How About Jude?

Nijay Gupta posted some thoughts on Rob Bell’s Love Wins in response to John MacArthur’s review of the same book. I haven’t read Bell’s book or MacArthur’s review but neither of those things interest me at the moment (I doubt they ever will). Nijay defends Bell against accusations of heresy and says, “Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think any NT text condemns false teachers for being too gracious. Am I right?” I’m not so sure that Nijay is right. Jude 4 speaks of the condemnation of men who turned the grace of God into ἀσέλγειαν (a license for immorality – NIV). Presumably they understood God’s grace to mean that “anything goes.” That seems a bit too gracious to me.

B”H

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13 thoughts on “How About Jude?

  1. Amen Nick, this is simply a great Text!

    “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. These are ungodly people, who prevert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (NIV’11)

  2. If you read my post closely, I actually do say that most NT false teachers were a problem to NT writers like Paul because they were too restrictive or their views led to immorality.

  3. Fr. Robert: Yes, it’s a gem.

    Nijay: I read it closely, and I saw that. I think this is an example of a text pertaining to the question you asked though, i.e., being too gracious, which in this case lead to immorality.

  4. Touche. But in Jude the perversion of grace specifically pertains to a denial of the full Lordship of Christ. I don’t think Bell goes anywhere near that issue.

  5. Fr. Robert: Actually, the KJV has “lasciviousness” here; the NRSV has “licentiousness.” I would have quoted the KJV, since I prefer “lasciviousness,” but then folks would complain about antiquated language. ;-)

    Nijay: You’re probably right, and you’d know better than me because I haven’t read Bell’s book. I was more interested in your question about the NT saying anything about the issue. BTW, did you come away thinking that Bell was a universalist, or pluralist, or what?

    Oh, and I agree about the meaning of Jude’s text.

  6. Nick: Yeah, I like “lasciviousness” also, Calvin called them Libertines!

    And I am not so sure about Bell here either? The Lordship of Christ is also bound close to His “death” and righteousness! That is part of the perversion of grace, it seeks to diminish the Person of Christ also!

  7. Nick – thanks. Is Bell a univeralist? Not quite, but his view could be easily mistaken with that. Is there such a thing as a “Christocentric universalist”? If so, that is where I would put him. He let’s there be a lot of question marks about the future. That makes him hard to pin down. He certainly an optimist.

  8. Nick,

    Thanks for the references I read them both and look forward to reading Nijay’s full review. John Mac. spends his entire post on pure manipulation. He does not once quote anything that Rob wrote or said, but simple goes on and on saying that he is a wolf, questions if Rob Bell is even a Christian, calls him a dangerous deceiver, and that Bell casts doubt on the reliability of the scriptures.

    I do plan on reading Bell’s book but only because my fellowship asked me to write a response. I know this much I won’t vilify Rob Bell and will do my best to understand his position and respond accordingly. Otherwise I would just ignore it.

  9. Fr. Robert: I think it’s inevitable that either Christ or grace is diminished whenever one or the other is diminished; as John said, “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

    Nijay: Thanks for the assessment.

    Robert: You’re a better man than I! I don’t think I’d read the book even if people I knew asked me to. ;-) Do me a favor and post your response on your blog, okay? Thanks!

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