I was scrolling through Facebook a few days back and saw a teacher of mine posted someone’s blog article on Rob Bell. The title caught my attention because it says, “Why Rob Bell is A Better Evangelical Than Evangelicals.” So I read it and now I have to respond.
I often joke with my friends about people being more Christ like than Christ Himself. These people who are more like Christ than Christ Himself are those people who think that Jesus was all about tolerance. They take a few passages, rip them out of context, and ignore things Jesus said within those passages, and then draw false conclusions and tell everyone to live based off those false conclusions. The false assumptions and conclusions are all over the blog and I want to hit the main thrust of the blog.
“The only people who care about the conversations about God that evangelicals are having are evangelicals. And honestly, a number of young evangelicals are leaving because they don’t care about those conversations, either.”
“If Rob Bell knows how to talk to people about their souls, how to help people examine their lives and think about meaning and purpose and seek to love and care for others, and he can do so while reaching millions upon millions of people, he is not just an evangelical. He is a better evangelical than all the rest of us.”
From these two quotes you get the main assumption and conclusion of the blog post. Their definition of evangelical is clear as day but once you believe it, it makes everything else as foggy as the car that Leonardo DiCaprio and that girl were in during that one scene in Titanic. An evangelical, based on the blog, is someone who gets others to talk about things pertaining to the Bible but not in a biblical way. This is the false assumption of the blog. And the false conclusion is that Rob Bell is the greatest evangelical of our time.
Whatever your assumptions are you conclusions follow and vice versa. Whatever your conclusions are your assumptions are there. To be evangelical means to hold to the gospel, live according to that gospel, and in turn speak the gospel. All three are tied together and if one goes awry then the whole this is amiss and certainly not evangelical.
Let me use an example: Americans hold to the fact that electricity runs in their houses. They know it’s true. Which makes them live in that truth. They turn on light switches without question. They use plugins. They run showers. They shave their faces and legs. And when they talk with their friends, they are always talking about things with the assumption of electricity. “I was driving.” “My blow dryer broke.” “I can’t wait to go to Hawaii.”
Now if someone doesn’t live based on the assumption of electricity, it shows in their actions and speech. They may hesitate to use a light switch. They may talk about going to Hawaii on a canoe.
Rough example, I know, but I hope it gets somewhat the point across. An evangelical isn’t someone who merely talks about Jesus, they live according to the truth of the gospel and all that entails.
If someone believes truth can’t be known for certain then they don’t believe the gospel where truth made Himself known for certain. If someone believes that heresies are all right then they don’t believe the gospel where Jesus established once and for all what is orthodox. If someone believes we all must agree to disagree and talk about important matters like feeding the hungry, then they don’t believe the gospel where Jesus settled all disputes with His life and gave people the ultimate bread and sustenance they really needed, the gospel, His blood, His flesh.
In this age we live in people don’t believe it’s truth that matters but action. But action only matters because there is truth establishing, sustaining, and pushing those actions. If feeding the hungry is the only thing that matters then why not steal from everyone to give to the hungry? Is it okay to make others hungry for those hungry over there? The truly wise and understanding Christian knows that it’s not mere talk nor mere action that makes a difference. It’s both. Christ presented truth and food. But the people loved the food and rejected the truth.