Sunday, September 10, 2006


This year I left for Hume Lake the day after attending another conference, the Soliton Network conference. Soliton focused on hospitality, and we gathered and discussed how to show hospitality towards children, sinners, and the victims of war. It was a shock to go from one conference focusing on what we can do today for God, to hearing the hume speaker, Francis Chan, focus his week's message around eternity to come.

It wasn't that Francis said anything that was really wrong, ask me later about his illustration of the crucifixion, but some statements seemed to oppose statements that I had heard from Mike Devries, a hume speaker from two years ago, statements made by Rob Bell, and statements made by Shane Claiborne in person and in The Irresistible Revolution.

"As Christians we sometimes forget about eternity."
"Sometimes we don't think about anything beyond this life, and the Bible says that this lifecould be over in a second... ...and then comes eternity."
(Francis Chan)

"I need a God whose now. I need a God who teaches me how to live now."
(Rob Bell)

"Christianity often has offered little to the world, other than the hope that things will be better in heaven."
"... most Christian artists and preachers have remained strangely distant from human suffering, offering the world eternal assurance over prophetic imagination."
(Shane Claiborne)

I am aware that the two comments don't really contradict each other, and that each speaker has a different reason for emphasizing either eternity, or the here-and-now. Francis Chan is addressing those who live their lives as if there is no eternal consequence for their actions. Rob and Shane are instead responding to those, (Christians), who live as if they don't need to worry about how they live their lives because of eternity.

Tony Campolo is often quoted, asking people if they would still follow Christ, even if there was no heaven or hell.
I wonder what motivates you to live your life the way you do?

Does a future paradise encourage you to live more Christlike day to day, or more apathetic?


mhkingsley said...
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mhkingsley said...

Just realized that my comment from before didn't make much sense. Hopefully this one does -

I've often understood Rob Bell as to be saying eternity actually starts now; that we're becoming the people we're going to be now forever. In one series entitled "The Flames of Heaven" Bell preached on how heaven might be hell for those of us not actively becoming who we were saved to be. For example, if you're a racist, thinking lowly of someone is going to be tough in heaven where we're all equal. It's kinda like if you're living an unhealthy lifestyle, eating junk food, "forgetting" to get to the gym, etc. and you meet up with your health-nut friends. Just being in their presence condemns your unhealthly lifestyle. For those who don't live eternally now, will find it hard to live in heaven.

This idea floats in the face of those who think they will simply die and wake up in heaven all lovey dovey, wishing everyone well because they "gave their life to Christ." How we act now has eternal ramifications precisely because to be a follower of Christ is to live eternally now. Or to put it another Rob Bell way - When you become a Christian, when does heaven begin? When you die? No, when we follow Christ we become New Creations. Eternity begins now.

So not to agree, or disagree. Just putting some more thoughts out there on the table.