Originally posted: April 05, 2007 @ http://gephartr.blogspot.com/
Well, this certainly was not what I expected to be writing about in part 2 of this discussion. But after a discussion with my dad today, I did a Google for “Rob Bell salvation.” As it turns out, Rob Bell (a pastor in Grand Rapids, MI) is facing a lot of criticism for his views on salvation. I have listened to a few of his sermons lately and liked the topics of his sermons (sermons in general lately seem to be becoming fluffy).
Anyway, the first hit that I looked at (http://www.apprising.org/archives/2006/03/rob_bell_salvat_1.html) seemed to be arguing that since the end goal of this creation at the end of Christ’s millenial reign (more than 1000 years from now) is that this creation will burn and all will be destroyed that we are not to try to improve this creation. It seemed to be saying that our only focus should be on preparation for the salvation state that will happen after the final judgment within this creation. It seemed to be saying that this world (creation) is of little value because, as Paul said, it is better to die and be with Christ that to remain in this world.
I must say that I hope I mis-read or mis-interpreted this blog. Regardless of whether the Emergent Church has a proper view of salvation, this certainly is an improper view of salvation. How could anyone think that this creation is of no purpose or use??? This creation is the work of our Creator and He called it good! To say that the creation is of no purpose and is evil is to call the Creator a lier – and thus is a sin!
Why must people defend extremes versus extremes. Please, try to read and understand the Bible and know that the creation and all within it are “good.” We sin, of course. But the purpose of salvation is to bring as many as will come to the point of restoration – which will happen when Christ returns to this created world to rule and reign.
The Bible does not refer to the creation when it states that the “things of this world” are evil. This is refering to the sinful mentality of man in this present world – not the creation itself. (Which is not to say that all of creation is not suffering from this sin either – for all of creation is suffering.)
Repent from your evil ways (of this world) and turn to God. Trust in Him, and in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.
So, end terms, it is part of our job and that of salvation to prepare the way for God and Jesus to restore this creation to its original state. We can try to assist in that restoration, and God will probably even work thru us. But in the end, it will be God / Jesus who actually performs the restoration.
UPDATE (9:30 pm)
So, I read the article again – and his previous post. I agree with a lot of what this author has to say. But again I find myself wondering about this person’s logic. Below is a quote from his article. I would agree that by denying that God is working in another movement could be blaspheming the Spirit – as it may be His work. I do not agree that seeking to think that the Church of Rome could also contain a work of the Spirit to be blaspheming the Spirit – as He may also be working thru the Church of Rome. It is not a true and logical construct to say that the Reformation = God and anything not of the Reformation = Devil. This is a leap of man and does not bear in root in God.
“Just the other day I was encouraging a brother via email that someone who is a part of the Emerging Church had blindsided with the old chestnut: “By you denying what we are doing is of God you are blaspheming the Holy Spirit.” What I explained to him was that the reverse is also true; by these groups actively seeking to consider the apostate Church of Rome as legitimate Christians, and to join them in fellowship, they are themselves denying that the Reformation was a move of the Holy Spirit. So you see, this “blasphemy” works both ways and as this Age comes to an end with increasing rapidity you will have to decide which side you are on.”