Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Hope that God REALLY WANTS us to SEEK and to ASK
A link for the promotional video for this book
Rob Bell's new book is coming out and already the criticism begins in "Internet World".
Here are just some of the things I've heard so far.
*He's a False Teacher
*He's a wolf in sheep's clothing
*He doesn't believe in 2 Timothy 3:16,17
"All scripture is God breathed...etc"
*I will NOT compromise on "Truth"
*He's a Universalist
*He doesn't preach "repentance"
*He doesn't promote "obeying God"
*"I'm saying all this, because I LOVE you."
I'm sure, like me, people have already taken to blogging about it. Most people, like me, have already made up their mind on his writings and teachings. Most, probably will not change their opinion on that, and guess what?
That is FINE.
This really isn't meant to be a "book review".
Obviously, because I haven't read the book yet. Although that hasn't stopped some people...
Nor is it meant to be a "Rob Bell promotion".
I sort of think that many people (including myself) who enjoy what Bell writes about actually don't care as much about his doctrines or what he is addressing as much as they care about the bigger picture in Christianity.
HOW WE TREAT THOSE WHO THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN WE DO IN THE CHURCH.
"He doesn't promote "obeying God"
If you want to talk about "obedience" can we go back to what Jesus was REALLY telling us we need to obey. Which, in my opinion, Bell actually promotes better than most preachers I've ever heard.
"A NEW command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
"My command IS THIS: Love each other as I have loved you."
"THIS is my command, Love each other."
THIS is my command
Romans 13:9 ... whatever command there may be are SUMMED UP in this ONE command.
"Love your neighbor as yourself"
So... what are we supposed to "obey"?
I think scripture is pretty clear on that one.
"He's a Wolf in Sheep's clothing"
I think for me, the disconnect comes when people are so quick to shut out and condemn others on the basis of fear, social norms and religious traditions. They think by sticking to these, they are not being "worldly". Yet this is one of the most "worldly" things you can do!
One of the main things I have an issue with in Christianity is when people have this "you're in, you're out" mentality.
We have capitalized on being the "Truth Holders". As though WE are God to make these decisions. People don't see THAT as wrong. It baffles me now. But it didn't used to.
I... "Repented" of that.
"He doesn't preach "Repentance"
Rob Bell indeed teaches repentance. It's just that the people who hear him are not willing to repent of certain things because they love their religion and their traditions of men. The things that Bell often states rubs against their "teachings" and so, they do not "repent".
(Jesus said a similar thing to the Pharisees)
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’
The word "repent" literally means.
"CHANGE YOUR MIND".
Jesus did NOT always say "repent" when He dealt with people. It was different for each individual. Nor is it stated in every scripture in the New Testament that talks about salvation. I believe Jesus still deals with people that way to this day. On a PERSONAL level and in a unique way for each child that He LOVES.
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that not even the WHOLE WORD would not have room for the BOOKS that would be written.
He doesn't believe in 2 Timothy 3:16,17
"All scripture is God breathed...etc"
Among other things, Christians have used certain scriptures to turn "repentance" into a "requirement" to achieve salvation". Much like some religions might say (from scripture) that "infant baptism" is what brings salvation. I'm totally okay with people who want to believe that. I personally believe this is "works" unto salvation (see Ephesians 2:8,9). But I know that is merely MY interpretation of scripture. What really bothers me, is that most of them will not see or admit that this is what they are really doing.
Can we PLEASE admit that many of our beliefs are our INTERPRETATIONS of scripture?? Jesus never said that by having the exact and perfect interpretation of scripture we would have Life to the fullest, did He now?
"You study the scriptures diligently because you think that IN THEM you have eternal life. These are the VERY SCRIPTURES that testify about ME, Yet you refuse to come to ME to have LIFE."
The verse used from 1 Timothy
"All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
Was a LETTER written to a kid named Timothy. The New Testament had not been canonized into what we know the bible to be now.
So, really, using this verse to prove that every word of the New Testament is Jesus' perfect revelation for us, is truly out of context. This, from the people who say:
"I won't compromise "TRUTH".
Truth IS ... JESUS
Jesus said, "I am the way the TRUTH and the Life."
Jesus, (via the Holy Spirit) is our Teacher.
Not Rob Bell, and not any Preacher and not me...
I believe God uses us ALL to "teach" each other. I ALSO personally believe that God has allowed the Bible to endure to HELP us to know Him better. It IS inspired.
But Jesus, NEVER said He was sending a perfectly understandable New Testament...He said THIS
"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father WILL SEND in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."
"He's a False Teacher"
When words like "False Teacher" and "Leading others astray" are thrown around so easily. It is often SO WRONG and so hateful and so motivated by fear and not by love.
This is often taken from Mathew 7 (which is a chapter that strongly warns against "judging" by they way) where it says...
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Fruit, in my understanding of scripture (Galatians) is "Love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness... (look them up).
I wonder which of these fruits is Bell or people who "promote" him guilty of not bearing??
The fact that he feels women DO have the gift of God to speak on matters of Faith??
That scripture was true when it stated:
"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, NOR IS THERE MALE AND FEMALE, for you are ALL ONE in Christ Jesus."
How about the fact that condemning people to Hell who happen to be homosexuals is NOT being kind or loving or right.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
The fact that there might be more to Genesis about the "6 day creation" that we are not aware of???
How is this bad fruit????
Which of us know enough about another person to really be a "Fruit Inspector" for them anyway?? We really should be too busy checking out our OWN Fruit!
"He's a Universalist"
Ugh! I don't even want to address this one. Because it's so dumb! Since WHEN is our view of the end times and how things go down with "judgement" a decider of "who's in and who's out"? A litmus test of who loves Jesus??
That is just SO WRONG and I've been guilty of that foolish thinking myself for many years. Casting people off who are my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ! Simply because I have this need for a Burning Hell to be an important teaching.
Really? This is what it's all about???
I don't need a "Hell" to convince you that Jesus LOVES YOU!
Rob Bell does not even hold to the doctrine of Universalism. But if he did, SO WHAT??
WHY does it matter? Read CS Lewis' The Great Divorce and you pretty much have Bell's view on the end of the age.
The bottom line is, no one really knows for sure. Why can't we have the humility to just admit that?
"I'm only telling you all this in LOVE"
Interestingly enough, Love, is the first fruit that is mentioned in the list of the "Fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians.
I KNOW that the people who say this sort of thing and treat others in this way probably really believe that they are acting in "love".
I know this, because that's what I used to believe.
When Love IS such an important thing...
1 Corinthians 13
If I have the gift of prophecy and can FATHOM ALL MYSTERIES AND ALL KNOWLEDGE, but have NOT LOVE...
I am NOTHING.
Maybe, we need to ask Father if it truly IS Love that is behind many of our motivations and beliefs??
Perhaps THAT, is the QUESTION that is most important in any "doctrine" or teaching??
I have HOPE that as I continue to seek for Truth, I will find, and that as I ASK for Father to help me keep LOVE the center...
it will be given to me.
That's in the bible too folks!