A few weeks ago, my church hosted a theological conference
featuring Dr. Don Carson
president and founder of the Gospel Coalition and a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. It was a wonderful weekend considering the Cross of Christ and meditating on what it means to be forgiven.
While we were safe and sound in the smooth waters of Christian doctrine, a stormy debate was raging in larger Christian circles over the doctrine of hell, and who ultimately, will end up there. Or rather, IF anyone will end up there. That debate continues, centered over the theology of Mars Hill pastor, Rob Bell
, and his most recent book, Love Wins
. This Christianity Today article
provides a brief summary of the debate, if you are not familiar with it.
I have wanted to keep my head in the sand on this. I’ve wanted other people to tell me what I should or shouldn’t think about hell. I don’t want to hate Rob Bell; I’ve heard him speak, watched his videos, and I’ve always kind of liked him. Even though this apparent stepping outside of orthodox Christian doctrine doesn’t really surprise me based on my general impression of him and his work.
So, I haven’t done my research and won’t offer opinions here. At least not today. But when I am ready to become part of the conversation – and I would encourage you to find your place at the table, too, in love – it will be after I have spent a lot of time reading what one other man is writing about it.
Carson Clark is a mystery all on his own. A self-proclaimed hard-line moderate who also describes himself as an “evangelical Anglican,” Clark is a man who knows how to think about things. When I stumbled onto his blog through The High Calling bloggers network, I found that he continues to thoughtfully consider the “love wins” controversy, even when others have moved on.
He’s not just about the next big thing. He’s about what truly are the big things.
He also isn’t just “responding” to the controversy. He is becoming part of the conversation.
He is applying past truth to what is new again. He has the wisdom to see that heresies, or even rumors of them, have usually cycled through orthodox circles before.
And most importantly, he sees this latest controversy as an opportunity to talk about the doctrine of Christians disagreeing as well as the doctrine of hell.
I haven’t read Love Wins yet. I don’t know if I will. And I haven’t read everything Carson Clark has written. He may have opinions that I would wildly disagree with.
But I like the way he thinks.
And in our dumbed-down culture, “thinking” at all stands out.
Join me for regular jaunts around The High Calling network, randomly visiting fellow bloggers, soaking up their words and ideas, and then coming back here to write about them from my perspective. This is what The High Calling network is all about, after all.
Our site is about casting a vision that is clear enough and inspiring enough that our readers can run with it on their own sites. We then spend the majority of our editorial time listening to them on their sites and helping them shine as writers. We believe in the power of the laity so much that we are relying on them and their audiences to help spread the vision that has been given to us. – Marcus Goodyear, senior editor, thehighcalling.org (from “The Challenge, Strategy, and Execution of Combining Web Properties” by Dan King on churchcrunch.com)
Each Thursday, consider going “There and Back Again” yourself. It’s simple.
1.) Choose another High Calling Blogger to visit. It can be someone you have “met” before, or do what I do, and work your way through the “Member Posts” section of thehighcalling.com to meet someone new.
2.) Visit his blog, digesting the message until it becomes something that you can write about.
3.) Go back to your blog and write about it, being sure to link to the post that gave you the idea so that your readers can visit, too.
4.) Add the button above to your blog so your readers know you are participating in “There and Back Again.”
5.) Go back to the Network blog and leave a comment so your new friend can feel the link love!
6.) Complete the journey by returning here, to Wide Open Spaces, and enter your link so that we all can benefit from the new High Calling connection you have made.