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HolyGround >> Is Rob Bell a heretic?


3/1/11 9:07 PM
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Grakman
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 ... is what the Evangelical community is asking:

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/01/what-is-a-heretic-exactly-in-the-evangelical-church/?hpt=C2
3/1/11 9:50 PM
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Ridgeback
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 Evangelicals lack the authority historically to charge anybody with heresy.  It is like prostitutes calling each other whores.  Universalism is not a heresy if it is held as a private hope and opinion anyway or such saints as Gregory of Nyssa, Isaac of Syria (my patron), and Maximos the Confessor would all be in trouble.  The Church would never declare universalism since it would seem to preclude human freedom and would frankly be making a declaration about something it couldn't know for sure.

I read Velvet Elvis a few years ago.  It wasn't too bad. He seemed like a decent enough guy.  I am not sure if the concept of universalism is edifying for most people though.
3/2/11 1:20 AM
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jimmy23
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 could someone give me  a quick review of universalism?
3/2/11 2:27 AM
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Ridgeback
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 Wow, that is a big subject.  There are different kinds of universalism, but the gist is that ultimately, in one way or another, all people will be reconciled with God and be in Paradise.  Christian Universalism (CU) usually means that all people will be saved by the redemptive actions of Jesus so there is still an exclusive insistence that only through Christ can humans be saved.  Some Christian Universalists (CU's) believe that God's sovereignty will overpower man's free will in the cause of saving them all (almost like double-predestination without the damnation) while others insist that CU will only take place through the consent of each person, thereby allowing each to retain his or her freedom.  Some CU's believe that there is no hell to speak of, while others most certainly believe in a hell, but of one that works to purify souls (perhaps for eons) until they are finally reconciled.  There is also the Orthodox view of heaven and hell being the same reality of the presence of God experienced differently depending on the state of each person's soul, but nevertheless still having all the material conditions for Paradise, which is a kind of universalism that retains a hell.  

CU seems to be a minority opinion among Christian traditions, although some people argue that early Christians were uniformly universalist and took it for granted that "Gehenna" would be a temporary condition.  CU has never been condemned by a Church council as far as I know, although Origen's (a kind of universalist) teachings were condemned since he believed in the pre-existence of souls and the pagan concept of circular time in which humans experienced endless cycles of falls and redemptions.  Gregory of Nyssa and Isaac of Syria were clearly CU's and have never been condemned for their views.  However, no large Christian tradition that I know of has embraced CU as a majority opinion.  
3/2/11 2:55 AM
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jimmy23
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good writeup  Rdige, thanks
3/17/11 8:00 PM
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reverend john
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Depends who you are, everyone is a heretic to somebody

I am a heretic, some of my heresies are similar to Rob's, of course I am actually correct and everyone who doesn't believe what I do is a heretic. Either that or we are all on a journey towards understanding the fullness of Christ, which we only see darkly, as through a mirror now

rev
3/17/11 9:15 PM
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Ridgeback
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But just to be on the safe side we should probably burn him at the stake.  
3/18/11 2:58 PM
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BigSherm
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 not a fan
3/22/11 9:44 AM
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CJJScout
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reverend john - , which we only see darkly, as through a mirror now

rev

Rev, that is Paul, right? How do you view the writings of Paul in general?

In times past I've heard you say that you focus almost exclusively on the life of Jesus in your theology. I'm assuming that you have a heavy emphasis on the gospels and your musings seem to reflect that.

Why then, quote Paul? (I'm curious how it ties into you, not wanting to argue.)
3/22/11 8:09 PM
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Juijitsuboxer
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Seven say Adventists do not believe in a hell or eternal hell yet Christians are not going around and calling them heretics
3/22/11 8:11 PM
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Juijitsuboxer
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Heresies in the early church also include practicing Easter on the wrong date. Read Eusebius church history for many terrible reasons to excommunicate someone
3/23/11 2:13 AM
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reverend john
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CJJScout - 
reverend john - , which we only see darkly, as through a mirror now

rev

Rev, that is Paul, right? How do you view the writings of Paul in general?

In times past I've heard you say that you focus almost exclusively on the life of Jesus in your theology. I'm assuming that you have a heavy emphasis on the gospels and your musings seem to reflect that.

Why then, quote Paul? (I'm curious how it ties into you, not wanting to argue.)


you misunderstand me, Paul is to be interpreted through the lens of Jesus. Jesus is the foundation, the focus, the beginning and end. So it is not that Paul, or John, or the Old Testament have any less relevance than the gospels, but that they are to be translated through the interpretive lens that is Jesus life, death, resurrection and teachings.

I often feel like I am on trial by a bunch of lawyers trying to find some crack in my testimony.

I have never, ever, even hinted that I don't accept the cannon of Paul, or any other of the scriptures

rev
3/23/11 2:13 AM
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reverend john
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Juijitsuboxer - Seven say Adventists do not believe in a hell or eternal hell yet Christians are not going around and calling them heretics

Yes the do in fact

rev
3/23/11 6:43 AM
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 The real mistake would be to take Paul as the primary authority without seeing him through the lens of his Lord.  And this is exactly what many fundamentalist churches around the US do because they have been influenced by the dispensationalist doctrine of Darby, spread through the publication of the Scofield reference Bible.  I have a copy of the Scofield Bible and it actually states that the teachings of Jesus don't apply to the church (Christians) but rather only applied to the Jews of his day because they were in a different dispensation.  They don't believe that the Parable of the Last Judgment would apply to them, because they are saved under grace and not works.  Therefore, they feel no pressure to "do unto the least of these" as if the least of these were really Jesus himself in the flesh.  That, I believe, is a very screwed up doctrine and one that directly leads people to bask in their "salvation" while neglecting the acts of mercy that are supposed to be both the fruits and indivisable parts of a real salvation (faith without works is dead).  
3/23/11 8:33 AM
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CJJScout
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Rev, that makes sense. I wasn't suggesting that you didn't accept parts of scripture, just didn't know how it tied in with your philosophy or hermeneutic. Usually when you post something, it is heavy on the gospels (which there is absolutely nothing wrong with) and don't bring in a lot of other scripture.

And I could be wrong about your emphasis too, just something that seemed to jump out to me.

Ridge, I also agree with you about the propagation of dispensationalist theology. Really a lot of damaging tenants there.
3/23/11 11:55 AM
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Lahi
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Edited: 03/23/11 11:56 AM
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.
3/23/11 12:01 PM
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Lahi
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Ridgeback -  The real mistake would be to take Paul as the primary authority without seeing him through the lens of his Lord.  And this is exactly what many fundamentalist churches around the US do because they have been influenced by the dispensationalist doctrine of Darby, spread through the publication of the Scofield reference Bible.  I have a copy of the Scofield Bible and it actually states that the teachings of Jesus don't apply to the church (Christians) but rather only applied to the Jews of his day because they were in a different dispensation.  They don't believe that the Parable of the Last Judgment would apply to them, because they are saved under grace and not works.  Therefore, they feel no pressure to "do unto the least of these" as if the least of these were really Jesus himself in the flesh.  That, I believe, is a very screwed up doctrine and one that directly leads people to bask in their "salvation" while neglecting the acts of mercy that are supposed to be both the fruits and indivisable parts of a real salvation (faith without works is dead).  


It absolutely floored me a while back talking with a guy who believed we are saved by the Gospel Paul preaches, and that since we aren't living under a "Kingdom Theology" anymore, we aren't bound by Jesus' teachings like the Sermon on the Mount. Paul's Gospel to him meant asking forgiveness in Jesus' name, and you're saved. Very nice guy, seemed very sincere in his beliefs. I think he was just as surprised to hear there were Christians around trying to live out the Kingdom.
3/24/11 8:35 AM
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CJJScout
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Paul's gospel is the same as Jesus's gospel.
3/24/11 9:41 AM
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Ridgeback
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CJJScout - Paul's gospel is the same as Jesus's gospel.

 And James and Peter as well. 
3/24/11 11:46 AM
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Grakman
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 What do each of you consider the Gospel to be? I'm not trying to be a smart ass, I'm thinking that there may be some difference of opinion even about that.
3/24/11 10:40 PM
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CJJScout
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Gospel=good news
3/25/11 1:58 AM
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Ridgeback
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Grakman -  What do each of you consider the Gospel to be? I'm not trying to be a smart ass, I'm thinking that there may be some difference of opinion even about that.
Definitely there is a difference there.  I think the fundamentalist on the street corner who starts out his pitch with "if you died tonight do you know where you would go?" is a long way from the gospel proclaimed in the book of Acts by the Apostles and Disciples.  
 
3/25/11 3:35 AM
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Juijitsuboxer
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You also have to look at the different ways that the gospel was presented to different groups in the new testament. Many parts of the new testament have the gospel being preached to monotheistic Jews, other parts have the gospel being preached to polytheistic pagans.

Each preaching approach is different and different points were emphasized between the gospels, acts, the Pauline epistles, James epistle, and the apostolic epistles.
3/25/11 11:47 AM
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Grakman
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CJJScout - Gospel=good news

 So if I hear that I have won the lotto or gotten a promotion, I have heard the Gospel?
3/25/11 1:04 PM
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inlikeflynn
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Grakman - 
CJJScout - Gospel=good news

 So if I hear that I have won the lotto or gotten a promotion, I have heard the Gospel?


Yep. That's why Ed McMahon was one of the greatest evangelists of all time.

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