Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ruthie

Rob Bell

Recommended Posts

I ordered Velvet Elvis on a whim from Amazon a few weeks ago. Perhaps I'm a bit behind the times, but I had been skeptical of the Big Church and Popular Christian Book phenomena. I found it to be a pretty refreshing drink, personally. He didn't do deep theology, but I don't think this was the intent, and his perspectives were stunningly grace-filled.

He's got a sense of humor, so it was a pretty enjoyable read, too.

There were several points where his writing brought Bilblical text to life for me. To be embarrassingly honest, I often struggle to engage when reading many of Jesus stories in the Gospels because they are so familiar as tales of Jesus travelling, performing miracles, and loving people while the disciples don't get it and authorities get mad. Rob Bell had some ideas and writing techniques that helped me to glimpse outside this ennui box for a moment at some of the meaning of Christ's actions. (For example, the part about the woman touching Jesus' robe).

I've read critiques of him being too universalist or post-modern in this book; they particularly pinpoint his discussion of truth. These responses seem to take his writing totally out of context. I was relieved to see him so honest, curious, and comfortable in his religious-skin that he can poke, prod, and seek to understand how it moves, grows, and dances within our culture.

I started Sex God a few nights ago; I'm suspicious that this isn't going to be as much of a "ruthie-topic" as Velvet Elvis, but I still have found it an intriguing read thus far.

Like the Noomas, these certainly are packaged well/beautifully, but I can't fault him for a nice-looking cover; I mean, look at the loveliness of our very own Mr. Overstreet's cover art! :P

I am surprised that there isn't a topic here already.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on these books?

Edited by ruthie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I admire and trust Rob Bell. That trust has come from watching a couple Noomas, reading Velvet Elvis, and listening to some sermons. He is ultimately concerned with people getting closer to God. I imagine most pastors are concerned with that but wth him it comes through in his voice, writings, and art.

I especially liked the part of Velvet Elvis where he talked about missions. He mentioned people with the mindset of "taking Jesus" to a place, as if he wasn't already there. He goes on to say that the job of a missionary is to have good eyesight, to point out the Jesus that's already there.

I look forward to reading Sex God.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked Velvet Elvis, although I guess I felt like some of what he's trying to say to the church wasn't as new to me as it might be to some.

I've read critiques of him being too universalist or post-modern in this book; they particularly pinpoint his discussion of truth. These responses seem to take his writing totally out of context. I was relieved to see him so honest, curious, and comfortable in his religious-skin that he can poke, prod, and seek to understand how it moves, grows, and dances within our culture.

What I found quite exciting about the book was the feeling that, perhaps without particularly realising it, he is starting to work with a different concept of truth, one that could potentially be an adequate response to "postmodernisn" rather than a reactive defence of modernism, which is what a great deal of Christian apologetics has instinctively resorted to.

For example, in the section on interpretation (chapter two or three?), there is a sense that interpretation is never finished, and that there is no final meaning in texts. No final meaning in the sense that each in context in which a text is read, the readers have a responsibility to wrestle with the meaning, in a moral as well as intellectual fashion. Interpretation involves the right kind of relating within the community, it is not just about getting the semantic content correct and then communicating it. It seems to me that there is something quite different in this - maybe this is what people are sniffing out when they say he's too post-modern.

I don't know whether you call it post-modern or not, but there's definitely a new (and very old) conception of truth in the background here, one which I think is pretty important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked Velvet Elvis, although I guess I felt like some of what he's trying to say to the church wasn't as new to me as it might be to some.

I've read critiques of him being too universalist or post-modern in this book; they particularly pinpoint his discussion of truth. These responses seem to take his writing totally out of context. I was relieved to see him so honest, curious, and comfortable in his religious-skin that he can poke, prod, and seek to understand how it moves, grows, and dances within our culture.

What I found quite exciting about the book was the feeling that, perhaps without particularly realising it, he is starting to work with a different concept of truth, one that could potentially be an adequate response to "postmodernisn" rather than a reactive defence of modernism, which is what a great deal of Christian apologetics has instinctively resorted to.

For example, in the section on interpretation (chapter two or three?), there is a sense that interpretation is never finished, and that there is no final meaning in texts. No final meaning in the sense that each in context in which a text is read, the readers have a responsibility to wrestle with the meaning, in a moral as well as intellectual fashion. Interpretation involves the right kind of relating within the community, it is not just about getting the semantic content correct and then communicating it. It seems to me that there is something quite different in this - maybe this is what people are sniffing out when they say he's too post-modern.

I don't know whether you call it post-modern or not, but there's definitely a new (and very old) conception of truth in the background here, one which I think is pretty important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Count me in with the nay-sayers (re:his thoughts on post-modern theology). I felt that his examples did not enhance his belief against absolute interpretations, but help solidify that not all interpretations are truthful.

While it provided me great insight as to what post-modern theology entails, it also confirmed to me why I didn't agree with that. While I agree that we ought to be tolerant of differing beliefs ("Love your neighbor as yourself"), we ought not forget that to somehow come to as strong a theological belief is part of our duty to "Love the Lord your God with all your mind". A post-modern context which does not even remotely try to sort out its incompatability issues is akin to throwing your brain in the wastebasket en route to Sunday services.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sex God is the latest and you also asked about that. It's as quick of a read as Velvet Elvis and the title is meant to be much more scandalous than the book really is. Guess it's a good sales ploy or at least good for a conversation starter and attention grabber.

Sex God mostly delves into the relational side of things and people within the church I pastor speak about the desire they had for Rob to address more physically sexual issues than the book touches upon. However, it's an interesting, easy read that's probably worth the time it would take you to read it.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Count me in with the nay-sayers (re:his thoughts on post-modern theology). I felt that his examples did not enhance his belief against absolute interpretations, but help solidify that not all interpretations are truthful.

It's been a while since I read it, but I thought that he could be taken to be saying something in-between these two positions. This what I wanted him to be saying, anyway:

Interpretation is always interpretation. That is, it never stops being a decision taken as to what is most important about a text, in our particular context. This does not at all mean that all interpretations are equally truthful, but rather that the truthfulness or otherwise of an interpretation is about far more than mere accuracy - it is much about the subjective act of 'taking' a text as saying something in particular as it is about the objective content. In other words the 'truth' of an interpretation is as much in the act of interpretation as it is in the end result - it involves the whole person, not just the intellect.

I don't want to side-track this into a discussion about hermeneutics, so I'll leave it there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I related to Rob and the Mars Hill community so much that I uprooted my family and moved to Grand Rapids, so I guess I'm qualified to speak up.

This community has already ministered to me in ways that none other ever has. Rob's unique ability to teach while allowing himself to be open to ideas contrary to his own and even doubt is more honest and open than anything I've seen in 37 years attending church. He doesn't pretend to have it all together and perfectly understood. He wrestles with and struggles with a text, and claims to do so for six months to a year before bringing it in front of a congregation.

He is a brilliant man, but he has the ability to talk to a commoner. He takes grandiose ideas and puts them into laymen's terms. He reminds me of (m)Leary in this way -- Mike had a wonderful way of making you think that you were smarter than you actually are.

I don't care too much about post-modernism anymore. Probably because I've given up on denominations that have too much doctrine. So maybe I'm PM. If so, fine. I believe in Truth and I believe that it is hard to know this Truth, but discipline and scripture and community can help bring one very close to it. This community and their honesty with one another, even to the point of being so open that it hurts, are living Christianity in a way that makes me rethink that Christianity might just be for real. At least, I know it is here.

I can't really comment on Velvet Elvis because I read it in two days, nearly half a year ago. I loved it, I will say that. Right now I'm about half way through Sex God, I put it down a few weeks ago and haven't been back to it, but I know I'll end up revisiting both books again.

I can see how trying to "get" Rob based solely on his books or Noomas would make one think that he was a big "PM" or "Emergent" guy, but honestly when you're here seeing Mars Hill in action and hearing his teachings every week, and seeing your spiritual life come alive, and seeing incredible missions goals like the church's "XYZ," the PM/Emergent label falls to the side and you say to yourself, "Yeah, I'm a Christian, and holy cow, this Christianity thing is actually functioning in a way I can be proud of."

Rob himself has gained a lot of attention, and he definitely has some public nay Sayers (I ran into this one yesterday). I can understand people getting defensive when Rob (or Brian McLaren or Donald Miller) speaks up. American Christians, especially conservative Republicans, want to know that their world exists in black and white. The Christianity that I've experienced here in Grand Rapids is a little more realistic. IT is alive and gray and has hands and feet -- it is able to voice doubt and let the community carry it along in the process.

It really has been amazing here so far.

-s.

Edited by stef

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a wikipedia link on Rob Bell. Note the "External Link"--"View a response to the "Bullhorn" video from Way Of The Master Radio"

If you want to talk about "relevance?" There ya go. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to forget this board is even here. Felt the need to stop by since tonight I begin leading a study on Velvet Elvis. stef, thanks for sharing your story! It is so nice to hear from someone in the Mars Hill family. I'm hoping this study will take us a step closer to living so openly it hurts.

I personally loved the book. Rob's thoughts bring what is often book-Christianity to a way of life -- and a way of life that feels much like the upside-down thinking I find in the New Testament. It seems to me that instead of throwing theology or doctrine out, Rob tries to get to the heart of issues. How wonderful to read something so simple, yet so profound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm working through Velvet Elvis currently, and really appreciating it. I'm generally comfortable with some of the post-modern element in his worldview, although I think Bell's critics mis-state, or at least over-emphasize, the degree to which he represents the Post-Modern Christian.

I most appreciate the emphasis which he places on the continuing role of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives, and particularly the value of that work within the context of Christian community. There's a real release from fear when I remember that it's not entirely up to me to figure out all the "correct things" to believe.

Edited by Jeff Kolb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I related to Rob and the Mars Hill community so much that I uprooted my family and moved to Grand Rapids, so I guess I'm qualified to speak up.

This community has already ministered to me in ways that none other ever has. Rob's unique ability to teach while allowing himself to be open to ideas contrary to his own and even doubt is more honest and open than anything I've seen in 37 years attending church. He doesn't pretend to have it all together and perfectly understood. He wrestles with and struggles with a text, and claims to do so for six months to a year before bringing it in front of a congregation.

He is a brilliant man, but he has the ability to talk to a commoner. He takes grandiose ideas and puts them into laymen's terms. He reminds me of (m)Leary in this way -- Mike had a wonderful way of making you think that you were smarter than you actually are.

I don't care too much about post-modernism anymore. Probably because I've given up on denominations that have too much doctrine. So maybe I'm PM. If so, fine. I believe in Truth and I believe that it is hard to know this Truth, but discipline and scripture and community can help bring one very close to it. This community and their honesty with one another, even to the point of being so open that it hurts, are living Christianity in a way that makes me rethink that Christianity might just be for real. At least, I know it is here.

I can't really comment on Velvet Elvis because I read it in two days, nearly half a year ago. I loved it, I will say that. Right now I'm about half way through Sex God, I put it down a few weeks ago and haven't been back to it, but I know I'll end up revisiting both books again.

I can see how trying to "get" Rob based solely on his books or Noomas would make one think that he was a big "PM" or "Emergent" guy, but honestly when you're here seeing Mars Hill in action and hearing his teachings every week, and seeing your spiritual life come alive, and seeing incredible missions goals like the church's "XYZ," the PM/Emergent label falls to the side and you say to yourself, "Yeah, I'm a Christian, and holy cow, this Christianity thing is actually functioning in a way I can be proud of."

Rob himself has gained a lot of attention, and he definitely has some public nay Sayers (I ran into this one yesterday). I can understand people getting defensive when Rob (or Brian McLaren or Donald Miller) speaks up. American Christians, especially conservative Republicans, want to know that their world exists in black and white. The Christianity that I've experienced here in Grand Rapids is a little more realistic. IT is alive and gray and has hands and feet -- it is able to voice doubt and let the community carry it along in the process.

It really has been amazing here so far.

-s.

Stef, I am late on responding to this, but thank you for this thoughtful reply. I have read both Velvet Jesus and Sex God. I am going to see if I can download his sermons and start listening to him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I finished Chapter 1 of Velvet Elvis yesterday, and I think I can begin to see already where some of its merits and weaknesses lie. There are two specific points I want to make and then I'll take a broader view of where I see Bell going with this. Note that "quotes" are actually paraphrases, because I don't have the book in front of me as I'm writing this. I think most of them are pretty close though.

• Early in the chapter, Bell makes the point that the reason we have such a hard time wrapping our minds around God is that He and only He is absolute and eternal. So far so good, but he continues to claim that God has no intention of "sharing His absoluteness with us." While this is definitely true as far as we will never be able to fully grasp God until we are made perfect with Him, it is not true that God hasn't shared this with us. He has, in two ways, both of which can be summed up as "The Word." Both the Bible and the Incarnation are acts of God where He does share His absoluteness with us. Bell may respond that we misinterpret the Bible and crucified His son, but that doesn't mean God doesn't communicate who He is to us; it just means we are sinful, fallen, and rebellious, and prone to reject His Word. If I offer my little brother a toy that belongs to me and he's been crying for for the last five minutes, and he slaps it out of my hand and continues to cry, it would be insane to say that I haven't shared with him.

• Bell advises his readers to hold their beliefs loosely. He posits a scenario where there was a discovery of DNA evidence to prove that Jesus was the biological off-spring of Joseph, that the idea of the virgin birth was invented to appeal to ancient Dionysus cults and that the expression, "Born of a virgin" had an accepted meaning of, "Conceived during the first sexual intercourse of a virgin." He's not claiming any of this to be true of course, but he wonders what would people would say if it were true. If a spiritual belief that we hold is found to disagree with objective evidence, where does that leave us?

In some respects, I completely understand where Bell is coming from. I read a book a long time ago called A Skeleton in God's Closet, which was a terrible book that asked a very intriguing question. It created a scenario where the body of Jesus Christ had been found in a grave in Palestine and explored how it affected the faith of the Christian characters of the book. As it turned out in the book, it was just a hoax (I'm sure that no Christian publisher would have touched it otherwise). I do think that the question is intriguing though: How ought one to respond when something you believe is challenged by the observable evidence.

This question has effected my own life in the case of Creation. I always believed growing up that Creation meant the ex nihilio creation of the universe in six 24-hour days, but as I studied more science in high school and university I was led to question this. I did some Bible research and learned about the poetic qualities of the book of Genesis and eventually came to the conclusion that the creation account can be read figuratively while still remaining true to itself and its fundamental readings. Perhaps enough evidence could convince me of the same for the virgin birth.

But where Bell fails I think, in this point, is that he doesn't give any indication of whether there are any limits to this loose-fisted grasp on one's beliefs. What about the Skeleton in God's Closet scenario? As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, "For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone." Is this a line that cannot be crossed, or would Bell say that belief in the resurrection is no more necessary to Christianity than belief in a 6 day creation period? He gives no indication. Which leads me to my next point:

• Bell, in this first chapter, has placed a strong emphasis on right living over right belief. He introduces this perspective by observing that belief in God's Triune nature is a phenomenon that was not formally expressed until the 4th Century. His point is that it is very likely that Christians before then, and Jews before that, may not have had much conception of God as "three in one" as today's orthodox Christianity conceives Him. So did that mean they couldn't really follow Him? Clearly not. The way Bell phrases this question is quite telling also I think, "Could someone who does not believe in the Trinity still live as Jesus taught us to live?" "Living like Christ taught us," seems to be Bell's shorthand definition of Christianity, but my question to that is, can ANYONE live as Christ taught us to?

Again, I can see where Bell is coming from. I've seen in my own life where I've felt that because I believed the "right things" all was right in my world and I was on the King's Highway, when if anyone were to look at my life they could easily come to a different conclusion. The word Christian, if I remember correctly, was originally meant to communicate the idea of, "little Christ." If we are Christ's disciples, we are to walk in His ways. But who can do such a thing? We can try, but when we fail, what is left to us? Our BELIEF that Christ's blood is sufficient to cover our sins. We are called to right living, but when we fail to live rightly, it is our beliefs that give us hope. One is absolutely meaningless without the other, but Bell seems too willing to me to toss out right belief.

Edited by solishu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that. I enjoyed reading it, but don't have time to respond right now, but I thought I'd express my thanks anyway as I always hate it when I make a great long post and no-one says anything in response.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Solishu,

I don't really have much to add to your careful, thoughtful, and wise response to Rob Bell's thinking. He has some very important things to say to the evangelical church in America about vulnerability, authenticity, right action, and the embracing of mystery in the Christian life. However, he is also willing to question the overall importance of the Virgin Birth and the Trinity in the Christian life, and that is simply going far too far.

Also, contrary to some of his statements in Velvet Elvis, interpretation isn't some never-ending subjective loop. There are actually correct and incorrect understandings of Biblical texts. If Rob Bell truly believes that all interpretation is hopelessly subjective, ask him what he thinks about the Christus Victor concept of the atonement. Somehow, I don't think that he would describe it as merely his subjective view, which could very well be wrong. (I don't think that it is wrong-- I hold to Christus Victor, penal substitutionary atonement, and probably to some other concepts of the Atonement, of which I don't currently know the theological names! :) )

Edited by Truetruth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for that. I enjoyed reading it, but don't have time to respond right now, but I thought I'd express my thanks anyway as I always hate it when I make a great long post and no-one says anything in response.

Matt

Thanks for this post Matt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that one.

FWIW I don't think Rob Bell is suggesting that the Virgin Birth was not important. I think he's asking us to examine what is the very core of our faith. It's the purest of hypothetical questions of course, but if the VB was definitively proved to be false would you give up on your faith or adopt an adapted version of it instead?

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt,

Here is where Rob Bell crosses the line from being "edgy" and "provocative" to something much more dangerous. If the Virgin Birth were proved to be false, the Bible itself would be proven false. Why even go there, even if "only" rhetorically?

This is not an intramural Christian debate, such as Calvinism and Arminianism. This is on a similar level as saying, "If the Resurrection could be proven to never have happened, would you still follow Christ?" Well, no-- why should I be any different than Paul?

Edited by Truetruth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is not an intramural Christian debate, such as Calvinism and Arminianism. This is on a similar level as saying, "If the Resurrection could be proven to never have happened, would you still follow Christ?" Well, no-- why should I be any different than Paul?

But there are, in fact, professing Christians who deny the Virgin Birth, noting that the word for "virgin" can also be translated "young woman." There are also some professing Christians who deny a physical resurrection, preferring to consider the resurrection in more spiritual/metaphysical terms. So these questions of Bell's aren't just hypotheticals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MrMando

I agree, except I think Bell is being hypothetical. He's not really saying what if these people are right - after all he's heard and weighed their evidence and rejected it - he's saying to the Evangelical community how central to your beliefs are these things. To some, like Truetruth, it would seem they are absolutely essential, but to many others such evidence would require a paradigm shift, but not total rejection.

TrueTruth

: If the Virgin Birth were proved to be false, the Bible itself would be proven false.

I know that's one of the arguments used to bolster the inerrantist camp, but it's not really true. If there was a typo in my dictionary would that mean that all the other spellings were wrong too? Or would it just mean that I had to exercise a little bit of discernment when I looked up other words in the dictionary?

Matt

PS I keep waiting for Stef to weigh in. Surely Bell's biggest heresy is letting Mr Loy be part of his community ;)

Edited by MattPage

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Truetruth wrote:

: If the Virgin Birth were proved to be false, the Bible itself would be proven false.

That's not a good reason to cling to any belief. Miracles and such don't exist simply to test our faith in a text. Some things in the Bible are factual and some are not; some factual claims matter and some, not so much. If the virginal conception matters -- and I think it does -- then it is not because we need to believe that there is no fiction in the Bible. It matters for other reasons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Truetruth wrote:

: If the Virgin Birth were proved to be false, the Bible itself would be proven false.

That's not a good reason to cling to any belief. Miracles and such don't exist simply to test our faith in a text. Some things in the Bible are factual and some are not; some factual claims matter and some, not so much. If the virginal conception matters -- and I think it does -- then it is not because we need to believe that there is no fiction in the Bible. It matters for other reasons.

Peter (my name's Christopher, by the way), I don't think that I expressed myself exactly enough here. I'm not suggesting at all that Biblical miracles exist in the text simply to test our faith in the Bible. The issue here is that events which are clearly portrayed as historical events, directly involving the historical life of Jesus (particularly such a pivotal event as the Virgin Birth), are highly important in the Bible. Such events are not "just" a matter of the inerrancy of the Bible. The issue which we are discussing is not a matter of one number of soldiers appearing in one account in the Bible, and a different number appearing elsewhere. The Virgin Birth is a matter that bears on who Jesus is. It's a matter of Incarnational identity in the Bible. If it were "proved false" (which cannot happen), that would have negative implications for the Bible's historical accounts of the life of Jesus, and for who and what the Bible claims Him to be. I do believe in inerrancy, as carefully defined, but that is far from the only reason that I object to Bell's hypothetical "what if we've been wrong?" statements about the Virgin Birth and the Trinity.

Edited by Truetruth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Truetruth wrote:

: Peter (my name's Christopher, by the way) . . .

Thanks. FWIW, I always use a person's current handle when saying so-and-so "wrote" something. (So when, e.g., Jeffrey Overstreet changed his name to Overstreet, I changed my identification of him, too.)

: The issue here is that events which are clearly portrayed as historical events, directly involving the historical life of Jesus (particularly such a pivotal event as the Virgin Birth), are highly important in the Bible.

I agree, to a point at least. But the Bible is always secondary to the events it describes. I believe in the Bible because I believe in God and the Resurrection; I do not believe in God and the Resurrection because I believe in the Bible. (Many evangelical statements of faith make the Bible #1 on the list of things they believe in -- even ahead of God. That's just wrong.) So if I believe in the virginal conception, it is not out of some need to defend biblical inerrancy. Especially when the Bible has enough (not very many, but enough) internal contradictions to undermine any notion of "inerrancy" to begin with. (Referring just to the historical life of Jesus, we have the disagreement between John and the other gospels over whether Jesus was crucified on the morning BEFORE or AFTER the Passover. It's a minor, trivial detail ... unless you're an inerrantist.)

: The Virgin Birth is a matter that bears on who Jesus is. It's a matter of Incarnational identity in the Bible.

FWIW, I'm not really sure how far I would push this. The virginal conception certainly has implications for how we understand the Incarnation, but I wouldn't want to subscribe to the idea that, if the virginal conception didn't exist, we would have had to invent it, just to prop up our belief in the Incarnation. If Christianity has always held that Jesus is fully human, then it does not necessarily follow that he would HAVE to be different from all other humans in this regard. We believe in the virginal conception for OTHER reasons. (I am influenced by N.T. Wright here.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concerncing the significance of the virgin birth (of which I am differentiating between the incarnation), Donald Bloesch's book Jesus Christ has a fine excursus on legitimate and illegitimate reasons for affirming the virgin birth. Unfortunately, it is at the office otherwise I would provide a summary of Bloesch's argument. Suffice to say I will get to it when I have a chance. However, one of Bloesch's illegitimate reasons (if memory serves me correctly) for affirming the virgin birth is that it proves the incarnation.

It's been fun to read this thread as I recently agreed to enter into a mentoring relationship with an incoming college freshman. Velvet Elvis was the book assigned for us to read. Outside of a couple of nooma videos and a few choice quotes here and there I don't know much about Bell despite his popularity in my circles. However, I heard he has an affinity for Barth, so if that is the case, he can't be all bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rob Bell has an affinity for Karl Barth... now I understand Bell's thinking a bit better (I'm not a fan of neo-orthodoxy). Look, everyone, are we really going to be as blithe as the author of Velvet Elvis about foundational Christian doctrines such as the Virgin Birth? Rob Bell may think that if we were hypothetically "proven wrong" about the Virgin Birth and the Trinity, that that shouldn't change our decision to follow Christ. If Bell does think so though, he is clearly out of line with historic Christianity, as codified in the Apostles' Creed (which dates only about half a century from the last writings of the New Testament) and the Nicene Creed. These creeds are not mere "inventions of men," to be conjectured about carelessly. They are simple, basic statements of Biblical doctrine that define what one must believe, at the most basic level, to *be* a Christian. If Rob Bell differs with them in any way, or if he downplays the importance of the doctrines codified in them, then I do not wish to share that ground with him.

(Peter, for whatever reason, I noticed your latest comment after I wrote this one. I'll reply to what you wrote when I have time later, Lord willing.)

Edited by Truetruth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...