Quote of the Day

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There are around a billion people in the world who don’t have clean drinking water, and 46 million Americans don’t have health care. That means if they get sick, they don’t have anywhere to go. Half of the world, 3 billion people, live on less than two American dollars a day, so the world is an emergency.

It’s on fire.

It’s drowning.

It’s an absolute crisis, and when followers of Jesus can think of nothing better to do with their time than to pick apart and shred to pieces the work of other followers of Jesus who are trying to do something about the world, that’s tragic, and I don’t owe those people anything. The world is desperately in need of people who will break themselves open and pour themselves out for the reconciliation of all things. When a Christian can find nothing better to do with their time in the face of this much pain and heartbreak, you start realizing that some Christians need to be saved.

Rob Bell on dealing with his critics, taken from a recent interview with RELEVANT Magazine.

(ht x 2: Mudpuppy for posting it first and typing it out.)

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13 thoughts on “Quote of the Day

  1. So, because there is suffering in the world, no one is allowed to raise legitimate questions about Rob Bell’s theology & exegetical practice?

    “Nothing better to do” has nothing to do with it, but if I myself were teaching something open to question, why would I complain when someone calls me on it?

    Is he immune from criticism? Is his ministry perfect?

    Am I immune from criticism? Is my ministry perfect?

    I think not.

    As Shane & I have discussed before, I am rooting for Rob as a brother in Christ. But that does not & MUST not mean that I may not ask legitimate questions about his teaching.

  2. I almost posted similar thoughts on this earlier today but decided I wasn’t in the mood to “go there.” Here’s what I wrote:

    ===============================

    What Bell says is true, and a good message for all people who claim to be Christians, but it’s actually a pretty lame defense against criticism.

    If someone questioned a politician’s stance on an issue or confronted them with their own words and their response was “The world is in turmoil! Why are you wasting time criticizing me?”, we’d all say they were just deflecting and avoiding talking about the issues. That the world is hurting and Christians have work to does not mean a prominent preacher should be exempt from critique.

    He says “the world is in need – don’t criticize other Christians!” And then proceeds to criticize other Christians, even questioning their salvation. It comes off as arrogant. It’s always like this with Bell. He challenges me, then manages to piss me off somehow.

  3. But that does not & MUST not mean that I may not ask legitimate questions about his teaching.

    By the same token, that doesn’t mean he’s obligated to answer them. 😉

    Some thoughts on your point. I think he would invite your questions. I mean, I don’t know the guy personally, so I can’t really speak for him. But he’s never come off to me as the kind of guy who has a problem with honest and open dialog.

    I do wonder if the “critics” he’s referring to are the ones (and boy oh boy, there are more than a few) who are much more militant in their criticism of him than simply questioning parts of his doctrine. They go far beyond raising concerns about his theology (or possibly more accurately, how they’ve interpreted it) – and flat out call him a “wolf,” or worse yet, a spokesman for the Antichrist.

    I’m not sure what I would do if I faced the level of venomous criticism that comes his way on a daily basis. Would I take the time to articulately defend my doctrine each and every time someone in the blogsphere calls it into question? Would just press on and let it roll off my back?

    It would take an act of God for me to resist the temptation to fight back with everything I have.

    Maybe it is.

    …even questioning their salvation.

    That “some Christians need to be saved” quote is probably best understood in the context of his sermon series Jesus Wants to Save Christians. His use of that phrasing leads me to believe that’s where he’s pulling it from. Which really isn’t about salvation in the heaven or hell, saved or unsaved, born again or not, filter you or I typically hear that phrase through. But, without the benefit of that context, that’s certainly how it would sound to my ears too. (I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s intentionally leaking that phrasing to start pimping his next book or tour.)

    Since you have to pay for the series on the Mars Hill site now, maybe I’ll post the introductory sermon sometime soon.

    But he does come of snarky and above rebuke. I’ll give you that.

  4. the more popular you get the more criticism you are going to take. I think Context becomes everything.
    I don’t think that there will be a high profile pastor/teacher that everybody will agree with.

  5. the more popular you get the more criticism you are going to take.

    That’s probably true.

    I spend alot of time (probably way more than I should) reading blogs, articles, etc., from many prominent teachers and pastors. At times it can be exhausting trying to keep track of the “who’s who” list of who they all think are heretics. No one is exempt, they all point the heresy finger at each other. Constantly.

    A tremendous amount of energy and time is seemingly wasted picking apart the doctrine of pastors and teachers by other pastors and teachers. And if you don’t fit their mold (which of course varies based on one’s own slant) – Whammo! You’re a heretic. And now there’s a whole blogging army out to get you and discredit your ministry.

    I’m all for challenging doctrine. But it has all been taken to new (ridiculous) heights. James said that those who wish to teach would be judged more strictly. I’ve come to realize that maybe he meant that it would come from ones own peer group. That’s a big reason why I opted out of that peer group.

    It’s almost Pharasitical. Jesus preached repentance and the dangers of hell the most (almost exclusively) to the religious elite. The people who claimed to know God, but spent all their time drawing lines in the sand and tightening their control over their religious circles. Jesus told them the needed to be saved from all that.

    That’s what Bell’s getting at.

  6. The thing about criticizing Rob is that, I believe, we only have have limited authority to do so. I think it depends on how well we know him and his ministry and that depends largely on how much we live life with him or it. I think we can criticize his books to a much larger degree than his sermons, and his sermons to a much larger degree than the rest of his church ministry and that more than his life and so on depending on how engaged we are with each level. Then, even if we lived daily life with him, we still should heed Paul’s words to the Roman church that lived together daily, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4

    There has been a lot of controversies that I believe could only ever exist on the internet or in some other abstract media (meaning removed from physical context). The media capitalizes on that to the Nth degree, unfortunately.

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