Bell never says all are saved in this chapter, but he implies that people can embrace Jesus without knowing him or about him in any direct way. People of all sorts. People of all religions. That is where the chapter fails---sadly and badly.
The most stunning statement in this transition to discuss inclusivity is his claim that no where does Jesus tell the mechanism by which he saves and "gets people to God through him."
Let's see. Did not Jesus commission his followers to take the message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in his name in Luke 24?
Did he not say unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood (probably a reference to some type of personal engagement with Jesus!), you cannot know me in John 6?
Behind Bell's affirmation of inclusivity stands a horrendous double non-sequitur as he transitioned into this idea. He says that Jesus is "bigger than any one religion including Christianity." Now if he means the various forms of Christian expression, that I can entertain, but his placement suggests he means any expression of Christian faith and that the exclusion of people of other faiths is intended in this remark.
Here is the double non-sequitur. First, in a theological sense, Jesus is Christianity. Without Jesus as the Christ, there would have been or would not be such a thing as Christianity (in any shape or form). And second, what do we do with the claim of the Scripture Bell so clearly notes that this Jesus is unique, that salvation is his unique work and that this IS a unique theology and faith? How do we get to Bell's "exclusivity on other other side of inclusivity?"...
As much fun as Bell has with word plays and links, he often during the journey loses his way on the road to meaning by failing to work adequately with the context of the passages he cites. He gets lost in his cleverness. Somehow John 14 gets reversed. No one comes to the Father but by me becomes many will get in without knowing me (simply because Jesus is everywhere and works mysteriously).
He cites that Jesus came to save all, but ignores the text that says Jesus came to divide, even cast fire on the earth in ways that creates division within families (See Luke 12:49-53). This type of selective citation does not lead into clearly elucidating a theological topic, which is what pastors are supposed to do from Scripture.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
"He gets lost in his cleaverness"
Darrel Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary has been reviewing "Love Wins" by Rob Bell chapter by chapter. In his latest post Dr. Bock addresses Bell's assertions that Jesus taught inclusivism. Bock writes:
Read the rest of the post HERE.
Previous posts in the series: