Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Truth Wins

I typically don't attack other pastors publicly unless there is a real problem with regard to heresy. Rob Bell's latest book, "Love Wins," promotes a false gospel. Bell promotes the idea that hell does not mean eternal damnation and that sinners who die will get a second chance to wiggle their way into God's graces. Bell's argument is that a loving God would never send anyone to a place of eternal torment.

Ultimately, Bell is a universalist. His position is not even close to orthodox Christian faith. I will say that his teachings certainly draw a crowd (a church of about 10,000 in Grand Rapids, Michigan). But a crowd does not confirm that a person is right. What it may confirm is that those people like what they hear.

I'm not going to write a lengthy post in an attempt to refute Bell's heresy. The Bible makes it clear that all men are sinners and that the wage of sin is death, separation from God. That separation is eternal, just as the reward of the righteous is eternal life with God in heaven. Jesus spoke of hell often in the gospels. He indicated that it was a place of eternal torment from which no soul could escape. The only way to heaven is to embrace Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in this life. This has been the teaching of orthodox Christianity for nearly two thousand years. And the reality of hell goes back to origins of biblical faith and historical Judaism. Bell's teaching is dangerous. It is heretical.

One final thought: God doesn't send anyone to hell. We choose (ah, free will) to either respond to God's grace by receiving or rejecting Jesus Christ. God is love, but He is also holy, just, and righteous. We must either embrace all of Him or none of Him.

Yes, love wins. But love only wins when it is founded on truth.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Does Easter Mean?

This Sunday is Easter - the most significant day / event in Christendom. Christians all over the world will gather in churches to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. American churches in particular will be filled, many to overflowing, with crowds they won't see again until Christmas.

But what does Easter really mean? Yes, it's the resurrection of Jesus and we will reflect upon that historical event. But what does it mean? If people only come to church on Christmas and Easter, is there really any reason for them to even participate in the celebration? Does the resurrection have any true impact on a life that doesn't participate in the resurrection during the rest of the year? Is it an annual event or a living reality?

What does Easter mean to you?

Monday, April 4, 2011


I've had a weekend of extremes. I went to see my father in PA on Friday and Saturday. It was sad to see the toll age and illness have taken on him. He was too weak to feed himself, and as I was feeding him, he said, "David, I never thought I'd get like this." He was so discouraged! We both cried as I left to come back home.

Then on Sunday, a family in the church asked me to dedicate their young son in a couple of months. He is a healthy little boy with his entire life in front of him.

The contrast was so stark. In just a matter of hours I went from feeling the pain of old age and hopelessness to the anticipation of a life. It was a real jolt as I dealt with my own emotions in all of it.

Appreciate the elderly and the infirm. Embrace the energy of new life. But hold both very carefully in your hands - they are precious!