I've been sort of following the brouhaha about Rob Bell's new book and his subsequent appearances on television. I'm not making too much of an investment in it, though, because it just robs me of time better spent studying the truth and other things I enjoy doing. There are far more worthy critics than I. He's made it to the big time of morning television, it seems. Well, if that is his goal, he has my congratulations. I've seen and read enough to know that I've seen enough. I found it really amusing last night on my Facebook, one of my friends said that Mr. Bell had been "interviewed,"by Martin Bashir, and one said he had been "grilled." Anyway, this post is not supposed to be about Rob Bell.
I could not help but think about this matter, though, as I read The Death of Death this morning. I wonder if Mr. Bell has ever made his way through it. It touches on an issue that could very well be related to Mr. Bell's views on heaven, hell, and judgment. Owen, in the section I am reading, discusses a book written by one of his contemporaries, Universality of Free Grace. The author of that book discusses the use of the word "many" and "all" in reference for whom Christ died. Owen goes on to discuss the holes in that author's arguments. I had to read this out loud (albeit quietly, because my family was still sleeping) to fully understand. Owen refers to the copia verbum of said author. I have enough understanding of Latin and English to know that he's talking about the fact that the author uses a lot of words, copious words, in fact. I love how Owen describes this person of many words:
When the Pharisees were not able to resist the spirit whereby our Saviour spake, they call him "devil and Samaritan." Waters that make a noise are usually shallow. It is a proverb among the Scythians, that the "dogs which bark most bite least."
I have scanned some of the comments sections of various blogs which have "dared" to challenge Mr. Bell, despite the fact that he is a public figure and is publishing his views. If Christians were half as zealous to defend Scripture as they are their pet Christian celebrities, how different things would be. Some of the comments run into the length of a blog post. They are classic examples of waters that generate noise. Some of the commenters are so mean-spirited; they don't even use good argumentation, they just stomp their virtual feet and make noise. If women carried on like some of the men I've read, we'd be accused of being overly emotional or hormonal.
I remember once, when I was about eighteen years old, before I was Christian, one afternoon, my brother, and my mother and I were talking about matters of heaven and hell. I was definitely searching, and had read parts of the bible, but I didn't know much. My brother asserted in his typical manner of finding interesting euphemisms, "Everyone will be on the bus" in reference to who will go to heaven. His view was (and still is, to my knowledge) that no one will be left out of heaven. He has no learning upon which to base this conclusion; it's entirely from his own view of God gleaned from the culture around him. It's kind of funny, because I think he could pick up Rob Bell's new book and enjoy it immensely. Now, if he were to pick up Mr. Owen's book, I don't think he'd make it past the first few pages, and not because he isn't literate. It's just easier to believe that God wouldn't judge people for their sin.
I love that phrase, though, "Waters that make a noise are usually but shallow."