Salt and Light
Re: Putting Christ Into Good Friday (Nov/Dec 2011)
John Stackhouse has unintentionally illustrated a serious
problem in too many of our
churches. His summary of our
responsibilities could be roughly
paraphrased as (a) be politically
correct in our multicultural society and (b) be theologically correct in our worship. What has
become of salt and light? Where
is the Great Commission?
Of course we are to treat
everyone with respect, but
we also have a responsibility
to respectfully offer them the
Good News. A quick survey of
countries where the church is
growing suggests that being out
of step with the surrounding so-
ciety may be an advantage. Per-
haps we value our comfort too
much – comfort in our society
and comfort inside the security
of our churches. If we moved
out of our comfort zone, we
might face opposition, but also
be more fruitful.
Re: No Avoiding Hellgate Controversy (Nov/Dec 2011)
Rob Bell’s book Love Wins
has raised two thorny issues
among Evangelicals. Keeping
them separated would help us
carry on a more constructive
dialogue than we are now having. Some Evangelicals are bothered by how Bell deconstructs
the notion of unbelievers being
consciously tormented in an
eternal torture chamber called
hell. Others are most disturbed
by the suggestion Bell might be
a universalist (believing that all
people will eventually be saved).
For me, Bell’s most valuable
contribution comes with his de-
construction of the traditional
notion of hell. I have met many
people in leadership positions
in evangelical churches, de-
nominations and educational
institutions who concede pri-
vately that we need to rethink
this doctrine. But almost invari-
ably they play it safe by touting
whatever line the institution
they represent has mandated.
Bell’s book is helping to break
this sad silence among evan-
gelical leaders. On this score,
if one finds fault with Bell’s
reasoning, we can fall back on
some of the more heavyweight
theologians who have done the
same, like John R. W. Stott, N. T.
Wright, and Michael Green. I
think we can come to some
kind of a new consensus on the
traditional notion of hell if we
participate in an honest, open
and heart-felt dialogue.
am willing to leave the answer
to this second question within
the mysteries of God.
But erasing the memory
of the traditional ideas about
hell will go a long way toward
allowing us to actually present
the gospel as “Good News” in
our world today.
Instead of picking up on
where Rob Bell might have
failed, we would do better focusing on how he has helped
move forward with a positive
message for the world. As religion journalist Cathleen Fal-sani says, “God put Bell here
daniel d. Scott as managing director
of Save the Mothers, a Canadian charity founded by Dr. Jean Chamberlain
Froese that works in uganda to improve
maternal health. Scott is a Presbyterian
minister and an associate professor at
Tyndale university College in Toronto.
Fred Stewart as executive director of
The renewal Fellowship, an evangelical
group in the Presbyterian Church in
Canada. Stewart has pastored in Hamilton and Pickering, Ont., and has worked
in banking, consulting, computers and
business. He succeeds Calvin brown.
Inc.) Her official title is vice-president,
camping, Circle Square ranches and Pioneer Camps. She holds Mba and Med
degrees and has worked in the banking
industry and for Ontario Pioneer Camp.
michael thompson as general secretary of the anglican Church of Canada.
The Ven. Dr. Thompson is rector of St.
Jude’s anglican Church in Oakville, Ont.
He succeeds Michael Pollesel. based in
Toronto, the general secretary serves
as chief operating officer for the church,
co-ordinating communications and
programs among departments and
mond de Souza is editor-in-chief. Cardus
has a head office in Hamilton, Ont.
doug Koop as
editorial director at
Christian Week after
helping to lead it
since its founding 25
years ago. Christian-
Week is a national
newspaper based in
formatted on magazine-sized newsprint,
published by the non-profit group Fellow-
ship for Print Witness.
Leanne thorfinnson as head of the
camp ministry at Inter-Varsity Christian
Fellowship of Canada, serving 10,000
children each summer and another
7,000 during the rest of the year. (In
april 2011 Inter-Varsity accepted a gift
of five Circle Square ranches from
Crossroads Christian Communications
Convivium: Faith in Our Common
Life, a new magazine from the Cardus
Centre for Cultural renewal, a Christian
think-tank focused on societal health.
Published six times per year, it seeks to
be “an authoritative voice for the role
of religion in Canadian society.” Fr. ray-
doug Pritchard of Toronto as co-director
of Christian Peacemaker Teams, a
ministry which brings diplomacy and
nonviolent direct action to conflict zones
such as Colombia, the West bank, Iraq and
along the united States/Mexico border.
Pritchard served as co-director since
2004 and as Canada co-ordinator since