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More on Rob

April 5, 2011

A longer version of the point made in the previous blog post is now online at Probe’s web site. It’s titled “(Ir)Responsible Critique: The Rob Bell Affair” (http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.6700493/k.D1F8/Bashing_Rob_Bell_On_Offering_a_Responsible_Critique.htm?tr=y&auid=8083621). (Incidentally, the article now appears under two titles. The title I gave above is the preferred one even though its URL contains the other title. Technology . . .)

The article was written for Probe’s Probe Alert newsletter. Unfortunately, its publication was delayed. I fear it missed its moment, at least in its present form. Readers might wonder why I’m scolding people for critiquing the book without reading it when it’s now been over three weeks since it hit the book stores and lots of people have read it. They also may wonder why I haven’t read the book if the subject concerns me so (a brief explanation is in the article). The article was completed on March 14 or 15, just a day or two after the Martin Bashir interview with Bell. I had just seen more than two pages of links on Google to blogs which were announcing that Bell had made his universalism plain in his book. But only a very few could have read the book; most were just reporting what other bloggers were saying. I wanted to then encourage people to hold off their denunciations until they’d read Love Wins. I also wanted a more fair (and informative) discussion than we saw in Mr. Bashir’s interview. Since then I’ve heard Bell twice say he isn’t a universalist. Has anyone asked him to define universalism and explain why he isn’t one? Maybe so and I haven’t seen it. The point of my article was to encourage just that kind of response.

So, as I said, it may have missed its moment as far as Bell’s book is concerned, but I stand by the basic point: one should know what one is talking about when criticizing someone, especially when the criticism is made in public and the charge is something as serious as heresy.

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