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Stephanie Sorge Wing

Hey Charles,
Haven't read it yet, but we have an adult Sunday school class that wants to read and study this book together, probably in June. Do you know of any good study resources? The class has been using The Thoughtful Christian materials.


Charles Wiley

No I don't, Stephanie. Several of the web reviews (some of which I linked to) are pretty helpful. I particularly appreciated the chapters on "Here is the new there," "Does God get what God wants?", "There are Rocks everywhere," and "The Good News is better than that."

Since the Thoughtful Christian is marketing the book (that they did not publish), I bet they'll have a study out.


Mike Poteet

As soon as I heard about Bell's book, I thought of one of my favorite passages from the Second Helvetic Confession: "And although God knows who are his, and here and there mention is made of the small number of elect, yet we must hope well of all, and not rashly judge any man to be a reprobate."

I read, appreciated, and enjoyed Bell's book. I was surprised that his theology of resurrection seems so tame. I don't think he once speaks of Jesus' resurrection as something unexpected and unnatural; instead, he says a lot about "That's just how this works," using analogies from nature and such. Those might be good passages to explore in depth.

Timothy F. Simpson

Well said, Charles. My own review:


Charles Wiley

Thanks, Timothy. I, too, was impressed at his facility with the biblical material. Mike, your observation on the resurrection is really interesting--I hadn't noted that.

Matt Ferguson

When I first saw the title to his book (and I have all the Nooma and have been to hear Bell in person, yada yada yada--not a Bell hater) I thought 'No, its God Wins---we have a problem when we try to define what it would mean for "love" to win"

Charles Wiley

Matt, Reformed to the core, eh? I appreciate your distinction. My guess is that he finds "love wins" to be a more attractive and evocative title.

In some ways he reflects Barth's idea that God's "yes" in Jesus Christ is greater than God's "no" in judgment. But Bell appears to have no first-hand knowledge of Barth.


Timothy F. Simpson

Charles, I just saw on my docket that you will be speaking at our presbytery next Tuesday. I hope to get a chance to say hello personally and reminisce about our class with Shelly Isenberg together a lifetime ago at UF but if I miss you, please know that I will still be walking through the crowd telling people that I clearly spotted your brilliance all those years ago :)

Charles Wiley

Wow, talk about a blast from the past. I'm hanging out all day, so try to find me. I'm preaching in worship then doing the Belhar presentation. Other than that, I'm free.

I just quoted Isenberg in a paper I did internally on interfaith relations--perennial philosophy. He was actually a key figure for me deciding to go to seminary. So what are you doing now?


Timothy F. Simpson

Isenberg was a great influence on me as well i ended up writing my MA thesis under his direction after i went to seminary. Right now I am preparing to defend my dissertation this summer at Florida State. I'm my wife's parish associate, I teach part time at UNF here in Jax and I am an editor at Political Theology. I don't work full time because of vision problems, but I stay busy. I will keep you in prayer as you lead our discussion on Belhar. Some presbyteries have had very strange, conspiracy-laced discussions about this and I am hoping that's not where ours goes.

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