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Before the book was even released, promotional materials seemed to writing arguments chapter 14 review that Rob Bell would be heading in an unorthodox direction in this book. Now having read the book, I am convinced that the promotional materials were correct.
Bell has launched out into a heterodox, unbiblical accounting of sin and judgment, the cross and salvation, heaven and hell. He pictures a God without wrath who would never create a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked.
No one needs to have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in this life to find salvation in the next. While Bell does not want to be labeled a universalist, this book does more to advance the cause of universalism at the popular level than any book I have ever seen. There are simply too many to respond to in a review.
That being said, my aim is to walk through the main chapters giving you a brief look at his argument while providing some critiques along the way. So this review has eight headings that summarize the eight chapters of this book: Questions Have No Questions 2. Heaven Has No Separation 3. Hell Has No Fury 4.
God Has No Enemies Maybe? The Cross Has No Center 6. God Has No Anger 8. It is a manipulative tactic that has an air of epistemological humility but which he employs with great skill to make theological arguments. Do we really believe that all questions are to be taken as literal queries?
Is it not true that some questions are rhetorical and are really the semantic equivalent of an assertion? Is not this the way Paul spoke in Romans 6: This is precisely how Bell frames some of his most controversial arguments.
I will let the reader be the judge. Do the following questions from chapter one consist of actual queries, or do they have the effect of an assertion?
Is this acceptable to God? Has God created millions of people over tens of thousands of years who are going to spend eternity in anguish? Can God do this, or even allow this, and still claim to be a loving God?
Does God punish people for thousands of years with infinite, eternal torment for things they did in their few, finite years of life? What kind of God is that? Indeed, the very way in which they are phrased shows that these questions are leading to a conclusion.
Thus these are assertions and not true queries. These are assertions about the reality of hell and the nature of God. I belabor the point because this device will come into play in a big way throughout the book.
We have all felt the sting of a deceptive rhetorical question. Bell wants to make his case biblically, but his use of scripture suffers from a myopic word-study approach to constructing doctrine.
I am all for word studies, but there is much more to doing theology than collating lists of meanings for biblical words and occasionally slipping in novel meanings that no one has ever heard of! Yet this is precisely how Bell approaches serious theological questions.
Bell is most interested in what Jesus means by the word heaven. This seems to suggest that heaven can be any place where there is obedience and justice.
Yet the world will not experience perfect obedience and justice in this age, so believers look forward to a future age in which heaven comes down to earth. Heaven can be right here right now, or it can be future.
In the eternal state, however, heaven and earth will no longer be separated. Having said that, Bell confuses the eternal state with the final judgment. Thus, for Bell, heaven is a place where our moral dross gets burned away. But this is not at all what Paul is teaching in this text.The Purdue Writing Lab Purdue University students, faculty, and staff at our West Lafayette, IN campus may access this area for information on the award-winning Purdue Writing Lab.
This area includes Writing Lab hours, services, and contact information. Writing Arguments moves students beyond a simplistic debate model of argument to a view of argument as inquiry and consensus-building as well as persuasion, in which the writer negotiates with others in search of the best solutions to problems.
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In the Antiquities of the Jews (Book 20, Chapter 9, 1) Josephus refers to the stoning of "James the brother of Jesus" (James the Just) by order of Ananus ben Ananus, a Herodian-era High Priest. The James referred to in this passage is most likely the James to whom the Epistle of James has been attributed.
The translations of Josephus' writing into other languages have at times included.