Over at this link
we find a mild rebuke of anyone who would be so arrogant as to question the orthodoxy of Rob Bell. Of course the author of the piece has no problem questioning the integrity of those who question Rob Bell.
What follows is my response to Paul’s thoughts,
1.) The fact that false teachers have always existed, do exist now, and will always exist does not mean that we should support said false teachers in any way. Rob Bell is clearly,
a.) A universalist
Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 83:
“This reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling ‘all things, in heaven and on earth, to God. This reality then isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true.”
b.) A denier of the unique authority of Scripture
Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 67–68:
“It wasn’t until the 300s that what we know as the sixty-six books of the Bible were actually agreed upon as the ‘Bible’. This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true.
c.) Dubious on the central Christian doctrine of the Atonement
The God’s Aren’t Angry. DVD. Authored by Rob Bell
“The blood was never for God, that was just to help humans live with, absorb, and trust, the love of a God who keeps on insisting, trust me.”
Anyone of these would place Bell outside the circle of orthodoxy. All of them taken together distinguishes him very little, in terms of orthodoxy as a whole, from Joseph Smith, The Medieval Cathari, or my ex Brother-in-law who insists he himself is Jesus.
3.) God has even used talking donkeys in the past but that does not mean we should support talking Donkeys as evangelists.
4.) Bell most certainly does not present the Gospel in any positive way. If he is not presenting the Gospel at all (and he is not) then it is not possible to present it in a positive way.
5.) All because there is not a lot more harm that can be done doesn’t mean we should support those who keep doing harm.
6.) Paul Vander Klay said,
“Again, for those of us who are deep into church and the theological landscape if we were to research something we’d have an entire theological filter we’d use to automatically select or de-select churches, books, leaders in order to do our exploration. Normal people don’t work this way. ”
Actually, this is not even close to being true. All people come equipped with a theological filter. Now they may not be epistemologically self conscious about it but they have it all the same and they use that filter just as much as anyone who is “deep into church and the theological landscape.” Paul is just in error here.
7.) Paul V.K. wrote,
“Rob Bell in all of the ways that irritate me is going to put Jesus on the map for millions of people in an attractive way.”
This is another errant statement by Paul.
a.) When Bell speaks about “Jesus” what makes you think he is talking about the Jesus that walks through the Scriptures? Bell’s Jesus is an alien Jesus having precious little, if anything in common with the Jesus in the Bible.
b.) By this reasoning of Paul’s (and yours?) we should rejoice in Mary Baker Eddy, or Sun Myung Moon or Jan Matthys since thy presented Jesus in an attractive manner and gained lots of listeners.
c.) Bell’s “Jesus” is grotesquely ugly. There is nothing attractive at all about Bell’s Jesus.
8.) I do not envy Bell. In point of fact, I pity Bell.
9.) Paul ends by warning us about the “log and speck” danger and yet here is Paul looking to take the speck out of those who critique Bell while missing potential logs in his own eye. This warning about “log and speck” when absolutized would mean that we could not point out error in any one or anything since, as fallen men, we all have our logs with which to contend.