Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Rob Bell, Theology & the battle for mindshare

I'm inclined to agree with Phil Whittle that trajectory isn't necessarily the best marker for indicating what most of us believe – given that far too many of us (me included) are far too influenced by the thoughts of others and not our own carefully thought out, researched position guided by the Holy Spirit?… but shouldn't leaders, particularly ones with lots of followers be especially careful to be consistent?

I think it's helpful for Rob Bell to ask questions about what we believe and why we believe it, as much as it is for all of us to have answers for the hope we profess, and if it drives our church leaders to be more explicit on areas of theology especially ones that we are generally quiet about, then it's net effect can only be good for our congregations too...

But I also have some regard to Matt Hosier’s understanding of trajectory. Mark Driscoll suggests that he wouldn't have some people in his pulpit, because he sees that a principle responsibility of a shepherd is to 'protect' the flock. In that regard I too don't encourage the use of Rob Bell material in our congregation and would be cautious in who I encourage to use or read his material because the conclusions that I draw from his teaching to date do lead to spirituality over relationship and ultimately universalism.

One final thought. There are hundreds of pages written everyday that tout theologies that are different to mine. We don’t generally come into contact with them regularly and neither do our congregations.  Perhaps, in giving media space to Rob Bell’s forthcoming book, we are giving it prominence that might give reason for some to select his book to see what the fuss is all about.  In that regard, maybe we are just as guilty of causing others to stumble?

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