Rob Bell on the resurrection

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjXYlwvS5LY] [ht my good friend Robin Parry] A glance at my blogging over the last few weeks will reveal that I am far from an uncritical supporter, but I maintain that any preacher who does not stand in awe of his gifts in communicating demonstrates so little understanding of her calling that she should give up right now. The video above? Let me put it like this: if someone donated a 4 min advertising slot to the churches during the Superbowl, we could not do better than to play it.

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Edmund Spenser, Sonnet LXVIII

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day, Didst make thy triumph over death and sin: and having harrow’d hell, didst bring away captivity thence captive us to win: This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin, and grant that we for whom thou diddest die being with thy dear blood clean washt from sin May live forever in felicity. And that thy love we weighing worthily, May likewise love thee for the same again: And for thy sake that all like dear didst buy, With love may one another entertain. So let us love, dear love, like as we ought, Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught. (Spellings updated silently) Happy Easter, everyone!

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‘You did the genocide really well’

The title was my best review from this year’s Spring Harvest (Minehead week 1), offered by storyteller extraordinaire Bob Hartman. I had a much lighter load than previous years (we measure things in ‘contact hours’ in universities sometimes; the last four years I’ve run at 12-15 contact hours in a SH week; this year I had six), giving Bible studies on Malachi in the mornings, and with only one extra session – on justifying genocide. OK, I exaggerate a little. The theme was Scripture, linking to the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and particularly to the BibleFresh campaign; a strand of the optional afternoon seminars was looking at points of difficulty, and one they picked, and picked for me, was ‘Terrible Texts: God...

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Rob Bell (insert stupidly large number here)

In chapter 5, ‘Dying to live,’ Bell turns to give an account of the atonement. He begins with a reflection on the ubiquity of the symbol of the cross, and the slogan, ‘Jesus died on the cross for your sins.’ (122) But what does that mean? Bell explores a ‘multiple metaphors’ view of the atonement, where different stories are told, which each hint at a part of the truth. It’s no secret that I think this is just the right way to approach atonement theology (see any of several publications on the theme); having tried to write a popular-level book on this theme it is humbling and irritating in equal parts to see someone who can really communicate have a go: Which perspective is the right one? Which metaphor is correct? Which explanation is true? The answer, of...

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Rob Bell’s recantation: first thoughts

So justice won after all. By now you’ll have seen Rob Bell’s astonishing recantation. The revelation that he has been reading the complete works of John Owen, including all seven volumes of the Hebrews commentary, was shocking enough, but the road-to-Damascus like language of his described change of heart was utterly remarkable. ‘I was just reading and re-reading the Death of Death,’ Bell is quoted as saying, ‘thinking “what a communicator! Why can’t I write like this guy?” and not really focussing on the ideas at all. But then I thought “He’s right – Jesus did just die for the elect only” and with that I knew I had to change my teaching, my way of life, my style of writing, my glasses – everything!’ Bell apparently is already planning his next...

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