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Love Wins by Rob Bell

In Book Reviews by Antwuan Malone20 Comments

Love Wins

A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Every Lived.

Author: Rob Bell
Review by: Antwuan Malone

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Dead or alive, everyone goes to heaven, unless they don’t want to. But they’ll all want to… sooner or later.

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Quick Take:

Rob Bell is not your typical Christian Pastor/Writer/artist. But I bet you knew that already.

If you are familiar with any of  Rob Bell’s work, you already know the tone of this book. You know he’ll ask great questions, provide some shock value, and offer different looks and interpretations of scriptures than you’re used to.

On the matter of Heaven and Hell, Bell offers alternative viewpoints to their traditional Christian definitions, and in so doing created a firestorm among the general Christian community. Is he a heretic or a preacher of good news? Does he shake the foundations of our understanding of salvation and grace for the sake of a feel-good, simplistic gospel, or does he free us from misinterpreted institutional church dogma that casts God in a negative light?

While I feel Bell’s heart is in the right place, I cannot endorse this book for its doctrinal accuracy. It does have its merits though.

The Skinny:

This is a hard review to write.  In this book, Rob Bell raises so many questions, both directly and indirectly, it makes me want to try to cover them all in this review.

Of course, I can’t do that.

There is a more exhaustive (but still not all-inclusive) series of posts I’ve written on this site called “The Love Wins Experience” which covers the book chapter by chapter. I hope you will visit those posts and join in on some of the good discussion on topics each chapter brings up. Having written that series frees me to make this review a more bird’s eye view of this book, in one sense. As long as that bird is the eagle.

What I mean by my eagle-eye view is this. What is the book really about? Is it really about Heaven and Hell and where they will be after this age? Is it really about salvation from Hell? Is it about the idea of God ‘not getting what he wants,’ of ‘Jesus saving us from God,’ Or is it something far more fundamental to the Christian experience.

Support Candid Christianity: Buy Love Wins from this site. Love Wins by Rob Bell

You will read in many reviews that Bell is a heretic, or that Bell misunderstands or misinterprets scripture (you’ll see that in my own posts), and that he is offering a feel-good gospel that takes all the Bible’s good press and rationalizes away the bad press. The writing in this book justifies many of those accusations. Bell has put forth a book that tries to play two sides of the scriptures, yet somehow doesn’t credit God as having more than one side. Bell is ready and willing to speak about God’s love, which is amazing and worth the majority attention for most of our talk about Him. But even he must remember that God shows us for two-thirds of his Holy Book, that He is more than kind, happy, Care Bear, if you will, Love.

And in so doing, he has presented a “brat’s god” who only operates in the kindly part of love’s economy.

Bell is known, in this book particularly, for revealing “the question behind the questions.” For Bell that question is,”What is God like?” But for me, this book was all about the idea of grace.

Reading this book challenged me over and over again. What does God’s grace really look like? How far does God’s grace (alone) really carry us? In what way does God’s grace, a validation of his love, collide with His holy and just nature ? Is that collision a harmonic dance, or an explosion? In other words, does grace nullify God’s holy and just essence? Can such opposite natures justice (judgment) and grace (love) coexist as the essence of one being?

God is asking us to fulfill our original purpose of loving relationship with him. Jesus removed the barrier of judgment so that we could choose to return to that purpose. That’s the good news!! Thus, through the judgment of God satisfied in Jesus, grace is extended for us all. Through the paradoxical picture of the cross, God shows himself as Judge and Love at the same time.

Faith is the key.

Bell neglects the doctrine of faith as the vehicle for getting us where God wants us. Perhaps Bell should consider Faith as the topic of his next book, because there is no mention of it in this one anywhere. You know, the faith that goes with grace (for by grace are ye saved, through faith), the faith mentioned alongside Love and Hope (to ideas Bell does key on) in the famed 1 Corinthians 13 passage.

Faith is the reason God can Love and be Just at the same time. Faith is core to choosing to love God because he first loved us, not because he’ll save us from eternal damnation. Faith is the linchpin to grace and judgment, the engagement ring that ties the two together as one. Without faith, grace is a mere accommodation to circumstance, not a call to a relational union. Without faith, we will always see Hell as punishment instead of personal choice, and heaven as “the safe place” instead of the “place where Love lives.”

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. And what will please Him more than our choice to return his Love!

This is the key to reading this book. See God as a relational being, not as a judge. Not because he isn’t a judge, but because he’s already exercised his judgment on His Son. Thus, heaven and hell, wherever they happen to be (and I don’t believe either are here now) are not rewards or punishment. Hell is not the wrath of God on unsaved men. It is the natural result of choosing to disengage with life and love.

If you stick your hand in fire, would you say the fire punished you by burning your hand? Absolutely not. Fire burns. It’s what it does. Life, love, light, peace — these are the virtues of God. To say no to them, is to naturally receive the opposite of their effect. Death, misery, darkness and chaos.

God is asking us to fulfill our original purpose of loving relationship with him. Jesus removed the barrier of judgment so that we could choose to return to that purpose. That’s the good news!! Thus, through the judgment of God satisfied in Jesus, grace is extended for us all. Through the paradoxical picture of the cross, God shows himself as Judge and Love at the same time. Love’s “winning” is in our ability to choose God through trusting faith in what Jesus’ does for us on the cross!

So in closing. Bell’s book fundamentally falls a wee short. It misses the importance of faith, as it continues to fuel the “brat God” with the punishment talk of Hell as “God’s judgment.” Grace changes the whole effect of our works. No one gets what they deserve now that Christ has died. His death covered all sins. By neglecting the part faith plays in God’s call for us to love Him, Bell will confuse the masses. Without the ideas of faith reconciling the judge of the Old Testament with the Love of the New Testament, we are left with a misunderstood God, and bad theology. Which, despite the fact that I believe Bell’s heart is in the right place, is what this ultimately offers.

Other Reviews:

Click to follow link:

Transcend Church’s Love Wins Review

Amazed & Perplexed Love Wins Review

Aaron Armstrong’s Blogging Theologically Love Wins Review

Christianity Today’s – Rob Bell’s Bridge Too Far

Christus Victor Ministries – Rob Bell is Not a Universalist

http://vimeo.com/24526678

Media

THE BEST and most interesting Rob Bel interview about Love Wins. It’s about an hour but you NEED to hear this if this book has captivated you.

Click: UnBelievable Interview with Justin Brierly (via Premier Christian Radio)

You Tube: AWESOME Remake of the Love Wins Trailer

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Buy It Here ~ Support Candid Christianity:

Love Wins 198x300 Love Wins by Rob BellClick Book Cover or below link to purchase:
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived Love Wins by Rob Bell

You will read in many reviews that Bell is a heretic, or that Bell misunderstands or misinterprets scripture (you’ll see that in my own posts), and that he is offering a feel-good gospel that takes all the Bible’s good press and rationalizes away the bad press. The writing in this book justifies many of those accusations. Bell has put forth a book that tries to play two sides of the scriptures, yet somehow doesn’t credit God as having more than one side. Bell is ready and willing to speak about God’s love, which is amazing and worth the majority attention for most of our talk about Him. But even he must remember that God shows us for two-thirds of his Holy Book, that He is more than kind, happy, Care Bear, if you will, Love.

Purchasing this book from this site is like leaving me a small tip.  Buy it here and Support my site! Thanks!

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 Love Wins by Rob Bell
Antwuan Malone is a freelance writer and blogger about Christian topics that challenge church status quo. He is passionate about the Christian community regaining its voice and authority in society. He believes the first step to achieving this is real, candid conversations among and between believers and non-believers.
20 comments
Sean Scott
Sean Scott

The problem with Rob Bell is not just simply what he believes BUT how he gets there. Here's another review of Rob Bell's book, Love Wins. www.hellsbell.net

ridingacross
ridingacross

"As for Matthew 25:46, you could make the case there that "the punishment" there is meant for the "devils and his angels" (v. 41)" The question would seem to be then, who is being spoken to throughout the scene (25:31-end)? It is the 'Nations" (v32) who are gathered before Him, divided in two groups Goats and Sheep. They are sent either to eternal life or punishment. The Nations always refers to people so far as i can tell, and the fact that this place, Hell, was prepared for the fallen angels before Men fell in the Garden does no damage to it's status as a punishment. I guess it just tells us that every sinful being will be gathered in the same location for punishment...every being that doesn't have a sacrifice to cover their sins, that is. "As for the fire example.. I only meant that there is a difference between natural consequences and conscience punishments. If I tell my daughter not to stick her hand in fire, and then she does and gets burned... then the result was not "my" punishment to her" But scripture specifically tells us that God does consciencly send people to Hell to be punished. Matthew 13 and the parable of the Tares is one example: Mat 13:40 "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. Mat 13:41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, Mat 13:42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Tares are burned because they are bad by nature, do no good to the field or crop, and are put there by the devil. "My point here is, again, based on the premise that Jesus' work on the cross applies to all man, even before we choose to accept it. (Romans 5:6-8, John 3:16 (the world)." Big quote, but necessary here; Rom 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 5:2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Rom 5:3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; Rom 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; Rom 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rom 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Rom 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Starting in V1, it is clear that the 'we' used throughout is refering to believers only; Are unbelievers justified by faith? Have unbelievers had an introduction by faith? Do unbelievers stand in the hope of the glory of God? Do they exult in tribulations? Have unbelievers been given the Holy Spirit? So when, in v6 Paul then says that 'we' were helpless, it is continuing the reference to believers...who were indeed 'ungoly' before the Lord saved them. To end in v8, the 'us' that Christ died for is still the believers. "John 3:17-18 is an interesting study in this regard. I'd say that in those passages, the "condemned" are so, not because their sins are unforgiven, but because they did not "believe" (trust, accept) Jesus." If your sins are forgiven already, why would you need to have faith in the Saviour? Having faith in the Saviour is the only way to have your sins forgiven, isn't it? Eph 2:8 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God Mat 9:2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven." Heb 3:19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. Rom 11:20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; And i do fear, too...the more as we look through the scripture. I must thank you again at this point for bringing all these subjects up, you are helping me to study and know more and better the True and Living God. Man, there's always more we could respond to, but that's it for now. thanks again, james The Lord lead us and guide us in all our conversation. May it all be for the Glory of His Son. amen

ridingacross
ridingacross

Hi Antwuan, Thanks for replying quickly and comprehensively! "I am open to relooking at the idea of heaven being punished, but it seems the place where we meet, and perhaps differ, is in the idea that Jesus was the punishment for all of our sins... all being everyone ever" Perhaps that first part was a typo otherwise i dont understand, and i'll ask you to say more :-) The scope and efficacy of the atonement is at the center of our discussion, as is the extent of the natural, unregenerated, man's freewill. Because these are key doctrines, and because i'm a poor writer, this reply is a bit long. Wish i could do it otherwise, but can't seem to. forgive me! Anyway, it is interesting how almost any question between two believers tends to revolve around a core group of doctrines, isn't it. I guess that's how we got those famous 5 points! "I believe that Jesus' death covered ALL human sins. (Romans 5:18). And by covered, I mean, Jesus took the punishment and the judgment of God for us. And if I believe that, then Hell can't be "another punishment." "the line here is that people are not being punished for their sin, they are being "cursed" or "damned" by their choice... much the way Jesus "chose" to be cursed for us. " You couldn't have said it clearer - there cannot possibly be a second punishment for Sin if Christ has already been punished for that same Sin.To believe so would go against every idea of God being Holy, Just,Loving or Good and would also greatly lessen Christ's work on the Cross, none of which we have have any disagreement about so far as i can tell. But if people are not being punished for Sin, what other reason is there to be damned to everlasting Hell for? The Son, as part of the triune Godhead, did choose to be cursed for our sakes, as you said, but the curse was the punishment due to Sin... The only reason any of this happened is because of Sin, and it is to rescue us from eternal Hell that the Lord provided us the sacrificial Lamb to whom we are joined through faith. And yes, we do agree that punishment in Hell will be the choice of those that are sent there, but why will some choose and not others? Are we that choose Jesus just much smarter than all those that don't? Are we the clever ones that figured it out? Are we just naturally humble and know our need? Scripture would seem to go against that idea, but we can branch into that in other comments perhaps, otherwise this will be really long one, but keep in mind this question further along as the source of our faith matters in most of our discussion.

ridingacross
ridingacross

Hi Antwuan, Grateful that you took the time to work through all the chapters of this book, interesting to read your review. Just had a few questions. If things read a bit bluntly, please don't think that i'm having a go at you or anything, it's just the poor way i write things out! In quoting bits from your article above, i wasn't able to tell if they were expressing your own beliefs or what you found Rob Bell's beliefs to be. That's my fault. I are slow. Either way, i'll speak to them directly. "Without faith, we will always see Hell as punishment instead of personal choice, and heaven as “the safe place” instead of the “place where Love lives.” Hell is our natural, fallen, choice and the the choice that we would all make had the Lord left us to it, but surely Hell is punishment? Mat 25:46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. "Hell is not the wrath of God on unsaved men" 1Th 1:10; 2Th 1:8-9 : 2Peter 3:7 : "If you stick your hand in fire, would you say the fire punished you by burning your hand? Absolutely not. Fire burns. It’s what it does." Although Hebrews 12;29 tells us that God is a consuming fire, i'm not sure we can take that metaphore and use it to remove the personality of God from His judgement. God is as fully personal in His Wrath as in His Love. Fire on the other hand is an unthinking, amoral and non personal physical process that has no feelings at all about what it burns, and as such is not fully representitive of the Lord's nature. The Lord is very clear about how much He hates Sin, and this fact informs our understanding of the staggering nature of the Christ's suffering in His Passion. "No one gets what they deserve now that Christ has died. His death covered all sins" If this only applies to believers, then that's fine, but i wasn't sure how inclusive the 'no one' was intended to be. Those in Christ don't get what they deserve, because Christ got that, taking our Sin upon Himself. 2Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Those not in Christ, the unregenerated, do get the deserved consequences of Sin because their sins have not been taken away, have not been covered and are not paid for. That consequence is being placed in Hell. Thanks again for writing all of your articles on this topic, and i hope we can have a good discussion about it! peace james

@fsusma
@fsusma

Very good review. I need to spend more time reading your work!

Tiffany
Tiffany

Very good thoughts. Thanks for your review!

daringdingo
daringdingo

Great review...you're much better at communicating it than I am, but I felt exactly the same way while reading the book.

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Exactly. Much of what he says borrows (and builds) on N.T. Wright's "Surprised By Hope" which I'll be reviewing soon. But yeah, it is how he gets there that is often the problem. I do like that he pushes us though. Sometimes, we need to be stretched and pushed. Thanks for the comment!

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Good stuff ridingacross, Yes, that was a typo. It should have said am open to looking at HELL as a punishment. (Le oops!) It still seems that where we differ is in the fact that Jesus sacrifice covers the sins of the world... saved or unsaved. My view is that the sin debt is paid and so there is no reason for God to "punish" any of us because we are sinners. However, I do admit that the reconciliation needs to be made then (with regard to my view) with the verses that explicitely speak of God's punishing those who don't "believe." As I've said before, I'll need to pray and study that more (though I do have some thoughts). To answer the question "But if people are not being punshed for Sin, what other reason is there to b damed to everlasting Hell for?" I'd say that Hell exists for more than punishment. While it began as the place of punishment for Satan and his cronies, it has become that AND the other option to choosing to love God. So choosing "no" to God means you choose to endure the effects of "the other place" which is a sort of torture. We could go into whether it will be fire, or endless resltessness, or whatever... but the point is that if I say no to God, I reject all that he is, and am subject to the circumstantial consequences. In this, sin is its own demise, because it ultimately chooses death! It's a lot like Pilot offereing Jesus to the masses. It was their choice, so his hands were clean, though he gave the order for the action. As for why some accept and some don't. It's just a matter of choosing. (this feels like it's leading to pre-destination talk). You're right, we could branch off and go an entirely different place here. I'll resist for not and state my postion clearly. God loves the world, sinner and saint. Jesus died and paid the prices for all sins, sinner or saint. (regardless to whether we've accepted it) Life on Earth is about spreading the news of God's love Heaven and Hell, as they relate to humans, are relational destinations. Angels are in both places for different reasons than we would be in both places. Heaven = chose to love God and fulfill purpose of creation Hell = chose to reject loving God

@St_Ray
@St_Ray

"Are we that choose Jesus just much smarter than all those that don't? Are we the clever ones that figured it out? Are we just naturally humble and know our need? Scripture would seem to go against that idea, but we can branch into that in other comments perhaps, otherwise this will be really long one, but keep in mind this question further along as the source of our faith matters in most of our discussion" no we arent any different, we CHOOSE faith. faith isnt necessarily about "smarts" or "cleverness" or "humility" or whatever... its faith. and faith can be resisted. obviously I dont agree with the "five points". and in fact many calvinists dont agree withe the "five points" either.

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

[continued] As for my comment about no one getting what they deserve. My point here is, again, based on the premise that Jesus' work on the cross applies to all man, even before we choose to accept it. (Romans 5:6-8, John 3:16 (the world). We cannot deny the ransom of death paid by Jesus for all men. He died so that we could choose to love God. He did not only die for the chosen. Thus, no one gets what they get because they deserve it, heaven or hell. They get it because they chose it. The passage in 2 Cor 5:21, despite Paul speaking to a "christian" audience (thus making the "we" in the passage, christians), is not exclusive in that Christ sacrifice only applies to those who chose it. I think we just fundamentally disagree on that. I do not at all think the sins of the "unregenerated" is not covered by Christ's death. John 3:17-18 is an interesting study in this regard. I'd say that in those passages, the "condemned" are so, not because their sins are unforgiven, but because they did not "believe" (trust, accept) Jesus. Thanks for your comments...

@antwuanmalone
@antwuanmalone

Hey Jim, how's it going? Good Questions. With regard to seeing hell as punishment. I am open to relooking at the idea of heaven being punished, but it seems the place where we meet, and perhaps differ, is in the idea that Jesus was the punishment for all of our sins... all being everyone ever. Regardless of their response to the sacrifice. I believe that Jesus' death covered ALL human sins. (Romans 5:18). And by covered, I mean, Jesus took the punishment and the judgment of God for us. And if I believe that, then Hell can't be "another punishment." As for Matthew 25:46, you could make the case there that "the punishment" there is meant for the "devils and his angels" (v. 41) As the "other option" I would loosely suggest, at this time, that Hell was made to be the punishment of the Devil and his cronies. Choosing, then, to go means you'll feel the same punishment that they do. Stil, the line here is that people are not being punished for their sin, they are being "cursed" or "damned" by their choice... much the way Jesus "chose" to be cursed for us. I don't see a major rift with this in the 1Thes. 1:10 and 2 Peter 3:7 verses. But 2 Thes. 1:8-9 does seem to clearly state God is coming to punish the ungodly humans. Thank you for this verse. I might still hold that the "punishment" he will levie on them will be of their own choice (and thus doesn't fit "punish" the way we think of it). In essence, they will "get theirs" because they will not choose God in the end and thus experience Satan's punishment with Him. But I don't, at all, want to prooftext here, so I will meditate on it. As for the fire example, I didn't mean for it to be an allegory or metaphor of Hell or God. I only meant that there is a difference between natural consequences and conscience punishments. If I tell my daughter not to stick her hand in fire, and then she does and gets burned... then the result was not "my" punishment to her. The command was to protect her from the effect of fire. You could substitute fire with anything for the example to work) [more below].

ridingacross
ridingacross

But why do i choose to avoid eternal tormet in Hell, while the guy next door hears about the same Hell and ends up hating the Saviour who died to save him from it? Or, why does anyone seek the Lord at all, seeing as scripture tells us that natural men hate everything to do with God? Don't know about you, but i wasn't exactly looking to admit that i was a totally sinful wretch who needed a saviour and couldnt do a single thing to please a God who i didn't really believe in, BEFORE that same God who i didnt believe in decided to grab hold of me and start shaking! Scripture also seems to say that it is the Lord that changes our fallen hearts and minds so that we can, so that we want to believe and have true saving faith; Php 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, And that He chooses us first; Joh 15:16 "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. Dunno man...i guess i could have resisted....if i'd wanted to ;-)

ridingacross
ridingacross

Hi Ray, I'm aware that prooftexting can be used to support any belief whatsoever, but it is the nature of this format of discussion that space is limited and that hugely long exegetical replies don't make for easy reading. The passages or verses i've reference are of course well known within this area of discussion, with commentary available elsewhere that will fully support their use here. Far from 'prooftexting', the main difficulty in our exchange is having full engagement with the passages that are being commented on. And of course, you are aware of the irony in throwing the 'prooftexting' label around, while simultainiously engaging in a fairly extreme form of it where you quote "CHOOSE YOU this day". To address that quote, Reformed theology, so little of it as i understand, as no problem at all with verses telling people to make a choice. The point is that, unless the Holy Spirit regenerates someone who is otherwise dead and the servant of Sin, that person cannot choose to turn to the Lord in order to be saved; in the natural fallen state that we are born in, we are totally helpless to turn away from Sin and turn to God, because we can only act in accordance with the desires of our heart. And our hearts are utterly sinful. I wont mention any verses in particular in this case, but it is certainly the overall teaching of scripture. In short, we do what we do because we are what we are. and without the Lord's first act of regeneration, we will continue acting and thinking like completely dead sinners, that being exactly what we are by nature. So, coming to where you said 'God ABSOLUTELY began the path to salvation but it only has power if freewill is exercised.', you can see that in a sense we agree. God did begin His saving work within us, by giving us new hearts that want to follow Him and His Law. We do exercise our freewill to resist sin, but only because of the new heart that He gave us that wants to will in that direction. I would have to question what you mean by 'path to salvation', as i'm not sure that scripture describes our salvation as a process we work our way through which produces a saved person at the end of it. Rather, are we not taught that we are saved once and for all by Christ's work on the cross when the Lord regenerates us; it is a one time judicial act by which all of our SIn is declared forgiven for Christ's sake, and Christ's Righteousness is credited to us in it's place. To end, i really can't help including this verse Php 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. The out working, the on going expression, of that one time judicial, regenerative, declaration that makes us saved individuals is good works, but because even the will to do those good works comes from the Lord, we have no place for boasting. Apart from in the Lord. peace, j

@St_Ray
@St_Ray

"And Ray, i'm doing my best to address each point and scripture you make, i'd appreciate the same, friend :-) Php 1:29 Joh 15:16 " this isnt about "proof texting", or emoticons, its about the christian faith as a whole. our christian faith has only been about "faith". and (in your philosophy) it's about the "newer" (i would argue 'gnostic') hermeneutic OR the historic hermeneutic (mine) of old, where God partners with Man ('CHOOSE YOU this day'). God ABSOLUTELY began the path to salvation but it only has power if freewill is exercised.

ridingacross
ridingacross

Hey Ray, I'm not sure that Reformed theology claims that it's not possible to resist the Spirit in some of His operations, like with the outward proclaimation of the Gospel in the verse you mentioned, but it does say that an effectual inward calling of God to saving faith will always result in the salvation of that individual. Or something like that, please correct me somebody who knows what they are talking about! Acts 7;52 does seem to indicate that Stephen was refering to the outward call made to all men who hear the gospel Act 7:52 "Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; He says that those people around him were just like their fathers, who also rejected the announcing of the coming of the Righteous One.... If we look to 1st Corinthians for another example of a calling, we see something else; 1Co 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1Co 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 1Co 1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1Co 1:26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 1Co 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 1Co 1:28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 1Co 1:29 so that no man may boast before God. 1Co 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 1Co 1:31 so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD." It does sound loving for God to give us the ability to resist Him saving us.....but would it really be so to give a suicidal man enough rope to hang himself? And Ray, i'm doing my best to address each point and scripture you make, i'd appreciate the same, friend :-) Php 1:29 Joh 15:16 !

@St_Ray
@St_Ray

"Dunno man...i guess i could have resisted....if i'd wanted to ;-)" "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!" - Acts 7:51 ;-) The Spirit is talking and the father is drawing ALL people to Himself. We have the power to resist Him. That is the majesty of His glory; that we have freewill. That is the ultimate act of Love. It's been the Christian story since the beginning. The reformed DEVELOPED hermeneutic is only since the 16th century. The only Father to even TOUCH on just a flavour of calvinists philosophy is Augustine (c. 5ths ceniury), and even then it is a flavour, not the fatalism fo the "five pointer".