Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Rob Bell; Love Wins; Credibility Suffers

Rob Bell is either naive, or intellectually stilted, having never progressed beyond an adolescent level, or completely dishonest. I can't tell which. In chapter 1 of his book, "Love Wins," he poses a number of what I can only assume he considers to be clever rhetorical questions. I assume he thinks these questions will have some point to their asking. These questions all relate to how one may be saved. After listing a number of scriptural examples, he asks, (I will place his scripture references beside each question.)

"Is it what you say that saves you?" (Luke 7; Luke 18; Luke 23) (Bell doesn't give the verses; only the chapter, throughout the whole book. I'm not sure why)
"Is it about being born again?" (John 3)
"or being considered worthy?" (Luke 20)
"Is it... who we forgive?" (Matthew 6)
"or whether we do the will of God?" (Mat 7)
"or if we stand firm or not?" (Mat 10)
"or is it what we say we're going to do?" (story of Zacchaeus Luke 19)
"or is it who your friends are or what your friends do?" (Mark 2)

Bell then seems to belittle the Apostle Paul's conversion, quoting Luke's recounting of Paul's recollection of it in Acts 22 rather than Luke's more detailed account of it in Acts 9. I quote from the book.
These questions bring us to one of the first "conversion" stories of the early church. We read in Acts 22 about a man named Saul (later, Paul) who is travelling to the city of Damascus to persecute Christians when he hears a voice ask him, "Why do you persecute me?"
He responds, "who are you, Lord?"
The voice then replies: "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting... Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that you have been assigned to do."
That's his "conversion" experience?

The punctuation and the quotation marks around the word, "conversion" are Bell's own. He then goes on to ask, regarding how one is saved,

"Or is it what questions you're asked?
Or is it what questions you ask in return?
Or is it whether you do what you're told and go into the city?"

He then remarks, referencing James chapter 2 and Luke 7;

"So demons believe,
and washing Jesus's feet with your tears gets your sins forgiven.

There is only one way one is saved; by coming through faith into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ, being spiritually reborn and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Every example Bell gives in his attempt to confuse the issue is either a fruit , a result or shows evidence of this event and resulting relationship. I can only marvel in incredulity at what must be either Bell's naivety, blindness or disingenuousness in thinking these questions of his actually accomplish valid points.

Take Care

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