The Return of Rob Bell

Rob Bell, what do you say, I suppose something along the lines of “when your entire persona is built around being the innovative cool guy…”. It is hard to express how much I appreciated this guy, and how much I respected his biblical knowledge and insightful probing. Even with Love Wins I’d defend him. His take on Hell in that book is not Augustine/Aquinas/Luther mainstream orthodoxy, but it was an ancient small branch that orthodoxy never really did away with or declared heretical. Even someone like Richard John Neuhaus held it privately. He would say he hoped with a small h that it was right, but he would admit that he could not capital H Hope as it was not a revealed theological truth. But Rob has a new book to sell. The first one without the hindrances and claims of leading a flock. This is the trailer…

So the God of the Nicene Creed (c. 381 AD) and the Apostles Creed (c. 200 AD) that the catholic church has been proclaiming for 2000 years, that Israel proclaimed for 2000 years before that, who outlived the Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, the medieval dynasties, the early modern empires, the colonial era and the colonists transmission…that God is an Oldsmobile complete with 8 track. If He doesn’t catch up with Rob Bell he’s going to just go away. And all you haters who hold on to creeds and confessions, don’t you see the hate and harm you are spreading.

And what does God need to catch up with Rob on? Love, baby. I’m ok, you are ok, we are all ohhh-kayyy. God loves us just as we are. He’s with us and for us and around us…and he’s okay with us. Now that is a neat little phrase stealing Paul stealing the Greek poets, “in whom we live and move and have our being”, but that was not exclusively Jesus’ message. There is this thing called the cross. We called to pick ours up and follow. Forgive me if giving in to the culture and getting glowing things said about you in the New Yorker doesn’t look like the path to Calvary.

We’ve heard this all before. This guy does a good job of running down the references from the smoldering heap of oldline protestantism. He forgets that Rob Bell doesn’t do footnotes. He’s “not really writing theological treatises, just pointing out questions” is the shtick. Rob is out in California now. He’s got some great surfing pictures now and then. While he’s applying for the seat of this guy he should probably take a look at the end of that road. As well as the history of that God who’s been called an Oldsmobile before.

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