From the REALLY, REALLY Bad Theology Department….

The whole Rob Bell/Mars Hill/Love Wins saga just keeps unfolding with layer after layer of bad theology.  Now the Teaching Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, Shane Hipps, has made a public statement that just defies logic, rules of hermenuetics and exigesis and quite a bit of common sense.  Get a load of this…

     “There is a lot of talk these days about heaven and hell. Recently, a handful of best-selling books have been published on this topic (23 Minutes in Hell, Erasing Hell, Heaven Is for Real, God Wins). Some of these are in direct response to Rob Bell’s book Love Wins (incidentally and ironically, a book almost entirely concerned with this life, not the next one).
     “As a Christian who believes in the Bible and Jesus, I have found the intensity and certainty of the debate all very bizarre. It’s strange that so much passion and ink has been spilled over something that is all speculation.
     “Here’s what I mean: If you died, took pictures, and came back to life again, then you would know with certainty what happens after death. Of course, you would only know what happens to you, not everyone else. But if you haven’t died, you can only speculate about what happens to you and everyone else.
     “This speculation is perfectly fine. As long as we recognize these are only our beliefs. And beliefs by nature are not certain; they are faith based assumptions. That’s what makes them beliefs. Once you can prove them, they are no longer beliefs; they become a kind of knowing. And the funny thing is once you know, you don’t need to debate anymore.
     “I have never died, so I don’t have a theological position on heaven or hell. I can only entertain theological possibilities. There is a big difference.
     “I take a position when I know something with certainty. Almost always through direct experience. If someone pinches me, I don’t believe they pinched me. I know it. I experienced it. It doesn’t reside somewhere in my head. Nothing to debate. It happened.
     “I consider a possibility when it’s something I don’t know. This is something I merely believe. Either because someone I trust told me, or the Bible seems to say it, or reason supports it. But until I’ve experienced it, this is only something I believe– a possibility. And possibilities should be held with an open hand, perhaps with some humility and even humor. Who knows, I could be wrong about what I believe?
     “Now having said this, I’m only aware of one person who died, and I mean really died, like three days dead, and came back to life again. His name was Jesus. Upon his return from the dead, he didn’t believe anymore; now he knew. So if I wanted some indication about what happens after I die, I should probably pay attention to what he said after he came back from the dead.
     “Here’s what he said about heaven and hell after his resurrection. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
     “What did he talk about? Here’s just a sampling: He tells his disciples to make students of him (Mt 28:16), to share the good news of liberation in this life (Mk 16:9-20). He says, “Peace be with you,” and “I’m hungry.” (Lk 24:36-41) He says, “Receive the holy breath; now you can forgive sins.” (Jn 20:22) He says, “It’s me, really, touch my side” (Jn 20:27), and “The fishing is better on the right side of the boat.” (Jn 21:6) He says “Let’s eat” (Jn 21), “Feed my sheep; now follow me” (Jn 21:18-20), and “Stop worrying about the future and the fate of other people; just follow me.” (Jn 21:22; Acts 1:7-8)
     “Not exactly a systematic theology of the afterlife. Mostly, it’s a repeated invitation to trust and follow him and not worry about the future. Apparently, he is also hungry a lot. If anyone had the authority and credibility to provide a coherent-once-and-for-all description of exactly what happens after you die, it would be Jesus upon his return from beyond the beyond. But he didn’t. He didn’t even seem all that interested.
     “If it were important to him, you’d think he would have written a book about it. Or preached a sermon or two. But he didn’t. After Jesus rose from the dead, he spends his time talking about this life.  It would seem Jesus is more concerned with this life than the next. Perhaps we should be, too.  We only get one, and it’s short.”  (HT: Charles Wood)

If you want a good rebuttal to “Love Wins” try this E-Book written by my pastor, Dr. Bobby Conway — “Hell, Rob Bell and What Happens When You Die”

5 thoughts on “From the REALLY, REALLY Bad Theology Department….

  1. Don Russell

    That was one of the most assumption-laden philosophical ramblings I’ve read in a while. I don’t even know where to start in responding to it. There are so many faulty presuppositions. I don’;t know what to do.

  2. Watchman

    I know it’s considered really bad form to judge the salvation of another these days, but by the time this guy “knows” about the afterlife, I’m afraid he will find himself spending eternity in the smoking section. If he is a “Christian who believes in the Bible and Jesus” then I am not…and vice versa.

  3. Mark Harrell

    This is part of our times. People do not have a firm basis for truth in their lives; and if they do know of the Bible, most do not know how to study the living Word. People like Rob Bell getting away, with the masses, with their own interpretation of truth is only going to get worse. We must redeem the times; the days are surely evil. We must choose not to be a Laodicean people in a Laodicean Age.

    Mark Harrell
    Pastor Faith Baptist Church

  4. Jim Broestler

    Yeah. Except unless he is Thomas how does he know Jesus actually rose from the dead? Becase the Bible says it? But that makes his “clincher” argument a belief by his own definition so he should be holding it much more loosely accoding to his own argument. IOW this is a man with his feet firmly planted in mid air. And this is the sort of person they make teaching pasto over thousands?

    Bonhoeffer was right. Theological liberals in America not only have wrongheaded theology, but they’re not even intellectually serious enough to be able to articulate a decent argument for it.


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