Some theological disputes amount to very little and serve mostly as exercises in missing the point, if indeed there is a point. Other doctrinal exchanges are quite different and deal with matters of central and essential concern to the Christian faith. The first sort of dispute is a waste of precious time and energy and should be avoided at all costs. The second sort of debate is a matter of both urgency and importance. The church cannot avoid and should not seek to evade this kind of theological conversation.

That is why a recent essay by Brian McLaren helps us all to understand what is at stake in the controversy over Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins. Beyond this, his argument reveals a great deal about the actual beliefs and trajectories of what has become known as the emerging church. As such, his essay is a welcome addition to this important conversation.

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