I was first introduced to Rob Bell in Jr. High through the Nooma videos that my church youth group used at various camps and Sunday morning services. Since then I've read Bell's first book, "Velvet Elvis" as well as his most recent short "Drops Like Stars." I also listen to his sermons regularly via the Mars Hill Bible Church on iTunes. In some christian circles I'm already disqualified as following a false prophet.
For those of you still reading:
Because of this video Rob Bell has been accused of being a "universalist." The tweet that sparked the forest fire on twitter was by John Piper. In it, he simply said "Farewell Rob Bell" with a link to a blog post by Justin Taylor entitled: "Rob Bell: Universalist?" You can read his entire post yourself for more context, but Taylor's key point can be wrapped up in this quote:
It seems that this is not just optimism about the fate of those who haven’t heard the Good News, but (as it seems from below) full-blown hell-is-empty-everyone-gets-saved universalism.If you follow Christian tweets or blogs at all I'm sure you've heard the response to these accusations and labels. Now that the waters have begun to settle, the overall equilibrium response seems to be "Ok, what Rob Bell said is definitely a little out there. But let's just wait until the book comes out before we judge." I agree with this response, for the most part.
I've written about asking questions in the past. It seems that many people are scared of questions. The mere act of asking a question shows that you don't know it all. In the above video, you'll notice that Rob Bell makes no statements. He asks questions. And I believe that the content of the video is not what scares people the most and has invoked such strong responses. I think the scary thing to people is that they just might not have all the answers to his questions.
So yeah, I eagerly await the release of Bell's new book so that I can read it and hear exactly what he has to say. I'm not going to hop on the hatred band wagon because Rob Bell said some things that conflict with what some people consider to be doctrine.
But what happens when the book is released and Bell asks more questions that make me uncomfortable? Is it then alright for me to string up the noose, put the firewood around the stake, and nail the cross together?
What if the real problem is that I am simply unwilling to take a brick out of my wall of theology in fear that everything I believe in will come crashing down?
Here's one of the more tactful responses I've seen to the social media flurry:
I have more thoughts floating around in my head about this topic; those will have to wait for another post. I've done posts in the past regarding similar topics, feel free to check them out. Many of them have interesting comments as well.
P.S. here are some other thought provoking blog posts regarding "Love Wins." Great reads.