The Error of the "But"

As you might expect, I've had a few conversations about Rob Bell's recent book "Love Wins." Yes, I read it several months ago and will review it one of these days when my anger subsides.

However, in the meantime, I hear an opposite error from many people who want to critique Bell's theology that I think is also dangerous.

From time to time, while pointing out the fallacy of saying that if love "wins," hell can't exist, I hear people remind each other that "God is loving but He is also just."

It's a subtle error, but often subtle errors are sometimes just as catastrophic as the more obvious kind.

When we are talking about the perfections of God, Justice and love aren't opposites; they exist together.

If love is defined from a purely human standpoint, love and justice do contrast; but God doesn't define love by our romanticized, erotic, and selfish perspective. He defines love at the cross (1 John 4:10). The cross is the place where love and justice intersect. The Father loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us.The Father is so concerned about justice that He sent His Son to die for us.

If God is not just, He can not be loving. If God is not loving, He need not be just. If God's love doesn't demand His justice, Jesus' death goes down as the greatest overreaction in all of history.

When you set the two up as a contrast, you end up with the same heresy Bell does; you just come at it from a different side. When God's justice and love are separated from one another, you end up with neither justice or love... exactly where Bell ends up.

It isn't that God is just but also loving; it's that God is just and also loving.