Ran across this in the latest (Aug 2011, p 72) Christianity Today… It’s an excerpt from this current book:
God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News Is Better than Love Wins – by Mark Galli Tyndale, July 2011
(And here is a longer CT article by Mark Galli… From all the stuff by Galli in CT on Bell’s recent book, looks likes he’s the designated hit man against it.)
christianitytoday.com/ct/201 … dwins.html
Wow – that seems a bit snide to take a swipe at Bell by subtitling one’s book “… and Why the Good News is Better than Love Wins…”
Huh? God Wins is superior to Love Wins because it somehow manages to incorporate ECT?? Really??? OK lets move on…
I assume if one prints an excerpt in CT magazine, it represents the best stuff they’ve got. As such, it is shockingly weak. Begins by asserting that “The problem with speculation is that it knows no bounds.” OK – it goes on to say that “The universalist idea for solving the problem of unbelief is to speculate that God will eventually win people over after they suffer enough judgement.” Well then – if speculation is the order of the day, why not speculate reincarnation? People returning over and over again until they “get it right”? “Why not suppose that all language of judgment is culturally conditioned, that in the end God doesn’t judge anyone for anything?”
Is he kidding? That’s an astonishingly awful, willful – and ignorant – thing to state about Universalism. That we have hidden behind “speculation”; that we have no apparent place for judgement in our theology. Man – I appreciate knowledgeable and informed criticism, but this is pathetic! To build such a straw man, and proceed to knock it down, simply shows he’s only trying to calm the riled masses who actually worry that Love Wins actually may have a genuine point!
It is incredibly condescending of him to further state that the “problem with these scenarios is that in the end we know that we’ve made them up to comfort ourselves in the face of life’s sobering realities.” This is patronizing in the extreme; so ludicrous as to be instantly dismissable. Your theology is your own fantasized creation: Mine is truth… Pull-EEze!!!
OK, it only gets worse. It seems that there are “apparent” contradictions to God’s “love and justice”. And oh my, how can an all powerful God coexist beside the presence of evil. And a God who comes as both divine and human. Seems it’s all so very deep and mysterious. So in the face of all this mystery and contradiction, God simply asks us to “believe”. And to share the “good news”. So… the answer to Universalism is… a “mystery” that we are just to believe by faith…
You can be certain that I will not be reading this book. If this is any indication, it’s a pathetic misrepresentation of Universalism to those who are unlikely to search out the matter for themselves.
A book this inadequate can only mean that the doctrine of Universalism is making deeper inroads into the evangelical consciousness than we’ve imagined…
At least I hope so!