The edition of TIME magazine timed for Easter Week features a cover story on the controversy over Rob Bell and his new book, Love Wins. Interestingly, the essay is written by none other than Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former editor of Newsweek –TIME’s historic competitor. Meacham, who studied theology as an undergraduate at the University of the South, helpfully places Rob Bell in the larger context of modern theology, even as he offers a basically sympathetic analysis.
The standard Christian view of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is summed up in the Gospel of John, which promises “eternal life” to “whosoever believeth in Him.” Traditionally, the key is the acknowledgment that Jesus is the Son of God, who, in the words of the ancient creed, “for us and for our salvation came down from heaven … and was made man.” In the Evangelical ethos, one either accepts this and goes to heaven or refuses and goes to hell. more >>
A dynamic young pastor who's fighting brain cancer isn't taking it easy on fellow preachers.
Matt Chandler wasn't shy when he told more than 5,000 of them – some of whom are in training – on Wednesday: "You're a much better pastor when you're saved than you are when you're not."
Pastor of The Village Church near Dallas, Texas, Chandler was invited to speak at The Gospel Coalition's annual conference, which draws mainly those in the Reformed tradition. more >>
For too many evangelical pastors, the Old Testament is a “foreign book” that is better left alone or used only as background knowledge, lamented prominent theologian Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. on Tuesday. But preachers who neglect the Old Testament do so at the risk of “robbing” their congregation of fully understanding Jesus Christ.
“I’ve actually heard some preachers state as a matter of principle that they preach from the New Testament because it is the Christian book,” said Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., during the first plenary session of The Gospel Coalition’s national conference in Chicago. “How they are robbing their people of the knowledge of Christ from the scriptures. How impoverished is that preaching. How undernourished are those congregations.”
Mohler, whose session was titled “Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus,” contends that Jesus and the gospel are found throughout the Old Testament and therefore not teaching from those books would be failing to tell the full story of Jesus. more >>
Rob Bell, the pastor who wrote the book Love Wins that has been a lightning rod for criticism, stated clearly in a recent interview that he believes in hell.
In a videotaped interview with Sally Quinn of The Washington Post, which was posted online this week, Bell responded to a question posed through Twitter and asked by Quinn: If there is no hell, then why did Jesus die for our sins?
“I believe in hell now, I believe in hell when you die,” stated Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. “I believe God gives people the right to say no, to resist, to refuse, to reject, to cling to their sins, to cling to their version of their story. more >>
The debate about hell incited by Rob Bell and his book Love Wins is far from dying out. A month into the controversy, two theological heavy weights are just beginning to duel it out about the ideas Bell raises regarding hell and God’s love.
Conservative Christian defender R. Albert Mohler, Jr., of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, responded Wednesday to emerging church leader Brian McLaren’s blog post, saying he welcomes McLaren’s rebuttal essay.
“Some theological disputes amount to very little and serve mostly as exercises in missing the point, if indeed there is a point. Other doctrinal exchanges are quite different and deal with matters of central and essential concern to the Christian faith,” Mohler wrote on his blog. “The church cannot avoid and should not seek to evade this kind of theological conversation.” more >>
Church planting will gain much spotlight at the annual pastors' conference of the Southern Baptist Convention in June.
"This year's conference we are going to have a major emphasis on church planting. There is a renewed sense of urgency to take the gospel to the ends of the earth," said Vance Pitman, President of the 2011 Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference.
The June 12-13 conference in Phoenix, Ariz., will be held under the theme, "Aspire: Yearning to join God's kingdom activity," taken from Romans 15:20. more >>