Why I believe we need to support Rob Bell, when this finishes….

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.

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9 thoughts on “Why I believe we need to support Rob Bell, when this finishes….

  1. esztertun says:

    Very true! Nothing near hate or ridicule or even disrespect should be coming from believers, only the fruits of the Spirit. God is more than able to bear heresy (if that’s what it is). In my opinion, it’s not our burden to bear. Our attention should be on Him anyway.

  2. mksmileyface says:

    Ironic how he writes a book called “Love Wins” and he gets hated by his own “brothers” for it..

  3. […] Why I believe we need to support Rob Bell, when this finishes…. (via Mike Friesen’s Blog) 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 No … Read More […]

  4. revjakey34 says:

    We shouldn’t ever throw anything out as a whole, because there is probably a redeeming quality to everything. I personally don’t read Rob Bell because I don’t like his style of writing. However, Velvet Elvis was magnificent (even if I slogged through Sex God and couldn’t finish JWTSC). Ironic that we condemn Rob for (potentially) being a Universalist and yet we trash EVERYTHING he’s ever said or written on the basis of emotion, not merit. I just finished teaching Ephesians and Philippians to my high schoolers, and I can’t imagine what Paul would say about unity or the foundation of the church if he was here to see us bicker.

    Even something as crazy as Westboro Baptist…I admire that they attempt to live the Bible literally, even if they do it in an unloving and corrupt manner. There is good in everything because God made it that way.

  5. to me the sadest part of the whole situation is that Rob approached the subject in a very graceful and peaceful manner – he didn’t just attack all those ideas in a mean and chopping down way. He worked really hard to try to open people’s minds and just consider a possibility, and he’s been met with so much unwillingness to even hear what’s he saying.

    On an unrelated note we love the phrase hate the sin, love the sinner but if we’re honest when we throw someone out with their ideas we’re not adhering to that. We’re condemning their entire being instead of disagreeing with one part of that person. And maybe the true loser is those who do so, as they are missing out on an enormous part of the population.

  6. Mollye says:

    Mike, I have long believed that dehumanizing behavior is detrimental to all people involved. One person with power dehumanizes another person with less power and in the process become less human themselves. This, I think is one of the most important vicious cycles we as a human race need to address.

  7. Julie Green says:

    Ienjoyed reading your blog. Having just focused on Easter, I was so reminded of the Grace that others extend to me all the time. I hope in my life I am doing the same for others. We all are screwups and that is why the cross was so great. Would I be so arrogant as to publically judge and demean someone? Have I been given that right or authority to even gossip and tear down a man? I do believe in the Bible and I do believe in Hell. God loves Rob so much and he is a brother in Christ. I will just pray for him during this time. Thanks for your blog of loving him.

  8. Ryan Gear says:

    Great post! I agree that we should support Rob, and, at the same time, his book sales are proving that his questions and views are part of the vast majority of Americans. The fundamentalist groups that attacked him are a tiny minority, but we can sometimes be fooled into thinking there are more of them because they are so loud.

    It’s ironic that the persons who attacked Rob made him a household name. For example, he would have never made the cover of Time magazine without this controversy.

    Fundamentalist movements are about fear, and fear sells. Rob doesn’t have to promote his own work anymore. All he has to do is sit back and let fundamentalist Christians make him more famous.

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