Friday, March 18, 2011

Opening statements:

If an orthodoxy cannot withstand questions, it is already dead.

Teachers will face a double judgment

Yes I have Rob Bell's book, and no i haven't finished it. But the conclusions of the book are already in grave doubt because of the methodology of his arguments.

  1. His exegesis is terrible. He heads into using word studies as a way around difficult biblical realities. He often pulls texts from their paragraph because the paragraph itself wouldn't support his conclusions. He also simply ignores major texts that would work against his argument.
  2. He starts the book with a presupposition and reaction. A presupposition that God is so loving that Hell cannot possibly be what the bible and historical orthodoxy postulate that it is; and he didn't like what someone said in a note at his church art exhibit.
  3. His trying to lump Origin into being a representative of orthodoxy is suspect at best. Universalism is not part of the great big stream of historical orthodoxy.
  4. His use of questions as a rhetorical device is deeply manipulative and a dodge of responsibility. "Have you quit beating your wife," sort of questions. 
But this is simply the increasingly complex difficulty with theology today

Postmoderns / Emergents

  1. Don't do a good job with exegesis. Their logical and theological fallacies are often terrible.
  2. They use word studies and find obscure definitions to dodge difficult realities.
  3. In trying to be relevant they avoid the fact that the cross is a stumbling block.
  4. They don't like Gods wrath (and other things) so they seek to remove them.
  5. They quote historical [Ancient / Future] texts conveniently and often out of context.
  6. They say "i'm just asking a question" like it gives them license to speculate on anything.
  7. While deconstructionism is all fine and good for paradigm shifts, this group increasing tells you what they are against and don't like while being unable to clearly articulate their dogmatic doctrines.
but: lest the sword not be shared equitably

Emerging / New-Calvinists

  1. Ignore the Corinthians passages about love
  2. Ignore Matthew 18
  3. Gossip and slander through blogs and justify it through rationalizing it as truth telling / prophetic thus showing them to tip their hand that the means does justify the ends. They have no sense of ethics in how they accomplish their inquisitions and can justify almost anything with a defending-truth mantra of some sort
  4. Rarely show compassion in their confrontations
  5. Ask for repentance but show no initiative of reconciliation
  6. Are smug, arrogent, and prideful concerning truth in ways that are very ugly to those inside and outside the church
In short, younger evangelical Orthodoxy is in terrible shape because of both these movements

1. Errors on doctrine and truth
1. Errors on love and relationship

Both damage Orthodoxy deeply. 

1. Damages the head
1. Damages the heart
Both damage the gospel.

So while i have a soft spot for people to be able to question things, there is also a need for me to be an elder in Christianity. And while there are grey areas of conscience and opinion and paradox and culture...the gospel is not one of them.

Christ died for sinners, of whom I am chief. He atoned for my sin by facing the full wrath of God on the cross. There is only one name by which men can be saved, and that is the name of Christ.

There are vague scriptures that do allude to other possibilities, but they offer us only speculation. And speculation cannot offer hope. The hope of the nations and the world is Jesus.

but what about those who never heard
what about those who have a limited IQ
what about an infant who dies

yes yes I know the questions
and yes there ARE possible speculations
but I trust these people and these questions to the character of Christ

and he hasn't clearly answered these questions

so we CAN speculate...there are some groovy things he says

i have flocks you know not of...?
he descends to hell to preach and set captives free...?
the light one has been given argument from Romans...?

but we must be very careful to not give false is just that...speculation

I write this while sitting in a catholic monastery with my brothers in Christ who I disagree with about a host of things.
I write this still having learned a ton from other Rob Bell books and Nooma videos that i will still recommend.
I write this loving Rob Bell...and...loving John Piper
I write this knowing Augustine said "I have erred but I am not a heretic"
I write this trusting Jesus and not Calvin, Bell, Driscoll, McLaren...though i learn from all of them

I want love to win
I want truth to win

But in order for Jesus to win

we must speak the TRUTH.....IN......LOVE

so if your looking for guidance:

Read the book...and take every quote and go back to the paragraph it came from, it's not like there isn't some good points and questions in there...there are!
Read every verse in the Bible about wrath, vengeance, atonement, and hell

Pray for Rob and his enemies [or his brothers that have mistaken him for an enemy]. Rob isn't the anti-christ and don't let anybody tell you he is. Rob is asking questions, but he is also deconstructing orthodoxy with the way he is asking and answering those questions. Give him grace and space, while still confronting him.

finally i read something from Thomas Merton's journals today that cracked me up.

He is writing in the late 60's and basically he lists a few books he has written and says they are good and that God was in it, and then he lumps the rest together and says they were crap.

i laughed. 

laugh a little. and move forward carefully. 

if you hate careful...if you say "you fool" you may be in danger of hellfire [Jesus said that]
if you love careful...he may not be using the Bible as carefully as he should

and remember Rob is more of a pastor artist...sadly...he has painted himself into a corner. I will not throw stones, but i will seek to help him out. and I must help others to not go where he has gone.


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