As you no doubt have heard by now, Rob Bell has a new book out called “Love Wins” that has caused quite a stir in the Christian and evangelical world. Many folks have taken the time to write and reflect on Bell’s assertions in the book, so I don’t think another article from me will be very helpful. I have linked to the best summary and commentary on Bell I have found thus far below.
I do want to add one thing. As a conservative evangelical, I call on all who read this and also consider themselves to be theologically conservative to resist with all our might the temptation to use damaging words, to speak with a serpent’s tongue, and to ignore the teaching of Ephesians 4:15 that we are to “speak truth in love.” Yes, I think Bell is in serious error. Yes, I think his teaching is harmful. Yes, I think it needs to be addressed and corrected. But I will refuse to take part in the bitter, anger-based name calling that paints a picture quite contrary to the Gospel. If it is the truthfulness of the entirety of Scripture that we are so intent on maintaining, then let’s make sure we maintain it. That includes being full of grace and understanding to those with whom we disagree. Not long ago I read an article by a “moderate-to-liberal” pastor who made fun of and ignored a claim of repentance from a conservative figure who had done some harmful things in word and deed. It is astonishing how we just see and hear “conservative” or “liberal” and attack based on those identifying markers alone. Conservatives have, of course, been even more guilty of Christless attacks against the other side.
So, let’s correct when there needs to be correction. Let’s keep our people informed of false teaching when need be. But let’s never succumb to the level of condemnation or ridicule. Refuse to forgive? That is blatantly unChristian. And both sides are guilty. Seventy times seven are good numbers to remember.
So here is an article concerning Rob Bell that is well done. It is conservative, it points out distortions in Bell’s teaching from a conservative, historically orthodox viewpoint. Yet, it also admits that many of the Emerging Church criticisms have “hit home” and that Rob Bell is a “genius” at communication. There is nothing new with Bell’s teaching, and most of what is in this article is what I would have written (just not as well). It also provides a terrific, brief history of liberal theology. So, read it, process it, and let’s keep the integrity of Christ in our disagreements.