For all of you Meyer’s-Briggs people out there, I am an INFP (Fairly Strong I, Strong F, Strong P). INFP’s are not detail oriented. They are okay with not having structure, in fact, they prefer not to. Everything I know about NF’s in my realm of study and work is that they make terrible Theologians and great Activists, Poets and Philosophers. All this to say, I am not a theologian. I don’t want to be. I would rather read Thomas Merton or Henri Nouwen, than Karl Barth or Dietrich Bonhoeffer (although I have read some of those as well).
For all of your Rob Bell theological critiques, I recommend you go to Scot McKnight’s blog (http://bit.ly/ecC61W). He is one of my top 5 favorite living theologians.
Do I believe in Post-Death salvation acceptance? No.
Do I believe in Universalism? No. (But, I don’t think Rob does either).
If you have read Love Wins, if you can get past the first chapter without being absolutely breath-taken, there might be something wrong with you. Never have I read a more well-thought out and creative deconstruction of the American Gospel as we know it. As well, I am in deep support of Rob’s view of how we are to view God’s kingdom and second coming. I agree with Rob that this life seems to be more important to Jesus. As well, Rob’s view of the New Jerusalem as the second coming of Jesus, is something that I agree with.
All of that being said, here are some of the thoughts that have been tearing at me throughout the past month:
If people are wanting to throw Rob out of the Church because he seems to communicate a post-life choice of heaven or hell, then are you willing to throw out the scholarship of C.S Lewis and the Crusades of Billy Graham (who says he does not know what happens to people after they die) because Rob seems to be in accordance with that?
Are you willing to throw out the standard theology of the second coming up until the middle ages, and, the theology of people like N.T Wright, because, Rob believes that this world is re-created in accordance to The Lord’s Prayer?
Are we going to begin participating with what people did to Billy Graham early in his ministry, which is, two degrees of separation? Which means, we definitely can’t associate with Rob, because Rob’s a “heretic”, but, we also can’t associate with people who associate themselves with Rob. So if we do this, are we willing to say goodbye to people like Donald Miller because Rob has endorsed his books?
If I were to throw out theologians because I thought their theology was detrimental to human life, should I throw out John Calvin? Who deeply influenced free-market economy and consumerism, which has in large part has helped produce the American dream, and, also played into the prosperity Gospel. Should I throw out John Calvin? I say no. And, most people would agree with me considering Calvin is considered one of the five most important Church figures in Church history.
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend, who is quite a bit different from I am, and, while he admits that he has not read “love wins”, if it is true what is coming out of it is true, then he wouldn’t find himself agreeing with it, but, it doesn’t mean he has to throw out Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus wants to Save Christians, Rob’s speaking tours, or, his Nooma videos. This is the type of openness, and, discernment, that I hope we could attain to.
We can’t agree with everything we here, but, we can’t chuck Rob out either. Solidarity is one of the important things taught in Jesus and in Paul’s teachings. So instead of putting hate blogs out there, why haven’t we come around him, or trust, that God who is at work, will work on these beliefs (if that needs to be done). We can’t chuck him out, because, if we start chucking him out, who’s next? My guess is, is that every major Christian teacher, thinker, communicator, should have been thrown because of what they believed…. They did it to Luther, not saying he was a Christian, but, they did it to Jesus too. Our next steps, ought to be one of solidarity, of friendship. Whether you agree with or not, use discernment, and bless Rob, his Church, his friends, his family. After all, this was the mission of God through Abraham, wasn’t it (Blessed to be a blessing)? I am not a theologian, but, my heart bleeds like an activists, and, when it sees wrong, it weeps. And, it not only weeps for the victim, but, it also weeps for those who cast stones because they aren’t aware of the damage they do to themselves.