The Danger Of Rob Bell
Over the years I have read and listened to Rob Bell's teaching. He has a way of connecting with people, and his authenticity draws them in, and lends credibility to his words. Rob has been slipping further away from his Evangelical roots over the years, and depending on which side of the spectrum you fall, have either applauded or been appalled.
Rob's greatest gift is his empathy for hurting people. I believe he truly desires for people to experience genuine love and spirituality. The scriptures say that we are to love above all else, and to love is to know know God, for God is love. He expresses this clearly,
“I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man, and I think the ship has sailed. This is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
In this desire he has tried to reconcile the, often times, harsh treatment of the Evangelical church toward disenfranchised people who live outside the Evangelical moral framework as seen in the bible, particularly the Homosexual community. But the danger of Rob Bell isn't his love for disenfranchised people, or even his affirmation of homosexual marriage. Rather it is a foundational worldview that shapes his thinking. Rob said,
"I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and co-workers and neighbors and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone."
Though Bell talks about redemption his starting place isn't Christ, but rather people, who are the object of God's grace. He equates reconciliation with acceptance instead of reconciliation as the starting place to make people whole. His greatest error is that he has placed "flesh-and-blood people" before God's glory and holiness as expressed in the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles. His foundation is the shifting sand of cultural mores.
The Apostle Paul told the Ephesians that they were once far away, but through their reconciliation in Christ, have been given a new citizenship and are members of a new household. This new home is built on the firm foundation of the apostles and prophets, of which Jesus is the chief cornerstone. As a Christian Rob Bell doesn't get to pick and chose which passages of the bible are relevant and which ones are not. We can't say that God is love (1 John) and then ignore his call for us to live holy lives in all our conduct (1 Peter).
When we reject the letters of the New Testament as old and irrelevant, then we have to dismiss the truth it reveals about Jesus' life, his death, and his resurrection. If they become irrelevant then there is no salvation and we are still dead in our sin. If we are dead in our sin there is no hope to be reconciled to God.
The Evangelical church needs to do a better job at reaching out and loving the homosexual community. However, if feeling loved means acceptance of an immoral lifestyle then the homosexual community will always feel unloved. That is the case for any one who doesn't like how God has dealt with their situation. If I love my sin, then God (and the church) will always look condemning, old fashioned, and irrelevant.
We need to ask ourselves the question as well. Do we believe that the scriptures are relevant for today? If so then have we check the log in our eye? Do we love as Christ loved? We are not to condemn the sinner, he already stands condemned. We are to extend love and grace. God will do the rest. I'm just saying.