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Rob Bell and the controversy about his new book

Filed under: books,God's movement — 10:04 pm

rob bell

I’ve been fascinated, nauseated, angered, and inspired by the drama surrounding Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins.  Not wanting to add to the conflict, I almost didn’t say anything, but one thought has been burning inside me:  I can’t believe how quickly this devolved into us vs. them…who’s in and who’s out?…who’s 100% orthodox (a.k.a. “believes what I believe”) and who’s a heretic (a.k.a. “believes something different than me”)?

It has sounded more like a cable news show where two extremists shout across the table at each other…where the point is not to discover Truth together, the point is to demonize and delegitimize the other side.  Either that, or simply yell louder.

No wonder so many people are disillusioned with politics… and disillusioned with religion.

In the sea of twitter name-calling, gloating, and unbelievable self-certainty, I stumbled upon precious few perspectives that appealed for a more open approach.  Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw wrote about Rob and the concept of “salvific generosity” and “salvific stinginess” here.  Mathew Paul Turner insightfully appeals for unity here in a really honest post.  I loved Mason’s perspective of “when everyone’s a heretic, no one is” here.  And David Fitch talks about the end of Evangelicalism here.

I wish the Christian community was known for our love of each other, not our militant need to expose what is wrong.  (Especially because it’s so easy to confuse “wrong” with “what I happen to disagree with”).  I wish there was WAY more room for different perspectives, respectful disagreements, curiosity, and learning from “the other”.  To be honest, I’m not always good at this – my fear and pride get in the way all the time – but I want to grow more open and more humble every year.

So, friends, let’s be the kinds of people who are learners in the widest possible sense.  Let’s become experts at finding God’s Truth in the most unexpected places.

“. . all the beauty of the world, the beauty that calls our admiration, our gratitude, our worth-ship at the earthly level, is meant as a set of hints, of conspiratorial whispers, of clues and suggestions and flickers of light, all nudging us into believing that behind the beautiful world is not random chance but the loving God.”

N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth


  1. Thanks Aaron! Thanks for putting this into words and sharing. I found this very comforting. Peace be with you

    Comment by Carl — March 16, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    The division and name calling over a book called “Love Wins” is ironic, but tears at my heart.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. It ought not be this way.

    I look forward to reading the book.

    Comment by Chris Darnell — March 16, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

  3. Yes! It is amazing to me that Christians claim to have God figured out in His entirety! That people claim to know exactly “How God Works?” How are we as mere humans arrogant enough to put Him in a box? Interesting… the more I learn the more my views may shift, be disrupted or even shattered because God is always molding my finite mind and heart.


    Comment by Dan Estes — March 16, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

  4. Aaron- Glad to see you weigh in on this, I was wondering if/when you would (given your connections to Mars Hill).

    I think you’re spot on, and all I wanted to say was to add one more link for you to check out, which I just came across tonight. And it is BRILLIANT. Probably the best piece I’ve read yet about this… “conversation”, as you so eloquently put it. 🙂

    Check it out:


    Comment by Curtis — March 16, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

  5. Aaron,
    As one who recently commented about my concern on the “reported” message of the book, I thought I would comment.
    It’s interesting how people interpret things differently. Dan’s comment above mentions how we are too quick to put God in a box. After everything I’ve read & watched about “Love Wins” that is exactly what I feel Rob Bell is doing with the message he is communicating. Sure his message is different then what a large majority of Pastors are going to preach, but by declaring we will all eventually see God for who he is & eventually end up spending eternity in his presence seems like a nice “boxed” solution for those who don’t want to admit that sin is real & that a choice to accept the gift of Jesus is necessary.
    It’s funny how times have changed. It would have been way more fun having this discussion with you & Dan about 15 years ago.

    Take care my friend

    Comment by Brad Campbell — March 17, 2011 @ 1:01 am

  6. …it’s so easy to confuse “wrong” with “what I happen to disagree with.” Brilliant!!!

    Comment by Tom — March 17, 2011 @ 5:12 am

  7. Love it. Your brain/spirit is “thinking” exactly as I have been “thinking”. Striking the “balance” between “my truth is the only truth” and “all truths lead to Father God”. Ah yes, grasshopper… this is what we must confront on the road to truth. Will we stay the course? Or will we settle with second-best… a watered-down truth? I am with you, brother. WE MUST keep seeking (and knowing) the truth… even as we journey with other people who are still on the first parts of their quest. Love you dude. I will visit your mansion (hi, Shawna) in the New Earth when it’s all said and done (now that you’re spiritual celebrities– I knew you when you weren’t).

    Comment by Gregory Herron — March 17, 2011 @ 6:31 am

  8. I wonder where my comments went? Oh well.

    Comment by Brad Campbell — March 17, 2011 @ 7:27 am

  9. I

    Comment by Considering leaving Willow — March 17, 2011 @ 9:13 am

  10. Amen. Well said. I tweeted earlier this week “the conscienceness of the coversaiton centers around ‘but rob, who is in?'” The very virtue of that question shows the problem. I find it funny how many christians will seemingly walk around heaven pouting if people they thought shouldn’t get in are there by methods that weren’t their way.

    Thanks for speaking up.

    Grace and peace

    Comment by jeremy batten — March 17, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  11. Aaron,
    I was one of the ones waiting to hear your thoughts. I am a friend of another former staff member at Mars Hill GR. Thank you for your words on this issue and the songs you have blessed us with.

    I am tired of seeing the #LoveWins vs #TruthWins in Twitter Land! I think that I might give up my twitter account all together over this issue. It has wasted to much time and people are getting angry (and it is to the point of sin). This is not the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17. People are reading Rob with the intent to find wrong rather than reading for the purpose of the book. I too don’t agree with everything, yet I serve in a city where people have had hell shot at them like a last ditch effort to convince them to believe in a loving God. Hell – in my opinion – is not the last bullet in the evangelism gun. We are all sinners and in desperate need of a Savior! This uprising has proven that.

    I love all the guys waging war over this issue. My heart is torn as I watch brothers beat each other to spiritual death. Said thing, some don’t see each other as brothers.

    When are Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer going to chime into this guy fight! 🙂

    Comment by Ellis — March 17, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  12. Aaron, I do believe that this is the best post I have seen in this discussion to date. Thanks so much for weighing in on it. Looking forward to the next time we can rock out together again at Mars!

    Comment by Mike Otis — March 17, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  13. One renown evangelical leader, who never bothered to even read the book, simply dismissed Rob Bell with a “B-Bye”. Dismissive. Arrogant. and rather evil in tone….as if to say….”now go away and die”. Upsetting to the core, to me.

    I’m thinkin’….”it’ll suck to be him” when he stands before God’s judgement throne. I’m really praying for him.

    Comment by Catherine — March 17, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  14. You said “In the sea of twitter name-calling, gloating, and unbelievable self-certainty”

    But wait a minute, Rob Bell said: “A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.” Because I disagree, am I not being called misguided and TOXIC?? TOXIC?? Isn’t that name calling? and isn’t Bell very self-certain that his opinion is the only correct one?

    Comment by Susan — March 19, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  15. susan,

    Thanks for the comment. You bring up a great point. Some of Rob’s language has been on the inflammatory side…which hasn’t always minimized the controversy. I really admire his courage, but sometimes wonder if there was a more bridge-building way to say it.

    In the case you mentioned, notice that Rob is calling an idea “toxic” – not a person! What has been so disturbing to me is how personal the attacks have been. Some people aren’t saying that they disagree with his theology; they’re saying that he is a heretic, false prophet, etc. A few tweets even suggested that “rob will find out that hell is real when he gets there”. This kind of language is sick and decidedly non-Christian.

    To be clear, I have no problem with strong opinions and passionate beliefs…especially when held with humility. This is a delicate balance, of course, and I often fall short. But we must figure out a better way to talk about these important issues!

    thanks so much for taking a moment to share your thoughts,

    Comment by aaronieq — March 19, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  16. I find it very ironic that Aaron is quick to judge Peter King and the Muslim hearings going on in Congress but condemns those who are quick to judge Rob Bell (can’t have it both ways). Additionally, contrary to the liberal-progressive (and seemingly politically-charged) viewpoint held by the new regime at Willow, there are indeed rights and wrongs and blacks and whites when it comes to Christianity and salvation.

    I found this review of Bell’s book on and I think this guy nailed it:

    “Who am I to say that Rob Bell is wrong? After all, everyone’s entitled to his own opinion. My criticism of Bell’s writing is based on what the clear teaching of Scripture is, as well as on the majority, historical, traditional understanding of theology. While there are many issues the Church has and will always dispute, there are also issues to which the Church has always given clear answers. The question is, therefore, not “Who is Charles Erlandson to say that Rob Bell is wrong?” but rather, “Who is Rob Bell to say that the Church has had things wrong for 2000 years and that Rob Bell is now here to tell us the real truth?” In fact, Rob himself has recognized the need (in “Velvet Elvis”) to interpret the Bible (which doesn’t come pre-interpreted) and even affirms the need for a community to interpret. The problem is that he doesn’t state which community and is instead willing to overturn the consensus of the church for 2000 years if necessary.” (by Charles Elrandson)

    Comment by Disappointed In My Church — March 19, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

  17. Dear “Disappointed In My Church”,

    I couldn’t agree more that there are rights and wrong. Jesus, himself, said that “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life”…which I believe to my absolute core.

    However, the point I’m trying to make in both the Peter King and Rob Bell posts is this: We are way too quick to demonize “the other”, rather than listen and build a bridge. This is true in politics and sports and just about every area of life…but I’m especially grieved it’s so true of us Christians.

    For example, when you refer to “the liberal-progressive (and seemingly politically-charged) viewpoint held by the new regime at Willow”, that could easily be interpreted as trying to demonize the people you don’t agree with, rather than seeking to understand. Now, since you took the time to share your thoughts here, I don’t believe that those were your intentions…but you can see how easily the conversation can turn to “us vs. them”.

    If you attend Willow, please come down and say “hi” after a service some time. Maybe we could chat about this further. Thanks again for writing and being a part of the conversation!


    Comment by aaronieq — March 19, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

  18. it is a mischaracterization based on a lack of understanding of church history to interpret bell as saying that “the church has had things wrong for 2000 years”. bell is addressing the same issues of interpretation that were being discussed even BEFORE the council of nicea (325AD)! no doctrine in church history was decided outside of the context of prayerful human consensus. the “clear answers” are only clear now because we, as people living in 2011, have the luxury of standing on the shoulders of those interpreters who came before us. in other words, our “clear answers” are simply the acceptance of the lasting interpretations of people who made communal decisions up to 2000 years ago. we, as Christians, believe(d) that God was in the midst of these intense conversations, and are therefore forced to deal with the complications of opposing viewpoints which often resulted in schisms. which one of the interpretations of the message of God as articulated by Jesus through the writers of the Bible should we embrace? who was right? who remains right? the baptists? the episcopalians? the eastern orthodox? the presbyterians? the catholics? the evangelicals? me? you?

    bell states in the preface that he is not saying anything new. “love wins” is, in no way, novel. what bell IS doing is bringing past interpretations (ones that still exist in non-evangelical christian communities today) to an evangelical audience who traditionally live within a very encapsulated framework. he is challenging the evangelical community to wrestle with questions that we, as christians, have been wrestling with for the entirety of our history.

    it’s our LACK of questioning that is being challenged.

    so “disappointed in my church”… please know that we are ALL, as christians, trying to follow God more fully. more honestly. more truthfully. more faithfully. with more conviction. we are all in this together. and to claim that we have the answers would be to fly in the face of thousands of years of faithful followers of Christ who have been struggling with that which has seduced us.

    with faith in God’s goodness, let’s follow the scent of our seduction rather than give into the temptation of “rightness”.

    Comment by Ben — March 20, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  19. Ben,

    Brilliant words.

    “It’s our lack of questioning that is being challenged.” Great thoughts…


    Comment by aaronieq — March 21, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  20. What about the possibility that Rob is simply very clever about selling books. What better way to get “free” publicity than to give the Christian community incentive to buy his book ” just to see what he really said”.
    Rob has been known to stimulate thinking and question asking by proposing an unorthodox point of view.
    Sometimes that has it’s desired effect but if he stretches sound reasoning too far, as it seems he has done in this case, then the backlash can have dire results.
    Some people will be so confused by the argument that they will abandon conviction because it isn’t worth the effort.
    There are also those people who will read a few reviews and believe that his impressions and intuitions are foolish and will write off Rob as no longer a spokes person and he will lose his platform.
    I would assume that he had sought out some input from other wise mentors or counselors , and did not simply publish a stream of consciousness. If so then he presumably has consensus with some. If not then I would say his wisdom at the very least could be questioned.

    Comment by J — March 22, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

  21. J,

    i think you are right to mention the point about selling books.

    you’re also very astute to say that his methodology may in fact push him further towards the fringe of “accepted” evangelicalism.

    but, and i’m sorry if i’m belaboring the point, what “unorthodox point of view” is bell proposing? and is “confusing” a person necessarily a bad thing? doesn’t that sort of dissonance bring about new, more substantial faith?

    and, last question i promise, how do you see the book as “stream of consciousness”?

    Comment by Ben — March 23, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  22. Ben,
    1. Not accusing Rob of anything.
    Sorry it seems I wasn’t clear with my intentions, and what I said was ” I would assume that he had sought out some input from other wise mentors or counselors , and did not simply publish a stream of consciousness.
    The point I was trying to make was that I hoped he was not writing in a vacuum without the counsel or feedback from anyone else.

    re: the “unorthodox” From Love Wins. sorry again, another “label”
    ” What Jesus does is declare that he,
    and he alone,
    is saving everybody.”

    It is possible, that in that quote, Rob meant that everyone who will be saved… will saved by Jesus, but it sounds like Rob was saying that “everybody” WILL be saved.

    This statement contradicts what Jesus Himself is recorded as having said in Matthew 24-25 where it seems quite clear that some will not be saved eternally.

    Now having said that I know that it is both Jesus and Gods desire that no one should perish and that everyone would repent, but in my own experience I have known people who have lived their whole lives and died belligerently resisting God and even any dialog about the possibility of a relationship with Him.

    My question is; are you suggesting that Jesus will win them over after they have died?

    Heb 9:27-28 suggests that there is a judgment after death for everyone but that Christ was offered to bear the sins of many. This implies not all.
    I cannot suggest that I have the authority to speak for Jesus about who may or may not be on the list of forgiven. I would say that God is sovereign to do as He wishes, but I humbly believe that not all will accept the invitation.

    I do believe that everyone has been offered an invitation into Gods family and that Jesus sacrifice was the redeeming factor, but I also believe that people are able to say NO to the invitation and although it would grieve Gods heart to watch them walk away, to their own demise, I believe He would allow it.
    There is no lack of love in His sadness.

    Comment by J — March 23, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  23. […] I wrote last week, I believe that our current polarized, either/or, “us vs. them” culture is the single […]

    Pingback by Take “the other” out to lunch « aaron niequist — March 24, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  24. I plan on readin this book because the questions and ideas intrigue me, not because I take the ideas as 100% factual. However i have found myself intrigued by all of the debate around rob bell and this book. Ultimately, it all baffles me. Perhaps I am naive in my belief that christians should be focusing on sharing the power of God with others instead of arguing over doctrines and questionable details of belief. Don’t we all agree that the core of it all lies in the belief that God sent His only sont to earth to die for the sins of man? During my first semester at college I was forced to take a class that taught me the doctrine my colleges demonation followed. I was told within the first week that only those who agreed with that particular denomination were Gods chosen people and I fought them on it to the point where my entire class, professor included, were left speechless. I am all for friendly debate but I feel as though Christians have forgotten that our path is to go and make more disciples for Christ. Not for Rob Bell, my church’s pastor, Willow’s pastors, the Lutheran church, Catholic church, etc. But for God.

    Comment by kim — March 24, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  25. J,

    i think i have a better idea about what you mean in talking about “stream of consciousness”. i too would assume that bell wasn’t writing in the context of a vacuum (since the very content of the book itself is primarily focused on existing interpretations of the nature of heaven and hell).

    concerning the “everybody WILL be saved” idea…

    first, i think it’s clear that bell would say that everyone who will be in heaven will be there because of jesus. in his discussion around this, he mentions paul’s interpretation of exodus 17:1-7 in 1 corinthians 10:4. paul references the story of moses striking a rock which releases water allowing the israelites to survive in the desert. paul claims that this rock was actually Christ. this is, obviously, before there was a historical Jesus. so here paul actually engages in some redaction criticism within the bible itself (this has lots of potential theological implications, many of which bell discusses).

    second, i think we, as interpreters of the bible, have to be careful when we start talking about “clarity” and “contradiction” within the text. you’re absolutely right in saying that matthew 25 explicitly talks about jesus’ separation of the “sheep” from the “goats”. this separation seems to be largely, if not wholly, based on a person’s generous works (or lack thereof).

    however, we should first consider that this passage is held within the context of two other lengthy parables, and second, must take into account how matthew’s jesus lives in tension with ephesians 2:8-9 (“for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”) if matthew’s jesus is saying that a person can be separated based on their lack of care for the needy, then how can the writer of ephesians say that a person is saved, “through faith” which is a “gift of God”?

    in the same vein, you are correct to mention hebrews 9:27-28. it explicitly mentions Christ bringing salvation to “those who eagerly await him.” but again, if we are to take the entirety of the bible seriously, we must hold this passage (and others like it) in tension with zephaniah 3:9 (“then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that ALL of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder.”), psalm 22:27-28 (“ALL the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and ALL the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.”), luke 3:6 in reference to isaiah 40:3-5 (“ALL people will see God’s salvation.”), colossians 1:19-20 (“for God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself ALL things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”), and philippians 2:9-11 (“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and EVERY tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”).

    we simply can’t avoid these inconsistencies.

    so, am i suggesting that Jesus will win us all over after we have died? i don’t know. and the bible isn’t as clear as some would like it to be.

    but love winning certainly is a better story…

    Comment by Ben — March 24, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

  26. I wonder if Rob Bell would agree with Willow’s statement of faith? I can’t imagine that he would, considering his comments, but I doubt you could get him to admit it. I agree that love should govern our communication, but if his comments give people the idea that they will receive a second chance after they die, when that is clearly untrue, isn’t such a comment the very definition of unloving? I think this is why people are reacting so strongly to Rob’s book – they are afraid that the Bible’s message (eternal destiny is sealed upon death) will be muddied or even worse, discounted. Perhaps this is why John offered such a strong rebuke (Rev 22:18,19) to those who would change the message he received.

    Willow’s statement on Human Destiny:
    Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. All humanity will experience a bodily resurrection and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Having rejected God, unbelievers will suffer eternal condemnation apart from Him. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life.

    Comment by Roger Knowlton — March 25, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  27. Aaron,
    I’ve been following your blog on and off for the past few years. I really resonate with some of the songs you write–a friend from Mars Hill introduced me to Worship in Every Direction (in fact, a few weeks ago I was in visiting friends in Grand Rapids and at Mars Hill we sang Changed). Anyway, I found your post to be helpful and insightful. I find it disheartening that many fail to realize this discussion isn’t new. As the opinions editor for my christian college newspaper, I commented on Bell’s controversy, and also uploaded it to my blog. If you have the time/desire to read it, I address how Christians shouldn’t fear this issue because the Christian narrative has always been multifaceted.


    Comment by Josh — March 28, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  28. Aaron- how can Christian Leaders practice discernment and teach others to do so? Can you explain in reference to your comment “Learning in the widest possible sense”? It would be nice to hear someone with a respected voice explain how to balance what is wrong in all this discussion with the clear command to “guard the faith” and discern between “any other gospel besides that which I have delivered” (Paul). I think a lot of the angst comes from nobody addressing this one issue. Somebody who knows tell me and everyone else how we can fulfill this command as well as all the other commands, because I think we all agree that we can’t pick and choose which ones to obey and which ones to ignore. We just need an explanation, and I think hearing a critically thought out, well-articulated response to this very important question would go a long way.
    Have you seen/heard one, or can you provide one?
    With you for His glory and Biblical Unity and Biblical Spirit of Peace,

    Comment by A.M. LaMouria — April 5, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

  29. […] the Rob Bell post from last month received another comment that I wanted to reply to. Tony asked “how to balance what is wrong […]

    Pingback by a thought about the shifting danger of “false teaching” « aaron niequist — April 7, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  30. Hey, Tony…thanks for the great question! I just posted a thought on my blog in response. Would love to hear what you think.


    Comment by aaronieq — April 7, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  31. Hi Aaron, I’m a first-time visitor to this blog and when I read your “About” profile, I immediately thought of Rob Bell and his outlook, and wondered whether you were a fan of his. I don’t consider myself religious, but I have downloaded Bell’s Nooma video series, and I love the alternative it presents to mainstream Christianity.

    I’m wondering if you’ve also heard of a pastor named Jay Bakker (son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker). He had a 6-part documentary series on the Sundance Channel. Really interesting guy, he co-founded and preaches at Revolution Church in Brooklyn.

    Comment by Jean-Paul — May 3, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  32. Jean-Paul,

    Great to hear from you. Yeah, Rob Bell has been a huge influence and helped me stay a Christian when I wanted to jump ship. So much of christianity has become so ugly, but Rob helped me see how beautiful the core of it still is. (Another hugely helpful book at the time was “A New Kind of Christian” by Brian Mclaren. Have you read anything by Brian?)

    I’m familiar with Jay Bakker, but I’ve never met him. But he seams like a really brave, fascinating guy.

    Thanks for visiting the blog and adding your voice!

    Comment by aaronieq — May 7, 2012 @ 9:26 am

  33. Aaron,

    I attended Mars Hill in the early 2000’s while you were still there. I appreciated your music very much. I recall one Sunday when Rob came up to the stage and said to the congregation something like, “don’t worry, I’ll always be teaching.” Many people clapped. It was a very awkward moment for me as Rob’s statement made me believe that he was preaching for the self-gratification of being popular. Based on my belief that he was in it for the popularity, I wasn’t surprised by his new book and his decision to pursue a career as a TV producer.

    I am disappointed in your post regarding Rob. I feel like it is going down the slippery slope of moral relativity. Your comment that “it’s so easy to confuse “wrong” with “what I happen to disagree with”” wreaks of moral relativity. There are fundamental truths that we don’t have to discover together. I agree that we should not resort to name-calling, but Rob’s arguments are not in line with biblical truth. What do you want me to learn from something that is not founded on the bible?



    Comment by Doug — October 26, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  34. It is unfortunate Aaron that the church has at times digressed to ad hominum mud-slinging. However, scripture is clear that we are to watch our doctrine closely, not allow ourselves to be draģged away from biblical truth by every wave of popular theology, expose false teachers and prophets and regard the Word of God as God-breathed and inerrant (in its original form). The premise on which you speak Aaron (as we have had several conversations face to face) is that scripture is (as you put it) written by men thus not inerrant and not the last word on moral truth which, I’ve come to learn, is why you advocate open forum debate on clear boblical teaching. The motivation is unity but at what cost? We do not need to debate clear teachings from scripture because Rob Bell and many others have essentially presented an argument based on one quantum leap of humanistic pseudo-logic to project the debate into a direction that attempts to refute clear biblical truth, a stunt that has been done over and over by those who prey upon the biblically and theologically weak majority amongst the body of Christ. I do think it is necessary to allow for those who question Christian theology to be given opportunity to do so, I also advocate clearly exposing the wolves among the sheep who for centuries have strived to teach what the itching ears want to hear in a spirit of cultural relevance leading the flock astray. Nothing more dangerous than truth mixed with lies combined with an appeal to humanitarian empathy which is what we have in false teachers like Rob Bell, Matthew Vine and many others. This is what leaders who stray from the truth have always done since the 1st century gnostics Paul was addressing. I do not advocate name calling. However if someone is teaching heresy as in the case of Rob Bell or Matthew Vines then I am compelled to reject this teaching and commanded to expose it. They do not seek the truth of scripture in an effort to be obedient to God but to shape Christian thought to their life style or personal viewpoint in an effort to overturn biblically grounded moorings in exchange for their new brand of theology (which isn’t really new), As the church we are commanded to clearly call them out in front of the church that the church may then seek grounded biblical teaching elsewhere or proceed to their own peril. We may disagree and it should be done in love remembering that telling someone the truth is LOVE if done in like manner. However those who prey upon the flock are to be dealt with according to scripture much differently. Summarily, the church has the daunting task of protecting the flock in a discerning and decisive manner amidst a world where theologies are constantly shifting sands contoured to the likeness of sinful men. This is where unity cannot possibly exist because some worship false gods they have fashioned after themselves. God is love…true…but He is also an absolute, just and righteous God whose anger and wrath will fall on those who deny the truth He has set forth in His Word,of which Christ is the embodiment, regardless of how we try to twist and manipulate it to buttress up our personal, morally relative standards. And why? Because we are without excuse as Romans tells us. We are constantly exchanging the truth of God for the lies we construct to avoid accoutability for our sin. This is the battle here.

    I continue to pray for you and Shauna on your journey.

    Because He loved us first,


    Comment by Ken — July 17, 2015 @ 9:52 am

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