Tag Archive: neighbour


just watching the rob bell furore that has swept up has once again brought something to the fore which i think needs comment and some thort by people who claim to be Jesus-followers…

one of the accusations that has been made against rob bell is that he is a universalist which as i understand it is someone who believes that everyone is going to end up in heaven, and by definition no one ends up in hell.

i don’t know if rob bell is a universalist. people have seemed to infer that from the questions he asks in the promo video for his latest book: ‘Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.’ But according to the one article i read, it says, “after all, on page 72 he actually states, “Do I believe in a literal hell? Of course.” [really good article response to the rob bell stuff here]

but that is not my concern. if he believes that then i definitely would take a stand against the belief because i think the Bible is largely clear on that matter and a lot of Jesus’ teaching and parables seem to deal with who will make it and who won’t.

what concerns me is how amped so many christians seem to be to point people towards hell. my friend Ant Martin mentioned to me how many people have responded to the Rob Bell video by making statements like “reality check, Ghandi’s in hell..” i mean, firstly spell his name right, it’s Gandhi… the question Rob Bell asks in his video is, “Gandhi’s in hell? Really? You know that for sure?” and people divebombed him…

as far as i understand it, it is through faith in Jesus Christ that we receive forgiveness of our sins and are made righteous to be able to live eternally with God (which does begin now) – the thief on the cross next to Jesus receives salvation even though he has done nothing in his life to deserve it, but he acknowledges who Jesus is and Jesus welcomes him to paradise. i don’t know if Gandhi turned to Jesus for forgiveness. But i don’t know that he didn’t. What i do know is that Gandhi loved Jesus and wasn’t so fond of His followers who didn’t seem to display the same kind of life that Jesus spoke about and lived. But i don’t know the state of Gandhi’s heart at the time of his death and whether or not he was in relationship with God and so for people to say he is definitely in hell seems like a foolish, immature, arrogant and presumptuous statement to make [unless you have some evidence i don’t]

and as i said it concerns me greatly that people claiming to be Christ followers are almost excited to point out that someone is going to hell – whether it’s Gandhi or homosexuals or abortion clinic owners or Saddam Hussein or Hitler, it doesn’t matter – hell is a place that was designed for the devil and his angels [Matthew 25.41] and it is always a complete tragedy when any person ends up there.

if it is true that Gandhi is headed towards hell, that should break us.

what is the greatest commandment? to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself. Gandhi is my neighbour [Luke 10.25-37] and my attitude to him has to be one of love. and to anyone else, no matter who they are or what they have done.

maybe if we, as Jesus followers, had a better response to people heading towards hell, we would live differently while they are alive, and in our space, and living next door to us, and help direct them towards a Jesus-filled eternity which starts right now – a life that is symbolised by the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control) and by loving God and loving people and looking after those in need.

and be absolutely shattered every single time someone dies without coming into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

[and spending less time involved in random online judgemental railings against what someone might be saying in some book we haven’t and probably aren’t going to read because of what we thort they might have said in their promotional video and book blurb]

when Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment in the jewish law He responded with in summary, “Love God love people” – ha, as i was typing that i accidentally typo’d “love gold” and how fitting that is but i’m sure i don’t have to go into that. Jesus added that the full law and the prophets (basically their bible at the time) rested on these two things (relationships)

in fact if you study the ten commandments from the old testament they are divided into 4 aimed at loving God and 6 aimed at loving people (maybe we get more cos sometimes it’s a lot harder to love people?)

the economy of heaven is people. that is what God puts His sight on and so surely it makes perfect sense that we should do the same – and so why can we spend so much time and energy on things like gold (money), stuff (big house, flashy car, latest gadgets), entertainment/luxury (sound system, latest phone, holiday overseas), reputation, achievement and so on, and still boldly claim to be followers of Jesus?

as one rabbi once said when asked to sum up the bible in ten words or less – “Love God, love people. all the rest is commentary.”

the economy God is interested in is you, and me, and your neighbour, and the guy at work you don’t like, and the gay muslim abortionist living across the street from you. and your parents. and your ex (girlfriend, wife, best friend, crush). God lines His wallet with people, with relationships. would you say that is a primary focus in your life or has it all become about the person staring back at you when you stand in front of the mirror?

Love God, love people. all the rest is commentary.

[that’s right – it’s as if to God, people are high-fiveable!]

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