It seems that there are a ton of Christians out there in cyberspace who are prepared to judge Rob Bell before his book has even been published. As I happen to have the same publisher as Rob now has (Harper), I called them today and talked to my senior editor this afternoon. They are tight lipped about the content of the book and the publicist will send me one at the appropriate juncture. It will then be time to critically evaluate Rob’s latest thoughts.
In this post, I have a very different beef—– I must say I am hugely disappointed in people like John Piper and Mark Driscoll, who also haven’t read the book yet, and yet are prepared to condemn Rob— one even saying dismissively— ‘Farewell Rob Bell’. Frankly this is all too typical of the hyper-Calvinistic wing of the Evangelical world. Shoot first, ask questions later. They’ve even given a Reformed Evangelical like Tom Wright this sort of treatment in some cases.
And what should be said to them is— shame on you for prejudging a brother in Christ. Shame on you for being prepared to pontificate and judge before you have even read what the man has to say. IS THIS THE SORT OF BEHAVIOR JESUS WOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT? I think not. And even it it turns out there are some unBiblical ideas or thoughts in Rob’s new book, shouldn’t the approach to the matter be to first ‘go to the brother’ and gently talk to him personally about these things before twittering, tweeting, or blogging about the matter? Yes indeed, that is what Jesus told us to do, frankly. He also said, “judge not, lest you be judged”, and what he seems to have meant by that is “don’t write someone off as hell bound, lest you be judged by the same standard’, which by the way, is exactly what Rob wants us to talk about. How about extracting some of the logs in your own eye first, before trying to be the optician of Rob Bell? In the meanwhile, as my granny would have said, the ethics of some Evangelical commentators is not merely going to pot, its ‘going to hell in a handbasket’
More later, when the book comes out. In the meantime all fair minded Christians should hold their fire.