Just in case you have not seen the interview by Martin Bashir on MSNBC of Rob Bell, watch it here. Note the very presidential way that questions are deflected and assertions are made. Slippery as a salamander. This is why I could never ascend to offices that require one to be “neutral”. I have to take questions head on and answer them, not deflect them. That feels terribly incomplete and a waste. So, watch and comment on this blog with your thoughts.
I find it profoundly sad that a pastor cannot/will not give a straight forward, clear answer on the nature and content of the gospel.
He answered nothing. You’re absolutely right about the “very presidential” manner of not answering questions. There is a definitive line at which truth is compromised for the sake of being “palatable.” Bashir calls him out on that very thing. “What you’ve done is you’re amending the gospel–the Christian message–so that it’s palatable to contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of hell and heaven very difficult to stomach.” I don’t see how you get around “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)
I can see the desire to reach what (it seems) Bell is purporting by looking at Romans 1:19-20. Creation reveals the “what can be known about God.” So if someone knows not the NAME Jesus, but knows about God and is held accountable therein…I see where Bell wants to make the case. He is not alone. If we take CS Lewis’s passage in The Last Battle as any indication of what he believed or desired to believe, he might join Bell in some of his assertions.
“Then I [Emeth] fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death,
for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all
my days and not him . . . . But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and
touched my forehead with his tongue and said, ‘Son, thou are welcome” (201).”
Of course then we come back around to the truth of Acts 4:12, which tells us that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
I do not assert that there is any contradiction in God or in His Word. But the one thing Bell says in the above interview that I can at the least empathize with is the seeming “paradox” of some realities and truths of our Christian faith. And perhaps Bell wrestles with these things as well, but I would not dare to make the bold assertions by which he seems to stand.
Thanks again for posting, Mitch. 🙂