February 27, 2017

March 19, 2013

Rob Bell Bares His Fangs

I hope all of those evangelical wise men like Scott McKnight and Richard Mouw who castigated John Piper for his infamous tweet two years ago and who (at least in Mouw’s case) assured us of Rob Bell’s orthodoxy feel sufficiently embarrassed. Everyone else could see this coming from years and years away:

During the forum at Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal church, Bell was asked about his position on gay marriage, and responded by saying,

“I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs—I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”...read more

The only surprising aspect of this talk is that it took place at an Episcopal church…heh.

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No cross, no cost prophecy.  Pleases the culture, gets praise for the preacher.

Good work if you can get it.

[1] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 3-19-2013 at 06:36 PM · [top]

Never a truer word, Timothy+.  Thanks Matt+ for letting us know about this.

[2] Posted by MichaelA on 3-19-2013 at 08:42 PM · [top]

It’s John Spong all over again, just in hipper clothes.

[3] Posted by periwinkle on 3-19-2013 at 09:27 PM · [top]

Sugh.  Completely unsurprising yet still very disappointing.  Scratch a little bit more around Rob Bell and company and it just gets worse.  It makes the (rare) stands by ministers like Vaughan Roberts and Sam Allberry stand out that much more as authentic reflections of the Gospel’s power.

I don’t know about you, but I could use some palate-cleansers right about now.  While not normal SOP, I thought I’d share this for starters.  Be careful with your cell phones!

[4] Posted by Reformed Wanderer on 3-19-2013 at 09:39 PM · [top]

Bell’s agent might want to ring up Shannon Johnston to discuss dates for next year’s clergy conference in Virginia.

[5] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-19-2013 at 09:43 PM · [top]

In 2011, Time magazine named Bell to its list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

“And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.  If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”  And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
  and him only shall you serve.’”

[6] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 3-19-2013 at 10:12 PM · [top]

Very astute connection, Dr Munday!

[7] Posted by MichaelA on 3-20-2013 at 12:14 AM · [top]

Well said, TJ [5] - there’s some opportunities there!

[8] Posted by Tom S. on 3-20-2013 at 08:29 AM · [top]

First McLaren, now Bell. Whoda thunk? I guess with the emergent movement in freefall, they figure they’ve got nothing to lose by letting the mask drop.

[9] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 3-20-2013 at 09:46 AM · [top]

I found it hilarious that you had this listed in your email roundup as “Other Faiths.”

[10] Posted by gregshore on 3-20-2013 at 10:12 AM · [top]


“Bell released two new books on March 13—“What We Talk About When We Talk About God” and “Love Wins: For Teens.” “

Notice God has become a “what” and “Luv Wins: For Teens”.  Just noticing’.

[11] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 3-20-2013 at 02:27 PM · [top]

tjmcmahon:  I was actually wondering when Bell would be ordained an Episcopal priest and feted as being the Next Hip Thing to be paraded about at General Convention - sort of like Cutie 2.0.

[12] Posted by jamesw on 3-20-2013 at 04:12 PM · [top]

Okay, so I am creating and printing up RCL lectionary readings for our church.  I encountered the following issue for the Seventh Sunday of Easter regarding the second reading from Revelation.  For some reason, the issue I found just seems to fit so well with this Rob Bell article - for the bigger trend, that is, of trying to make the Scriptures palatable to contemporary sensibilities by editing out those parts we just don’t like or those that we think are not “inclusive”.

So the RCL calls for the following:  Revelation 22:12-14,16-17,20-21

But consider the larger passage from which these excerpts were selected.  Verses which the RCL eliminates are in bold:

12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

[13] Posted by jamesw on 3-20-2013 at 10:23 PM · [top]

Which is exactly why, before preparing the texts, I revise the RCL readings to include what was left out.

[14] Posted by comoxpastor on 3-20-2013 at 11:49 PM · [top]


That particular edit has been true in TEC churches for quite some time- I think I had my first argument about it in 2006, or thereabouts. 

Personally, in the cases where I have had the opportunity- as a lector or bible study leader (that may be a glorified title for the group we had that met on Sunday an hour before Mass to discuss the week’s readings), I ALWAYS read those particular passages.  I do not note any escape clause- “to that person” in v 19 is not followed by “unless excused by the bishop or some committee of would be theologians.”

[15] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-21-2013 at 07:52 AM · [top]

It’s the dogs, you see.  No one wants to insult Fido. Lol!

[16] Posted by Ann Castro on 3-21-2013 at 07:53 AM · [top]

#13: The same is true of the 1979 BCP lectionary (and less surprisingly with “Diluting Our Worship” Canticle P).  It’s astonishing that people are willing to bring down the curse of verses 18-19 on themselves in their effort to remove verse 15.  One must think it’s all nonsense in order to dare that.

What Bell, McLaren et al don’t realize is that once we start the hermeneutic of “ignore everything that we don’t like”, unreconstructed patriarchs etc can do the same thing and toss out all the parts (e.g. Magnificat) that bother them, too.  If we silence the parts of Scripture that challenge us, we are truly being blown around by every wind of doctrine, being a law unto ourselves, with nothing that can pull us out of our self-constructed prison of imagination.  The Dungeon of Despair.

[17] Posted by John Boyland on 3-21-2013 at 08:07 AM · [top]

#16: Regarding “dogs”.  You have to realize that the Revelation has a strong connection to language of the Old Testament.  “Dogs” here is possibly a euphemism (?) for homosexual offenders.  It’s not about Fido.

[18] Posted by John Boyland on 3-21-2013 at 08:13 AM · [top]

#18: It was a joke.  I could make a similar one about pharmacists, but I’ll refrain.

[19] Posted by Ann Castro on 3-21-2013 at 10:13 AM · [top]

#18—Yes, I have also heard from a seminary professor that the Jews’ derogatory use of the term “dogs” when referring to pagans was a graphic description related to the common practice of homosexuality among the pagans and the position for doing so.  Something that might be quietly corroborated by an Orthodox rabbi, but I am sure nowadays too politically incorrect to hear otherwise.  One explicit reference to homosexuals as dogs can be found at Deuteronomy 23:17-18 .  Interestingly, Jesus at least once also used the same terminology in the Gospels.  Mark 7:27

[20] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 3-21-2013 at 04:12 PM · [top]

if it wasn’t for SF, I probably wouldn’t know who the heck Rob Bell was, or how his videos being used for Lenten discussions at our former parish point to how far they’ve fallen.  oy vey.

[21] Posted by elanor on 3-21-2013 at 04:51 PM · [top]

This binary “I must be for gay marriage or a hater” is the outgrowth of a truncated theology.  If we start from the position that male-female marriage is an intrinsic and received good and that it is important not just from a sociological standpoint but from a theological standpoint, it seems like we’d get a little further in the discussion within the church and, eventually, in the world.  Everyone needs the “lesson” of marriage not just for personal satisfaction or the propagation of the species or as a social building block.  We need marriage, irrespective of our personal marital status or sexual orientation, because of what the marital union of man and woman teaches us about God and especially the nature of Triune love.  I agree with Rob Bell in one sense:  we have allowed ourselves to be caught up in the fight over gay marriage on the culture’s terms.  We tell the world homosexual behavior is wrong and destructive, and we’re right about that.  But we also need to tell the world we’re for marriage because it is, in itself, very good.

[22] Posted by Clive on 3-21-2013 at 07:54 PM · [top]

Well surprise, surprise!

And how appropriate that he “came out,” as it were, at Grace Cathedral.  The last time I attended Holy Eucharist there, about ten years ago (against my better judgment and at the invite of a lib-prog friend), I was treated to a high neo-pagan service with “guest preacher” Jane Goodall delivering the “homily.”  And that was before +Bill Swing was succeeded by that serial monogamist, Marc Andrus.

And jamesw (13), I too find it telling just what the RCL edits out.  Like TJ, I tend to be a “putter-inner” when I serve as lector.  And I print out the lectionary readings from the ESV (Bible Gateway is great for this), rather than use the politically-correct New Really Swell Version.

[23] Posted by Joshua 24:15 on 3-22-2013 at 04:10 PM · [top]

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