The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Christ minimized?

This was a conversation between two Calvinists believing in the annihilation of the wicked: … -jon-zens/

They harshly criticized Rob Bell.

Your thoughts?

I went to the link, and the only video I saw there between two persons was nearly 3 hours long. I have neither the time nor the interest to listen to two Calvinists converse for such a lengthy period. Why don’t you list the main points of each speaker, and then we can comment on those points.

Well, Christian universalists (including Rob Bell) have a maximal notion of the scope of Christ’s atonement and salvation of sinners, along with Arminianists (and various RC/EOx analogues); and have a maximal notion of the original persistence of Christ’s atonement and salvation of sinners, along with Calvinists (and various RC analogues like Saint Augustine of Hippo). And even though Rob (in Love Wins anyway) doesn’t go so far as to say Christ is maximally certain to succeed, that’s because he was trying to avoid being called a universalist (despite his inconsistent title of the book); and even then, unlike C. S. Lewis for example, he never turns around and denies that Christ will persist at leading sinners to repentance after claiming that if we expect Christ to cease persisting we’re looking for less love not more from God. (Which is why I don’t blame people, opposing or supporting him, for calling him a universalist. Technically Rob’s a Christian universalist on those two characteristics: God’s scope and God’s original persistence of salvation.)

I don’t know Dr. Zens, but I’m hoping my friend Chris Date (aka [tag]Theopologetics[/tag]) kept those things in mind about Christian universalists, and about Rob if he read LW; especially since Rob spends at least two whole climactic chapters (out of less than ten in a short book) emphasizing the maximal importance of Christ to salvation from sin, basically trying to convince his fellow Arms (from whom Rob came and with whom he still identifies in that book) that the Calvs are also correct in the way they maximize the importance of Christ for salvation.

As for harshly criticizing Rob Bell, especially in LW, I’m pretty dang harsh in criticizing several moves he makes in the first chapters of that book myself, particularly where he outright cheats multiple times against his opponents. Anyone can jump up and down on him as much as they want, in regard to those things, as far as I care. It’s too bad Chris didn’t invite me for a three-way discussion on that! – I’ll be curious to see if Dr. Zens mentions all the problems I myself did. :wink: (Keeping in mind that even in a 3 hour interview he might not cover everything in his own book or Rob’s.)

Members and visitors meanwhile can read my own book length (105 pages), mostly informal, and completely free (pdf or doc file, or forum post format) critical appraisal of LW here on the EU forum.

However: it is also fairly common among commenters (even professionals who ought to be more fair or at least accurate) to crit against Rob on a number of various things which are flatly NOT TRUE. I talk about that in depth in my epic review, too, although it would be much easier to read my formal 13 page summary (also attached to the first post of that thread) to note things to watch or listen for when opponents are talking about LW. I don’t know (yet) whether Dr. Zens and/or Chris crit Rob on those pseudo-points; I can imagine an Arm or Calv scholar managing to write a whole short book critting him on other points (valid or invalid as those themselves may be). But from experience, I have yet to read or hear a critique which doesn’t include at least one demonstrably false claim about Rob in regard to LW (at least) which could have been avoided. The places where I agree Rob is cheating pretty badly don’t excuse anyone, especially professional critics, from mis-representing Rob about those topics.

Updated to add: so readers won’t have to spend three hours plowing through my expressionistic attempts at informal internet-esque humor, and also because some readers may be (and in the past have become) very upset at how thoroughly and continually I rake Rob over the coals for being unfair to his opponents (in Love Wins at least), I’m appending the 13-page summary article below, which doesn’t go into as much detail over problems I find in the book (and doesn’t go into as much detail over things I find Rob doing well or even brilliantly), but which does cogently summarize at the end areas that putative reviewers of his book had better watch out mis-reviewing him on (even if in a couple of those places Rob himself inadvertently invites mis-review thanks to problems otherwise).
The Prodigal Gospel of Rob Bell.pdf (329 KB)

We’ve alerted Lotharson to the one-new-thread-per-week rule now, by the way. I didn’t notice this one post-dated the announcement or I would have put it in moderation until Sunday.

To be honest this rule makes the forum extremely less attractive for outsiders.

One per day? Perhaps.
Per week? Even if I am not a woman, I am much more talkative than that…

One new thread a week is not too bad - I just posted something in the Essay section that I had to take a few more pains in composing than I would have otherwise. That is one good reason for the rule - once a week we have to take the time to get it right. I’ve just started my next week’s essay and I’m excited.
We still have unlimited ability (subject to moderation) to post on threads that are already open.

In my experience men are far more talkative than women.

And everyone should have a look at Dave’s essay. It’s well worth reading and I think really helpful. :slight_smile:

I hope so.

Tread carefully, friend. Tread very carefully. That sort of lazy sexism might have washed in about 500 BC, but not here.


I am amazed at your experience, Cindy! Mine is quite the contrary.

I also find, in general, that women are much more sociable than men. I enjoy listening to women’s conversations more than I do that of men, since they are far more interesting (to me—again, generally speaking). Men usually talk about their work, or their vehicles, or other material things. Women usually talk about people. That has been my experience.

Hmm well, I suppose it depends on the people. Amongst my friends, when the whole group is together the men always dominate the conversation. They’re fun to listen to, but if any of the ladies want to say something they have to butt in, and we don’t like doing that. When we’re amongst ourselves we generally have no trouble conversing. Between my husband and me, he’s by far the more talkative whether it’s just the two of us or whether we’re with friends. On the other hand, my mom could talk the hind leg off a mule. :laughing: Whenever we’re together, words must happen. Constantly. And my dad was always quiet. Maybe it’s a generational thing?

:laughing: :laughing: I’m not sure why, but this gave me a great laugh my friend. Thank you.

I listened to that interview when it came out a while back. I enjoyed it (and I’m certainly no Calvinist). I’ll see if I get some time to post a summary of it early this week. If I remember correctly their Calvinism didn’t come through much at all. While Chris Date is unashamedly a six point Calvinist, I’ve never found him to be pretentious about it. He’s strikes me as a peacemaker among the family before he’s an evangelist of Calvin’s doctrines of grace.

If you did give it a listen, I imagine it would be their Conditionalism that would send you reeling. :slight_smile:

Peace be with us all.

Okay Jeremiah, I’ll bite. :laughing: What is the SIXTH point? (shivering in my boots!)

My experience is about the same as Cindy’s. My husband is far more talkative than I am, and in our small groups, the men have definitely dominated the conversation. In the group, the men have a much more aggressive style of discussion. I don’t like to interrupt either. But I do on occasion. But then I usually get interrupted … :sunglasses:


:laughing: It’s something I hear many Calvinists sort of joke about (yes some do joke on occasion) They’ll call it S.T.U.L.I.P. The prequel “S” is for “Sovereignty.”

:laughing: Stulip – I dunno – that just doesn’t seem right! :laughing:

You would think at least ONE of the 6 points would be…LOVE!
But I understand - the S allows almost anything else to follow - who can question S?

How about the 'freedom of sovereign love?" Has a nice ring…

I’ve come to draw the difference between Calvinism, Arminianism, and Reconciliationism in how they relate to the following 4 statements about God.

  1. God is sovereign over all.
  2. God is love and loves all.
  3. God is savior of all.
  4. God is judge of all.

There are plenty of scriptures that at face value affirm all four statements. Because Calvinism believes God’s judgments result in some being lost, they only affirm 1 and 4, and explain away passages that affirm 2 and 3. Because Arminianism believes God’s judgments result in some being lost, Arminianism only affirms 2 and 4, and explain away passages that affirm 1 and 3. Because Reconciliationism believes God’s judgments result unltimately in reconciliation, Reconciliationism affirms 1, 2, 3, and 4 and is thus the “most” biblical.

:laughing:Stulip – I dunno – that just doesn’t seem right!:lol:

How about?
Stiptoe Through the Stulips—by Stim Stiny :laughing: