Archive for June 18th, 2011

June 18, 2011

Shane Claiborne Talks ABout A New Way To Pray

One of my favorite people to be around is Shane Claiborne author the great books The Irresistible Revolution and Jesus For President.  Even though I don’t agree with everything he stands for e.g. I believe that scripture shows that the death penalty and just war is justified in the eyes of God.  But beyond our differences I do think there’s a kind of integrity to Shane’s life and message that’s hard to argue with.

Yet if there’s one word I’d never associate with Shane Claiborne it’s the word Prayer.  Words like peace and social justice seem more the kind of words I’d associate with him, so that’s why it was a surprise for me to learn that Shane had released a new book on prayer recently entitled,  Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Zondervan).

In a recent article in Relevant Magazine Shane shared some things that I thought were quite remarkable.

He shared something profound about what brought the issue of prayer to the forefront for him and The Simple Way.  He says:

“Through works of mercy on our streets and peacemaking in conflict zones around the world, our [monastic] communities [like The Simple Way in Philadelphia] have been known for their activism. But our communities have also learned action alone can become hollow and depressing. We set out to change the world … and then we realized we couldn’t even change ourselves. Our passion for justice has brought us face to face not only with the world’s brokenness, but with our own limitations.”

I thought it was awesome how he shared that it was their very work and realizing that they can’t do it on their own that drew them to prayer.

Something else he shared about the nature of prayer also stood out for me.  Because sometimes I forget that prayer is in fact a discipline, it’s not a gift or something that comes naturally it’s something that we have to train ourselves to do.

Shane writes,

“We often think of liturgical prayer as exercise for our souls. It doesn’t always feel good, but it stretches and strengthens us, getting rid of spiritual flab we’ve built up by consuming only spiritual food we like. But it’s not just about cutting flab; we enter into this discipline so we can focus our bodies and souls on joining God’s Kingdom work in the world. We pray so we can learn to work better, and we work so we can know how to pray better.”

The kind of praying he’s referring to here is liturgical prayer which I think is a practice where you get a book that kind of guides you on how to pray each day of the year.  It comes with a verse of scripture and what to pray specifically, you can learn more about Claibornes liturgy project at CommonPrayer.net.

But no matter your style of prayer we can all agree that it’s often coming face to face with our own limitations that drive us to the Throne of Grace, and that it’s the difficult and mundane discipline of spiritual growth practices that mature us most into the people God wants us to be.

You can see the entire article on Relevant Magazine’s website here.


June 18, 2011

Mark Driscoll Responds to Rob Bell Controversy on Hell

 

 

 

Pastor Mark Driscoll says he doesn’t intend on “attacking any individual” with his blog post Monday on hell. But a section in the blog addressing why a loving God would send people to hell inevitably draws him into the emotionally-charged debate surrounding preacher Rob Bell’s new book, which happens to be released tomorrow.

Driscoll, known to be a theological buff, responds to the argument “a loving God would not send billions of people to a horrible hell” in his blog on The Resurgence, a missional theology resource site that he helped found.

In the post, Driscoll, who is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, states that it is important to understand that God doesn’t send just anyone to hell, but only those who reject His revelation and choose to suppress the truth that He plainly reveals to them.

“Hell is only for those who persistently reject the real God in favor of false gods,” writes the Seattle pastor. “To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, either people will say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ or God will say to them, ‘Thy will be done.’”

Driscoll also responds to the argument that a loving God would be more tolerant by posing a counterargument that if God was tolerant of everyone then he should also tolerate rapists, pimps, pedophiles, and those who sin against the very people criticizing God as intolerant.

“The idea is completely absurd and unjust,” argues Driscoll. “A loving God protects His children from sin and evil by separating them. In this way, God is a father who is tolerant of all who obey Him and are safe for His children. But He is intolerant of those who sin against Him and do evil to His children.”

In our society, Driscoll points out, there is also cultural intolerance for those who drink and drive, steal, rape and murder and we separate those people from society.

“To call such actions on God’s part intolerant is shameful, because tolerance would denote both approval and support of evil.”

Recently, there is an explosion of interest about hell due to the soon-to-released book by Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church (no relations to Driscoll’s church) in Grandville, Mich., called Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. The book has drawn much fire from prominent evangelical leaders, with some accusing Bell of heresy.

“Will only a few select people make it to heaven? … And will billions and billions of people burn forever in hell?” Bell poses in a promotional video for the book.

“Millions and millions of people were taught that the primary message, the center of the gospel of Jesus, is that God is going to send you to hell unless you believe in Jesus. So what gets subtly sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. How could that God ever be good? … And how could that ever be good news?”

In the video, he states that the good news is that “love wins.”

Justin Taylor, vice president of editorial at Crossway, criticizes Bell as appearing to be promoting universalism.

While Pastor Joshua Harris of Gaithersburg, Md., tweeted that Bell was preaching a false gospel.

Respected evangelical pastor John Piper tweeted on Feb. 26, “Farewell Rob Bell.”

Driscoll tried to stay away from the fray by not naming names, but he makes a strong case against Bell’s alleged universalistic view and the argument that God cannot be loving and send people to hell at the same time.

The Seattle pastor calls on people to look at what Jesus did on the cross and how he suffered for the ungodly sinners and his enemies.

“Or, to say it another way, Jesus suffered and died for mean people. A God who will suffer and die for mean people is not mean,” asserts Driscoll. “In fact, such a God alone is altogether loving; to be condemned by a God of perfect love shows how damnable our sin truly is.”

In his post, Driscoll also answers the argument that eternal torment in hell is unjust punishment for people who sin only for a few decades. He responds by referring to Daniel 12:2 as well as what Jesus says in the Bible in making the case that hell is unending.

“Today, though, it is becoming popular to hope that sinners will eventually repent and everyone will end up in heaven,” writes Driscoll. “This is universal reconciliation, the ancient view of Origen. However, there is not a shred of evidence for post-mortem repentance.”