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Friday, March 25, 2011

For the Love of God, All Hell is Breaking Loose!

Pastor Rob Bell
Have you noticed that all of Hell is breaking loose?  No really, it is...and that's a good thing.  Let me explain...

Recently Pastor Rob Bell has made headlines with his new book "Love Wins" in which he explains, as the title suggest, that in the end the Love of God has the final word.  He puts forth that the traditional views of hell and eternal damnation are overbearing and for one to emphasis them over God's Love is to not fully understand or appreciate the power of that Love.  He proposes that believing in Hell and eternal damnation over the transformative Love of God is..well...not very Christian like!   Pastor Bell, a graduate of Wheaton College, has been challenging and expanding the consciousness of his audience for years.  His previous books; 

have all served to challenge various aspects of the "status quo" within Christian culture and theology.  Bell's ministry, Mars Hill in Michigan, is one of the fastest growing churches in America.  His sermon series such as "Everything is Spiritual"(a personal favorite of mine) and his short film series NOOMA have become huge hits on the internet.  

Here is Pastor Bell in his own words describing what the book is all about:

I gratefully welcome Bell's voice to the collective conversation.  His ideas are obviously very compatible to a New Thought way of thinking about the same topics of Hell, Spirituality and Love.  It seems that a growing population within the walls of Christianity are ready and hungry for these questions and a new conversation.  In the end Rob Bell is teaching consciousness and Principle.  I may not agree with all of his theological views but such alignment is not necessary.  Bell is shaping a new conversation in which he is asking his readers to think in terms of Principle and consciousness and doing so within the context of his Christian culture story.  The result of which I believe will be a revealed and renewed richness to the depth of the spiritual power, wisdom and transformative quality of the Christian Story.  

Of course Rob's voice is added to a growing chorus of writers who have challenged the status quo; authors like Marcus Borg, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Brian D. McLaren, Bart Erman, Bishop Carlton D. Pearson, Pastor D.E. Paulk and the great 20th Century Theologian Paul Tillich (the list extends all the way back to first century Christianity).  Now, Pastor Rob may not appreciate me adding his name to some of the other listed here - he seems to avoid labels and boxes, he opposes the idea that his writings reflect "universalism" or that he is a part of the "emerging church" movement.  That's fine with me.  After all, when one is teaching consciousness and Principle, one must realize that the teaching itself is that which transcends boxes and labels.  It's not about the label, its about the message and consciousness - a statement I think most of the authors listed above would agree with.  

The list is Growing:

Methodist Pastor Chad Holtz was dismissed from his pulpit for posting a facebook note that was in support of Rob Bell's book and message, namely - Pastor Holtz loosed his belief in a "literal Hell"

So, What's going on here?

One of the chapters in Bishop Carlton D. Pearson's latest book, God is Not a Christian, is titled "Get the Hell Out of my Bible."  It seems that a growing number of faithful not only want it out of their Bible, but also out of their churches and pulpits.  And why?  Of course one reason is that our collective consciousness is growing and the out dated, misguided and divisive notions of "us and them" is no longer serving (if it ever did).  People are waking up to the magnitude of the power of Love.  Even more importantly it seems that we are increasingly being given the opportunity to be the Love of God.  Earthquakes, tsunami's, and economic meltdowns are all providing us with a critical choice; to be driven by Love or to continue fear based "us and them" thinking and behavior.  While our reptilian brain is driven by fear, our higher consciousness is driven by Love.  Our outdated notions of Hell are breaking loose from our consciousness because we've come face to face with the hell (separation) we've created on earth - so much so that it is threatening to our very survival as a human race.  Our biological mandate is "create (express) or perish" and creation is an act of Love.  Quite literally - for the Love of God (choosing our biological mandate over fear), all Hell is breaking loose (falling away).  In other words,  Love Wins.

1 comment:

  1. Which Afterlife?

    In his new book "Love Wins" Rob Bell seems to say that loving and compassionate people, regardless of their faith, will not be condemned to eternal hell just because they do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

    Concepts of an afterlife vary between religions and among divisions of each faith. Here are three quotes from "the greatest achievement in life," my ebook on comparative mysticism:

    (46) Few people have been so good that they have earned eternal paradise; fewer want to go to a place where they must receive punishments for their sins. Those who do believe in resurrection of their body hope that it will be not be in its final form. Few people really want to continue to be born again and live more human lives; fewer want to be reborn in a non-human form. If you are not quite certain you want to seek divine union, consider the alternatives.

    (59) Mysticism is the great quest for the ultimate ground of existence, the absolute nature of being itself. True mystics transcend apparent manifestations of the theatrical production called “this life.” Theirs is not simply a search for meaning, but discovery of what is, i.e. the Real underlying the seeming realities. Their objective is not heaven, gardens, paradise, or other celestial places. It is not being where the divine lives, but to be what the divine essence is here and now.

    (80) [referring to many non-mystics] Depending on their religious convictions, or personal beliefs, they may be born again to seek elusive perfection, go to a purgatory to work out their sins or, perhaps, pass on into oblivion. Lives are different; why not afterlives? Beliefs might become true.

    Rob Bell asks us to reexamine the Christian Gospel. People of all faiths should look beyond the letter of their sacred scriptures to their spiritual message. As one of my mentors wrote "In God we all meet."



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