Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Gospel Coalition on Love Wins

At the recent Gospel Coalition Conference here in Chicago, a session was dedicated to discussing Rob Bell's Love Wins. There are two links: one is Don Carson's talk on universalism and the other is a round table discussion with Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, Tim Keller, Stephen Um, and Crawford Loritts.

This at the very least should be very interesting and likely useful stuff. I'm listening to it today. I don't think Love Wins offers a straightforward universalism -- pluralism most definitely, universalism no. It would be correct I think to call the view hopeful universalism; but Love Wins does not claim that Hell will be ultimately evacuated. For the book, Love wins out because God, in his love, allows people to choose Hell and that, primarily for Rob Bell's argument, in this life.


CJW said...

Disappointing really: the stridency of anti-Bell criticism had me hoping for an angry-Reformed response called 'Hate wins'.

I guess these guys are going to get around to responding to (and maybe even reading) Volf's more controversial proposal. Perhaps it's next on the list after CS Lewis?

Jason said...

I know this isn't what TGC does, but I think these kinds of "panels" are completely unhelpful. Put Greg Boyd and Roger Olson and Scot McKnight up there with those guys and then you have a GREAT panel. 5 guys who have the exact same theology and opinion about the book is just strange. Kevin DeYoung totally commandeered the conversation and I didn't hear anything beyond his opinions.

Thought it was interesting that Keller admitted to being "hurt" by Rob's opinion of the "traditional" position, eventhough, I am pretty sure Bell does not have Tim Keller and his ministry in mind when he aims at his "toxic" Gospel caricature.

These panels TGC and Southern Baptist Seminary do, are just weird.

D said...

Just one clarification:

You say Rob Bell's view promotes "pluralism, most definitely." This isn't quite accurate. It most definitely promotes "inclusivism," namely, the view the Christ can work through other faiths or persons of other faiths. But it doesn't necessarily promote pluralism, which is the stronger view that all major religions are on par alethically or soteriologically (cf. John Hick's An Interpretation of Religion). Bell is clear that if one is saved, it is only by Christ that she is, even if he is open to the idea that most (if not ultimately or hopefully all) are saved.

Jeremy said...

CJW, you might want to read TGC reviews where Volf's recent book is discussed. They didn't forget about it. They can't touch on everything during a short panel discussion.

I was disappointed in Carson's lecture. He danced around many of the hard questions that Bell brings up. Hell is one thing, but what about inclusivism? Later Carson discussed 1 Timothy 2:4 but never answered the obvious question, "How can you, a Calvinist, believe that God can desire things and they not occur?" He brought up the question, but never gave an answer. I just did not find it that helpful.

CJW said...

Jeremy, thanks I'll do a Google search: I'm not overly acquainted with the TGC site :)