Last night, I travelled west (you know, the way of Horatio Alger and Davy Crockett, the Donner party...) back to my old stomping ground in Grand Rapids for a book signing-slash-lecture-slash-Q&A for my friend and favorite once-seminary professor, Dr. Michael Wittmer. He is promoting his latest book, Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins.
Although at least two other books have come out to answer Rev. Bell, I would point out that Wittmer’s was first. And, having read it, I don’t really see the need for any others. The book is uncompromising in its approach to the Gospel, and yet still respectful and gracious in that trademark-Wittmer way that once made Brian McLaren get misty-eyed.
|We’ve got him surrounded...|
I wish I had a recording of Dr. Wittmer’s presentation from last night (maybe he’ll grace us with a link to the text in the comments section), but since I don’t, allow me to again commend to you the book Christ Alone, and to paraphrase Dr. Wittmer’s introduction (minus all the Taylor Swift stuff), which was itself worth the hour drive to the six-one-six.
One of the issues that Rob brings up in Love Wins is the question: how can a finite being ever do anything to deserve infinite punishment. Our lives span a finite amount of time and we have finite capacities, so how can hell go on and on and on forever?
But he fails to take into account whom we have offended. Everyone recognizes how important this is. If you walk outside tonight and slap a mosquito, no one cares. But if you pull the legs off of frogs just for fun, we start to worry. If you torture puppies, we call the authorities [tasteless joke about cats redacted]. If you kill another person, we put you in jail for life, or maybe give you the electric chair. Who you attack matters.
And we have all offended God himself with our sin, and attacked Him in order to kill (as the old hymn reminds us, we were spiritually present with the crowd who shouted “Crucify!”) an infinite and eternal being, and therefore deserve to be punished accordingly.
Like I said, that’s a paraphrase, but you get the picture. Dr. Wittmer flawlessly exposes the contradictions, hidden premises, and unbiblical teachings of Love Wins in a way that comes off positively, focused entirely on giving glory to God for the true Gospel of salvation, in which God’s holiness and love are not set at odds, but in which all of God’s perfections are one.