The Blog

The Shaping of Things to Come

If you have heard any of the following terms in religious conversations as of late, Missional, Incarnational, Meta-Narrative, Post-Christendom Culture, being an authentic community, it was probably encouraged at least in part by this book,  “The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church“. Both Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch have done an excellent job in describing what is at the the center of the  fresh expressions of church that are emerging.

Frost and Hirsch explain how “Western” society has been moving into what they describe as a post-christendom era. They say, “Christendom has been in decline for the last 250 years.” They argue that many are now or many ought to be moving in to a “Missional” phase of church expression. One where we are moving away from the many things that defined the era of Christendom, such as Buildings, Institutional Centralized Leadership, Institutional Sacraments, Church as center of Society,  and ex-tractional Conversions.


The Missional emerging shape of things to come will not be focused on a Church building. The new leadership mode is one that is pioneering-innovative in nature, including the five-fold ministry ethos, not just majoring on the “pastor/teacher” role. It will move towards being more grassroots and decentralized. It Redeems, re-sacralizes, and ritualizes new symbols and events. Church is once again on the fringes of society and culture. The church re-embraces a missional stance in relation to culture.That is a mouth full.

They suggest the idea of Shared Projects. Rather than only doing church based programs,  instead getting involved in programs and initiatives that are already helping the community.

There is this group in San Francisco calling itself ReImagine.  They have been meeting to explore the goal of living in what they call Green space. Green is the goal. The color green is made up of course by both the colors yellow and blue . “Yellow space refers to a Christian spirituality that is only concerned with the personal, interior world of faith. It characterizes the classic individualized form of faith the focuses on personal quiet times, Bible study, church attendance and personal moral/ethical behavior. Blue space refers to an exclusively other-focused form of Christian spirituality, one that takes context seriously and features such activities as social concern, justice-seeking, activism, and public moral/ethical behavior.” These two parts of faith ought to be blended and not separated.

Rather than being an attractional church, the goal of the emerging church is to be Incarnational. “The incarnational church seeks to infiltrate society to represent Christ to the World” A long chapter toward the end is about what they call “the genius of APEPT“. This is the five-fold ministry or functions of disciples: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. The newer expressions of church are giving a more rounded recognition within the leadership of all these roles, not just favoritism to the Pastor/Teacher C.E.O. style of things from the past.

I have read many books in this genre and this one is is quite unique and stands out amongst the rest in many ways.

N.T. Wright reflects on Rob Bell and Hell

Here is a recent interview of N.T. Wright about his thoughts on “Hell” and Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins“.

If you prefer viewing theology over reading theology or vice versa, you have the choice below. In this interview Tom Wright gives and interesting outsiders observation of “American” theology.

If you have read “Love Wins“, do you agree with Wright that it is a good thing to stir things up as Rob Bell has done so with his book? What do you think? Has Bell succeeded in getting you to re-evaluate and and thereby adjust/refine your view of “Hell” and eschatology in general? Even if you went away from Bell’s book not agreeing with a lot of his arguments, did the book act as a catalyst for your own re-evaluation of “heaven” and “hell”?

The Video

Wright on Hell & Bell from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

The Interview

My usual counter question is: “Why are Americans so fixated on hell?” Far more Americans ask me about hell than ever happens in my own country. And I really want to know, why is it that the most prosperous affluent nation on earth is really determined to be sure that they know precisely who is going to be frying in hell and what the temperature will be and so on. There’s something quite disturbing about that, especially when your nation and mine has done quite a lot in the last decade or two to drop bombs on people elsewhere and to make a lot of other people’s lives hell. So, I think there are some quite serious issues about why people want to ask that question.

Having said that, I am not a universalist. I’ve never been universalist. Someone quoted a theologian saying, “I’m not a universalist, but maybe God is.” That’s kind of a neat way of saying, “OK, there’s stuff in Scripture which is a little puzzling about this, and we can’t be absolutely sure all down the line.” But it seems to me that the New Testament is very clear that there are people who do reject God and reject what would have been His best will for them, and God honors that decision. How that works and how you then deal with the questions which result I have written about at some length.


I don’t think myself that Rob Bell has quite taken the same line that I did in Surprised by Hope
. I haven’t actually had the conversation with Rob since his book was published. So, one of these days, we will and we’ll have that one out. I do think it’s good to stir things up because so many people, as I say, particularly in American culture, really want to know the last fine-tuned details of hell. And it seems to be part of their faith, often a central part of their faith that a certain number of people are simply going to go to hell and we know who these people are. I think Rob is saying, “Hey wait a minute! Start reading the Bible differently. God is not a horrible ogre who is just determined to fry as many people as He can forever. God is actually incredibly generous and gracious and wonderful and loving and caring. And if you paint a picture of God which is other than that, then you’re producing a monster and that has long-lasting effects in Christian lives and in the church.”


Rob Bell Love Wins

How to READ the BIBLE BOOK by BOOK

Have you ever just got finished readying something in the Bible and left feeling like you had no idea where that came from, why it is in the bible, and how it matters to you? Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart did an excellent job in their book, “How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour“. In it they give a guided tour to each and every book of the bible.

I learned to study the bible using the Inductive bible study Method, as we called it, in YWAM Kona’s School of Biblical Studies. Many of the same methods I learned through S.B.S. are consistent with the overall pursuit of this book. They treat each book of the bible individually presenting an overall context, some background information and simple structural outline. This is followed up with a very short summary of the different sections of each book attempting to point out to the student the overall continuity of the Author’s message. I highly recommend this book as a bible reading aid to anybody wanting to understand the whole bible in its whole context.

If you want to learn more about the Inductive Bible Study Method, check out another book by the same authors, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
“. Of course if you have 9 months available, I strongly recommend just going through an S.B.S.

Bible Resource Blog

Bible resource Blog

May 21st, 2011 DoomsDay a Hoax?

I am sitting here on my laptop waiting for doomsday to arrive in 10 minutes Pacific Coast Time in the U.S. and then I suddenly realized, wait, it is already that time in New Zealand. Did it happen? Well I have on good authority from the Tall Skinny Kiwi that nothing happened and Jesus has let us down again. Harold Camping has misplaced a decimal again. It appears the 1st time Camping predicted the rapture was in 1994. He resolved that his math was wrong then. Lets wait and here what it the reason is this time. It is amazing that so many still follow him on Family Radio.

This is what is on there website right now.
Judgment Day Rapture Harold Camping

“About You” by Dick Staub

I recently finished Dick Staub’s excellent book About You: Fully Human, Fully Alive. When I came across this title I thought, “that sounds like self-focused spirituality”, but after reading a synopsis I quickly decided that I misread the title. Now having finished the book I am very happy I chose to read this book by an author I hadn’t ever heard of. The writing is very accessible and the topic is excellent. The premise of the book is that God has made you to be a human being with a desire for you to live up to your fully human potential. His starting point is that humans are “Imago Dei”, that humans are made in the “Image of God”. We are created to be reflections of God’s character within his Creation. This is his baseline throughout the book’s meanderings through all topics related to living to our fullest potential as God’s Image bearers.

Dick Staub

Theology Book Review Dick Staub About You

“The Humanizing Jesus” is the title of one chapter where he starts out with a quote by Hans RookMaaker, “Jesus didn’t come to make us Christian; Jesus came to make us fully human.” A provocative statement, yet true indeed. This quote is the main motif throughout the book. Staubs argues that,

becoming authentically and fully human is the evidence of being a true follower of Jesus. It means that the question we should ask is not, ‘Are you a Christian?’ Instead, the more important question is, ‘Are you becoming more fully human?’ The question is not, ‘Are you going to heaven when you die?’ Instead, the question is, ‘Are you living a fully human life now?’ The question is not, “How successful are you are avoiding the world?’ The question is, ‘How effective are you as a loving, transforming presence in the world?‘”




“Love Wins” -Rob Bell


In this post I will be giving my Review of the book “Love Wins”, but first, a preamble is probably needed for context and clarity.



Preamble

On March 15th 2011 Rob Bell’s book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived” was released to the public.  Of course at this point the Christian Blogosphere had already been buzzing about the short and provocative Love Wins video released a couple weeks earlier where in the very short clip Bell gives an anecdote about an art show at his Church followed by a lot of questions related to “heaven and hell”.  Based on this short clip many started writing and blogging about Bell being a Universalist, and most of  their writings were done without actually having read the book. One prominent pastor even tweeted, “Farewell Rob Bell” again without even having read the book.  : (

It was at that point I decided I should take a step back, read the book, read it twice, listen to some interviews and videos of Bell about his book. Having done so, I am now prepared to give my review.

Review

Rob Bell’s Book “Love Wins..” has 8 short chapters. He starts out his book talking about the importance and place of questions in following Jesus, of whom Bell says, “(Jesus) responds to almost every question he is asked with …a question.” This essentially, is also Rob’s way of exploring faith. He is often re-evaluating old formulas of faith with fresh expressions and understanding.

He then follows up with many questions asking how many people think they know who by name is literally burning in hell right now. Bell tells a story about how his Church had an art show and one of the pieces of art had a quote from Gandhi. Many people were inspired by the quote, but one person decided to stick a note on the art saying, “Sorry, Gandhi is in Hell“. Bell wonders how someone can know this with such certainty about Gandhi.

Now the following two chapters are about Heaven and Hell. I believe these two chapters are Bell’s strongest chapters within the book. Bell critiques the common interpretation of Jesus’ ” kingdom of heaven” message,  often understood as  a reality which is arrived at somewhere else, beginning after this earthly life ceases. He points out that Jesus’ central teaching about “the Kingdom of heaven” was one that spoke of a reality that one is to participate in right here and right now. Heaven isn’t a reality we hope to escape to someday , but rather one we pray for and work for on earth. Bell says:


..Jesus doesn’t tell people how to ‘go to heaven’. It wasn’t what Jesus came to do..”
“Heaven is that realm where things are as God intends them to be..”“A proper view of heaven leads not to escape from the world, but to full engagement with it, all with the anticipation of a coming day when things are on earth as they currently are in heaven.”

First heaven, now hell.
In this chapter bell explores all the different words that often get interpreted by many folks as the singular concept of Hell. This has to be done because if your happen to still be reading from the highly influential King James Version of the bible you would read the English word “Hell” across the board in the place of four different words. Bell begins explaining the context of these different words along with their different meanings. While Bell begins articulating how these words had varying and different intentions of meanings, you begin to wonder how the many translators justified rendering all these as one word -Hell.

The old testament Hebrew word for the place of the dead is Sheol, and its new testament Greek equivalent  is Hades.  Bell then points out that the word Jesus most often used to talk about “hell” is “Gehenna“. Ge means “valley,” and Henna means “Hinnom“. Gehenna is the Valley of Hinnom. This was an actual valley on the south and west side of the city of Jerusalem. Gehenna, in Jesus’s day, was the city dump.. I won’t explain it all here, but he has some striking points which again, this chapter alone would be worth the read.

In the chapter, “Dying to Live”, bell explores what happened when Jesus died on the cross (Atonement Theology). He talks about how there are many different metaphors utilized within the New Testament which give explanation to the meaning of the atoning work of Jesus. He sums up this part here:

“So, back to the question: What happened on the cross?Is the cross about the end of the sacrificial system
or a broken relationship that’s been reconciled
or a guilty defendant who’s been set free
or a battle that’s been won
or the redeeming of something that was lost?Which is It?

Which perspectie is the right one? Which metaphor is correct? Which explanation is true?

The answer, of course, is yes.

..The point, then isn’t to narrow it to one particular metaphor, image, explanation, or mechanism. To elevate one over the others, to insist that there’s a “correct” or “right” one, is to miss the brilliant, creative work these first Christians were doing when they used these images and metaphors. They were reading their world, looking for ways to communicate this epic event in ways their listeners could grasp.

The Point then, as it is now, is Jesus. The divine in flesh and blood. He’s where the life is.”

The remaining chapters of the book have very interesting observations and questions that are worth pondering about the ultimate fate of everyone who has ever lived. Along with Bell’s great skill at observing and asking excellent questions, he begins some attempts at constructing some answers. Now, it has often been rightly said that Bell is great at questions and weak on answers.  On questions of ultimate salvation for all people he seems to suggest that this is a strong possibility.

Some times you think he is saying that in the end all people will ultimately choose the gift of life offered in Jesus.  And in the following sentence he will then say that love demands freedom, love is not coerced. He really sets a tension up here and never gives a definitive conclusion whether or not he resolutely has planted his feet in this belief. In fact, he says we can’t resolve this tension.

Bell asks, “Will everybody be saved, or will some perish apart from God forever because of their choices?” He follows with, “Those are questions, or more accurately, those tensions we are free to leave fully intact. We dont’ need to resolve them or answer them because we can’t..” There in lies the answer to many people’s question, “Is Rob Bell a universalist?”. He wants to be but never definitively states that is his absolute belief.

Now I think Bell’s arguments loose steam in his chapter, “There are Rocks Everywhere.” It is here where he begins making some arguments that are not all together very convincing to me. Especially his use of these passages: John 10 and 14, and Colossians1. He seems to be meandering through some ideas that I think are just not articulated well or very persuasive. And his scripture references don’t seem to hold up his argument as tightly as he is trying to make them do so.

After all is said, I do think much good can come from this book. Bell has brought much needed critique to the current formulations and understandings of heaven and hell. His book serves as a kind of catalyst, a conversation starter. By no means should his book be considered comprehensive or the last word on these subjects. Much of the strong critical reviews that I have come across on the blogosphere at many times were assuming that Bell was giving a version of his own Summa Theologica. Rather, I suggest quite the opposite; that Bell’s intention was not to be the last word, simply just an initiatory word in hopes to re-liven the conversation about long unchallenged beliefs concerning “the end”. He does not come out decidedly on the question of Universalism, he merely invites you to enter into a tension with him. This book should be read as a starting point only. In fact, once one reads any of Bell’s books, it is soon realized that Bell is having a conversation, he is pointing things out that have often been overlooked. He is asking questions, giving some answers, but by no means is he saying this is the last word. Even more so, in this book, I believe that is true. Thank you Rob.

The following excerpt is from a very recent interview with Relevant Magazine and Rob Bell:

Based on your understanding of universalism, do you consider yourself a universalist?
No, I don’t.And you see the difference being what?
My observation would be that people mean lots of different things with that word. I think for some people, apparently the word means nothing matters. It doesn’t matter what you believe, it doesn’t matter how you live—nothing matters. And I simply don’t believe that. Certain paths are destructive. Certain paths are wrong. Certain paths cause all kinds of toxic harm to other people and it’s not loving your neighbor. So if by “universalism,” people mean it doesn’t matter—it doesn’t matter what you believe, it doesn’t matter what you do—that’s just complete rubbish. So, no.Secondly, sometimes when people say the word “universalism,” I think they mean that at some point God just swoops everybody up into heaven. Like, “Come on, everybody—everybody is in.” And the problem with that is, I believe love wins, and the very nature of love is freedom. So if at any point God co-opts your ability to choose, we no longer are dealing with a loving God. And if there are people who are in heaven who don’t want to be there, then it’s not heaven. Like God is saying, “It’s a party—and you’re going to like it!”

The question that I do think is terribly interesting, and which as a Christian we must wrestle with, it is written in a letter to Timothy, “God wants everybody to be saved.” Now this is fascinating. God wants everybody to be saved, so perhaps the important question is, is God a universalist? And I do think as a Christian it is our duty to long for the things that God longs for, and to want the things that God wants.

Here is a link to an interview with Eugene Peterson.

The King and the Maiden By Søren Kierkegaard

I have often enjoyed Søren Kierkegaard’s Parable of “The King and the Maiden”. I think it is very analogous and helps give a foundation reasoning/explanation to the meaning of the Incarnation, the coming of God in the man Jesus. His birth, life, giving his life to the point of death, and resurrection. It displays for me what I call the “nature” of the Kingdom of God/Heaven.

Read the story below and consider the nature of the life and message of Jesus. In what manner does God reveal the nature of his Love through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the man Jesus?

The King and the Maiden

Søren Kierkegaard

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents.

And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden who lived in a poor village in his kingdom. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist-no one dared resist him. But would she love him?

She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know for sure? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.

The king, convinced he could not elevate the maiden without crushing her freedom, resolved to descend to her. Clothed as a beggar, he approached her cottage with a worn cloak fluttering loose about him. This was not just a disguise – the king took on a totally new identity – He had renounced his throne to declare his love and to win hers.

“The Four Loves” – C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis’s book, “The Four Loves” was a life shaping book for me. I picked this book up at a time when I started to think deeply about what relationships mean and what’s love got to do with it..

The Four Loves summarizes four different kinds of human love: affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God. Of all four Lewis focuses on God’s love; the kind of love that gives with no expectancy to receive in return. The whole point of this book is that this is the only perfect love. This doesn’t mean that the discussion of the other kinds of love goes without service to us. In truth is was quite eye opening to consider how the other loves work and play out in our lives. There is plenty of time in Lewis’ musings to stop and think about your own relationships. It is a deep book indeed, one I recommend to any one hungry for more out of life.

Click to order the book : )



C.S. Lewis "The Four Loves" Book Review Reading Theology Books

More Lewis

Read more about Clive Staples Lewis at Wikipedia. He has been one of the most influential and accessible theologians of the 20th Century. They have an even shorter article about “The Four Loves” as well. I am certain that I will be reviewing many more of his books here on Reading Theology before too long; “Mere Christianity” and “The Great Divorce” most certainly. Thanks for reading.


C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, Philosophical Theology, Nature of Love,

Scott McKnight’s “A Community Called Atonement”

Atonement Theology, or how we understand the meaning and consequence of the death of Jesus on a Roman cross has been a much discussed topic in the last decade. I believe this is a very good thing to be asking these big questions about what is at the very heart of the Christian Faith.

If my history is right, we have William Tyndale to thank for the coinage of our english word atonement.  Atonement being a concatenation of the words ‘At One’ to describe Christ’s work of restoring a good relationship — a reconciliation — between God and people.

If you are like me, you came out of a tradition that explained the totality of what Jesus did through the Cross strictly in Penal Substitutionary terms. This might have been the only lens in which you have seen what Christ has done for us. According to Wikipedia:

Penal substitution (sometimes, esp. in older writings, called forensic theory) is a theory of the atonement within Christian Theology, developed with the Reformed tradition. It argues that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalised) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying  the demands of justice so God can justly forgive the sins. It is thus a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement, where the substitutionary nature of Jesus’ death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary punishment.”

Along with this strict interpretation, the dots might not have been connected between Jesus “Kingdom”message and his death on a Roman cross.

In Scott McKnight’s book, “A Community Called Atonement: Living Theology“, he argues quite persuasively for a more comprehensive and varied understanding of the atoning work of Jesus. Scott begins his exploration and explanation of the atonement by likening the various New Testament atonement metaphors to the many golf-clubs that are needed in playing a good game of Golf. He says if we were to only use one club/metaphor for an exhaustive explanation of what is happening with Jesus going to the cross then we will be playing a very poor game of golf.

Scott explores the proper understanding or Metaphors; the reality to which they point as well as a metaphors limits . He explores the question, “What did Jesus think of his death?”  He gives good summary of the main atonement metaphor categories: Identification for Incorporation, Recapitulation, Ransom/Christus Victor, Satisfaction, Substituion, Representation, Penal Substitution.  I feel that Scott McKnight has done us all a great service by  framing the atonement in the manner that he has. Thank you. : )

 

Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” Newsweek Interview

Check out Rob Bell’s latest interview about his new book “Love Wins”
.

Watch live streaming video from lovewins at livestream.com

Rob Bell Video: Love Wins

Rob Bell has a new book that is coming out at the end of March, and already many are judging the book by its cover. I have to admit Bell is quite provocative at times, as can be seen in this short promotional video for his new book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

Click here to watch it on You Tube.

I found out about the Bell’s new book only last week and decided to make my first blog entry here at Reading Theology about my plans to read and review the book as soon as it comes out without realizing what a buzz it would be on the Christian Blogosphere. It seems many are quick on the draw to declare Bell’s heretic status; a forgone conclusion before actually reading the book.

It appears one of the first to get the ball rolling was Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition. He started making many conclusions without having read the book. John Piper then tweeted @John Piper: Farewell Rob Bell. And then Piper followed up by linking to Justin’s Article.

To show you how big this past weeks events have become, consider that CNN is also reporting on it on their Belief Blog. Jason Boyett has an interesting perspective on this whole series of events. You can read Jason’s thoughts at Beliefnet.

You can visit Rob’s website at robbell.com to here it straight from the horses mouth. If you regard the testimony of either Greg Boyd or Eugene Peterson, then I ought to mention that they each contributed an endorsement for Rob Bell’s upcoming book.

“In the current religious climate in America, it isn’t easy to develop an imagination, a thoroughly biblical imagination, that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances in love and for salvation. Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination. Love Wins accomplishes this without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction in its proclamation of the good news that is most truly for all.”
– Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, and author of The Message and The Pastor

“Love Wins is a bold, prophetic and poetic masterpiece. I don’t know any writer who expresses the inexpressible love of God as powerfully and as beautifully as Rob Bell! Many will disagree with some of Rob’s perspectives, but no one who seriously engages this book will put it down unchanged. A ‘must read’ book!”
– Greg Boyd, senior pastor at Woodland Hills Church and author of The Myth of a Christian Nation

As I said in my post from last week. I am looking forward to Rob Bell’s new book. I will read it and THEN review it here on Reading Theology. Hope this is helpful! -Grace and Peace : )

The New Testament and the People of God

“The New Testament and the People of God” is the first of scholar N.T. Wright’s “Christian Origins and the Question of GodScholar N.T. Wright Historical Jesus Third Quest” series. In the NTPG Wright gives attention to detail, connecting all the dots to all your questions you’ve always wanted answered. The first 3rd of the book is necessary to give the basic philosophy and scope to his sketch of the historical Jesus. He lays out the historical background leading up to the 1st Century. He discusses the contrasting hopes and beliefs of the various Judaism’s on the scene at the time of Jesus.

He also gives insightful understanding to apocalyptic literature. He discusses the inter-testamental literature and and its influence upon the hopes and anticipations of those various Judaism’s as well. This is an excellent book, recommended to any one trying to understand the historical Jesus of Nazareth.


The Silas Diary: Gene Edwards

Gene Edwards has written a great series of books of which The Silas Diary (First-Century Diaries)
is the first. By the end of this book series you will have gone  along with the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. When the last of the diaries are told you have read all of Paul’s letters which are now apart of the N.T. These books are great tools for exploring the likely history of the early church and placing Paul’s letters in a contextual backdrop which really helps give them a 3rd dimension of understanding.

The Last Word and the Word After That

In this philosophical/theology/novel “The Last Word and the Word after That”, the Author, Brian McLaren has contributed exceptionally towards a re-working of current formulations and understandings of God’s ultimate judgment (putting the world to rights). The novel’s dialogue concerns the contextual and rhetorical placement of the word hell with in the new testament.
Through the use of fictional characters (it is a novel), and very believable and relate able scenarios, Brian primarily re-evaluates the concept of hell. Throughout the book he also re-considers God’s means of bringing judgment, and God’s restorative project for the Cosmos. I feel that this “fictional/story” mode of exploring the sacred scripture in some ways has a higher fidelity of application as compared to an abstracted systematic leaning method. As you enter into the very real and tangible lives of the characters within the story the understanding can become realized and lived out in a greater capacity.

If you have never considered the evolution of the concept of hell in the scripture time line this would be an excellent book to read. Consider how Jesus taught us through stories, why can’t our mode be the same? I give it two thumbs way up,
great job and plenty mahalo Brian!


Click to Purchase

Brian McLaren Emerging Church

Author Brian McLaren

N.T. Wright’s: The Challenge of Jesus

This is the very first book I read of N.T. Wright’s. It is a great start for any one interested in a primer regarding the leading academic Historical Jesus research that has taken place in the last hundred years up to now. He does a great job of presenting the significant scholars who have contributed to the Quest for the Historical Jesus. He brings you up to date: the 3rd Quest and explains what is different about the 3rd Quest’s philosophy and approach to research. Wright’s writing consistently intrigues you as you continue reading through his reason and logic. He says, “We cannot assume that by saying the word Jesus, still less the word Christ, we are automatically in touch with the real Jesus who talked in first-century Palestine.” He explains how the 3rd Quest is has sought to factor back into our understanding of Jesus his 1st Century Palestinian Jewish context. I highly recommend this author as well as this book particular book of his. It is a must read for anybody seeking to take first step in discovering who the real historical person of Jesus of Nazareth was!

N.T. Wright New Testament Scholar

Rob Bell’s Book: Love Wins

Rob Bell has a new book coming out in one month: March 29th! I have pre-ordered this book from Amazon, and will be giving a review of the book when I have finished reading it. Bell has a unique way of communicating that keeps you challenged, intrigued, and on encouraged to follow Jesus Christ with fresh energy. You can pre-order at Amazon by just clicking on the image : )