Please note: Rob Bell is all over the blogosphere. I’ve only been in this realm a short while but this seems like the biggest thing ever. As such, you may be tired of hearing about him. That’s fine, I think I am too, though paradoxically that situation inspired this post. I understand if you want to skip this post, though I tried, as I always do, to make this less commentary on a particular situation and instead use that situation to see the greater thing going on behind it.
Rob Bell has been fairly ambiguous on exactly what he believes. It sounds like he does believe non-Christians will join us in heaven, but he doesn’t necessarily believe all people will be there as some may simply choose to “not join the party.” (For the love of everything, I have no desire to inspire a salvation debate! I now ask you please refrain from engaging in such a debate in the comments.)
But regardless of which side you fall on, I think it is worth respecting Rob for his, well, kahunas.
Rob coming out as a semi-universalist is bold. You may think he is first and foremost a heretic, but I think the guy has integrity. It’s easy to live a lie, especially in evangelicalism. Though the controversy has been GREAT for book sales, he knew that by professing his true beliefs he’d be losing a lot of “fans.” Rob also has had a big influence in modern Christianity, and I suspect this will wane as he is excluded from that group. I’m going to guess that he’ll lose church members, maybe even regular donating ones, for his “coming out.”
He knew that people would forever write him off as a heretic. And that’s a tough thing to sign up for.
I think it speaks to his integrity that he came out with it. Lots of people hold back, they keep things hidden so they won’t be alienated.
I mean for crying out I’m afraid to post this because I know several of my faithful readers do not like Rob. (And I hope they can see my “defense” of Rob does not equate to an agreement of beliefs).
Let’s be honest: Christianity is a tough club to get into. I don’t mean it’s difficult to become a Christian or become apart of the body of Jesus. But we have lots of bouncers and guards scanning you’re in an airport, who are weeding out the people still carrying old habits and practices that prevent them from truly being one of us. So I think it takes guts to leave the comfort of the club house.
So though this post was about Rob, in many other ways its about shedding fear and sharing who you are, even if it means losing popularity points. It is also about the little exclusive clubs we build, that are difficult to get into and so easy to get booted from.