Thursday, March 24, 2011

Practical Universalism

Well, the book is out. And based on the reviews and interviews with the author, it appears to be what it was promoted to be.

Of course, I'm talking about the highly controversial book Love Wins by Rob Bell. I wrote about it in my blog a few weeks ago, and you can read what I said (as well as watch a promotional video) here.

Like I indicated, as I watch Mr. Bell being interviewed I think it's pretty clear he believes that people who reject God's love in this life will eventually give in to God's love post mortem and be saved. He rejects the label "universalist", but a label is just a label. The idea that our eternal destiny can be determined by choices made after death is, as Bell says himself about life after death, speculation. And it is speculation that I believe is contrary to Scripture. But...

Yes, there's a "but". And the "but" is what this post is really about. I saw a tweet earlier this week referring to David Platt's comments on the subject. And it stopped me dead in my tracks.

You see, the question for those of us disturbed by Bell's book is this: are we practical universalists? What does that mean? Just this: if we insist that God's justice demands an accounting and that Christ has been provided as the way to the life God intended (both here and forever), do we live as if it matters? Do we really believe what we're saying? Or is it just words?

If we really believe it, it will break our hearts to see people rejecting God's love. We will want to do something about it. And we will work our whole lives to bring God's kingdom here on earth, by 1) loving others as God loved us, 2) meeting the the needs of the poor, the widows, and orphans, and 3) by working to reconcile those in our sphere of influence to God.

I object to theological universalism, because I believe a loving God must deal with injustice and that the choice to accept God's love or not in this life matters. But I know that as I live my busy life, practical universalism creeps in all the time. God grant me the sense of urgency I need. Because people matter.

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