Am I coward? Why I don’t care if Rob Bell is a Universalist.

I came across this quote earlier today.  I thought it was interesting and I wanted to share.  It was taken from an article written by Kevin Deyoung on the Gospel Coalition website concerning the debate that is swirling around the controversial book coming out by Rob Bell.  Deyoung  makes a case for himself and others in his brotherhood who mark Bell as a teacher of false doctrine.  You can read that article  here.  My point in this article is neither to defend or argue Deyoung’s point I simply found a particular quite very interesting.

“I know many young evangelicals barely have any stomach for controversy, let alone strong words about a serious topic. But if there is no way to be simultaneously bold and humble; if there is no way to be a gentle, caring person while still speaking in clear tones about hurtful error; if there is no way to correct those who oppose sound doctrine without being a moral monster; if there’s no way to love truth and grace at the same time, then there’s no way to be a biblical Christian.”

I thought the first line was of particular interest.  Does the next generation of evangelicals lack the stomach for controversy?  I have to be honest when I first read that I was angry.  After all  it is myself and those only a few years younger than me that he is speaking about.  Do I lack the stomach for controversy?  Or is the issue something deeper then that?    Could it be that my generation and the one coming after is starting to realize that no matter how many blogs are written, no one is going to change their mind?  Maybe the point is not lack of courage, maybe the point is so what if Rob Bell is a Universalist? Does me writing a blog article about it make anyone agree with him any more or any less?  If I put on my Facebook status that Rob Bell is a hieratic will the people who don’t already agree with me change their mind? Deyoung himself admits that; no.  They will not.  In fact the only thing that will accomplish is starting an argument that after awhile, everyone get’s pretty tired of reading about.  Maybe Rob Bell is a Universalist, maybe he isn’t, but if you really want to present truth with grace, and you really believe that his teaching is false, it’s very simple.  Teach truth in your local context.  Focus on what you teach, make sure it’s sound.  There will always be crazy.  We are not going to get away from it.  Screaming crazy at something that is crazy only makes it more crazy and draws more attention to it.  I just spoke to an individual earlier who, until this controversy broke out, really had very little idea of who Rob Bell even was.

Mr Deyoung, I don’t believe the issue is my generation has no stomach for controversy, I believe the issue is my generation has seen all to well the collateral damage that takes place when well meaning, and scholarly individuals are too busy crying heretic and not busy enough crying truth.  So I don’t care if Rob Bell is a universalist.  If he is then I am done advocating his teaching (to be honest I didn’t do much of that to start with).  I don’t think that makes me a coward, I think that makes me a lover of truth and a hater of the circus that is social media controversy.



About jondrms

Hoping to finish well.
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5 Responses to Am I coward? Why I don’t care if Rob Bell is a Universalist.

  1. Nicole Jones says:

    Great post Jonathan! Preach on!

  2. David Sayers says:

    Jon, I don’t care a lot about Facebook, obviously, and I don’t really get into following many blogs much, but I have often been struck by things you say so I usually appreciate it when I stop to read something of yours. There is something really intriguing to me about how you think. When I saw the Rob Bell stuff go around I was also mostly like “so what?” While I am not your generation, I think your “response” to that was a good one and I hope your generation grows to think more like you. I hope we all do. Nothing is gained by us spending our time tearing down Rob Bell. If he is false then God will deal with him. Your attitude to work on what you preach in your context is really refreshing. I need to be careful about how I say this (in other words I am NOT saying leave what you are doing), but I sure hope you end up finding a senior ministry sooner rather than later in your life – – that will be a benefit to many, many people.

  3. Pingback: The Bible is not for you or me? | Small Steps Toward Stupid

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