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Rob Bell Not Faring Well

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    Rob Bell Not Faring Well

    Rob Bell believes the Bible is irrelevant. The Bible says Rob Bell is irrelevant.


    At some level, I’m happy when this happens, it’s not that unusual. We have someone who makes a splash in our little world, the evangelical world. And he typically makes that splash because he’s quite effective at gathering large numbers. But after a while we begin to doubt his loyalty to the core convictions of evangelicals. Well, it’s not unusual when this happens that about this same time, our hero with the wide reach determines to turn on we evangelicals and embrace the broader world.

    Exhibit A: Rob Bell. Rob Bell was for a time walking this fence between neo-evangelicalism and the emergent church, not embracing an angry 20th century bitter kind of unbelief and at some level holding some sort of at least cultural distinctives of evangelicalism, but not many ideological convictions.

    Of course that crack in the foundation began when Rob Bell published the book Love Wins. In this book he posited the perspective that Jesus successfully saves the souls of all men everywhere, and that hell is essentially empty. Now, can you believe that and still be an evangelical? Let me just say this, he’s not the first professing evangelical to hint at such a perspective. In fact, one could argue that the very pope of evangelicals hinted at that perspective. That is to say, John Stott came very close to affirming that same perspective 20 years before Rob Bell did, and he didn’t get his evangelical card taken from him.

    Well, this was just the beginning, however, for Rob Bell. We can hope that John Stott tiptoed up to the precipice and came back to the fold, but not so with Rob Bell. Rob Bell ran instead to the welcoming arms of none other than Oprah Winfrey, and grew in his increasing hostility to the authority of God’s Word, and to his submission to God’s Word with respect to God’s people.

    And, of course, it’s happened again. It will get tiresome, eventually, for us to go back and rehearse each of the ways in which Rob Bell eventually betrays our most foundational convictions. But why I’m bringing him up again today is because of the very language that he used. It seems that in a recent appearance on an Oprah Winfrey program called Super Soul Sunday, Mr Bell, who was on the show to promote his book, The Zimzum of Love, had this to say with respect to the question of homosexual marriage:

    “We’re moments away. I think the culture is already there. And the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2000 years ago as their best defense.”

    Now friends, I could actually hear an argument that suggests that in terms of winning unbelievers to our side on the moral issue of homosexual marriage, that it’s ineffective to turn to the Word of God. I wouldn’t buy that particular argument, but I can understand that particular argument. But that’s not what Mr Bell has said. What he’s said instead is that he himself is describing the Bible, the Word of God, as “letters from 2000 years ago.” Letters from 2000 years ago that have the impact of making the church be even more irrelevant.

    Now this may not be exactly the level and style of hostility towards the Word of God that we got from mainline liberals 50 and 60 years ago, but it is getting profoundly close. The trouble that concerns me is that Rob Bell still has the ear of some sheep in the evangelical camp. He still has impact on people who should know better. And this kind of language, this kind of raw, open, public disrespect for the Word of God should be a warning to all of us. This, friends, is the voice of a wolf.

    This is not being misguided, misdirected, or mistaken. This is leading people astray and publicly denigrating, indeed, snickering at the Word of God. This is the pattern that we always find ourselves in. We begin by being embarrassed by portions of the Word of God. And we move to begin to massage the Word of God so that it starts to say the things that we want it to say. Soon we begin to move into ignoring the Word of God.

    But because God speaks, because God will not be silenced, because when we push against the Word of God which is an immovable rock, sooner or later we will find ourselves cursing the Word of God, and spitting on it. And that is where Rob Bell has found himself. The irony, of course, is that though he is sitting next to one of the most influential women of our day, Oprah Winfrey, though he is on national television making this claim, the irony is that this is how Rob Bell has made himself so unbelievably irrelevant.

    What Rob Bell thinks of gay marriage, I’m not concerned about. What the Bible says about it, that’s the truth. The immovable, unshakeable truth, that will still be here and still be true when Rob Bell’s body is rotting in his grave, and unless he repents, when his soul is just beginning to suffer the wrath of God for all eternity.

    Friends, we can have our disagreements and discussions, but let us never ever speak of the Word of God as irrelevant letters from 2000 years ago.
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