Rob Bell: Love Wins. What's the Controversy?
Recently I've overheard people discussing pastor and author Rob Bell's newest book, Love Wins. In my quest to learn more about God's Truths, and specifically Love Wins, I found the video below to be very helpful. I suppose if you don't align with this video, you might just Google Love Wins and get Bell's side, and/or read the book. I plan to do the latter. Please note that the first 45 seconds of this video are a waste of time. After that, this video is worthwhile. bzell333 makes a really good case against false teaching in many of his YouTube contributions, but each of his videos have bizarre openings which I find creep, poorly done, and contra-effective to his intelligent teaching.
I'm aware from personal experience of a growing amount of instances of false teaching, so Love Wins has been on my radar since I heard of it about a month ago, since many people I know to speak the Truth have claimed Bell's book is full of false teaching. Lisa loves it. Of course she claims John Piper is "an asshole", so put that in context if you read her review. Having read Bell's previous work, Velvet Elvis, I was interested to learn more. I want to know how best I can share His love, care for others, and worship Him in all phases of my walk, in my desire to bring Him glory. Bell has helped me with these issues in the past. God knows I am not perfect nor deserving of His love, but He knows I follow Him.
As you may or may not know, Love Wins is generating a New York Times bestselling amount of controversy. On one hand, this shouldn't be a huge surprise when considering the Bible speaks to Christ coming again in context of Love and Judgment. That's one of the primary things the cross stands for to me—God's love for mankind, and His judgment by way of the sacrificial death of His own Son, serving as a living sacrifice for our brokenness, to make us whole. He judged the world and then in perfect love gave of His Son. His new testament gospel offers us an eternal life which we don't deserve, nor can we earn. The Christian faith is controversial in general, when you consider the message of Jesus Christ is by it's very nature of absolute Truth, more and more intolerant in the post modern times we're living. A time where emerging churches are becoming so increasingly tolerant of sin in the world (though under the auspices of love and/or inclusion), that they're literally disappearing into the world, instead of standing up and teaching against these very sins. A time when the Bible is being considered irrelevant and out of step with society by so many in the church who are in positions of leadership.
I used to worry that as the end draws near, how will I ever be able to discern Truth from false teaching? The idea that the Bible speaks about false teachers being present and prevalent in end times has always concerned me, as it should you. I recall asking this question of someone in my then-small group, and their response was... "You will know through the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, that which is Holy and True, from that which is not." In retrospect, I fall to my knees today, in appreciation to God that what she said was Truth, as false teaching and misplaced spirituality are all around me, including the place I was married. It could not be more clear to me—in all God's been saying—through the teaching I hear in His word; through the discipleship of others; by witnessing the devil's work in those I know and knew by their tongue, and by their actions. The Devil's power and subtle nature and effectiveness is increasing, as is predicted all throughout the Bible. The Devil looks good, is quick to tell you what you want to hear, and even more scary, is full of intention. In fact at C3 Exchange, the former Christ Community Church in Spring Lake MI (where I was wed when the cross was still on the building and where they no longer "worship a dead corpse"), they worship themselves over their Savior, even today. More on that here.
So I give thanks to God for all He's doing. His eternal plan for His world, and His people. Not everyone, but for those who choose to follow Him by both words and action, even when it is hard. Those who do not quit, and choose grace and forgiveness. Those who live with humility, with eternal life as their goal, who choose a walk towards holiness, over their endless chase for the happiness of the world. Those working to perfect their worship, over seeking a life of worldly pleasure. And for those who choose discipline over desire.
Love Wins alright. Ironically, and thanks be to God, that's a true statement. He does win. But the Devil continues to win converts as people bow to their sinful nature and personal happiness, over a life of serving a mighty and powerful God who both loves us, AND will judge over us. Read Love Wins for yourself, and see if what Bells explores speaks to you. One review I read says "in a tie, Bell wins". I can see extending Bell this benefit of the doubt, as God has no doubt given Him many skills. Bell is a powerful communicator. But the devil is equal to the task. He is intriguing, skillful and passionate. Also very spiritual. One thing that is clear in the Bible is what happens to people who choose life's pleasures over a life of right living, and follow what they believe to be truth over what the Bible says is really True. In Thessalonians 2, this individual is called the Anarchist.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (The Message)
The Anarchist1 Now, friends, read these next words carefully. Slow down and don't go jumping to conclusions regarding the day when our Master, Jesus Christ, will come back and we assemble to welcome him. 2 Don't let anyone shake you up or get you excited over some breathless report or rumored letter from me that the day of the Master's arrival has come and gone. 3 Don't fall for any line like that. 4 He'll defy and then take over every so-called god or altar. Having cleared away the opposition, he'll then set himself up in God's Temple as "God Almighty." 5 Don't you remember me going over all this in detail when I was with you? Are your memories that short? 6 You'll also remember that I told you the Anarchist is being held back until just the right time.7 That doesn't mean that the spirit of anarchy is not now at work. It is, secretly and underground. 8 But the time will come when the Anarchist will no longer be held back, but will be let loose. But don't worry. The Master Jesus will be right on his heels and blow him away. The Master appears and-puff!-the Anarchist is out of there. 9 The Anarchist's coming is all Satan's work. All his power and signs and miracles are fake,10 evil sleight of hand that plays to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them.11 And since they're so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses in it-gives them what they want.12 Since they refuse to trust truth, they're banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions. 13 Meanwhile, we've got our hands full continually thanking God for you, our good friends-so loved by God! God picked you out as his from the very start. Think of it: included in God's original plan of salvation by the bond of faith in the living truth.14 This is the life of the Spirit he invited you to through the Message we delivered, in which you get in on the glory of our Master, Jesus Christ. 15 So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter.16 May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence,17 put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.