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What is Heresy? April 26, 2011

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Bible, Christianity, Rob Bell, The Church.
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The word “heresy” is one that is thrown around alot in the Church today, usually when someone disagrees with another’s interpretation of Scripture. And especially when that interpretation might not be considered “orthodox.” I have resolved to never call another Christian a heretic if they are honestly wrestling with Scripture and legitimately come to their conclusion. Afterall, we continually tell people to read and study the Bible for themselves. When we, mere humans, wrestle with the Word of the infinite God, we are bound to get some things wrong. I came across this series of statements on Twitter today from a pastor named Tim Timmons. His points are very compelling, in my opinion. What are your thoughts?

Thinking of those calling Rob Bell a heretic…(heretic is) only mentioned once in the NT. Peter speaks of destructive heresies…that diminish Jesus.

I don’t think that is happening w/Rob. A destructive heresy is literally a destructive opinion & that diminishes Jesus.

HMMM…a destructive opinion w/in the Church today might be thinking that the auditorium is the “sanctuary” of God, when each believer is.

Or a destructive opinion might be when one leader speaks ill of another (called gossip) & gets away w/ destroying a person’s reputation.

Or a destructive opinion (heresy) might be thinking that Christians have the power to go & convert the world to Christianity.

Or a destructive opinion (heresy) might be teaching that Jesus prefers mega-churches to the smaller version of the Jesus movement.

Or a destructive opinion (heresy) might be thinking going forward at an altar call or standing to say, “I believe” is all that is needed…

Or a destructive opinion (heresy) might be shutting the door on people from other cultures as they want to follow Jesus….

Or a destructive opinion (heresy) is thinking that Christianity is the way, when it isn’t! JESUS IS….

Or a destructive opinion (heresy) might be thinking Jesus was the founder of Christianity or that he was a Christian…that’s destructive!

And all of those opinions “diminish Jesus” and His preeminence!

Everything added on to Jesus as a pet theological belief oryour favorite commands or your religious system is a potential destructive heresy.

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Love Wins…and Still Kind of Loses April 3, 2011

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity, doubts, Heaven, Hell, Rob Bell, The Church, theology, universalism.
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Welp. It took the entire Christian blogosphere commenting on one book to coax me out of my blog hibernation ( caused by the 60 hour work weeks I’ve recently had to endure). And while I sincerely doubt that many people will read this post because, let’s face it, this dead horse has been beaten just about as much as it can be while still being able to be recognized as a dead horse. But, still I feel it is my duty as a Christian blogger and wannabe pastor to review the most talked about  and controversial Christian book since the 1611 King James Version of the Bible (and yes, in 1611 that was quite controversial for several reasons).

First of all, let me say this: I like Rob Bell. If I had to go to war by his side or any of the “New Calvinists,” I’d easily choose him. He comes off as much more Christlike, even if his theology can be a bit wacky at times. Having said all that, I do believe that people who tend to like
Bell will like the book more than people who tend to dislike him. I also do not believe he is a universalist, at least not as I understand universalism.

As for the book itself, overall, I found it very enjoyable and I did learn a lot from it. It did stretch my faith in some ways. However, I did not agree with all of it. I think anyone who has a bit of knowledge about the Bible could easily point out the parts where Bell is deeply Scriptural, and where he stretches it a tad to match his thesis. We’re all guilty of doing this from time to time, I might add. My advice, as it always is, to people listening to sermons or reading books by pastors is to eat the fruit and spit out the seeds. I agreed with parts and disagreed with parts of the book. That’s not the issue. The biggest issue I have with what’s come out of this book is harshness with which people have discussed it. I’m guilty of being a little harsh myself in some of the discussions I have had about it. My problems being with people who claim that Rob Bell is a heretic and going to Hell himself. Personally, I don’t think anyone is a heretic who is honestly wrestling with God and the Scriptures to try to figure out the Father’s heart. What’s heretical about that? Just because someone comes to a different conclusion to what the Scripture is saying than you believe or has been taught for the past 1500 years does not necessarily make them a heretic. What makes a heretic is one who is trying to undermine God and the Scriptures just for the sake of undermining them. Bell is not doing this. I believe he really has studied, prayed, and wrestled with these issues and is simply teaching what he feels he has learned. That is in no way heresy.

The other problem I have with it is the people who are commenting on the book and on Bell personally without ever reading it. Most of these people just take the position their pastors take. This is typical, lazy, American Christianity. The saddest thing is that most pastors want their people to follow them blindly like this. If a pastor is gonna make a judgment on a book without ever reading it, and just wants their people to go along with him, how does he expect them to actually read the Bible for themselves? The secret is he doesn’t want them to. He just wants them to go along with what he says about the Bible and every other topic. Welcome to modern day conservative Christianity. Though let’s not pick on just the pastors. It’s the people, overcome by their own laziness and idol worship (their pastor is their idol) that force that away from reading the Bible and thinking for themselves.

This is my plea to you. If you decide to have an opinion on Love Wins,  or even on Rob Bell himself, please do so after reading the book and doing much research. Do not form an opinion based on news stories, blogs, book reviews, and especially not based on whatever your pastor says. You have a mind and Jesus said you were supposed to love Him with all of it. Not reading these books for yourself and blindly following whatever your pastor says is failing Jesus in that regard, because it is just plain stupid.

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