Comments closed. The conversation is degenerating…
I promise not to take too much of your time with this one.
Subject: Rob Bell vs. Justin Taylor, John Piper, Kevin DeYoung, Al Mohler, et al.
- Scot McKnight gives an overview of various reviews of Bell’s book, Love Wins, here.
- Jimmy Spencer at Red Letter Christians makes a big prediction:
You’re witnessing something big right now.
You’re witnessing a new split in Protestant Evangelicalism.
…This may be the future of Evangelicalismâ€”and we may all be witnessing the tipping point.
- Jonathan Fitzgerald at Patrol Mag thinks Spencer has missed the bigger picture:
But, I can see why he might have missed it; itâ€™s not a split at all. It is more like an erosion. Those of us along the edges are simply sliding off the side into, well, all kinds of things. Some of us turn to Catholicism, others to mainline denominations. Some tumble into Episcopal or Anglican churches, others stay at their evangelical churches but choose not to identify as such. And, sadly, some slide off the edge into nothing at all.
I donâ€™t think there will be any more of a marked change than this. A loosely gathered group of people who have never been able to agree on a name let alone the particulars of theology donâ€™t split, they erode. And erosion doesnâ€™t happen once and then itâ€™s over, itâ€™s an ongoing process.
We are in the midst of the erosion. Enjoy the slide.
And that leads to my take. I simply want to observe two thingsâ€”
The power of the new media to manipulate.
Bell’s publisher, HarperOne, pulled off one of the greatest coups in the digital age with its advance release of blurbs and video teasers on the internet suggesting that the author may be advocating universalism in his new book. They knew exactly what they were doing, and it worked. The Christian blogosphere (especially in its new Reformed incarnation), known for its reactionary impulses toward anything that smells in the least like false doctrine, blew up in record fashion.
New media, same old marketing bull_____. And Christians fell for it (and in it) again.
Protestant evangelicalism’s fundamental authority problem.
When did Rob Bell become an apostle? Did I miss that? How is it that his voice is considered so important in the church? Where does he come off as a lone wolf author publishing a book on an essential doctrine of the church? What are his qualifications for teaching doctrine? To whom is he accountable?
And when did Justin Taylor and others who consider themselves gatekeepers of sound doctrine get appointed to the magisterium? What gives them any authority to speak to or about Rob Bell? What right do they have to set themselves up as teachers and guardians of the Truth? Why do they think that they have a platform to criticize a brother in public, in full view of an unbelieving world that will only find more cause to mock the faith because of our schisms?
Oh, St. Ignatius of Antioch, where is your wisdom today? How shall we ever survive without godly bishops and elders to guard us and lead us in the way of truth and love?