From My Perspective - - -
There are many adages and old sayings that have validity and make good sense. One of them is: “You can’t tell a book by its cover.” Before making the purchase of a book, one would be wise to first look at the Table of Contents; an Introduction (if there is one); an Epilogue; a Summary on the Back Cover; and Browse through a Chapter or two before making the purchase. One should never be deceived by a clever or misleading title. For instance, if you were near the Cook Book selections, and a Title was: Meals To Die For – one should not conclude that it is a book about suicide or murder. With careful reflection, one should conclude that it was a perfectly planned meal with several courses – but because of the high caloric content – you would not want to eat it unless you were on Death Row and it was your last meal.
I recently made the purchase of a book that had the Title: “Passion For God.” The description on the Back Cover stated: “No true great work for the Kingdom of God is born without passion for God…” There is nothing wrong with the title or summary. The problem is that it is a Book Cover on an entirely different Book and subject matter, and a different Author. It is a cover on a Book that deals with: Practical Awareness of Living In The Presence of God. While the material inside the cover is valuable, if one’s book budget is limited, it is an expensive error. One can receive the correct Book but there is the frustration of correspondence and delay. The point is: You can’t always tell a book by the cover!
Another hackneyed statement is: “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck – it’s a duck.” One can call it whatever one wants but it doesn’t alter what it is, namely, a duck. Why bring all of this up? Most people would agree with the adage or old saying, so why repeat it? Maybe its necessary because many are so easily duped. If a politician talks about raising taxes or cutting Social Security Benefits, there will be an outcry and a negative response. But suppose the tact is adjusted somewhat, will people respond differently? What is a tact? It is “a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.” The adjustment is made with the word selection. Rather than calling it an increase in taxes, the term gets changed to making an “investment” in a program or area of government. Here’s where another adage can be mentioned: “A rose by any other name is still a rose.”
It isn’t just in politics where the tact is altered and vocabulary changed. At Funerals, it seems as though the reality of “Hell” is avoided and everyone is going to Heaven because “he/she was such a good person.” Time Magazine features a man with credentials viewed as being exceptional (Graduate of Wheaton College and Fuller Theological Seminary). One critique of Rob Bell’s redemptive approach is given in Time Magazine: “The traditionalist reaction is understandable, for Bell's arguments about heaven and hell raise doubts about the core of the Evangelical worldview, changing the common understanding of salvation so much that Christianity becomes more of an ethical habit of mind than a faith based on divine revelation. When you adopt universalism and erase the distinction between the church and the world, says Mohler, then you don't need the church, and you don't need Christ, and you don't need the cross. This is the tragedy of non-judgmental mainline liberalism, and it's Rob Bell's tragedy in this book too."
Luke 16:19-31 is a parable given by Jesus Christ about The Rich Man – in the place of torment - and Lazarus – in the place of comfort and peace – with a great gulf between the two. Jesus makes a distinction between heaven and hell despite the tact of the modern day approach. The question is: Who will you believe – Jesus Christ or Rob Bell? Many people already believe everyone is going to heaven and it makes alternate views to mainline Christianity more palatable. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus makes the distinction very clear: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne…the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…He will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." This is what Jesus believed and taught. We should believe it too! Consider these things with me!