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The Last Word and the Word after That: A…

The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New…

by Brian D. McLaren

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485432,763 (4.13)2
For all those seeking more authentic ways to hold and practice Christian faith, Brian McLaren has been an inspiring, compassionate-and provocative-voice. Starting with the award-winning A New Kind of Christian, McLaren offered a lively, wide-ranging fictional conversation between Pastor Dan Poole and his friend Neil Oliver as they reflected about faith, doubt, reason, mission, leadership, and spiritual practice in the emerging postmodern world. That conversation widened to include several intriguing new characters in the sequel, The Story We Find Ourselves In, as Dan and friends continued to explore faith-stretching themes from evolution to evangelism, from death to the meaning of life. Now, in this third installment of their adventures, Dan and his widening circle of friends grapple with conventional Christian teachings about hell and judgment and what they mean for our relationship with God and each other. Is there an alternative to the usual polar views of a just God short on mercy or a merciful God short on justice?  Could our conflicted views of hell be symptoms of a deeper set of problems - misunderstandings about what God's justice and mercy are about, misconceptions about God's purpose in creating the world, deep misgivings about what kind of character God is and what the Christian gospel is for?… (more)
  1. 00
    Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell (StephenBarkley)
    StephenBarkley: Both books both explore views of Heaven and Hell from an emerging church perspective.

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Controversial stuff, yet at the same time oddly reassuring.

In his slightly strange 'creative non-fiction' style, McLaren gently introduces doubts about the conservative evangelical viewpoint of hell - the kind of thing that many of us have puzzled about over the years. Featuring the pastor Dan - who, McLaren declares, really isn't himself - his friend Neil, and a host of other interesting characters, the history and theology of hell are discussed at length.

There's room for disagreement; at one point Dan bemoans the fact that if he figures out how to help his daughter Jess in her understanding, he will upset his wife Carol, who continues in a fairly conservative exclusivist viewpoint. And there's also room for a great deal of thinking and pondering, and searching of the Scriptures.

Whatever the truth - or otherwise - of hell, many excellent points are made about the importance of living for Christ, of caring about justice on earth, of showing love and kindness to all. Far too many Christians come across as angry and judgemental, almost seeming to rejoice in the idea of the condemnation of the unsaved, and while people of that persuasion would probably consider this book heretical, it's important that those of us who tend towards the more inclusivist viewpoint should not judge or condemn those who are more conservative or intolerant in their view.

Powerful stuff, leaving open as many questions as it answers. The fiction part is rather lightweight, more a vehicle for the theology and history than anything else, but it works. And is very readable.

Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
verfrissende kijk op de teksten over hel en verdoemenis, stimulerend om voorbij oude denk kaders te kijken, weet niet of hij gelijk heeft, maar de ideeen zijn niet goedkoop en scherpen minstens mijn gedachten over de bijbel/God/Christus/liefde/uitverkiezi ( )
  Hopsakee | Apr 2, 2011 |
An exploration of beliefs about hell, and how (in his opinion) many Christians have got things backwards -- and why.
  Robertgreaves | Jan 17, 2009 |
This book, like the others in the series are quite incredible. Although McLaren is not exactly the best fiction writer, there are so many rich moments in these books that bring up points which cause you to stop and think. This ability more than makes up for the story, which seems to lack in some points and drag on with parts that don't really seem necessary. Overall, I would say that there is much that can be learned from this series, and it is a shame that many refuse to read it and solely criticize him because he can be controversial at times. ( )
  jd234512 | Jul 23, 2006 |
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