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June 29, 2011

Comments

I so hope these books practice what Greg Koukl preaches, get clarity of another's view before you critique it. Believe it or not I think Greg has made the mistake of not doing this early on when dealing with Rob Bell's view.

Nothing gets these exclusivist Calvinists in a fuss like suggesting that God's unconditional, undeserved, and free grace is more extensive than their interpretation of Matthew 7:14 permits.

Matt - a few questions:

1) Can you say more specifically about what you mean by, "get clarity of another's view"?

2) Which of Rob Bell's particular views are you referring to in this case?

3) Why do you conclude that Greg failed to clarify Rob Bell's view?

4) It's possible that even when clarity is absent, one's assessment may be correct. Do you agree with Greg's views regarding the specific Rob Bell position you reference? Why or why not?

Addressing these items will likely help STR readers "get clarity of" the views you express above.

All the Best,

Afri End

Malebranche,
In the other blog post you said this:

But even so, you can still ask yourself this question: if it were the case that God chose to save all of humanity, would that all of the sudden give us a good reason to do or say anything we pleased?

I took the opportunity of your comment to ask for your theological reasons as to why you said what pleased you about Greg, but you did not respond there.

You often say negative things about Greg's theology, so I will ask again. As a universalist, what are the good theological reasons for saying these negative things about Greg?

As a universalist, what are the good theological reasons for saying these negative things about Greg?

Theology matters, if you're a universalist or not.

For whatever reason, most evangelicals seem to think that universalism ought to lead to some sort of apathy or nihilism.

Logically, you can't get there. Practically, I've never met a universalist who's a nihilist or apathetic. In fact, most universalists are just the opposite.

Take for example, Rob Bell (who's not really a universalist). He hasn't given up on ministry and thrown the practice of theology out the window. In fact ,he's probably taking both of those things more seriously than he ever has.

So to your question -- if you're a universalist, what's the point in debating theology? Theology matters.

brgulker,

Thank you for injecting that imminently sensible remark into the discussion!

1) Ok by "get Clarity" I mean strive for an accurate understanding of a view.

From Ambassador's Creed:

Patient. An Ambassador won’t quarrel, but will listen in order to understand, then with gentleness seek to respectfully engage those who disagree.

Fair. An Ambassador is sympathetic and understanding towards others and will acknowledge the merits of contrary views.

Honest. An Ambassador is careful with the facts and will not misrepresent another’s view, overstate his own case, or understate the demands of the Gospel.

2) Unbelievable Podcast 3/23/11 Rob Bell says "I see lots of people choosing hell, and I actually think its incredibly important that we hold on to hell" "I see lots of people choosing hell now and I would assume they would continue on in that direction" "In the book I talk about hell now and hell later, I live with the assumption that people will choose hell when they die"

You seem to be saying that everyone is gonna get to heaven. Rob Bell says "I don't think that".

Just a day before the release of his controversial book on hell, Michigan pastor Rob Bell denied that he was a universalist.

Answering the straightforward question "are you a universalist?" posed by Newsweek's Lisa Miller Monday night, Bell said, "No."

"No, if by universalist we mean there's a giant cosmic arm that swoops everybody in at some point whether you want to be there or not,"

3) 3/13/2011 STR Podcast. Greg having only seen the promotional video asserts "he (Bell) is asking questions to make a point" and "the book advances the notion of annihilationism, that is that there is no hell. And it advances the notion of universalism". Then Greg says "I need to double check on Bell's own view"

In the video 5/11/2011 STRvideos on youtube Greg seems to mischaracterize Bell's view, he says "love wins in the end, everyone goes to heaven!".

If Greg has not checked on Bell's view then why is he making these statements? This seems to go against what he advocates in the Ambassador's Creed.

Greg doesn't seem to understand that Bell doesn't claim to know, or can know that all will be saved. He simply refrains from any absolute judgment. Bell just leaves open the possibility of universalism, if all people choose it, because of his presupposition of libertarian free will. Bell is slippery, its hard to nail down his views, it seems because he doesn't want to offend.

4) I love STR. I have purchased almost all of their teaching materials.
I absolutely agree with Greg's assesment of the view he critiques, I just don't think that that is Bell's view.
That is why I was a little disappointed in the way Greg initially handled this issue.

brgulker,

Your name wouldn't happen to be Brandon, would it? I know a Brandon Gulker who lives in Indiana. Just thought it was worth asking haha...

Bell is slippery, its hard to nail down his views, it seems because he doesn't want to offend.

Just my opinion, but I think there is a more likely alternative: Bell isn't certain.

Love it or hate it, Bell's whole book is based on a premise of epistemological humility -- there are some things that we humans just cannot know.

Nobody said Bell is coherent.
(some of what follows is copy/paste from what I wrote here when I read the book a few months ago)

In Love Wins Bell affirms universalism.
And then he denies it.
Then he confirms it.

http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2011/03/bells-logic.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e2014e603f0ae9970c#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e2014e603f0ae9970c

http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2011/03/bells-logic.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e2014e871ae841970d#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e2014e871ae841970d


He admits that there are many objections to the view, but says we ought to long for universalism to be the case.
He then tells us that because love can't be forced we have to leave open that there is a "possibility" that the evil impulse that lurks in all of us may win out and stay in some forever. Thus, they are always in their self-made Hell. He even says we are free to leave the question open because we can't actually answer it.
So it seems we don't know, according to Bell, even though we know which he would prefer.
But the rest of the book shows us that he really does think he has answered the question. As I showed above, he does so in the language he uses. If universalism is not true then God is petty, mean, cruel, tyrannical, violent, etc. He is also weak. In Bell's discussion, God's omnipotence demands that He save everyone.

And soon, by page 151 Bell is telling us that Jesus is redeeming and rescuing everything, and everyone.
Jesus is drawing all people to Himself.
"He alone is saving everybody" page 155
And he has an chapter entitled "The Good News Is Better Than That", which sentence he repeats like the refrain of a hymn. He is contrasting it, of course, to the Gospel that includes eternal Hell.

And if his critics get his view wrong because of his (practiced) obfuscation that is neither their fault nor a weighty criticism of their arguments; what matters is that they get the theology right, not that they get Rob Bell right. He has merely made himself the lightning rod which starts the conversation.

Here's one quote from the book that I pointed out previously and think Bell's ardent defenders might consider:

""For some, the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame, and slander others who don't articulate matters of faith as they do".

As I said then, although Bell does not heed his own implied warning, maybe others can.

Speaking of being fair, Bell has no problem in referring to others, their articulations of belief, their view of God, etc, with words such as: toxic, venomous, tyrant, cruel, simple, naive, brainwashed, angry, demanding, slave-driver, fearful, vicious, relentless, terrifying, traumatizing, idolaters, mean, tormenter, ...
He certainly has no interest in interacting with mainstream evangelical views when he launches his "new" way of telling God's story.

Nothing gets these exclusivist Calvinists in a fuss like suggesting that God's unconditional, undeserved, and free grace is more extensive than their interpretation of Matthew 7:14 permits.
Nothing gets Malebranche in a tizzy more than someone out there having their own blog that does not 100% affirm his own worldview.

Ever try reading something you like, instead, Malebranche? Your objections to STR have certainly been well-noted already.

Daron, Rob does not affirm universalism. If that's what you got from reading the book, respectfully, you got it wrong.

Here is a basic summary of what Rob's book says, in outline form:

- We cannot know with certainty what happens after death. When we speak of anything after death, we should speak carefully and admit our epistemological limits.

- Heaven isn't some Platonic other world. Here, he follows NT Wright and focuses on the resurrection, new heavens, and new earth. He also argues that we can live in the future (God's Kingdom) in the present. Nothing novel or controversial here if you read him accurately (Here is the New There).

- Hell isn't a volcano's insides or the planet's core or Dante's Inferno. The bible describes it differently. (Hell)


- There is reason to be hopeful that biological death does not end our chance to respond to God through Jesus. (Does God get what God wans?)

- As human beings, we can't know who's "in" and who's "out." It's beyond our capacity to know such things.

- God is pursuing the human race in all places, in all cultures, and in all times -- even when those cultures don't necessarily recognize Jesus (There are Rocks Everywhere).

--------------------

I can only see two places where Bell significantly parts with traditionalism evangelicalism (depending on how one defines that, of course).

- There are rocks everywhere. This isn't new to Bell. Christians have thought this throughout the centuries. But, it's not really something that's taken hold in evangelicalism.

- Biological death isn't the end of the human chance to respond to God in Jesus. This is the place where Bell allows for the possibility of universalism, but because he's so committed to human freedom, he doesn't actually go there. Regardless, this isn't evangelical theology. Evangelicals believe that as soon as you die, you meet Jesus to be judged once and for all.

If you think Bell has said something more than this, I welcome being challenged on that, but I think that's a pretty good summation.

Hi brgulker,

For whatever reason, most evangelicals seem to think that universalism ought to lead to some sort of apathy or nihilism.

I'm not one of them.

So to your question -- if you're a universalist, what's the point in debating theology? Theology matters.

Yes, it does matter. I'm not questioning that so your response is off the mark.

For universalists, I think the reasons WHY it matters are starkly different from the reasons Greg would give. And that is the point of my question.

The reason why Greg insists on preaching an accurate Gospel is clear to me. The reason for being correct goes beyond being factual inaccurate. The stakes are high and the consequences for such inaccuracy run deep so it makes sense to say negative things about those that preach a different Gospel. You are attempting to save others from great harm - which is good.

Now let me turn to Malebranche. Other than attempting to correct a factual inaccuracy - which is important to do - what are Malebranche's theological reasons for preaching his Gospel while at the same time saying negative things about those that preach a different one?

It's the latter part of that question, in bold, that I want to focus on.

My mistake.

I'll only hazard a guess: I think it's instinctual to lash out at people with whom we disagree. It's human nature to demonize the other.

Obviously, that's an explanation, not a justification.

Hi bglurker,
With all due respect, I got it right. You can read what I wrote about it if you follow the links.

If you think Bell has said something more than this, I welcome being challenged on that, but I think that's a pretty good summation.
Read my links for where I agree with you and for where I disagree with you.

I did read your links, Daron. I think what you said is mostly putting words in Rob's mouth. Even where you quote him, I don't think you provide enough context to do it accurately.

I'll start simply.

I say this: Rob Bell does not affirm universalism. He hopes for it, and he encourages us to long for it and to work toward it, but he does not affirm it.

You say: Rob Bell is a universalist.

IMHO, you're reading it wrong.

brgulker,
I assume this was directed at me??

I think it's instinctual to lash out at people with whom we disagree. It's human nature to demonize the other.

Sin is horrible, I agree, and we all sin. However, once corrected, I usually take a more submissive position and puff out my chest less often so that God's Spirit can work within me. The result is I sin less often, thanks to God. I may never stop doing it but God's grace is sufficient for that.

But what does it say about me if I keep doing it deliberately and repeatedly without skipping a beat?

Malebranche,
I would like to hear what you have to say about my question rather than have brgulker speak on your behalf. Thanks.

Hi brgulker,
(sorry for the previous misspelling).

I did read your links, Daron. I think what you said is mostly putting words in Rob's mouth. Even where you quote him, I don't think you provide enough context to do it accurately.
Then, with all due respect, you got it wrong.
You say: Rob Bell is a universalist.
Is that what I said?
IMHO, you're reading it wrong.
You're welcome to your opinion. In my opinion, I am reading him right.

Both books are just under 200 pages

The actual text of Erasing Hell is only about 130 pages, making it a quick read. Way too many filler pages including a sample chapter from another one of Chan's books.

The authors end up getting it wrong about the duration of hell's torments, but aside from that, the book is surprisingly solid.

As an FYI YO those interested, another full length book response to Love Wins challenging many of Bell's presuppositions Was released back on June 1st with Rodopi Press (Amsterdam/New York). It's called Love, Freedom, and Evil: Does Authentic Love Require Free Will? By Dr. Thaddeus Williams. If interested you can find out more at www.lovefreedomandevil.com

Blessings!

Sense and Nonsense About Heaven and Hell is also good.
http://www.amazon.com/Sense-Nonsense-about-Heaven-Hell/dp/0310254280

brgulker,

encourages us to long for it and to work toward it

Longing for it doesn't really help or change anything so it seems kind of pointless, though I think most compassionate Christians do sort of wish it were true.

As for "work[ing] toward it..." How exactly does one work toward Universalism?

Hi brgulker,
I said you could check my previous discussion to see where we agree and disagree on Bell. You said:

I did read your links, Daron. I think what you said is mostly putting words in Rob's mouth.

You also claimed that your reading was a fair summary and gave us a rundown of its points. I believe they are all included below. As are the points I made in my links.
Let's take a look at our readings, then:

brgulker on Bell - We cannot know with certainty what happens after death. When we speak of anything after death, we should speak carefully and admit our epistemological limits.
Me, apparently putting words in Bell's mouth - He even says we are free to leave the question open because we can't actually answer it. So it seems we don't know, according to Bell, even though we know which he would prefer.
-------------------

brgulker on Bell - He hopes for it, and he encourages us to long for it and to work toward it, but he does not affirm it.
Me, with words put in Bell's mouth - He admits that there are many objections to this view, but says we ought to long for it to be the case.

-------------

brgulker on Bell
- Heaven isn't some Platonic other world. Here, he follows NT Wright and focuses on the resurrection, new heavens, and new earth.

Me, apparently still putting words in Bell's mouth - For instance, on the chapter on Heaven he keeps telling us that we are wrong to think of it as "out there" somewhere.
------------------------------------
brgulker on Bell - He also argues that we can live in the future (God's Kingdom) in the present.

Me - I guess what he thinks is radical, what is the big challenge to what we've been taught, is that Jesus tells us we can experience Heaven on Earth even now.
------------------------------------
brgulker - Nothing novel or controversial here if you read him accurately (Here is the New There).

Me - Is that news to anybody?
...
As he states, though, he is not saying anything new and in this he is just repeating what you would find in any evangelical writing.
---------------------------------
brgulker - Hell isn't a volcano's insides or the planet's core or Dante's Inferno. The bible describes it differently. (Hell)

Me - Thus, they are always in their self-made Hell.
----------------------------------

brgulker - There is reason to be hopeful that biological death does not end our chance to respond to God through Jesus. (Does God get what God wans?)

Me - sadly, I said nothing specifically on second chances after biological death. I certainly agree with brgulker here that this is what Bell says and believes.
This point I made, though, is germane - Also on page 88 he says,
"Failure, we see again and again, isn't final".
... Our mistakes are never final, he says, ignoring all we know about Uzzah, Herod, Nadab and Abihu, Ananias and Sapphira, etc.
------------------------------
brgulker - As human beings, we can't know who's "in" and who's "out." It's beyond our capacity to know such things.

Me, on Bell - (already seen) He even says we are free to leave the question open because we can't actually answer it. So it seems we don't know, according to Bell, even though we know which he would prefer.
----------------------------------

brgulker on Bell - God is pursuing the human race in all places, in all cultures, and in all times -- even when those cultures don't necessarily recognize Jesus (There are Rocks Everywhere).

Me with my words-putting - And soon, by page 151 Bell is telling us that Jesus is redeeming and rescuing everything, and everyone.
Jesus is drawing all people to Himself.
"He alone is saving everybody" page 155
-------------------------------
Where brgulker admits Bell is going to be controversial - This is the place where Bell allows for the possibility of universalism, but because he's so committed to human freedom, he doesn't actually go there.
Me - He then tells us that because love can't be forced we have to leave open that there is a "possibility" that the evil impulse that lurks in all of us may win out and stay in some forever
------------------------------

So it looks like we pretty much agree on every point where you claim a Bell affirmation. Maybe I can read better than you give me credit for?

If you think Bell has said something more than this, I welcome being challenged on that, but I think that's a pretty good summation.
Yes, I certainly think he is saying more. That's what I showed in my previous discussion - the one where you said I was reading him wrong. Of course I made points, as well, that you are not touching on in your fair summation. Here's one:
Of course, I have no idea whose Christianity he is talking about in his critique. He critiques a view that tells us Jesus is rescuing us from God; but Trinitarians know that God Himself is the rescuer and Redeemer, just as Bell affirms. He critiques a view of a God who is capricious and whose characteristics change moment by moment; but orthodox Christianity teaches that God is the same forever. He critiques a God who views a person differently before and after dying in a car accident, as though God is neither sovereign nor even omniscient. That is obviously not the God of Christianity.

and

So it seems we don't know, according to Bell, even though we know which he would prefer.

But the rest of the book shows us that he really does think he has answered the question. As I showed above, he does so in the language he uses. If universalism is not true then God is petty, mean, cruel, tyrannical, violent, etc. He is also weak. In Bell's discussion, God's omnipotence demands that He save everyone.

I stand by my reading ability and my reading of Bell. Yes, he affirms universalism, and he denies it, and he affirms it.
So, to my original point, it is no fault of his reviewers if they don't exactly get him right and if they speak the truth of Heaven and Hell, then Bell's obfuscations are irrelevant other than as a jumping off point.

I haven't read Rob Bell's books yet so I can't say anything with certainty, but the fact that apparently intelligent posters above come to different conclusions on what Bell says about hell tells me more about Bell's apparent lack of clear communication skills than anything. Unfortunately it makes me lose respect for him before I even read him since he seemingly can't speak his mind clearly. I still plan on reading his Love Wins book to form my own opinion, however.

I agree, Todd.
When you wrestle with deep issues filled with nuance the reader is going to have to do some work to figure you out. But I don't think that is the case here. I think a simple little book like Love Wins ought easily to clearly state Bell's position. I think that he doesn't want to be clear. But a person should not have to weigh proof-texts to get to his opinion.

2Ti 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 2Ti 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

This describes Bell and his devotee's. Like Daron said:

"He critiques a God who views a person differently before and after dying in a car accident, as though God is neither sovereign nor even omniscient. That is obviously not the God of Christianity.

Bell is neither gifted nor called as an evangelist or preacher of the Word of God [ala Eph 4], he's not shown submission to a head to keep him from wandering into these kinds of variant teachings but rather eschewed traditional Christianity to be apart/unique and appeal to people outside of the bounds of the biblical message. He demonstrates a need to be in the limelight, a controversialist, and an innovator where clear established doctrine leaves little or no room for customization that would appeal to people who are responding to a message that isn't the gospel, it's a gospel they can accept on their own terms because Bell allows them the option--dangerous.

So Todd, I recommend you redeem the time more profitably with something solid rather than reading his book--there's plenty of alternatives from well established, orthodox, and gifted men.

I have listened to Rob Bell and read some of what he has written.

It would seem that, on occasion, he is more interested in asking questions to get people thinking rather then making detailed theological pronouncements.

His sermons are excellent, and well worth a listen. Quite inside the orthodox mainstream, although obviously he isn't a truly reformed Piper "cub".

So, Brad B., I recommend that you redeem the time more profitably with taking the log out of your own eye, and spending less energy railing against the speck in Rob Bell's.

If Bell postulates man's inability to know which individuals are going to be in Heaven, then this is consistent with the biblical truth of God being the sole Judge of each person. We do not have enough knowledge of perfect morality, nor of others' hidden motives, to make that determination; only God does.

The Bible does not leave us in the dark, however, about the requisite conditions for any individual to inherit eternal life (which life exists both on earth and in Heaven). The first absolute requirement is the death of Jesus Christ on behalf of sinners. Without the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ, Heaven would be empty of the entire human race.

A second requirement is faith - agreeing with the truth of Jesus Christ as revealed by God according to the Bible. Closely followed with faith is repentance, the practical affirmation of the Lordship of Christ by relying on Him to do His will rather than your own (wherever the two conflict).

Concerning those who have not had access to hearing the Gospel taught or to reading the Bible, or whose mental capacity is not sufficient to understand the message (babies, mentally impaired, comatose, etc.), we cannot set aside what we know to be true, but rather defer to God's infinite wisdom, benevolence, and justice to determine the proper outcome for all of these people. God reveals Himself to each person through nature, conscience, and in various personal ways, and we are all accountable for our response to the truth God expresses to us.

All of this to point out that our lack of case-by-case knowledge does not alter our abundantly clear knowledge of the universal conditions for salvation. It does not necessarily follow from our lack of individual knowledge of whom is saved that therefore everyone is equally liable to be saved in the end, without regard to their individual orientation toward God. While we all may "hope" from time to time that God will 'find a way' to let everyone into Heaven, smart money goes on God's way being far superior to any contrary proposals.

Rob Bell's orthodoxy:

If there are only a select few who go to heaven ... how does a person end up being one of the few?
Chance?
Luck?
Random selection?
...
God choosing you instead of others?

What kind of faith is that?
Or, more important:
What kind of God is that?


The God Who speaks, that's Who.

Was God limited to that three-year window, and if the message didn't get to the young an in that time, well, that's just unfortunate.
God is sovereign and sets the times.
If our salvation, our future, our destiny is dependent on others bringing the message to us, teaching us, showing us - what happens if they don't?
The sovereign God determines the means as well as the ends.

And do not forget Rob's great claim:

But this isn't just a book of questions.
It's a book of responses to these questions.

That's in your first 19 pages.

Hi Jeff, I'm not supprised at all by what you said, that you have such low standards of who is qualified as a minister of the gospel, and that you fit 2 Tim. 4 as quoted. Since you have no standard of orthodoxy by your own admission I wonder how it is that you claim that Bell is "quite inside the orthodox mainstream".

You continually embrace history revisionism as you classify what is protestant doctrine, you deny protestant confessions and creeds, and doubt that the scriptures are discernable without external interpretative input[which denies the protestant doctrine of "the rule of faith"] Of course I gleaned all this prior to your demonstrating that you cannot reason logically so maybe that's the problem. At any rate, all your blustering about what I have to say is just that since you have not shown by necessary inference where what I've said is wrong, here above or in previous threads.

Rob Bell's false dichotomy betrays again his anti-orthodox position:

Will all people be saved, or will God get what God wants?
Does this magnificent, mighty, marvelous God fail in the end?

So if there is eternal torment for any then God is not omnipotent.

A few pages later another false dichotomy:

Is God our friend, our provider, our protector, our father - or is God the kind of judge who may in the end declare that we deserve to spend eternity separated from our Father?

Yes.

Wise input Sage S, and it might be well to add that what you've stated concerning faith and repentance is to occur in this lifetime, not in some after death redemptive purgatory where as the Roman church affirms that inherent righteousness gained through some after death penitentiary experiences. There is no biblical justification for this view nor is it compatible with grace alone/faith alone/Christ alone.

Brad B. asserts: "Since you have no standard of orthodoxy by your own admission".

BB, where do you get this stuff? My standard for orthodoxy is the Bible. Always has been. I defy you to show how I have made any statement that matches your assertion. And no appeal to alternate universes allowed!

Again you assert, "you deny protestant confessions and creeds,"

Wrong yet again, Brad. I deny Calvinist confessions and creeds. You assert that protestant equals calvinist. We disagree about that.

Stir in a little gratuitous personal insult; "Of course I gleaned all this prior to your demonstrating that you cannot reason logically so maybe that's the problem."

Of course, Brad, of course you did. Any disagreement with your positions is, by definition, inherently illogical!

As an atheist, I get a large kick out of witnessing otherwise ostensibly intelligent Christians bicker over just what exactly "hell" is.

Personally, I like Mark Twain's take on hell:

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."

I'm sure we all get a kick out of people who talk in slogans.

I know I do, especially if they are illogical!

"As an atheist..."

I don't get a kick out of anything on the basis of my religious beliefs, per se. My sense of irony is not derived from religious conviction (or lack thereof) - and, I presume, neither is Dennis'.

Though I do find it curiously ironic whenever someone tries to discredit the legitimacy of a thread by posting a comment in it.

Again you assert, "you deny protestant confessions and creeds,"

Wrong yet again, Brad. I deny Calvinist confessions and creeds. You assert that protestant equals calvinist. We disagree about that"

"We disagree about that", Jeff rewriting history by some kind of strange proof that is supposed to quell our desire for an appeal to authority that we would respect. This is the standard form of argumentation from Jeff. It is not hard at all to find names like "Luther", "Calvin", "Zwingli" named as fathers of the Protestant reformation. Get that Jeff, Protestant reformation. Make an argument showing us that these men were not principle writers of Protestant doctrines Jeff, dont just say we disagree, that is self evident. You cannot discount my definition of Protestant creeds and confessions, since they are directly derived from writings from these fathers of the Protestant Reformation.

Sadly, this is an all too familiar tactic from you where you obtusely rephrase easily apprehendable propositions into a twisted characature of the real case, or just try to dismiss sound argumentation with appeals to some "intrinsic sense" of knowledge, or statements like "everybody knows" such and such is true. Of course these appeals are meant to support your twisted characature of coherent expositions of scripture references that you cannot stomach.

Still, I doubt that you can reason logically, not from lack of ability, but from stubborn unwillingness.

"Though I do find it curiously ironic whenever someone tries to discredit the legitimacy of a thread by posting a comment in it."

Sage, I think has an apt handle. ;~)

A couple of other guys who "read Bell wrong". And how Bell tries to set them straight ... with more questions.
http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid={298691E0-6BA5-4B74-97DD-3BB6FFBC0F1F}

Daron,

Nobody will get a straight answer from Bell when he is in book selling mode. I don't particularly admire his way of promoting his books by stirring up controversy.

When Rob is preaching through the Bible, as he is doing now on 1 John, anyone who would listen would find a good pastor leading his church. (not a Protestant church, mind you, since only strict Calvinists can be Protestant according to our logician, Brad B.!)

Thanks Jeff,
As I said before, I quite enjoyed Bell's Everything Is Spiritual video and gave away several copies of it. I had a few small misgivings, but when don't I? :)
Although my disappointment with his theology and his techniques has grown since this book was released I have no doubt that Bell loves God, His word, and His children.

Luther and Zwingli (and Calvin?) were strict Calvinists?

Daron,

It is Brad B. who insists that to be Protestant one must be a strict Calvinist. Perhaps he could shed some light on the adherence of Luther and Zwingli to his beloved WCF.

That doesn't look to be the case, Jeff.
BradB said:

This is the standard form of argumentation from Jeff. It is not hard at all to find names like "Luther", "Calvin", "Zwingli" named as fathers of the Protestant reformation. Get that Jeff, Protestant reformation. Make an argument showing us that these men were not principle writers of Protestant doctrines Jeff, dont just say we disagree, that is self evident. You cannot discount my definition of Protestant creeds and confessions, since they are directly derived from writings from these fathers of the Protestant Reformation.

Several of our anti_Calvinist commenters have noted that "perhaps Calvin himself was not as much a Calvinist as we thought" ( because their idea of a Calvinist is a caricature, of course ). Regardless, certainly Luther and Zwingli are not, by your lights "strict Calvinists"? But, from the above, it seems Brad B does not limit Protestantism to "strict Calvinism", doesn't it?

Daron,

Perhaps Brad B. should defend himself on this matter. Unless my memory has completely left me,(a distinct possibility), Brad insists that to be Protestant one must agree with the Calvinist "confessions", an example of which would be his revered and beloved, often quoted WCF.

In general usage today, I would hold that Protestant is used to describe Christians who are neither Roman Catholic nor Orthodox. For some reason this really offends Brad B.

But your memory does often fail you, doesn't it, Jeff. For instance, when you pinned your "revered and oft quoted WCF" tag on me, and then didn't bother to respond when I asked you to show that to be the case.
Maybe you should try your hand at dialogue instead of negative characterizations sometime, on some thread.

Jeff, by your logic, Jehovah Witness and Mormons are Christian, because they demand the title of themselves. A Protestant is either consistent with the foundational doctrinal distinctives, or he is just as much a Protestant as the JW / Mormon is a Christian. [BTW, try calling a Orthodox believer a Protestant and see where that will get you]. You really ought to quit while you are behind, you are losing ground at an astounding rate.


"Maybe you should try your hand at dialogue instead of negative characterizations sometime, on some thread."

Thanks for carrying on Daron, since Jeff demands that I "defend myself" [against what I wonder], I have nothing to say, since it's like talking to a broken canyon wall that cannot even echo back accurately. My prayer for Jeff is that he'd submit to the rules of logic when engaging in debate/argumentation instead of just dismissing things he'd rather not confront. He's not unable, but I belive, he's unwilling.

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