Fearing Doctrinal Controversy

December 27, 2007

The Associated Baptist Press has a good article about pastor and author Rob Bell entitled "Christians shouldn’t fear controversy over doctrine." Here are a few highlights:

The young pastor rose to prominence rapidly after his Mars Hill congregation, founded in 1999, grew to more than 10,000 members in only a few years. He also has a popular video series and has written two best-selling books, "Velvet Elvis" and "Sex God."

With that success has come plenty of controversy, which Bell maintained he does not pay attention to. "I don't Google my name," he said.

... Jeff Fuson, a longtime youth minister at Crestwood, Ky., Baptist Church, who recently became pastor of a new church plant, attended Bell's lecture in Louisville. Fuson agreed that while some of what Bell teaches can be seen as "divisive," it can help believers think about their faith.

"Even if we don't agree with [Bell], he still challenges us to think and to pull some things apart and to wonder about our faith," Fuson noted. "If a person can't think about their faith, then their faith may be too brittle."

Bell had much stronger words for those who are frightened by such an approach to theology, comparing them to Pharisees.

"They're obsessed with absolutely minutiae issues surrounding, 'What words do you use to define the Bible?'" he said. "They absolutely obsess about people who, in their minds, don't use the exact proper definitive language they’ve agreed upon somewhere."

... Responding to those he has offended, Bell said he has one question: "What are you scared of?"

"If you trust somebody who died and was resurrected, you're trusting in somebody who doesn't fear death," he declared. "There are no questions that you need to be scared of. There are no new ideas that you need to be fearful of. ... There is no fear."
Amen! What we need is a willingness to be more open to dialogue with our brothers and sisters in Christ and a willingness to work together to share the love of Jesus despite our disagreements.