Chapter 4 - Does God Get What God Wants?
As we enter into the chapter 4 discussion of Love Wins, I think its appropriate once again for us to hold back from personal attack, or even attacking the entire essence of Bell's book and Bell himself, but to keep criticism focused on chapter 4. I think we should look at what Bell proposes in this chapter and determine if its founded, true, or if its just an agenda of his and he's twisting reality to fit that agenda.
The title of the chapter (Does God Get What God Wants?) really says it all. Bell spends the bulk of the chapter going through scripture after scripture that tells of God's desire(s). He uses scriptures, such as:
"All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God" (Isaiah 52).
"Every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2).
And the list continues (almost exhaustively)...
So the real question becomes, why do we gravitate to the scripture references that suit our beliefs, denominations, etc the most closely? Why do we accept some, and neglect the others? This is true for Bell too...
But the point (for me) isn't in proving one scripture over the other, or one theology over another, but in relishing the grey! Why, if God says that every knee will bow and tongue confess Jesus is Lord, do we argue contrary to that; that indeed hell will be filled with the unrepentant? Do we know better than God? Is God not trustworthy? Is our doctrine and dogma more solid than God's words?
Because that's exactly what we're saying (without so many words) when we neglect and forget these texts.
And just like we sometimes focus on John 3:16 as our single way to gain salvation - through belief, we neglect the countless other biblical examples for how salvation takes root.
I suppose to sum up this chapter, I would say that Bell once again does a great job of giving us a scriptural basis for what seems to be the polar opposite of most evangelical teaching (in the West). I do not see him making wild claims or identifying words and phrases incorrectly. He shows through scriprure that God's mission has been restoring, renewing, and saving creation, and that in the end, God DOES get what God wants!
What say you?