The Need to Ask Questions

I have read a couple articles a while back about Rob Bell and the fallout from his book Love Wins that came out 5 years ago. Bell was most popular for asking really good questions about things many Christians assumed to be true, but either didn’t have the confidence or desire to question what they’d been told their whole lives. There seemed to be a resurgence in asking questions when I was growing up. Rob Bell was hitting his stride, Donald Miller was Blue Like Jazz, and youth group was where we’d go to have fun. I agree that it’s an incredibly important aspect of our faith to ask questions, God will NEVER be fully understood, but there are some things that are true, and will remain true, and we need to remember to proclaim.

In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is a statement we can be sure about. It’s so easy in churches to get bogged down in the confusion of eschatology or blow small comments out of proportion instead of keeping our focus on Christ. One of the most impactful verses for me in my biblical interpretation over the past few years has been Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” The point and purpose of the Bible is to point us to Jesus. It’s a book for him and about him, and he should be the focus of all of our lives. This also needs to be the focus of our corporate times of worship. If Jesus is the focus, it shouldn’t matter what kind of music we sing, how long the services are, how long you stand or sit, or how many people you’re forced to interact with. The point and purpose needs to be Jesus.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t ask questions at all! Some of my biggest times of growth have come from asking questions, or someone asking me a question I didn’t know the answer to. But, as Augustine said, “our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” We can trust in the God that has chosen to continually reveal himself to us through his Word and his people. This is why it’s so important for us to gather as the body. The church doesn’t exist as a single component of the body (you can’t have church by yourself in the mountains), but when we gather, we are to remind each other of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will never completely understand everything, but we serve and worship the God who does.

Traits of False Teachers

In light of yesterday’s article, Colin Smith has written a very helpful article on The Gospel Coalition titled ‘7 Traits of False Teachers.’ Rob Bell has had quite the audience over the years through his preaching, Nooma videos and books. Yet through each of these books he has slowly chipped away at the foundation of what is true-Scripture.

The seven traits listed in the article are:

  1. Difference source
  2. Different message
  3. Different position
  4. Different character
  5. Different appeal
  6. Different fruit
  7. Different end

This is a good reminder that until Christ comes back there will always be false teachers among us who are trying to lead us away. May we continue to search the Scriptures for truth.

Rob Bell Comes Out

Rob Bell has moved in some pretty drastic ways away from the Evangelical church. With his book Love Wins last year he questioned the existence of hell, to a “tweet heard ’round the world” from John Piper saying, “Farewell, Rob Bell.” Rob has made quite a name for himself, started by planting a successful church (in terms of numbers) in Grand Rapids, MI. He has since stepped away from the church and moved to LA where he is apparently working on a TV show about his life. In a more recent move, Rob Bell has now come out in support of same sex marriage saying, “Yes, I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think that the church needs to just … this is the world that we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

This shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone. As soon as one questions the authority of Scripture the rest of their theology will come crashing down around them. This also happened to Brian McLaren, who in September of last year married his son to his son’s boyfriend.

I continue to be grateful for the Evangelical Free Church in dealing with some of these very important and timely issues. I live blogged their most recent theology conference titled ‘Sex Matters’ and you can now listen to every message here. A more appropriate view, in both the biblical and historical sense, is found in Wesley Hill’s book Washed and Waitingwhich I encourage anyone interested in this issue to read. This issue isn’t going to disappear anytime soon and Christians need to continue to be willing to take a stand that many people view to be unpopular and passe. Christians will regularly need to be counter cultural and pray for the strength to stay strong no matter what those around us are saying.