Over the past week, Ashley (a reader of this blog) and I have been exchanging emails about Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He probably doesn’t even need that kind of introduction, I have no doubt that you know who he is. She read my post on how to look like a worship leader, where I said I wasn’t a fan of Bell, and was taken back a bit by that comment. Here is some of the dialogue that has gone on between the two of us.
Me: My beef with Bell is that he is a very Fuller Seminary guy. Liberal in his theology. I think him using rabbinical sources is sketchy. That being said. I would group him with other Emergent folks. I know he loves Jesus and desires for young people to hear about Jesus. I see nothing wrong with that. I just question some of his teaching methods.
Ash: Truth is; I agree with his teachings and I love that he’s studied these things. But I suppose that is difference of opinion. I do believe that Jesus wasn’t as tight and conservative as we’ve made him to be. You call him “liberal” but what about your commentary on “liberation theology?”- which has many elements of the same ideas. Have you read his books, by the way? I’m in the middle of Velvet Elvis…
Me: I’m mostly concerned with Bell’s theology. It is somewhat troubling for me. I actually haven’t read any of his books, although some of my friends are big fans of his. I’m not against him, I just think his close alignment with some Emergent folk and some of his theology (along with theirs) gives me some pause. That is all. I guess I probably sound ignorant because I haven’t read his books.
Ash: First off- I’m going to address the rabbinical studies. The OT is a set up for the coming of Christ. And the laws and practices were set into place first by God, then the interrprutation by the priests of the day. There is significant meaning and a lot of symbolic nature in the practices of worship before Christ showed up. When a rabbi, with a new way of thinking about the scriptures came to speak, one of the protections he had, so that he would not be cast out as “crazy,” or “devilish,” was if two other rabbis with authority could lay their hands on him and validate him. When Jesus was baptized: it was quite signifcant for John to “ordain him” so to speak…and then the Holy Spirit to also validate who Christ was. We are the rabbis of today, so now the decisions fall on us (1st Peter 2:9 as a reference).
Tomorrow I’ll summarize some of my thoughts a little more. It is a post you don’t want to miss. Something God has directly put on my heart. Here is part 2.