Lately I have been hearing a lot about Rob Bell and his new book Love Wins. I have read many blogs, articles, and watched a number of interviews. Now if you are reading this to hear my opinions on Bell and his book, then your reading will be in vain. I have another thought that I want to clearly get across.
Throughout my entire life, I have witnessed a number of extreme, shallow, and borderline “insane” theologians. Names like Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, “Sister” Paula Nielsen, and Joyce Meyer come to mind. My goal here is not to offend anyone, but to make a point. I have my own views, opinions, and beliefs on each of the people mentioned, including Bell. Does my opinion really matter though? Absolutely, positively, not. And guess what? Not to bust your bubble, but neither does yours.
Hang with me…
Jesus warned us that there would be many false teachers and anti-christs that would appear as wolves in sheep’s clothing. Often times it seems the “sheep’s clothing” could be labeled as greed or even a way to justify a feel-good lifestyle. Now it has been my observation that the ones to get picked on the quickest are the ones that have the far out ideas. For instance: Benny Hinn supposedly heals people; Joel Osteen is all about feeling good about yourself with no real message of consequence; “Sister” Paula Nielsen is an avid defender of a transsexual lifestyle; and Joyce Meyer is known for her extravagant lifestyle and greed. Now we have Bell who is accused of his Universalist viewpoint and teaching of all love and no fear of Hell. Keep in mind I am merely putting the general accusations in a nutshell here, I am not going into detail because I am not opening any of this for debate.
Here is what rings so loudly in my ears these days: controversy. Even the ones out there teaching “all love” are so consumed in their own ideas that they lower themselves to the bitter bickering that consume the average Christian today. We have all these mission plans, outreach ministries, and ideas to reach the “lost”, but we wonder why we can’t keep the youth in our churches and why our neighbor has no desire to hear about God. Jesus said that the world will see Him by the fruits in our lives. We are all guilty of bearing rotten fruit, but let’s look at the bigger picture and work our way down. Please tell me how having 38,000 denominations, NOT churches, in the USA alone; how writing books upon books debunking authors, preachers, and theologians; and how standing in a pulpit acting as if YOU are the only right denomination is at all glorifying to God, let alone sending a positive message to the world around us. Quite the opposite. No wonder the world thinks we are a bunch of freaks and idiots.
Now let me narrow my point slightly. Recently I read an article stating that Ken Ham of Creation Research was overwhelmed by the false teachings of Rob Bell. Nothing wrong with that, he is entitled to his opinion. However the way he made it sound was that some great stand needed to be taken against Bell so that the poison of his teachings would not ruin the church. That is about the stupidest thing I have heard, but I have heard the same thing come from many others. Let me implore you to listen very closely. Who is any man that he would be able to alter the master plan God has? Have we so quickly forgotten the words from Isaiah 55:11?
God can, will, and HAS used even false teachers to accomplish His purpose and glory. Heck, I even know people who have listened to Atheist speakers and come to the realization that there is a God. I think about all the popular TV preachers I mentioned above. I personally know people, whose lives have been touched and changed through each one of those individuals. Heck, I even know people who have listened to Atheist speakers and come to the realization that there is a God! I would challenge you to look at all the main characters in the Bible. Each person (David, Moses, Elijah, Peter, etc.) had a weakness or fault in their life. Their “theology”, so to speak, was not flawless, yet God used them in amazing ways. Here is what I believe many Christians easily forget: the Christian life is about growth and maturity. As we grow in wisdom and in truth, the false teachings will be revealed and our spirits will be convicted. If you are truly tuned into the heart of God, do you really think any false teacher can destroy that? It may trip us up until we figure it out, but read the hundreds of verses in the Bible where God promises to be our strength, refuge, and guide. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us discernment.
My point here is to suggest we stop picking on individuals and fearing their theology, causing bitterness, anger, division, and controversy. As humans we have flaws, and one of those flaws is that we tend to refute one extreme by going to an opposite extreme. We have a hard time reaching a place of balance when something tips our thinking. Below are two links. One is to another blog, and one is to a YouTube video made by the author of that blog concerning Rob Bell’s new book. Instead of bashing Bell, he explains the dangers of Bell’s theories with Scripture! He is not judging Bell, he is merely proclaiming truth! There is a huge difference.
So these are my thoughts, and I would love to say more, but alas my lunch break is over.