishing teachings through many media that harm the teaching of the Gospel, while claiming to teach the true Gospel. He must be faced and contradicted publicly, because the offense is in his public teachings, not in his private behavior.

    -Wm

    • Alibabwa says:

      WM – my thoughts exactly – if it is a private discussion then reply privately, if it is public then reply publically. Piper has a track record of exchanging meaningful letters (and books) with the likes of N.T. Write and others and I am slow to criticize his attempt to communicate via moden modes that Bell’s followers use.

      • T.C. R says:

        Carl,

        Fair enough. But this doesn’t right Piper’s dismissive tweet.

        Wm,

        Again, the issue is Piper’s dismissive tweet. I expected better of Piper.

        Alibabwa,

        But Piper didn’t do such with N.T. Wright. Too much respect?

      • wm tanksley says:

        “The issue is Piper’s dismissive tweet”

        Wow, Saint Paul must infuriate you. Did you see what he said about some people just in passing? Hopefully Bell will repent of the sin of heresy (a sin that he’s been carrying out for a while, by the way, even if not on this specific subject; have you heard his sermons?) — until he does repent, though, he should be dismissed as a teacher.

        Twitter is not a contextual medium. Tweets have to be integrated into context; and there’s more than enough to reconstruct this one. Piper is taking a correct stand against a false teacher — which when condensed to twitter, is dismissive.

        -Wm

  17. Kevin Walker says:

    I’m definitely caught in an “in-between” moment here. I’ve always liked Bell, although I’ve also always felt that he would eventually come out as a universalist. I don’t agree with universalism, but sometimes I wish it were true! It really does become a complicated issue when you think about it. If only those who trust in Jesus will be saved, then what happens to those who never have the opportunity to hear? But if there are other ways to be saved, why did Jesus tell us seemingly otherwise?

    Okay, okay… I’ll stop now. But I do plan on reading the book before I make any more statements about Bell himself.

    http://pastorkevinwalker.blogspot.com

  18. T.C. R says:

    Kevin,

    I share similar sentiments. But it’s the weight of Scripture. But again, this depends on interpretation. As you know, Bell is not the first to hold these views, although we do not know for certain.

    John Stott comes to mind. Yes, I too plan on reading the book.

  19. Jerry_B says:

    I guess what bothers me is I’m not sure Piper has had a chance to read the book. Has he read it? Piper being grouchy really isn’t a surprise, seems to be par for the course these days for those of his ilk.

  20. T.C. R says:

    Jerry B,

    I’m sure Piper hasn’t read the book.

  21. Matt says:

    Shouldn’t you have written Piper a private letter instead of dismissing him online for everyone to read?

    • Dan Reeves says:

      Shouldn’t you have written TC a private letter instead of dismissing his dismissal of Piper’s dismissing tweet online for everyone to read?
      😉

      At most it sounds that TC is expressing disappointment, which is not a dismissing of Piper. TC has repeatedly noted he reads Piper and enjoys some of his work. (Sorry if I put words in your mouth TC) Some are more charitable than others no doubt, but we are simply speculating on Piper’s intentions.

      I believe we are talking about a whole ‘nother realm here…these are Christian celebrities who are making public statements – we are merely expressing opinions on what they are saying in a far less public manner (I understand this is a “public”site, but this is a small corner of the blogosphere – no offense intended).

  22. Tony Cruz says:

    It’s frustrating for a young leader like myself to see this happen, especially when I am being exhorted by these same men to be leaders of integrity, patience, grace, with a motivation to point people back to Christ.

    This was sad for me to see.

  23. T.C. R says:

    Dan Reeves,

    As I was putting the post together, I actually was tempted to put the fact I was personally disappointed. You’re right.

    Tony,

    I had a similar experience. But I think we can all learn from this episode, realizing that even those we look up to, for me a Piper, is not perfect.

  24. T.C. R says:

    |Wow, Saint Paul must infuriate you. Did you see what he said about some people just in passing? Hopefully Bell will repent of the sin of heresy (a sin that he’s been carrying out for a while, by the way, even if not on this specific subject; have you heard his sermons?) — until he does repent, though, he should be dismissed as a teacher.|

    Wm,

    Paul is my hero. I’m not sure he would have called nonbelief in hell heresy. Question what makes such a heresy?

    I’ve both listened and read Bell. So what’s so heretical about him?

    • wm tanksley says:

      Without going too far afield by entering into a debate, I might suggest that your problem with Piper isn’t really that Piper’s being “dismissive”; rather, Piper believes that something is _important_ that you don’t believe is important.

      I think it would serve the cause of understanding for you to admit that it’s no surprise that Piper identifies Bell’s teaching here as being wrong and dangerous. You don’t have to admit that Bell is wrong or Piper is right; but you can admit that Bell is running a provocative marketing campaign using what Piper believes is a critical doctrine.

      I just scrolled up to the top and noticed one thing that’s CRUCIALLY wrong about McKnight’s comment. He says that one should “disagree with someone of influence” in private. Read that carefully… What is he implying about disagreeing with people who aren’t influential? Why? The Bible says that those in authority are held to a higher standard, and must be rebuked in public; it doesn’t say they should be held to a lower standard and rebuked privately.

      -Wm

      • T.C. R says:

        Wm,

        I’m not going to debate what McKnight says. Neither am I debating the implication of Piper’s tweet. It’s simply too dismissive of someone of Piper’s status, as McKnight rightly notes. Why can’t you accept that?

      • wm tanksley says:

        Seriously? You don’t want to “debate the implication” of Piper’s tweet, yet you want to assert it and have everyone else “accept that”? (I respect you not wanting to debate about McKnight, of course.)

        …I just finished listening to two Bell sermons. (In the latter one Shane Hipps happened to spend most of the time speaking, but Bell clearly agreed with what he was saying; it was a team teaching.) Bell (and Hipps) do a MUCH better job at preaching from the Bible than 90% of pastors; I see why people would respect him. And he can be _funny_. Bell could do a LOT of good if he’d teach that the Law is from God, not a mere system of tribal behavior; and that the Gospel offers forgiveness of our violations of God’s Law, not merely a new set of universal laws to replace the old tribal ones.

        Unfortunately, those things are what he teaches, and they are not the Gospel.

        -Wm (going to be listening to more from Bell)

  25. Bill Trip says:

    I’m with Piper!

  26. Bill Trip says:

    Some of you need a real spine! Seriously! Man up! Souls are at stake!

  27. Jacob says:

    Did you flippantly post this blog response to Piper’s response to Bell?
    I sure hope that you tried to call Piper first.

  28. T.C. R says:

    Jacob,

    I think you’ve missed the point of this post.

  29. T.C. R says:

    |Seriously? You don’t want to “debate the implication” of Piper’s tweet, yet you want to assert it and have everyone else “accept that”? (I respect you not wanting to debate about McKnight, of course.)|

    Wm,

    Piper’s tweet is a tweet of dismissal. Again, someone of his status should have responded in a more discerning way. It’s all I’m saying. What else is there to debate?

    • wm tanksley says:

      Yes, it’s a tweet of dismissal (precisely because it uses the word “farewell”). Was it wrong for him to do that? Why? It seems to me that part of discernment is watching for false teachers and rebuking them.

      To me the question isn’t “was he dismissive”, but rather “was he wrong.” Was it wrong to be dismissive? Why? Paul was dismissive, and he’s your hero. I’m not expecting you to adopt Piper as your hero, but at least explain why you think “dismissive” is sufficient reason to consider him wrong.

      You mention “more discerning.” Discernment is telling the distinction between truth and error. Piper is practicing discernment by dismissing error.

      -Wm

  30. T.C. R says:

    Wm,

    Here we are debating the substance (or lack of) of Piper’s tweet, wondering if he was right or not. But you got me there on Paul. I must admit.

    Regarding “discernment,” I believe it comes down to perception on this one. What I see as lack of, you see as proper. I’m willing to be wrong on this one.

    • wm tanksley says:

      Discernment is indeed a function of perception, which is why it’s so useful to listen to many people. I’m glad you posted your opinion on this… But I’d like to explore your perception of why you said that, and whether Piper was right or wrong. Your answer so far is simply a paraphrase of “I don’t want to debate; I just want you to accept it.”

      -Wm

      • T.C. R says:

        Wm,

        I’m torn on this one. Get this: I’m not willing to call the denial of hell in the traditional sense of it – heresy, which was/is reflected in Piper’s tweet about Bell’s apparent universalism.

      • wm tanksley says:

        T.C. R, that makes sense; I didn’t connect the dots regarding that about you. Now that you’ve mentioned it this makes more sense.

        However, as I’ve pointed out, Piper disagrees with you — and that given his premises, his response is strictly sensible. Exposing people to an actual eternal hell is a terrible thing to do, and to expose them to it merely because you want your church to be “broad” and “big” (both Bell’s words) is an unacceptable act.

        Furthermore, Bell’s actions not only deny a doctrine that Piper considers very important; they toy with it, treating it as something that can be questioned as part of a marketing strategy. This is radically discordant with Bell’s treatment of those who toy with his doctrines, by the way — he’s appropriately quick to condemn people who deliberately scorn what he teaches and considers vital.

        -Wm

  31. This was timely for me, this very day:

    ‘The chief dangers that confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.’ – William Booth

    • Benjamin says:

      Oh yeah, that William Booth who thought that the observation of the sacraments wasn’t necessary to the Christian faith? Great guy. I love anyone arrogant enough to turn over 2000 years of Christian doctrine because his wife told him to.

      • Yes, the English William Booth who had been a Methodist, and it seems was somewhat later effected by Quaker doctrine. But this quote was used also by Iain Murray, who saw the obvious truth and reality of it! It is common knowledge that Booth was no theolog, but his love for the poor, and belief in biblical conversion were strong. His “Gospel” and work were later even encouraged by Edward VII. Btw, Booth had partly some Jewish origin. A long life lived…1829 – 1912!

    • T.C. R says:

      Fr. Robert,

      Great quote! Quite prophetic indeed.

  32. Benjamin says:

    I like all these trite comments about “souls are at stake” and “the truth is at stake!” Perhaps it’s my hermeneutical preoccupation, but no one has really examined the tweet itself. (I can’t even believe the word “tweet” and “hermeneutical” are in the same sentence.)

    John Piper tweets: “Farewell Rob Bell.” This means, as Piper perceives it, Rob Bell is leaving, and perhaps may not return (or at least, the idea that Piper – because of his advanced age – may never see Bell again is also implied in the expression “farewell” – a little OED consultation will bear me out). Now, is Rob Bell getting ready to take a sabbatical, like Piper just did? Not that anyone is aware of. Is he going on a vacation, and only best bud Johnny boy knows about it? Unlikely. Well, what has Bell been up to lately? Oh, yeah – he’s publishing another one of those books that just gets people FIRED UP! Sometimes that Bell can be so pesky and irritating! But at least he hasn’t gone whole-hog heretic yet like that damned Brian McLaren.

    Uh-oh. I just read the title of his new book. HERETIC!

    Getting back to a more formal vein, it is clear that Piper sees Bell as leaving something. Best case scenario, Piper sees him as leaving some theological circle that he was tangentially related to at one point and that Piper approves of; worst, he sees him as forsaking the Christian faith through his theological stance.

    See, I’m not too familiar with Piper. And there’s a reason for that: every time I’ve been exposed to him, I’ve encountered a man who thinks that what you believe is as important as what you do. I believe with all my heart, and find testimony both in Holy Scripture and sacred Tradition, that God redeems the entire cosmos through the death of Christ, the harrowing of hell, and the Resurrection. No more do we have to follow over 300 proscriptions (Mosaic law). It is impossible to do that! Hence the constant need for blood sacrifice. But through the victory of Christ we have Grace! Grace, the saw goes, covers a multitude of sins. And this grace is BESTOWED on us by God. (Very Calvinistic sounding, no?)

    The other half of that coin, and this is where Reformed types get antsy, is that salvation is a LIFE LONG PROCESS that culminates WHEN YOU DIE. That is why I, Rob Bell, and John Piper have to work out our own salvation in fear and trembling! And, Johnny boy, it don’t stop til your dead! And it’s not my works that got me grace – but IT IS MY WORKS THAT KEEP ME IN IT! Works include: prayer, meditation, studying scripture, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, taking care of the widow and orphan, giving of my time, talent, and treasure, and in general SHOWING THE LOVE OF CHRIST TO OTHERS. Also, I must ACCEPT THAT LOVE WHEN IT IS GIVEN TO ME. This is the hard ethic of salvation. And I don’t see this kind of consistent teaching in my rare exposures to Mr. Piper. I see a man bent on defending truth at no cost (not our job as God’s people, we sometimes act as though God cannot get the job done without our help), and who whines from the pulpit about a bunch of emotional stuff that makes no sense. (Sorry, that’s just how I see it.)

    Ergo, for John Piper to see that Bell’s belief in universalism “ex-communicates” him from orthodox Christianity (c’mon, that’s what we all KNOW is really going on with his smug little three-word tweet. God! The pope never had it so good in the Middle Ages! The sycophancy his people have for Piper’s every word makes good Catholics look like free-thinkers!) is pretty much John Piper making God’s judgment call for him, “x” number of years before Bell dies (and his salvation is, presumably, complete). It’s pretty typical of the arrogance many neo-Reformers display. And it’s hasty, since the book isn’t out yet. And – where in the Bible does it say that heretics don’t go to heaven (and that phrase – “go to heaven” – is so LOADED with ideological nonsense that has invaded Protestantism in the lase 300 years)? Check out Origin. My man Origin! Totally had some heretical beliefs. And you know what? Still a Saint in the Orthodox church. (I am not Orthodox, but I gotta get behind a church that would say “you know what, that Origin was okay at the end of the day, even though he was wrong. Let’s make him a saint!” as opposed to “farewell Origin.” But, the Orthodox rejected the idea of a pope, whereas the Reformed Baptists did until they unofficially crowned Pope Piper.)

    Am I being really snarky? Yeah. Piper really makes me mad because he is so wrong and so artless in his error. But you know what?

    I look forward to meeting him in the life to come, with God’s help.

  33. wtsguy says:

    I second that. “farewell Rob Bell”.

  34. Audrey says:

    I don’t think Piper would have written that if he didn’t already try to reach out to him. As seen in Piper’s character on the forefront of media, in his life and church, he has been extremely loving. Sometimes almost to the point where I almost question what he believes. If anything, I don’t think the tweet is meant to sound snide, but rather.

  35. Audrey says:

    I don’t think Piper would have written that if he didn’t already try to reach out to him. As seen in Piper’s character on the forefront of media, in his life and church, he has been extremely loving. Sometimes almost to the point where I almost question what he believes. If anything, I don’t think the tweet is meant to sound snide, but rather sad.

  36. Douglas says:

    It does not surprise me that John Piper would tweet “farewell Rob Bell” John Piper is certainly acting in the image of the god he worships. His God has no problem whatsoever in saying farewell to billions, consigning them to eternity of torment. So, either does John Piper, have any problem dismsissing anyone, in a most curt and supercilious way.

    • No ‘sloppy agape’ with Piper, nor Calvin I might add. Nor Luther as I think of it! How Luther is left out so often?

    • wm tanksley says:

      Douglas, does your God dismiss people more like you dismiss them, then?

      • Douglas says:

        Actually no. I do not dismiss people. I am instructed to love my enemies and so even if I fail at that, I will at least not dismiss them. I know John Piper is quite certain his God will dismiss billions for eternity, so it did not surprise me Mr Piper would dismiss Mr Bell so easily. I just thought it fit really well, the reaction of Mr Piper to Mr Bell, concerning his God merely does the same dismissing.

      • wm tanksley says:

        It’s interesting that Piper appears to have become your enemy somehow (by your claim). You’re right that the Law calls you to love your enemy, but I would claim that you have a higher duty first to question whether he actually IS your enemy. So far as I know, an enemy is someone who is against you personally, someone who is acting against you and who appears to be in a position to take advantage of your “weakness” of love. I don’t think Piper meets that (or any reasonable) definition of weakness.

        It also appears that you consider “dismissal” as worse than not loving your enemy. Is that right? It seems to me that calling someone your enemy IS dismissal, pure and simple. It also seems to me to be something that Christ approved of when He commanded us to love our enemy, since we can’t admit we love an enemy without first admitting we HAVE one.

        -Wm

      • Douglas says:

        Actually, it wasn’t the law that required us to love our enemies, it was Jesus! He said, “you have heard it said,but I say unto you…Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…etc. Jesus was not quoting the formal law, He was superseding it, He was preaching a much higher standard! These enemies are not enemies because we ourselves hate them, no we love them! They are enemies because they hate us, not that we feel the same to them. Its a one way street. I do not consider Piper my enemy. I am making an observation about the actions of Mr Piper towards Mr Bell, and I say that his actions are very much in line with what I would expect. As Mr Bell is now no longer orthodox in Pipers eyes, He is dismissed and NOT LOVED, not that I can see. I see this as consistent with Mr Pipers God treatment of HIS enemies, surely Mr Pipers God does not love His enemies, cause He acts in a most unloving way towards them, He does not give to them, help them, in any way, but burns them in fire for eternity.

      • wm tanksley says:

        You’re right; not only does our God dismiss people, so do our apostles, our church fathers, our beloved brethren, ourselves, and our theological opponents. So common is dismissal that we don’t even consider it a sin. You do consider it a sin, while practicing it. You so strongly dismiss Piper; you actually dismiss him retroactively — this tweet does “not surprise” you. I don’t condemn you for that; I let you condemn yourself. I claim you’re factually incorrect, not morally wrong.
        Meanwhile, I continue to have problems with Bell. He is a gifted preacher who, unlike many, actually reads the Bible extensively in his sermons. But then he pits the Bible against itself, pretending (specifically in a sermon I just listened to, but also in general) that Jesus’ law goes against the Abramic covenant, negating it simply by being a superior law.

  37. Esteban says:

    Plenty of speculation to go around. Haven’t heard or read anyone who said, “I read the book and here’s my opinion…” Self righteousness rears its ugly head once again. Sure makes a great witness to non-believers.

  38. Pingback: Rob Bell is His Own Saboteur? | New Leaven

  39. Pingback: Burnside Writers Collective » Blog Archive » Rob Bell is Not A Universalist, and Love Really Does Win

  40. Pingback: Jose Humphreys » Blog Archive » When people ask about hell…

  41. One small tweet is exactly that: one small tweet. It’s the nature of Tweets to be concise. McKnight is surely thoughtless to have read flippancy into Piper’s tweet, merely because of its brevity. I have no doubt that Piper’s full response will be more than a tweet. One might as well call a bugle-blast flippant, because of its brevity, before the charging army reaches the field.

    This is not going to be a private debate; Bell has guaranteed that.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  42. bubbawithab says:

    “The way to disagree with someone of Rob Bell’s influence is not a tweet of dismissal but a private letter or a phone call.” Dead wrong, McKnight. Methinks you have a horse in this race…

    The way to address a personal affront is privately. The way to address bad theology is publicly and directly, with the hope of repentance (Galatians 2).

    Rob Bell went off the reservation long ago, and has long made a compact with neo-orthodoxy. Too bad, really; he’s done some good stuff.

  43. bubbawithab says:

    Political PS: McKnight, from Christianity Today: “I don’t think the Democratic Party is worth a hoot, but its historic commitment to the poor and to centralizing government for social justice is what I think government should do. I don’t support abortion—in fact, I think it is immoral.”

    The “hoot” about this statement is the “poor” in this case is its utter incoherency philosophically: the innocent poor here, who are asked to bear up under the tyrant’s sword, are the unborn. I used to be of this persuasion, personally thinking abortion was “immoral,” but an alternative I might need some day to extricate myself from a situation of my own making. Not that I could ever support the sword bearers on the Left and make peace with humanism; it always struck me as a Faustian bargain, even in my more wild days.

    I eventually had to confess that I, in fact, was a tyrant on abortion – against it, yet willing to sacrifice to Molech as an expedient for my own situational preference. How much worse to support the coercion by law of “the poor.”

    Repentance was there for me, and is also there for McKnight (and Bell).

  44. bubbawithab says:

    * The “hoot” about this statement is its utter incoherency philosophically: the innocent “poor” here, who are asked to bear up under the tyrant’s sword, are the unborn.

  45. Brad says:

    I’m with Piper on this one. We should dismiss bad doctrine and lies right away. Some things are not even worthy of consideration, e.g. teachings that go directly against the heart of the gospel message. And honestly, how could Piper as a 7-point Calvinist not speak out against Bell’s post modern quasi-universalism?

    • 7 points? That’s a new one for me. I like the more biblical term: the Doctrines of Grace. The number of which is questionable, I would not press Limited Atonement, and I don’t think Calvin taught it either. Certainly the Atonement effects the Elect in the fulness of salvation, but it also has a function toward those who claim any covenant relation…Heb. 10:29. The Cross and Death of Christ is always the dividing line in this broken and fallen world. Here is the Judgment & Victory itself! (Col. 2:15)

    • T. J. Garrison says:

      Brad, I absolutely agree with you as well as others who have said basically the same thing.

  46. Ed says:

    First of all, there isn’t much new in Bell’s universalism. He has been there for some time now. The difference is that he finally found the courage to tell the truth about what he believes. Second, those who are criticizing Piper probably don’t even know if Dr. Piper spoke with Bell privately. Finally, since this represents public error, Dr. Piper is well within his right to address it publicly. And since it is so blatantly non-Christian at its core, a short response is quite appropriate. Is there biblical precedent for this approach? Let’s see: what about Paul’s public rebuke of Peter? And then he had the nerve to publish it later in a letter. Wow! Talk about uncharitable! This fact clearly indicates that those who are claiming Piper was wrong or that this was somehow not pastoral do not know what they are talking about. Scripture is filled with confrontations similar to Piper’s confrontation of Bell. In fact, both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament Scriptures contain similar confrontations, in not much more harsh than Piper’s. Those who claim otherwise are simply ignorant of the facts or dismissive of them. Either way, their attacks on Piper are biblically indefensible. But I assume that Piper’s attackers actually care about the contents of Scripture. That is not a good assumption on my part to be sure. 🙂

  47. David says:

    even If piper had done it in private it wont make a difference. Bell has made tons of money from this book and all the publicity has made his church explode into tons of members which increases money there too. Churches are used today as a fat paycheck for pastors that will teach whatever to get people into the doors of their church.

    I would ask Robert Bell this. How were people “saved” before the cross? Jesus died for my sins so i can go to heaven all I need to do is accept him as my personal savior right?

    the desciples preached the gospel and knew nothing of the cross. The gospel is not the cross! It is a Present Kingdom that we can participate in here and now. Paul says it is “in the midst of you”. At the end of the age the earth will be shaken. we are to enter into that which cannot be shaken. and it is by grace (in the context of baptism)(eph 2:5) that we saved. God gave us a picture in the Tupos (1 Corinthians 10) of Moses’ journey and the tabernacle as a picture of our salvation. Bell’s teaching is straight up heresy. I am 20 years old and have a long life ahead of me. I must stand strong in the word so that I dont fall to teachings like this. The Bible says in the end times false prophets will come and deceive many. this is almost sickening.

    on a separate note. The Bible does say if you have ought with your brother, go to him privately. a tweet is not the proper way to deal with this. I have tremendous respect for Piper though

    • wm tanksley says:

      Private confrontation is for the offense of a brother — not for a public false teaching. Bell’s teaching is not only public, but conspicuously so (he’s running a full-blown marketing campaign, and a very deceptive one). I’m not sure why Piper chose THIS moment to speak against a false teacher, but I’m glad he did, and I’m glad he linked to some of the reasons for his condemnation.

  48. Daniel Barea says:

    Let’s make it simple: I view scripture as objective. Period. So I believe Pastor Piper sent a tweet to a non-believer (Bell). The doctrine of Hell in the bible is not a mystery or controversial. It is clear, concise, and razor sharp. Now…if we add all of the human fear, justification, legalism, human emotions, and what people dont feel comfortable with then yeah write a million books on it. Understanding God’s love, God’s Wrath, God’s righteousness, and hell can be difficult. Pray about it. Hell is real. Hell is God’s righteousness confirmed. Doesnt the Father grace seem that much more now?

    • Douglas says:

      ……….Hell is God’s righteousness confirmed….I wonder, Daniel, how much time you will need in the Lake Of Fire to burn out such a deep character flaw inside of you that you could believe this. I think the greatest irony of all is the ones who claim to the Elect are the ones who posess the greatest possible unforgiveness, lack of love for their fellow humans, deep in their dead hearts. By saying that is how God is showing/confirming His righteousness? Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil. I would not want to be you when Gods opens the secrets of your heart. You will pay a steep price for that belief. Not eternal, but steep.

      • wm tanksley says:

        Wow, your fantasies are dark. At least the person you’re responding to has some evidence for his beliefs (derived from what he believes is revelation given by God); you’re just making this stuff up out of whole cloth — for example, your idea that God will attempt to change character by torture. Less disturbing but equally incorrect is your claim to see into the souls of people who believe in individual election and judge not only their secret sins, but also attribute to them a belief not only in God’s election, but their own certainty of being elect.
        Yet, at the same time, you and he are nothing worse than I am — a sinner. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance. Repent, and be forgiven, and live in accordance with your repentance. God has gone to great lengths to justly pardon our past sins, and offers forgiveness now — repent, so that you are forgiven.

      • Nice W’m,

        I think ole Douglas here is way off base spiritually and theologically! Btw, note Paul’s words in 2 Tim. 2:8-10, and especially verse 10, Paul’s ministry was for the very “elect” of God and their salvation!

  49. Mamaseta says:

    Hell….. make sure you don’t end up there.

  50. Douglas says:

    Fantasies? I think not. Isaiah 26:9 “for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” Judgement makes people LEARN righteousness…. 1Pe 1:7 that the proving of your faith, much more precious than of gold which perishes, though it be proved by FIRE, be found to praise and glory and honour in the revelation of Jesus Christ or….1Pe 4:12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through FIRE….Luk 3:17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will BURN with unquenchable FIRE.”…..Co 3:13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be REVEALED by FIRE, and the FIRE will test what sort of work each one has done.
    Surely one can see that Judgement and Fire burns away the wood hay and stubble…surely you know this isn’t literal wood hay and stubble, but the evil things in the heart of man. Your works manifest what is in your heart, and God will burn out these evil things. Most importantly evil doctrines. Yes when His judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the earth WILL learn righteousness….and as Isaiah continues… “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
    Isa 45:23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

    • wm tanksley says:

      Nicely written and cited. But your texts don’t actually illustrate your point. You want to show that God’s fire refines our character; but look at these references.
      Isa 26:9 is in the context of Isa 26:11; the lesson in justice is at the expense of the people who disbelieved in justice, and they “learn” not in the sense of being taught for their own benefit, but in the sense of merely believing what they themselves experience (no statement is implied about them benefiting from this).
      1 Pe 1:7 is about how enduring earthly suffering proves the existence of faith; it’s not about the trials changing your character.
      Luk 3:17 isn’t promising the destruction and riddance of bad character; it looks like it’s promising the destruction and riddance of unrepentant people, who will never be gathered into “His barn”. If it were talking about good character, it would mean that our good character would be going to heaven WHILE our bad character went to the fire, since the winnowing happens separately from the burning. (This verse is a “hard saying”, but it cannot mean what you claim; it’s hard because the word for “burn” implies a complete consumption, implying annihilation.)
      1Cor 3:13, like Isa, also has to be read in context. “Each builder” does NOT mean “each one who performs actions” or “each one who builds their own character”; rather, it means “each Christian preacher who teaches and instructs”. The trial by fire does not burn the “builder” (preacher), but rather his “work” (what he “built”) — and his work is his past preaching to people, not his character. It’s not clearly stated that the people he’s preaching to are in danger of burning; but that would be a logical (if frightening) conclusion. It’s not a possible conclusion that the “builder” will somehow have his character refined by the fire.
      So none of the verses you cite could possibly be accurately read to support your claim that God will use hell cause suffering to people until their character is good. Your claim remains grounded only in your personal distaste; and I have respond reasonably that your claim is at least equally distasteful, and so has no moral advantage.

  51. Douglas says:

    Mar 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the FIRE that never shall be quenched: Mar 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the FIRE that never shall be quenched:Mar 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell FIRE: Mar 9:49 For every one shall be SALTED with FIRE, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt…… OK in over 50 years of life, I have never seen a Christian missing an eye, missing a foot, or missing a hand, because they cut it off themselves, to avoid hell fire; yet surely many eyes are viewing MANY evil things…so there is plenty of offense around; yet no eyes plucked, even with the shocking imagery of these verses telling us to do so!
    But that isn’t meant to be LITERAL, you protest! Jesus didn’t mean we should LITERALLY do this. OK, then why is the FIRE in the second half of this metaphor, actually LITERAL, if the first half actually is NOT LITERAL?
    That question also fits in very nicely to those verses in Peter we discussed above. Of course the FIRE of our tests and trials is NOT actually LITERAL. But Fire is a GREAT representation of what these trials accomplish! These trials DO make us better! They do REFINE US! They do a great job in purifying our hearts. Fire BURNS away everything worthless, completely destroys it. Only the “permanent” the gold the silver, the precious stones, are not destroyed by it but actually made more pure; all the dross, all the impurities, all the wood, hay, and stubble, go up in METAPHORICAL SMOKE……Mal 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a REFINER’S FIRE, and like fullers’ SOAP: Wow, what imagery of cleansing and refining there!!
    And Isaiah 26:10 says….a 26:10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. Do you not see how this is contrasted with verse 9 to make my point even clearer? The wicked will NOT respond to FAVOR, they will only LEARN righteousness with JUDGEMENT! But they WILL LEARN IT!
    And finally, you did not respond to the powerful verses in Isaiah I quoted, how all the ends of the earth will come to God and be saved, and every knee will bow and evey tongue WILL SWEAR allegiance to him! These verses are so powerful that the Apostle Paul quoted them TWICE in the new testament…TWICE!!!!!
    The scriptures uses the fearsome imagery of fire because God is a consumiong fire, and fire gives us a very deep spiritual understanding of how seriously He is going to accomplish His work. But the scriptures are written in such a way, that only a proper heart will understand. If your heart does not love your enemy, and does not love as God does, you will not see what I have just shown you. You will be too busy focusing on the LITERAL and accepting all the evil implications of that, and you will miss the much more beautiful and spiritual truths being communicated. It is no more different than the Pharisees of Jesus time. They NEVER beleived God would save the gentiles. Just like you will NEVER believe God will save everyone, eventually.

    • wm tanksley says:

      First, I’m not going to deal with all of the references you cite; your point is to claim that fire always represents expurgating evil from people. This does happen, for example with the coal touched to the lips of the prophet; but it also symbolizes punishment of people at the end of the age, as in the parable of the tares. (I’m not arguing eternality; I’m just discussing the metaphor of fire.) I’ll add that of course “fire” isn’t literal; but neither is it obviously a metaphor for something LESS dangerous than fire; our Lord was clearly intending to frighten, not to console). It’s simply too much to claim that fire always implies refining, simply because it sometimes does.
      Second, you cite Isa 26 to show that the wicked will learn; but what the passage says is that they will NOT learn. Now, I agree and admit that this lack of learning only appears in one context (the lack of judgement), but you also have to admit that there’s no hint that they will learn and turn; just experience and KNOW.
      Finally, you’re right that I clean missed those verses at the end of your previous post; I actually didn’t even notice them, and would have responded if I’d seen them. I apologize for missing them.
      I find it frightening how badly you misquote them, and what you leave out. “Turn to me, all you nations”, it starts, “FOR WHY WOULD YOU PERISH?” This is law, not Gospel; a command, not the promise to fulfill it. And then, “every one will swear allegiance unto me,” but then “all who were enraged at Him shall come before Him and be put to shame.” There’s no promise of deliverance for the ones enraged (although, of course, repentance is demanded of them and would be rewarded), and kneeling at the judgement is simply required, and does not imply repentance (if it did, this single verse would completely eliminate the entire doctrine of hell, because God would not punish ANY who have repented). This passage praises the greatness of God, not His mercy (although God is merciful, as plenty of other passages testify).
      -Wm

      • W’m, nice..preach it, and preach it hard! (Matt. 25: 46 / Acts 24:15) Whatever the judgment of God is? Fire, is the word our Lord uses for it’s reality! (Lk. 16: 24) Also in Lk. 16: 26, our Lord talks about that “great gulf fixed, etc.” Note again, Lk. 12: 5 and Matt. 10:28…not the loss of being, but of well-being…”both soul and body.” Yes, Hell is real and everlasting, whatever it is?

  52. Douglas says:

    OK Wm, I read these scriptures and I see what I am saying. maybe I need to explain a bit more. Favor and judgement, are quite different things. Just because it says the wicked will not learn when showed favor does not change or weaken the PRIOR statement…when thy JUDGEMENTS are in the earth, the inhabitants of the earth WILL LEARN righteousness. Who is going to learn righteousness? Who are these judgements for anyway? the righteous? LOL. Wouldnt the righteous already have learned righteousness? LOL. Obviously they are for the wicked. The righteous have already learned righteousness and have responded to Gods favor. Verse 10 is EXPLAINING why there is a need for judgement, BECAUSE the wicked will NOT learn from favor! SO God is going to use judgement, and the inhabitants of the world ARE going to learn righteousness! I believe that scripture… When thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the earth WILL LEARN righteousness.
    ….. I am not sure what you meant by, this is Law, and not gospel, concerning Isaiah 45:23. Like I said the apostle Paul quoted this passage twice…most notably in Phillipians 2……..Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. …
    Apparently the Apostle Paul felt swearing allegiance, includes confessing Jesus Christ is Lord. And I am not sure why you do not see the promise in “to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him.” I mean they COME to HIM and are ashamed? ASHAMED! Ashamed is good! I am ashamed of my evil, aren’t you? Isnt being ashamed of you past evil part of repentance?
    ……Rom 6:21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death……. Even the Christian believers at Rome were ashamed at what they had done. How is that different from the wicked coming to Him and being ashamed of their prior acts?? I see no difference at all.

    • wm tanksley says:

      I’m kinda crushed under work today, but your post needs a response… At the heart of your message is the use of “judgement”, “learn”, and “shame” in entirely positive ways. Yes, it’s right to be ashamed of shameful things; but it’s not good to be in shame; it’s a righteous punishment for a shameful thing that should not happen. The same is true of “judgement”. To “learn” justice would be good if one were learning to be just, or learning to worship the Lord with whole heart, mind, and strength; but not so good if one were merely learning what justice looked like from the wrong end of the shotgun.
      These passages are at best ambiguous on this point… and at worst, they simply give a concrete punishment, without any offer of help.
      This is the distinction between Law and Gospel: Law tells us what the holiness and righteousness of God rightly demands; Gospel gives us the holiness and righteousness of God so that those demands are fulfilled for us.
      -Wm

      • Douglas says:

        Yes judgement always produces fruit, the fruit God desires. And God will put every single one of us through purifying refining judgement! We will all be salted with fire. …..as Jesus said in Mar 9:49 For EVERYONE will be SALTED with FIRE….. It is fiery for all, but will be much more so for the disobedient ….1Pe 4:17 For it is time for judgment to BEGIN at the household of God; and if it BEGINS with US, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1Pe 4:18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” ….I think this passage is helpful. The household of God is judged first…judgement begins with the household of God. And it is fiery even for Gods household…desribed as fiery trials, dying to the flesh, mortifying the body, suffering and persecution. All who are chosen by God will have their judgements in this life. Do you think ruling on Christs throne is given to just anyone? Rev 2:26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
        Rev 2:27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father….Rev 3:21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
        So if the Judgements of God begin with the household of God, who do they end with? And what will be their effect? They have a great effect as Jesus demolishes all competing wills and authorities and powers… …..Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
        1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
        1Co 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
        1Co 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
        1Co 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
        1Co 15:27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he(God) is excepted who put all things in subjection under him(Jesus).
        1Co 15:28 When all things are subjected to him(Jesus), then the Son himself will ALSO be subjected to him(God) who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

        If you read, the only one not in the end in subjection to Christ, at the conclusion, the only one excepted, is God Himself. The Apostle says only God is the only exception. So all of us, meaning the firstfruits, those who belong to Jesus, and all of Jesus enemies, will all be in subjection to Christ. Then, CHRIST HIMSELF will be under subjection to God. Are you really going to tell me that this same word subjection, used throughout this passage, of Christ to His Father and also used of us to Christ does not mean the same of Jesus enemies(FORMER) as they are subjected to Him just as we are to Him and just as Jesus is to God. WE WILL ALL BE SUBJECTED> AT THE END THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. And death itself will be destroyed, because when the final one is subjected, then there will be no more separation, no more death or any sort. God will BE ALL IN ALL. Halleleujah.

      • wm tanksley says:

        At this point, Douglas, our Biblical interpretation is just so far apart there’s no meeting. You say that God would be evil for punishing people according to what they deserve forever; but you believe that God would not be evil for torturing people until they change their mind — for as much torture as it takes to make them change.

        You point to “Mar 9:49 – for everyone will be salted with fire.”

        Read the entire passage. This is unmistakably a “hard saying”, and it’s in a passage where all the other sayings are hard as well. You earlier pointed out that the sayings about putting your eye out were not to be taken woodenly; this one is much the same. I feel that a correct interpretation has to include the fact that this verse transitions from passages invoking fire to a passage invoking salt. And by the way, the Greek for “salted” doesn’t merely mean “sprinkled”; it actually means having _salt_.
        Your reading of 1Pe 4:17 is completely acontextual; you’re ignoring the fact that it’s talking about earthly sufferings.

        And finally, you end by assuming without textual warrant that “there is no difference”. Actually, let me change that — you assume against the clear meaning of the text, and of many other texts. There is PLENTY of difference elsewhere; simply because everyone will kneel and admit that Jesus is Lord doesn’t mean that everyone’s equal or that everyone’s saved.

        I’ve dealt thoroughly with all the verses you’ve proposed; they’re all extremely weak. You should be leading with your best arguments, and nothing you’ve brought forward has communicated your point. Unless you can rebut any of my previous readings, I’m going to disregard any further introductions of texts; if you had anything decent you should have brought it up by now.

        -Wm

  53. r says:

    I can’t tell if the people who are saying John Piper is “immature” are follows of Rob Bell or people who are trying to defend him, but what John Piper said wasn’t “immature” it was a factual statement. “Farewell Rob Bell” –> imo means; “Farewell for leaving salvation and good luck in your ‘un-eternal hell'”.

    • I would have to agree, myself.. but I am a Calvinist of some degree.

    • wm tanksley says:

      I’m not sure I’d see it as a “factual statement”, but rather as a declaration of status. Piper is giving up on Bell. I don’t know if he’d tried to talk to him; I suspect he had, since he has a reputation of being very open to working with people many others regard as heterodox.
      I know that I’ve listened to a few of Bell’s sermons, and they’re simply not Christian. They’re sometimes mystical, sometimes vaguely legalistic, sometimes universally congratulatory; but they do not present any kind of message involving repentance unto forgiveness by Christ. The vague legalism is muted in its effect by the fact that he turns the Bible against itself, pretending that Christ’s preaching of the Law contradicts and replaces the Old Testament Law.

  54. Douglas says:

    Wm, You are correct that I understand Gods character much differently than you. Why is that? I see the confession ( to agree fully, not merely “admit” as you imply) that Jesus is Lord and the bowing the knee …an action that goes right along with that full agreement, that confession… as deeply meaningful and real. Incidentally you will be bowing the knee right along with them, and confessing too. Are you trying to tell me your confession and your bowing is more meritorious? Or more meaningful? Or more; what? If their confession and prostrate position before God is less praiseworthy or worshipful, what did the writer mean when all this adulation will to the glory of God? Surely you don’t think the omnipotent God would gain glory by forcing puny men to bow against their real will and heart, do you? Kind of like when Saddam Hussein forced his enemies to bow before him before he executed them? even though their hearts still hate him? Is that fake obesiance worth anything? Is that all God can do? he cant change their hearts? He cannot convert them? Then how did he change anyones heart, if He can’t change theirs?

    And about this word torture, you use. I have not used it, you have. Oh, I expect that the “fire” of judgement will be hot and the preserving of the “salt” will be thorough. It just that torture has a whole different implication. I can see someone being tormented by the gradual understanding of the wickedness and deep grief and weeping and wailing from the magnitude of it all, but to a good end. Apparently you have not felt God’s discipline, his chastening, in your life. Perhaps you are a “bastard” and not a son. For any true son understands chastening, and can naturally by extension, see how it would apply to those others in judgement….Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
    Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
    Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Isnt SCOURGETH a very HARD word, for one of Gods sons? The Scriptures use the word bastard for those not going through chastening trials in this life. So there can’t be chastening trials in the next? Who says? You?

    Speaking of hard sayings, I see nothing hard in those sayings of Jesus. They make perfect sense to me, that is why I brought them forth. But if one cannot see the true use of these spiritual terms, I can understand your inability to deal with them.

    And I have many more texts, all in keeping with everything I have said. I just didin’t want to write 100 scriptures. I will just leave you with two….Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: Boy I really love that last one. In so perfectly speaks the same message of I Cor 15 I wrote above. All things, everyone and everything, will be gathered in Christ, will be subjected to God, and were reconciled by His (Jesus) cross.

  55. wm tanksley says:

    I agree that the bowing of the knee and confession is meaningful and real, but neither action is stated as salvific. Yes, I will be bowing and confessing along with everyone else; and that will not be salvific for me or for them. It’s fascinating that you address this by asking whether I think my bowing will be more “meritorious” than theirs, as though you assume that it’s possible to merit salvation; by definition, salvation is something that can only come from the outside of oneself, since otherwise there would be no need for salvation, but rather of the simple dues one has earned in oneself. This eschatological kneeling and confession is simply giving God His due. This is meritorious — but not meritorious of salvation (that’s impossible), nor meritorious of heaven (since we do not, according to the Bible, merit heaven).

    “Surely you don’t think the omnipotent God would gain glory by forcing puny men to bow against their real will and heart, do you? Kind of like when Saddam Hussein forced his enemies to bow before him before he executed them? even though their hearts still hate him? Is that fake obesiance worth anything? Is that all God can do? he cant change their hearts? He cannot convert them? Then how did he change anyones heart, if He can’t change theirs?”

    Nice use of deconstructive questions. But you have a little problem: we have revealed truth. There’s no need to stop with asking questions; we can give answers. But where answers aren’t given, we don’t need to speculate, as you’ve done. CAN God change hearts? Of course. DOES He change hearts? Yes. ARE there hearts which He says He does not change? YES. (Do I know that He NEVER changes those hearts? Well, no. But given the answers we DO have, there’s simply no support for inserting the claim that God will change those hearts.)

    I indeed accuse you of using a doctrine of torture, and I do this knowing what the “whole different implication” of torture is. I do not do this lightly; I do it because this is the entire reason I’m involved in this argument. The very first response I made to you was after you said “I wonder, Daniel, how much time you will need in the Lake Of Fire to burn out such a deep character flaw inside of you that you could believe this.” One definition of torture is using externally administered pain in order to cause an internal change of will (whether temporary or permanent; whether for action or for confession). You not only believe that God should use torture; you above advocated it for people who disagree with you, explicitly and specifically to remove the disagreement. Don’t you agree that’s a risky eschatology? Given the fact that you have (as I quote above) already allowed your eschatology to spill over into your evangelism, isn’t there a concern that someone else will allow it to spill into other parts of ecclesiology?

    I agree that the heat will (in places and for some) will be profound. I don’t agree that “the preserving of the salt” is a metaphor for hell, which is why I don’t think the passage you quoted is a hell passage. Note in particular that Christ follows that passage by commanding us to “have salt in you, and be at peace with each other”; it also questions how lost saltiness can be regained.

    “So there can’t be chastening trials in the next? Who says? You?”

    Again, that’s a nice deconstructing question; but there are answers. All of those passages are directly speaking to trials that the people being written to were undergoing right at that time. There’s absolutely no textual reason to suppose that they were supposed to be talking about eschatology; this is pure invention of your own.

    “Speaking of hard sayings, I see nothing hard in those sayings of Jesus. They make perfect sense to me, that is why I brought them forth. But if one cannot see the true use of these spiritual terms, I can understand your inability to deal with them.”

    You ignore the astonishment recorded by most of the Gospels in all the hearers; you ignore the contrast between the positive meaning given to “salt” and the negative meaning given to “fire”. When the two are mixed in the transition verse of Mark 9:49, it’s a mixture of opposites: explicitly eschatalogical and externally administered punishment, with immediate and internally present peacefulness. This contrast is strengthened by the (probably) parallel passages in the other Gospels.

    “And I have many more texts, all in keeping with everything I have said.”

    I have no doubt; I could shotgun Bible verses at you as well. I’m grateful that you’ve limited your shotgunning. However, the opposite of shotgunning is not limiting the number of shots; it’s performing exegesis and contextual study of the verses you cite, and being willing to interact with your opponent on the verses you claim as support. Your interaction has been almost nonexistent, confined almost exclusively to boasts that the verses are perfectly clear to you.

    -Wm

    • Douglas says:

      “This eschatological kneeling and confession is simply giving God His due. This is meritorious” You see it as “simply giving God his due?” Simply?? Great work in dark hearts would have to be done to even begin to give God his due. Is anything less than our wholehearted submission and obedience and heartfelt gratitude thankfulness and worship…isnt that essential of giving God his due? Is God going to cast his pearls before swine? Giving God his due means one has far from a simple understanding. I’m confused how giving God his due would not be “salvific” Giving God his due would certainly include understanding and experiencing salvation in all its respects, and worshipful awe in full understanding of Christs work to accomplish it. Can an unsaved heart have any hope of the experiential and complete understanding that would prerequisite giving God his due? I think the very text in Phillipians helps shed light. Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
      Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
      Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
      I think it will be very clear to everyone why the cross has such power; and how can anyones heart not be changed when the full heart and power of God is made plain to everyone? Everyone will bow, all of us, in incredible adoration. God will not cast his pearls before swine.

      And would you call “scourging” torture? Scourging? Scourging is taking a whip and ripping out the flesh on a persons back. So why did the writer say that God scourges those he LOVES? If Scourging is not torturous, (using your word) then what is? I don’t use the word torture, because God uses scourging and chastening and disciplining and refining and salting, etc, He uses those words, and explains why He does…and He makes it clear He applies such “torture” to those He LOVES. No, I am not frightened to say that God will refine me and make me a better son by scourging me. It says so right in the scripture, He will. And I think Daniel will be scourged very much, for believing what he does concerning Gods character. This scourging will be done, but not by me.

      And I think those scriptures that show how God will be in everyone make it very hard to deny that Christs subjection of all includes the greatest submission to Him possible. Everything every person, every being, will be in full subjection to Christ without exception. And then Christ will be similarily in subjection to God, so God CAN be ALL in ALL. So all, everyone will share in God, fully.

  56. wm tanksley says:

    I’m confused how giving God his due would not be “salvific”

    I’m guessing that this confusion remains at the root of our disagreement: you say that our works of righteousness (such as confessing God) can save us entirely; but the Bible teaches that our salvation does not come from any work of righteousness, and a single violation of the Law entirely contaminates a person, including all works of righteousness.

    Everyone will bow, all of us, in incredible adoration.

    Everyone will bow. That is what the Bible says. The “incredible adoration” allegedly felt by all is your own invention, not ever present in the Bible. Hence my term “simply” — that’s all we have revealed to us.

    So why did the writer say that God scourges those he LOVES? If Scourging is not torturous, (using your word) then what is?

    Thank you for interacting with the exegesis of this passage. But the point in this passage is not the extreme severity of God against His children (if that were the point there would be more than the ONE WORD); it’s that the strong suffering we’re experiencing here and now is merely a proof of God’s love for us, and God’s fatherly love for us stands in contrast to His rejection of others, extending even to the specific example of Esau, who was rejected without repentance from the inheritance “although he sought it with tears”.

    Now, I already explained to you what I mean by “torture”. Torture is attempting to change somebody’s will by means of externally inflicted pain. The training God applies in Heb 12:5-6 (BTW, the word ‘paidia’ is used in verse 5) isn’t attempting to change anyone’s will, but is rather attempting to train someone whose will is already submitted.

    We do know through revelation that God does change our will; but God’s changing our will isn’t done by means of our pain, but rather by “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”, an activity which is always described in Christians as having already taken place and having been sealed. When we do suffer, the suffering is described as “sharing in the sufferings of Christ” or “training”, never as anything like changing anyone’s fundamental attitude towards God.

    -Wm

    • Douglas says:

      Wm…Seriously? Did you come to Christ, uncoerced, unbidden, unconvicted of sin? How much coercion does God use? As much as He darn well needs/pleases! Do you think 7 years like a ox eating grass for nebuchanessar was a “little” coercive, to make him humble? To effect a change in his attitude? Do you think the change was genuine? I sure do.

      What about a guilty conscience? Can be extremely compelling, coercive, torturous, even. Inward spiritual conviction of unrighteousness and sin is part and parcel of the program. Is ANYTHING more unpleasant than Gods fiery conviction? How compelling that can be to drive us to Christ! Is anything more effective than Gods love and kindness? Also to drag us to Christ? And consequences of our actions and actions of others, and MANY types of situations, to compell us to call on His name? Those can be VERY SEVERE. What do you mean God does not use fire trials to not only change our wills BUT to MOULD US, humble us, make us more and more into His image. Do you serve the God I know?

      And when did I even imply that…you say that our works of righteousness (such as confessing God) can save us entirely… I have never said or implied such a thing. I confess Christ all the time. Does my confession, is that a “work” that saves me? Of course not. The CROSS of CHRIST saves me. The cross of Christ reconciled me to God before I was born! BUT this confession reveals my HEART…OUT of the abundance of the heart the MOUTH speaks. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

      So you DO CLAIM this “confession” doesn’t mean submission? What is it then? Is it pretend? Is it totally fear based? (If you claim this, you are a hypocrite, because you say God doesnt use torture to change wills, but if the threat of eternal fire is not torture, I dont know what is) So is it a lie? They really are not in submission? So you claim that the scripture quotesd in 1 Cor 15 is also a lie? That CLEARLY says everything, EVERYTHING, with the single exception of God, will be in subjection to Christ? 1Co 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that God is excepted, which did put all things under him.
      1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

      Your biggest issue is that you Do not believe that Christ cross will reconcile the world. Every offense against God has been negated at the cross. The whole salvation is when God is going to do his work to bring us to himself, and that bringing includes deep fiery trials as he changes us into his image, and that work is going on now and will continue into the next. You just dont believe the cross of Christ is powerful enough or is wide enough to include everyone.

      • Douglas says:

        Wm
        just another comment, regarding what you stated…. but God’s changing our will isn’t done by means of our pain, but rather by “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”,…Certainly the second part of this statement is true BUT it is wrong to say that “pain” is not part of the process. Of course it is. That is why pain exists! God uses great heat and pressure on us,…”suffering” in conjunction with this inner work on our hearts. It is foolish for you to make this claim without taking into account all the passages of trials, perseverance, dying to self, overcoming, etc. You make it sound like we shouldn’t have to suffer, that God merely waves his hand, doesn’t require us to give our all, even as He does His work in us. Even Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, was made perfect through suffering. God is very wise. He knows the best way for our character to be formed. To be forged in OVERCOMING ADVERSITY. He knows that the best way for us to appreciate all these wonderful character traits that He will forge in us is for us to sweat blood to get them. He doesn’t just hand them to us on a golden platter. Here, Wm here is a whole pile of patience. That doesn’t even make sense. You can’t get patience wihtout waiting for anything! He forges patience in you by MAKING you WAIT for something, something you desire. God will set the circumstances, and He will change your heart, but at a time and manner of His own choosing. God changing our hearts and character takes suffering, and this suffering is a work of His grace.

  57. wm tanksley says:

    Douglas, I don’t know what to write that hasn’t already been said.

    The suffering God uses for our improvement is explicitly promised only “to those who love the Lord, who are called according to His purpose.” Is that everybody, every time? Is that those whom God is punishing? (I’d say no to both questions.) Now, God never claims to NOT work through suffering in general; but neither does He promise good results to anyone aside from those “called according to His purpose”.

    So perhaps everyone suffers; and certainly God uses all suffering for good; but contrary to your claims it’s not given in the Bible that everyone’s suffering will be turned to their own good. It’s an additional assumption that you choose to add to the Bible.

    There are many specific times the Bible explicitly says that people will cry out to God but be rejected. Probably the harshest one against your claims is Jesus’ words — for a quick dose, just do a phrase search for “Lord, Lord”. Many will say “Lord, Lord!” — and not everyone who says that will enter the Kingdom.

    That’s not a defeater for your entire position — but it entirely takes away your argument that simply because the Bible says that everyone will confess to the Lordship of God, THEREFORE everyone will be saved. It’s just not a valid conclusion from the data — and we know this because it’s directly contradicted. The only reason this doesn’t completely defeat your argument is that it’s conceivable that the ones rejected here might be accepted LATER, but this seems to be cut off by other passages — it seems that you can argue for eternal conscious punishment or you can argue for annihilation, but you can’t argue for temporary punishment and eventual universal acceptance without violence to the text.

    You also clearly believe that nobody comes to God without being coerced by suffering. But the Bible doesn’t say this, and our experience doesn’t say it; it’s pure eisegesis into both experience and the text. Many people grow up in the faith, and although they may suffer, we can’t say (without denying Christ’s words about the children coming to Him) they’re less Christian after than they were before (even though they’re undeniably more mature after than before).

    We DO need the work of God before we can believe; but whether that work is mysterious (Calvinist regeneration, Arminian prevenient grace) or physical (Lutheran preaching and baptism, Catholic baptism), it is NOT in any conceivable reading suffering pain. After we’ve believed our suffering does help us grow in the faith; if we don’t believe, our suffering will likely drive us away, and may even cause us to sin worse (as Satan hoped Job would be tempted — and in fact as he tempted Christ). In James 1 suffering is depicted as a way to tell the difference (“test”) between false and true faith — false faith will give up in suffering, or will eventually show itself by never producing obedience to Christ. Only those who endure to the end will be saved — and what is the end to which we must endure? _Death_. And what is salvation? _Being raised up on the last day to eternal life_.

    There’s no evidence that I know of that there’s any suffering remaining after the resurrection of believers; the only suffering is allotted to the unbelievers. Nor is there hope aside from (or after) the resurrection on the last day. This is why we hope in Jesus; without the evidence given by His physical resurrection we have no hope for our own.

    -Wm

  58. wm tanksley says:

    One more thing — a more important thing, by your claim. You say that my “biggest issue is that [I] Do not believe that Christ cross will reconcile the world.”

    Christ himself will reconcile all things; you’re quoting Col 1:20. But this passage isn’t explaining the salvation of everyone who’s ever lived, but rather of the dominion of Christ over all. And furthermore, if this passage were attempting to show that everyone would be saved it would be false on its own terms: not only is it incomplete (it says “all things in heaven and earth” rather than adding “and under the earth”, as the cosmological formula requires), but it also makes the claim that the Gospel has already been preached “to all”. This passage is hyperbole on any number of levels, and this is acceptable because it is teaching not the universality of reconciliation or gospel preaching, but rather the dominion of Christ.

    You also say “every offense against God has been negated at the cross.” I’m sorry that I don’t know what passage you’re referring to. I’m going to guess it’s related to some combination of 1Jn 2:2 perhaps with Rom 3:25. But although this does establish that Christ is the propitiation for all sins, that does not mean that Christ negates all sins, any more than the Mercy Seat negates all sins in the camp of Israel on the Day of Atonement, or than the Bronze Serpent negates all poison when it’s lifted up. The atonement covers only the ones who have faith in it, who look to it for healing.

    “The whole salvation is when God is going to do his work to bring us to himself, and that bringing includes deep fiery trials as he changes us into his image,”

    Indeed — but “us” is not “everyone”.

    “and that work is going on now and will continue into the next.”

    Now? Yes. Into the age of ages? Not based on any text you’ve cited or I know of.

    “You just dont believe the cross of Christ is powerful enough or is wide enough to include everyone.”

    That’s just cornball goofiness. I don’t believe the Cross does this because I’m told in the Bible that the Cross doesn’t do that. It’s not a lack of belief; it’s a matter of believing what is actually presented to me, rather than something else. Believing and preaching that we are saved through our own suffering unto perfection isn’t greater belief; it’s UNBELIEF.

    Now, the Bible does mention that our suffering has an effect — Paul speaks of “completing in my body what is lacking in Christ’s sufferings for the Church”. But our suffering isn’t for the salvation of the unsaved, but rather is for the Church.

    -Wm

  59. Douglas says:

    Wm; you claim the ones who say “Lord Lord” in THIS life out of their own delusions; who APPARENTLY DO NOT know Jesus, can be likened to the same UNIFIED confession of the entire creation as when EVERYONE, all creation; SEE HIM; bow the knee and call Him Lord when they are brought into His subjection, whenever that time is? How can you possibly equate those two things? They are about as far apart in both circumstance, meaning, and understanding; apart as far as the east is from the west, in actuality. The ONLY thing they share in common, is the word LORD. Nice try, but I don’t buy it, and it misses the point of the scriptures completely. No one will be lacking in understanding and subjection, when they are bowing the knee and calling him LORD at the consumation. Please don’t confuse the two events. They are not comparable or alike in any meaningful way.

    And again, since when is “reconciliation” really not meaning reconciliation? Colossians 1 passage uses the word reconciled or reconciliation twice, and I see preminence, and those are the MAJOR themes of the passage. Yes, we know Christ will CLEARLY have complete dominion, many OTHER passages testify to that, every knee bowing and tongue confessing is part and parcel of that. And 1 Cor 15 clearly testifies Jesus will be in subjection to God just as we will be in subjection to Him. But this pasage is NOT talking about domination. It is talking about reconciliation. And reconciliation means the offense, the estrangement, the emnity, the conflict, IS REMOVED. Perhaps that is why the apostle wrote… col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. ….Having made peace….what beautiful words. No language of conquest here, as in dominion passages. Something much different here. Apparently, Christs dominion of everything INCLUDES the wonderful cessation of any hostility at all. Reconciliation does that, you know. There is no more hostility or conflict in reconciliation. When a husband and wife are reconciled, they put aside their war, their fight, and they join together in peace. The apostle surely had peace in mind, between former enemies….Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
    Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: …..there, those two verses say EXACTLY what reconciliation means. So if all of creation is reconciled, HOW can you claim that they are not saved, at that point?

    Your arguement that the omission of the phrase “under the earth” means it is not universal is very weak. This entire passage has universality in view. The apostle starts with Jesus being the CREATOR or EVERYTHING. Then, once this is established, He sueges into the fact that Jesus is ALSO the RECONCILER of EVERYthing THAT Jesus had created! How hard is that to understand? To me, very simple. Through Jesus, God created all things. Through Jesus, God reconciles all things.

    Your arguement about the snake in the wilderness, and mercy seat… yes of course there is a process. God obviously, does not intend to save everyone in this life. Who is the first fruit? Why Christ! Who is the first harvest? Those whom God has chosen, out of this life. Those who belong to Him when He comes. When does the full harvest come in? In the next age. You continually deny the scriptures speak of any salvation for those in the age of ages (thank you for speaking correctly there) But you have steadfastly ignored 1 Cor 15 everytime I have brought it up. I guess I will quote it once again. …..

    1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
    1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
    1Co 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
    1Co 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
    1Co 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
    1Co 15:27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.
    1Co 15:28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

    There, that is the best summation of the “timeline” if you want one. In the next age, Christ will rule UNTIL everything has indeed been brought into subjection, that everything has been put under his feet. When that task is over, and it will involve reconciliation of all as we spoke about above, from Col 1; then the final enemy, the last enemy, death will be eliminated. How can death be around when everyone is reconciled? Then, Jesus will present this completed reconciled work, of all creation, to His Father, and then Jesus will become subject to His Father, so God can be all in all.

  60. Mark Baldwin says:

    John Piper’s God is my devil.. Farewell John Piper. (Sorry if this offends anyone, but I had to be honest.

  61. wm tanksley says:

    Douglas, your next post will be the last word. Thank you for taking the CONSIDERABLE time to interact with me on this; you’ve helped me study and confront my own beliefs.

    I’m not sure how to best take your opening paragraph; it looks like you’re attributing ideas to me that simply contradict what I said, starting with the very first “you claim that”. No, I don’t claim that; those are your own claims, not mine. I do claim that when Christ says “Many will say on That Day”, He’s talking about the singular time when many face Him to hear the judgement (this is explicit in the words and well supported by the other judgement passages), not some one of many days where one or two will straggle in to make an initial attempt to get into the Kingdom. I also claim that when Christ says “not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”, he meant that some will say it but then not thereafter enter (parse it — that’s what the words mean). You have had this entire conversation to establish your disputed claim that everyone who says “Lord” to YHWH (Jesus) will enter the Kingdom; you haven’t found even ONE isolated prooftext to refine the meaning of Christ’s clear words in this passage and as the Holy Spirit breathed into many other passages; all you can do is prove that everyone will say LORD (and to establish that we agree that everyone will truly mean it).

    But saying the words are not enough, no matter how sincere. Even begging is not enough; the doors are closed (how many times in the Bible is this used as a metaphor — the flood, the foolish virgins…) and will not be opened. Only a perfect life is enough, including EVERY provision of the Law. This is the teaching and life of Jesus. The only thing a life with sin can earn is death, no matter how many good works get mixed into the sin, the result is only uncleanness and pollution. YHWH is not one of the pagan gods to crave our praise as the best He can get.

    Now, with Colossians you’ve got an apparent positive case for one of your points. We see text that says, on its face, that Christ’s reconciliation applies to all things — not merely all people (which would surely be enough for your case), but all THINGS, excepting God the Father. Clearly I’m suspicious of your reading, and my suspicion is more than backed up by all the other texts I’ve exegeted here; but suspicion is not proof. I must produce a self-consistent and plausible reading based on the text itself. I have, in fact, produced a plausible one by pointing out that the emphasis of the passage made it hard to use it to express limitations on Christ’s reconciliation; but I see a stronger point to be made that needs not assume any limits.

    Once Paul establishes his point about the centrality of Christ to beginning and ending, he promises that we ARE reconciled now, IF we continue in the faith. Look at verses 22-23. What happens if we fall away from the faith in the future? Doesn’t it say (by the plain grammar) that in that condition we ARE NOT to be presented to God as part of Christ’s eschatological reconciliation, but on the contrary left in our former ‘alienated and hostile’ attitudes? On the one hand, Paul says the grounded and steadfast faithful are now presented holy, blameless, and without blemish before God; on the other hand, the one without faith is left in the former state. Now, Christ will reconcile even those to God; but what can be the outcome of reconciling unholiness, condemnation, and flaw with the holy presence of God? The resolution of the tensions within this passage seems to me to be simple although blunt: there are different reconciliations for living things and for dead things, different reconciliations for those who persist as unholy enemies and those who persist in faith in the gospel. Keep reading Colossians and note how often death is presented as being OUR prior state without Christ, and life as the condition of being in Christ, who brings us to life. So Christ not only created all things; He also reconciles all things to God, and some of those things He brings to life, specifically excepting those of us who lose faith. Now if we who have experienced Christ but lost faith now lose the promise of being presented blameless before God, how much more do those who never had faith in the gospel lack hope of that holy presentation? This mortal must put on immortality — and where will that come from?

    One of your answers will, without doubt, be that Paul is warning people to accept the reconciliation now in order to avoid the suffering later; but Paul immediately cuts that line of reasoning off in verse 24, where he points out his own suffering for the church, magnifying that suffering to be part of Christ’s suffering for the church. Paul elsewhere compares the present suffering (now, in the body) to be unworthy of comparison to the glory awaiting him. He never says he’s buying any kind of respite of future suffering for himself; he says he’s suffering on behalf of Christ because he won’t stop preaching the gospel. So accepting reconciliation doesn’t prevent finite suffering; in fact it may make for more finite suffering (that wouldn’t happen if you don’t accept). You claim there’s future suffering to trade for that, which would make sense if anyone in the Bible agreed with you; but you haven’t cited one, and you’ve had plenty of time to dig for prooftext.

    Okay, next…

    The chapter 1 Cor 15 is not talking about a resurrection of all things, but rather a resurrection promised to “us”, those who have faith (verses 2 and 14). The limits on the resurrection are not what this passage is concerned about (although the limits are briefly mentioned), but rather encouraging people to keep in mind that there truly is a resurrection, that Christ’s resurrection is the promise of it, and that it is utterly central to Christianity. Question: why does Paul think it’s so important to preach the resurrection and maintain the hope of the resurrection? Answer: Because he thinks that’s the motivation for our faith, without which it makes no sense to believe or life accordingly. Question: why is it THE motivation? Answer: because the resurrection is only available through faith. Question: what happens if we keep our faith? Answer: we are saved (verse 2). Question: What happens if we lose our faith? Answer: we are not saved; our belief was vain. Notice the consistency between this and the interpretation I claim for Colossians 1? Finally, one more question for you: based on this entire passage, why do you think losing faith is a problem? Rob Bell says it’s a problem because there are “consequences, eternal consequences”, but he won’t say what they are (he switches to talking about consequences *in this life* in every sermon or interview I’ve heard, and when asked he says they’re more important to talk about).

    You mention that we are the “first harvest” while Christ is the “first fruit”. I think you’ve completely missed the Biblical metaphor of the firstfruits, and added a non-Biblical concept of “first harvest”. Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection, while we are the harvest. There is no mention of a first or later harvest apart from the firstfruits and the final harvest; and the eschatological resurrection is always given as an immediate pair of events, the raising of the dead in Christ and the raising of “we who are alive and remain”. The event is SO immediate that it’s described as ‘atmos’ (Greek). Culturally, the firstfruits were the seal of the rest of the harvest; they represented the entirety.

    You say: “in the next age, Christ will rule.” Amen, and this age NOW is an age in which Christ rules already — and saying this shouldn’t cause me to take sides on the millennial debate, because Jesus told us that the people he talked to would see the Son of Man come in clouds of glory; and Daniel said that when the Son of Man did that he’d be coming to the Ancient of Days to take His throne and rule His people (his disciples, indeed, wrote about seeing him go to the Father in clouds and glory). This age is the age of the New Covenant, revealed to us in the water, blood, and Spirit. Christ has been lifted up, and now draws both Jew and Gentile unto Him — there is no distinction in Him. The fulness has not come, since we see that the old promises of the new covenant have not been fulfilled; but the fulness will come with Christ’s second advent and the resurrection from the dead, at which time the last enemy, Death, will be defeated. Yes, there are many who are being drawn and will be drawn, and praise God for each one; but the day is coming when the harvest will be drawn in, and the tares will be separated out and burned.

    We are all called to repent of our sins and to be continually united with Christ by ongoing faith in His gospel; and when Christ calls us to repent, He calls for our entire life to be one of repentance. We are to walk in the light, not in the sense of never again sinning, but in the sense of repenting and confessing when we are convicted of sin. We are called to proclaim the gospel and reject false gospels. The true gospel is that Christ died for our sins, and was raised again as the firstfruit of the resurrection to eternal life; apart from faith in this we have no hope, and anyone who proclaims another gospel is not merely to be rejected, but is anathema. This is, however, not a message of despair, but of hope. Don’t accept me or my message; accept your own baptism as a true promise of life through death, and realize that there is no other promise; that offering people hope where there is no hope is not an act of mercy — and offering them hope in a false thing where the truth is available to them for repentance and forgiveness of sins is at best negligent.

    -Wm

  62. R A Murphy says:

    It was very rude. And his “justification” (aka lie imho) after he was called out on the carpet, that he meant “fare well, rob bell” and it was “autocorrect” at fault unbelievable. This guy has gotten too used to being revered.

    • wm tanksley says:

      1. Link, please; or it didn’t happen. I’ve never heard of this “justification”, and I think you’re making it up.
      2. Wow, rudeness must be a rare commodity in your community. It was not “very rude”. It was not even slightly rude. It was a perfectly reasonable — and well reasoned — response to a quiveringly vacuous book advertisement that sacrificed doctrine on the altar of book sales.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s