A friend of mine wrote a fairly quick (and very conservative, I thought) response to an article by a prominent blogger in the Reformed camp who wrote a rather dismissive post about preacher/author Rob Bell (that Bell will most likely never read. Or would not, if he knows what’s good for him) on the heels of Bell’s new book coming out and the video that shocked a nation of Neo-Reformed types (both of which can be seen here). And then another blogger wrote a response to my friend’s response. Three open letters, actually. But the whole thing’s a digression, a rabbit trail around the edges of parsings. Nobody outside Evangelicalism (and its grumpy cousin, Fundamentalism) is going to care, and only a small (but largely vocal) segment therein.
You see, this is not just a matter of academic theological objection. This is not just a matter of us disagreeing with the premises that Bell puts forward. This is a matter of truth, and more importantly than that… it is a matter of salvific truth. Millions of people will read Bell’s book… hundreds of thousands of Christians will question the truth that they have been taught since they were young. Thousands of non-Christians will read this and find security in the fact that Christ saves them regardless of their allegience to them… thousands will plummet into hell, because contrary to what Mr Bell argues… it is real and it is terrible.
But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline.2 Timothy 1:7
Perfect love expels all fear.I John 4:16
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.Hebrews 12:18-22 (NIV)