Posts Tagged ‘Love Wins’

So all the theologizing, reading, discussing, and name calling (not on my part) lately have got me wondering about some of the questions that are at the heart of the matter.  All these matters of who is saved, who gets saved, how they are saved, and saved to what are all fair questions worth consideration but in the end it boils down to us all trying to determine who is with whom and who is on who’s “team”.  I also realize that over the last decade or more it has become far more popular to talk about the Kingdom of God in terms of an “open set” as opposed to a “bound set” when discussing who is or is not a part of the Kingdom (a matter of direction of your life as opposed to a one time decision), but the matter still comes down to who’s on Jesus side in the end.  So these are the questions I have been wrestling with:

– What does it mean to be with Jesus?

– What are the bare minimums to be a part of his kingdom?

– How off do you have to be in belief and action before you are no longer “with him”?

– What beliefs would get God to look at you and say “Ya, thanks but no”?

I also realize that it is not up to me to determine ultimately the matter of final judgment – that is up to God thank God – but I think it is pretty disingenuous for us to act like we should not think about who we are actually working alongside of in this life in the name of Jesus.  Different matters of contention have risen and fallen over the years, some being smoothed over and some causing splits all over who is with Jesus or not.

If someone believes women can/should be pastors is that okay?

What if someone prays to Mary?

What if someone believes in evolution?

What if someone thinks and endorses same-sex sexual relationships?

What if someone verbally believes in the work of the Holy Spirit, but denies his power by the way they live and worship?

What if someone holds a different view of heaven and hell?

What if they only believe one of these?

What if they believe all of these?

How far off can we be and still be followers of Jesus?  I ask these questions not necessarily to say each of these are wrong or right so much as to point out the issues we tend to divide ourselves over and openly wonder: How different from you does someone have to be before you believe you can no longer serve Jesus together even if you both claim to follow Jesus?  Do we let ourselves be more influenced by Jesus words from Luke when he said, “49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” 50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.””, or do we look at Paul’s many admonitions to rebuke false teachers and prophets?

I do not have an answer to it all yet obviously or I would not be asking the questions, but I think this is one of those things you cannot just leave as a mystery because it affects your life and ministry opportunities from moment to moment.  Oh the things we unearth when we begin to wonder.

This past weekend much of the world’s chatter online and around town was about the Academy Awards and the seeming insanity of one Mr. Charlie Sheen as he seemed to appear on every major – and minor – media outlet in the world to spout nonsense and just generally get noticed again.  As I am a pretty regular talk radio listener I could not help but hear a fair bit of the discussion surrounding both those events and everyone’s uneducated opinions on both matters.  The major topic of discussion that interested me though over the past few days has nothing to do with either of these things, but has held interest and created discussion in Christian theological circles on a similar level: the as of yet unreleased new book “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived” by Rob Bell.  Rob Bell may not be adding Twitter followers at the rate of 500 per minute like @charliesheen is, but he certainly has pumped up discussion – and likely sales – for his upcoming work.

A lot of the opinion and tirades started here, then were rebutted here, and then finally found some balanced opinion and sanity here.  Just as quick reminder – this book has not even been released yet.  No matter where you wind up on the issue of the destination of people when they die – and there is a fair bit of leeway on that will let you be considered orthodox regardless of what some might say – I think the biggest story coming out of this issue is not even the issue itself but how it seems to be handled more and more often within the church and society as a whole.  People are quick to jump to quick and brutal opinions which they wield like a blunt object without ever feeling the need to fully explore a situation or contemplate the facts and what the best course of action is.

What ever happened to thoughtful meditation and consideration over a shock and awe approach to Christian discourse?  Digital media certainly enables a lot of great things to create and continue discourse among otherwise disconnected people, but I think this kind of infighting shows the dark side of what it can do and unfortunately emphasizes the things wrong with the church instead of what it can be when it is great.  I do not write this to express an opinion on the matter yet, I have not yet read the at this point still unreadable book, but I do right it as a call to grace and charity when any discussion of the things of God is to take place – especially if it is in regards to a topic held dear.

John 13:34-35 – 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”