by Erin Roach
An evangelical apologist’s characterization of one biblical verse has called into question his entire 700-page book and his belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, with two respected theologians saying the matter demonstrates that it is not sufficient to affirm biblical inerrancy in principle without also affirming it in details.
In “The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach,” Mike Licona presents a defense of the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead, arguing that Jesus’ resurrection must have been literal.
But the passage at issue is Matthew 27:51-53: “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
By Athol Dickson
author & guest blogger, Athol Dickson
Rob Bell is at it again. He has never shied away from controversy, and apparently his new book, Love Wins, is no exception. With the book not yet even released, already such stalwart evangelicals as Albert Mohler and John Piper are calling it heretical. An executive with a Christian publishing company, Justin Taylor, was apparently an early voice in the outrage against what Rob Bell might have written. (Taylor says on his blog, “I have not read all of Bell’s book, though I have read some chapters that were sent to me. . . . I think that the publisher’s description combined with Bell’s video is sufficient evidence to suggest that he thinks hell is empty and that God’s love (which desires all to be saved) is always successful.”) Speaking as a novelist and non-fiction author, I’m surprised a man with Mr. Taylor’s background in publishing would assume Rob Bell had total control over his publisher’s advertising copy. It’s possible, of course, but I could tell several disaster stories to demonstrate it ain’t necessarily so, and I’ll bet Mr. Taylor could, too. Take the trailer for Love Wins as an example. Are we expected to believe that Rob deliberately set out to do an Uncle Fester imitation? Surely that sweater was some publicist’s decision. (Sorry Rob.)
Rather than basing a response on what the man’s publisher wrote, unlike Justin and Al and John I think I’ll wait until I read what Rob wrote before I pronounce judgment from on high.
That said, the trailer does make it seem like Rob’s upcoming book will take on some tough questions about salvation. What is it, exactly? How is it made possible? Bell’s video asks if Gandhi is in hell, and he asks if we have the right to say so. Again, since the book is not yet out, everything is speculation, but it seems like Rob intends to explore the ideas of heaven and hell, and how we get to one or the other, and he intends to look at it a bit more broadly than Drs. Mohler and Piper might prefer. So what’s the problem exactly?