Though I wrote this post to coincide with today’s release of the infamous Rob Bell book about a more inclusive heaven/possible universalism (the subject and implications of which have caused battle lines to already be fiercely drawn) this is not another post about that controversy. I think this post could help alleviate the tensions there, but it’s not solely about the heaven and hell debate.
I’ve never fared well in the big debates among Christians. You know – the ones that make magazine cover articles and hot topics for blog entries. I certainly have opinions about creationism, the infallibility of Scripture, homosexuality and so on, and I’ve watched my plenty of arguments over each side, and it’s precisely because of the arguments that I try not to participate.
You see I’ve seen enough now that I want it stop. Not because there is one correct answer, and it’s not because I’m a scared little boy afraid of a divided house, but because the fighting goes against the very nature of Jesus’ radical way.
Let us remember that we do not fight the way the world fights. We don’t go blow for blow, we don’t aim for the jugular, we don’t fight dirty. Especially with fellow brothers and sisters! I know lots of people think they are warriors for God and his truth, but those swords need to lie down. We fight with something not typically used: peace.
When we met Jesus we also encountered a new way of living. A Way that doesn’t engage in warfare but serves and prays for his enemy. One that doesn’t repay evil with evil. That doesn’t mean there won’t be disagreement and maybe even debate, but it does mean we are going to have to be civil, respectful, loving, merciful and peaceful. Not even in the direst of circumstances when everything is on the line can the sword be drawn (Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane).
And let me say this. It’s a point I’ve made here on the blog before – that ultimately the person throws around insults and fighting words is not giving very much legitimacy to their ideas. In fact they are working against whatever their position may be. The person who is forging peace, who is gracious and forgiving and loving is actually showing the authenticity of their claim regardless of what side they are on. I’m sorry this is such a bad pun and probably makes me look like a universalist – but love does indeed win*.
Thoughts or responses? Criticisms, even?
*Just to clarify this is not a backhanded statement of which “side” I’m on in the universalism debate.