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I read this news report a few days ago:
Controversial faith leader Rob Bell spoke over the weekend at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Calif., where the former pastor openly endorsed gay marriage. When asked about the controversial issue by The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, who was moderating the event, he offered up a clear and concise response – one that will serve as a surprise to many conservative evangelicals.More and more pastors are jumping on the “gay” marriage bandwagon. However, those pastors who do support same-sex marriage invariably have a low view of Scripture. Rob Bell is a classic example.
“Yes, I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love,” he said, going on to get more specific. “Whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man — and I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs to just — this is the world we’re living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.” (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/19/which-famed-christian-pastor-just-issued-this-shocking-gay-marriage-endorsement/ )
First of all, who is Rob Bell?
He is the founder and former pastor of Michigan-based Mars Hill Bible Church. He is known for the NOOMA videos and his highly controversial book Love Wins, in which he teaches a form of universalism and rejects a literal hell.
Bell says that he does believe in hell, but he is really not being intellectually honest about his statement. For Bell, hell is not an eternal punishment in a real place. It is being “at the party” (i.e., heaven) but living in your own personal hell. It is a temporary “period of pruning” and “an intense experience of correction” (Love Wins, p. 91). Although Bell does not believe there are many ways to salvation, he does claim that eventually all people will be saved: “No one can resist God's pursuit forever because God's love will eventually melt even the hardest of hearts” (p. 108). Basically, heaven is a time for people to start over, where some will live in their own personal “hell” (like purgatory) as their hearts are slowly pruned and changed.
On a general note, Bell regularly attempts to make Christian orthodox theology look ridiculous, while basing his entire theology on a few verses ripped from their contexts. Serious scholarship is not what he's known for, and his books certainly reflect that.
Here’s the podcast of Bell on “gay” marriage—the clip runs 42:23–42:57.
Now, not every Christian who compromises Genesis with evolution and/or millions of years will support “gay” marriage. But I believe I could say, from my experience, that every Christian or Christian leader who supports “gay” marriage will in one degree or another compromise Genesis. After all, if a person takes outside ideas to reinterpret parts of Genesis, then why not take outside ideas to reinterpret other doctrines in Genesis like marriage?
Rob Bell is saying that the orthodox Christian faith is like an old car model that is now superseded by new ideas (see the video clip below). In the podcast above, he says that the church needs to understand “this is the world we are living in.” In other words, the world has changed, and so our view of marriage has changed.
I have news for those pastors like Bell—God’s Word has not changed, even though the beliefs of fallible pastors such as Bell, who has a sin nature (like everyone else) and who knows next to nothing compared to God’s infinite knowledge, have changed! Bell obviously believes his theology can evolve as the culture’s view of morality evolves. It’s not surprising, then, that he stands against taking Genesis as written. In this video clip below, I believe he is probably referring to Answers in Genesis—though he grossly misrepresents what we teach. Watch this video clip on YouTube, which automatically starts at 1:46 into the clip.
What we do say at AiG is that if a person does not accept the six literal days of creation but reinterprets them to fit in millions of years, the individual is going on a slippery slide of doubting all of God’s Word and can continue down the slope to unbelief. Now, there are Christians who reject the six literal days of creation but believe the rest of Scripture—so we in no way question their salvation, but we do point out their inconsistency. We warn them that this kind of thinking can lead them to undermine the idea of biblical authority with those they influence.
Rob Bell is a classic example of someone who puts man’s fallible word in authority over God’s Word. It is not surprising he is now supporting the unbiblical position of “gay” marriage.
Yes, this should be an alarm “Bell” for the church! Don’t be distracted by the uncertain sound of this Bell!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.