You Can Indeed Skip This Inspired By Rob Bell Post, Or Honesty And Integrity At A Large Personal Expense

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.

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18 Responses to You Can Indeed Skip This Inspired By Rob Bell Post, Or Honesty And Integrity At A Large Personal Expense

  1. Looks like I am first… 🙂 Big deal right? I will go on record with saying that I have never been a RB fan. I have already stated that before in another post (I think). While I do not agree with his theology, I will agree with you on this: you gotta admire his kahunas. Although I seriously doubt he will lose that much at Mars Hill. If they are and have been discipled by RB, they will stand with him because I am pretty sure they have heard this in one form or another. You are right in stating that he could have kept all this to himself and continue enjoying the fruits of his Nooma (what in the world does that mean anyway?…but I digress) stuff. But I suspect that his followers will have already jumped on this bandwagon. What will happen is an even greater polarizing effect and lines will be drawn in paint not chalk. But once again, his “coming out” is a sign (although a bit strange) of who he really is. For that…you gotta say “yeah.” Maybe if we had more honesty in the body of Christ we would be farther along in our attempt to unify and show unity. But RB still bothers me. 🙂

    • and that’s fine. In no way was my goal to convert anyone to Rob Bell. I could care less. I am a bit of an optimist in that I try to look at the bright side/see the positive – mostly because I can’t handle too much negativity.

      Oh and Nooma is Hebrew for breathe/breath and also Spirit. I’ve heard it explained that it’s like when you take a breath, in the Hebrew mind, you are breathing in and out the Spirit of God.

  2. jay @ bethegospel says:

    I see your point man. Don’t know if I agree. I think it is at least somewhat possible that a person can “come out” with their beliefs in order to gain momentum and attention for themselves. I’m not saying that this is what Rob Bell did. However, I still think most of his Noomas are amazing. 🙂

    • oh definitely shock value is HUGE in our culture. I think if this is what Rob was going for – he’d be doing a bit more. I mean he has done almost no promotion for the book except two TV appearances. I mean let’s be honest when many Christians release books you know about it months in advance and it is constantly references on their site/blog – I think it got like 2 mentions in 4 months on his site. He’s kept very quiet since the controversy started a few weeks ago, except for pre-arranged appearances.

  3. Ike says:

    It’s never a case of integrity to espouse false doctrine. Even worse… when those doctrines are heretical. Its never a case of integrity to exchange the truth of Scripture… for a warm, palatable “Christianity” that’s popular with the world. It’s never a case of integrity to redefine historical word meanings (ie. hell, heaven, sin, atonement). It’s never a case of integrity to re-write history to advance ones own agenda.

    Gal:1:6,7,8 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the Grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you let him be accursed. Enough said!

    • I’m just being a devil’s advocate but I don’t think Rob is making Christianity more palatable by making stuff up, I think that he saw there was more to Christianity than what he was presented. What agenda is Rob advancing?

      So Ike I’m guessing you don’t own all 20-something Noomas? 🙂

  4. Chris says:

    I think Bell is actually showing integrity in that he is openly espousing what he believes and is doing a lot less questioning and a lot more asserting. It is possible to have integrity and be wrong at the same time. Having integrity is simply having the courage of your convictions when it goes against the grain. It simply means being intellectually honest. He is showing integrity within and too himself. I respect him for that.

    Integrity to the Gospel is another thing and once he commits himself to a position (which he seems to have done) he has to be amenable to critique and even correction.

    • and all I’m saying is at least this guy is being honest, as that’s a difficult thing to do in the touchy Christian world where lots of things can throw people over the edge. I assumed many people who read my blog think he’s wrong, I just wanted them to see some integrity happening as I suspect that’s not the norm.

  5. David says:

    A couple of thoughts after a long day.

    – If Rob had a genuine experience with Jesus, it doesn’t matter what he teaches in terms of where his heart is at. Once saved always saved. Stupid maybe, but saved.
    – It certainly matters if he leads others astray; teachers will be judged more intensely.
    – I am not one to believe that we’ll see all sorts of people in Heaven who never gave God a though. I believe, as I have as stated many times before, that it is what’s written in the heart (Rom 3). Inaction is a decision against the things of God.
    – I also believe that not everyone that spit out a sinner’s prayer is going to be there. It is about relationship, not religion.
    – I believe that the path is narrow, and God is looking for the seal on the heart, not did we feed the poor or cast out demons and prophesy.
    – Repentance from sin

    I guess what makes me sad is that those that look like Christians may in fact, be left out because they never knew the Lord, just about Him.

    I guess I am little offended that you call it a club. (I get what you mean.) Is your family a club? I doubt it. I am sure that you are loving enough to adopt another, that’s how it is with the family of God.

    Happy Friday.

  6. Larry Hughes says:

    Here is my take.

    I don’t know Rob Bell. I like the fact he make think outside the box but if it goes farther than what is in scripture then I might have a problem in believing him.
    Form what some are saying, I think he has embraced some of the gnostic gospels that were recently found a few years back as biblical. However, the gnostic gospels have yet to be proven or authenticated.

  7. Amy says:

    I like this post. 🙂 I sort of respect Rob Bell for coming out with his beliefs, but I guess I don’t know what his beliefs ARE because he’s so all over about it. That’s what annoys me about some of these post-modern thinkers, they don’t want to be nailed down so no one knows what the heck they’re thinking.

    • yeah I could see that as annoying. I’ve probably done the same, mostly because I’m still trying to figure it all out. I’ve watched the Rob Bell thing pretty closely (I find the whole situation fascinating) and I think I can explain what he’s trying to say, if you ever need me to be his muse!

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