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  1. an open message to david platt.

    a few points
    1.) rob bell never proclaimed universalism, he suggested its possibility.
    2.) you are a sick human being if you think that it’s good news that god’s going to burn 597 million people in hell.
    3.) your god is schizophrenic if at one time he loves the whole world and at the same time is completely willing to burn everyone in eternal hell.
    4.) if universalism is so dangerous practically, why is it that some of the major names of universalism have been some of the most prevalent, outgoing, and most effective missionaries on the planet, who rarely if ever leave traces of the same sort of colonialism and imperialism that hell-preaching missionaries have?
    and finally,
    5.) universalism does not create lazy christians. christians who were once motivated by fear for everything and who see god in terms of their works become lazy christians because they believe the message frees them from responsibility. wrong. biblical universalism demands that they become the message because it is through them god intends to save the world.

    i would suggest that you seriously think and consider other points of view before you encourage millions of people to harden their hearts against what just might be true.

    –a concerned brother in christ.

    • Brilliant response, David.

      • a lot of stuff, so I’ll try and respond in order. Firstly, a 180 would be true. At University I’ve been snyduitg under some New Testament scholars and have had to read a lot of theological writings by prominent theologians over the last few centuries. Not to mention, lots of reading the Scriptures and reading how these men have interpreted the Scriptures. It’s important, because in some way or another, they’ve influenced us greatly. My love for Jesus is what’s made me interested in it all. If anything, reading these guys and attending University has made me more sure of my faith in Christ. Usually the opposite happens, unfortunately. I agree with you that we should (as believers) be able to offer the absolute message of Christ as the black and white choice. There is NO grayness about him whatsoever. He is the Word, and His message is clearly laid out in the Scriptures (ones we wouldn’t have without those earlier councils and fathers who helped remove Gnostic gospels).The question of Hell and some of it’s particularities are not CLEARLY defined in scripture. And this is why the guys I follow a lot (Frank Viola, Wayne Jacobsen, Baxter Kruger, etc.) point to Christ and getting to know the Father instead of talking about Hell. What we have are people who interpret the scriptures as if there are clear messages about stuff like that. Even Kruger, in that video said that even though Christ has embraced the human race, those who reject Him don’t have a positive alternative. I like the theologians you listed. John G. Lake, Lester Sumrall, Kenneth Hagin, etc. But they are select few theologians on the global scale. I honestly think you’d love a lot of these other guys.Your creation vs. science comments are great, and discussions of that nature are much needed today. Calvin and Galileo both believed the Word (Jesus and scripture) were divinely inspired and 100% true. They both said though, that the Bible was meant to lead people to knowledge of Christ and the Father and said it shouldn’t be used as a blueprint for scientific claims. Check out Calvin’s method of divine accomodation for more details. Let science prove God, it undoubtedly will. No need to fear it. Galileo who affirmed absolutely that the Bible was 100% true, said that sometimes our interpretations of it are not. His argument to the Pope was to let science prove God and not limit our understanding of science to our possible inaccurate understandings of His word. To do so could put the Church into discredit with the world. Now you know where I stand on the Creation in 6 days interpretation. hehe. By the way, way to go on praying for healing. Did the guys back get healed or just the lady’s knees? Odd how that happens. I prayed for a lady’s leg once. It grew, but still looked disfigured. Still don’t understand that one If God hasn’t given us mysteries, and only black and white answers, then those questions of healing don’t seem to add up. Bill Johnson and Todd Bentley would agree (unless they’ve recently come up with an answer).In terms of speech without power, none of the guys I listed preach the Word without power. Rob Bell might, but that’s only because I don’t know much about him. To reiterate, I don’t affirm all that Rob says because he asks more questions than gives answers. I thought Kruger and other theologians of that breed answer his questions best though. Ghandi: I agree with you on that one. Unless he accepts Christ, the alternative is not a good one. It never can be, because Christ is the ONLY source of life, ever, anywhere. While like you say, we can’t build a theology on after death encounters with Christ, there have been people who have died, and met Christ in the Spirit, had him preach the Gospel to them, and they came back. It’s those accounts that make me unable to say Ghandi is in Hell absolutely. As we know, God is bigger than our understanding of that. Bell asserts that all of Creation and humanity is eventually restored to the Father. That would imply eventual and absolute reconciliation. That’s been debated for a long time by people who love the Word of God. That, I don’t have a solid opinion on.

  2. I agree, David – I hope you posted that on the Youtube comments :)

    • To coffeedinkingpreacher: I think that your noiton is right, but there is a bigger picture in play. I think that the fulcrum of the gospel is redemption. Sadly I didn’t realize this until about two years ago, when I sat with a friend wondering if God ever talked about restoration. It occurred to me as the words spilled out of my mouth that the gospel is about restoration, it is about God’s desire to restore Eden, to “spread his Shalmoic presence” as a professor-friend of mine puts it. But how did I miss that? I think I missed it because scripture has been continually taught as a “do not do this as to not incur this..” I do believe hell is a present reality, and currently I’m not sure what I think about evangelical inclusivism, universalism and the like. But I think for to long hell has had a larger than necessary focus in the picture. As though we have a fear that if people don’t go to hell it will somehow minimize our joy and desire to be with Christ in heaven. I think that scripture still holds validity even if hell was never mentioned, for there is a continual acknowledgment of the brokenness of this earth. I think of 1 Corinthians 4 (I believe it is 1, it might be 2) where Paul is talking about the wasting feeling of being in this body, the trials that we come across today as circumstances that prepare us for the eternal weight of glory. The telos is not to in the end separate bad people from good, but to redeem. I remember having this conversation with some friends, from which I decided I am not informed enough to make a theological claim, but I certainly pray that God will redeem all from hell. I certainly hope that those family members and friends that have long since passed away having not excepted Christ will one day be redeemed by the power of God. I guess a question that I have people who are firm that hell must be central to redemption is, what does that say about your view of the power of God? the love of God?On another note: I love the descriptive picture of petty tribalism and apologize for my atrocious use of grammar. These little comment windows are hard to edit in.

  3. Lee Schwartzrock May 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    What did the Serpent accomplish in Eden? He was able to destroy the relationship we had with God. It didn’t take Christianity long to devolve to the place where we now do Satan’s dirty work for him!

    Your ability to admire, hope for, and love God, is what he wants the most; it’s known as faith. Didn’t we learn anything from the Old Covenant? Fear is useless.
    Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. (1 John 4:18)

    What does being motivated to witness by fearing hell indicate about one’s relationship with God?

    “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are! (Matthew 23:15)

    Should we be worried that some might die before they accept Jesus as savior?

    For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. (Romans 11:32)

    Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (1 Peter 2:12)

    Notice that it doesn’t say “shoot your mouth off and alienate everyone”. If you can trust God that all will be given a fair chance to see and have faith in him, you will be free to respect and love everyone. Think of what the results might be.

    Is God going to lose the contest with Satan? Do you think his success depends on our feeble efforts?

    23By myself I have sworn,
    my mouth has uttered in all integrity
    a word that will not be revoked:
    Before me every knee will bow;
    by me every tongue will swear. (Isaiah 45:23)

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