Rob Bell Calls “Bullshit” on Christian Radio [VIDEO]

Jay Bakker pointed this video out to me yesterday. Rob Bell, looking frumpled and tired from a long book tour, was on a Christian radio show in the UK. Instead of talking about his book, the host and a conservative pastor push and push and push Rob of homosexuality. Rob grows increasingly frustrated until he tells them this is the “bullshit that really, really, really pushes people away” (16:45).

I encourage you to watch the whole 20 minutes, and here’s why. We most often see Rob in scripted situations (on stage, in Nooma videos), but here you see his heart, his vulnerability, his frustration, and how much shit he takes for his open and affirming stance:

  • The_B_C

    I saw this last week, and honestly, I was kind of bothered that Bell, when pressed “has the church been wrong for 2,000 years,” did not give a more direct response. I think, he could have said “Yes, and here’s why…” Or, probably better, would be to say that “No, I don’t think the church has been wrong, I think the church and scripture have been silent about this specific issue.” Then go on to explain that silent means that the bible does not specifically address the sexual act between two consensual deeply-committed adults. There was no language to speak of such. The only male-male sex they knew to speak of dealt with power, submission, pederasty, non-consensual, and if it was consensual it was lustful, promiscuous and selfish. That case could possibly be made. I also think there is a difference in how the “two sides” of this debate define the nature of sin. One views sin as more legalistic (for lack of a better word), and one views it as more relational.
    If he had done something like that, that would have been impressive. However, maybe he knew he could have offered something like that, and it would not have mattered. All it may have showed is the “bullshit” fights that non-Christians see us having and don’t want to be a part of. Maybe…
    Anybody else have thoughts?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      Agreed. That would have been the best response. Honestly, I don’t even know that Rob has done that biblical background work. If he has, he’s not showing his cards. But it seems more likely that the issue simply doesn’t interest him that much, yet he keeps getting asked about it.

      • Clint Schnekloth

        Tony, I think Rob refuses to answer as directly as his interlocutor wants because the other guy is simply being a persistent asshole about it. He’s trying to put words into Rob’s mouth and then wants Rob to speak those words back to him. If I were in Rob’s shoes, I’d be equally unwilling to do that, even though I myself can say unequivocally “yes” in answer to his question–the church I believe has had it wrong these many years.

        It’s hard not to get emotional while watching this. But the other guy was just pissing me off, and I find it miraculous that Rob remained relatively calm during the whole interview.

    • S_i_m_o_n

      A simple google would reveal that in the ancient world there are recorded instances of two male lovers, both men, living in a long term, loving relationship. There is also evidence of same sex marriages. I think a fairly strong case could be made that Paul must have known of instances of sexual relations between two consensual, deeply committed adults.

  • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

    For what it’s worth, “bullshit” was bleeped out on the over-the-air broadcast, so he didn’t quite get to say it “on Christian radio.”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      Good to know. :-)

  • http://tracimsmith.wordpress.com/ Traci

    I felt like the graciousness, on both sides, from both of these men, was beautiful. I saw each of them, at different times, conceding that the other had a valid point. Oh, if the comments sections of blogs could be so kind and loving…

    • superdave

      truth…..looks like a lot of people missed that based on these pointless disagreements

  • jeffstraka

    The deeper frustration, I think, is that fact that evangelicals CONTINUE to make this a “make or break” issue on orthodoxy. Really? REALLY? There are starving people in the world, and THIS is what we must continue to judge the “real” Christians on? I listened to the audio podcast when it first was out and found myself getting extremely pissed at Bell’s evangelical debate partner – the guy was relentlessly focused on this ONE issue. And now, here in the US, we see that the Southern Baptist convention is going to systematically boot out the Boy Scout troops they currently sponsor. Will progressive/emergent Christians loudly reprimand this idiotic act? Will they open their churches to take these “homeless” troops in?

    • Jeanne Ahlers

      I agree with you completely. I read once that if the devil can’t convert you, he’ll just try to keep you busy so you don’t do God’s work. I feel like that’s what’s happening in our churches today. Everyone is so busy trying to force their opinions down each others throats that nothing is getting done.
      God’s people are starving and dying without hearing the Word of God because the churches are still trying to decide whether or not gay people should be allowed to tell them about it? Please people, get over yourselves, stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, and get your job done! :)

    • davidt57

      I agree with the fact there are more important issues. However, it’s not evangelicals that have raised the issue of homosexuality. It’s the left/ liberals/ progressives insisting we must change our position from what Scripture teaches, 2000 years of Christian tradition affirms, and what has been normative throughout known human history. THAT’S who made this the big issue.

      • jeffstraka

        Silly us for realizing it was men who wrote the bible and not god, and for using biological evidence not known 2000 years ago. Evangelicals made it an issue by not embracing reality.

        • davidt57

          So, reality is whatever YOU decide it to be. hmmm. Let me try a bit of postmodern relativism here: Some of us just don’t think that’s true for us.

          • jeffstraka

            Um no. Reality is what science is telling us. Do you think evolution/natural selection is true? Do you think there was a first couple, Adam and Eve?

            • davidt57

              I believe God created us, but perhaps through the mechanisms of evolution. I believe some people may, in fact, have a predisposition toward homosexuality (though that’s not firmly proven). However, that does not make it right, good, something we must approve of. In like manner,alcoholism may have a genetic component. But we don’t approve the behavior of an active alcoholic.

        • Brian Swope

          In what way are you defining reality? Christians would say God wrote the Bible through man. Non-Christians refute this claim. Which view maintains reality and how is that defined?

      • Sven2547

        It’s the left/ liberals/ progressives insisting we must change our position from what Scripture teaches…

        But that’s not true. Nobody’s making you change anything about your faith. Don’t like same-sex marriage? Don’t marry a member of the same sex. Your traditions, no matter how ancient, don’t give you the authority to require other people to live by them.

        • davidt57

          I did not address the question of law in my post. While I have concerns about what government establishes as law, my larger concern is what the church says regarding biblical authority and interpretation.

        • EqualOpportunityCynic

          I would agree, except that in requiring me to call a civil union a “marriage”, society is indeed imposing a view that may not correspond to my faith.

          My solution to the gay marriage question is for the state to stop calling ANYTHING a marriage. Leave that to the churches. Then I can unreservedly advocate for equal rights under the law without traditional churches being marginalized.

          • Sven2547

            Does it impose anything on Christians when non-Christian marriages are called “marriages” by the government and by society?

            This whole position of “let’s not have the government call any marriage a ‘marriage’” is like a child who would rather burn his toys than share them. People never had a problem with state-recognized marriages up until now. But now that those eeeeevil gays are marrying, you’d sooner abolish the term from government altogether than call them “married”.

            • EqualOpportunityCynic

              When you stop caricaturing my position and putting words in my mouth, I’ll give you a civil response. Until then, why don’t you just make up what you wish I said? Straw men are so much easier to argue against.

              • Sven2547

                Okay, forget my whole second paragraph.

                How does government’s recognition of same-sex marriages “impose” anything on “traditional” Christians differently than, say, Jewish marriages or Muslim marriages or non-religious marriages?

                • EqualOpportunityCynic

                  There’s no difference. The government shouldn’t be endorsing Jewish, Muslim, or Christian marriages. For the government to, up until the 2010s, have promoted traditional one-man-one-woman marriage as a normative meaning of marriage — that too was wrong. It was a lot easier to overlook that wrongness when it privileged a consensus view, and it is a lot easier to see that wrongness now that the consensus is no longer extant.

                  You seem to think I’m saying that it was OK for the government to promote a traditional view of marriage until the 2010s, but now the government should get out of that business. Instead, I’m saying that the government should have already been out of that business.

                  Was I going around espousing this position in 1993? No. I didn’t have occasion to even think through this part of the issue until gay marriage became widely discussed. Once I thought about it, I realized that it’s unjust for government to endorse anyone’s view of marriage, including my own.

                  • Sven2547

                    Funny how you’re addressing my second paragraph (which you called a straw-man) and not my first one, haha

                    I’m asking about this ridiculous notion that same-sex marriage is an “imposition” on “traditional” Christians. You say same-sex marriage is an imposition because it goes against the tenets of your religion. Yet marriages among other religions are also against the tenets of your religion and no Christian has ever called for banning those. This position is fundamentally hypocritical.

                    Recognizing this brazen hypocrisy, you and many other Christians have adopted a third route: saying that government has no business recognizing marriage. This is exactly what I said earlier, that thing you called a straw-man: you’d sooner abolish the term “marriage” from government altogether than call them “married”.

                    Was I going around espousing this position in 1993? No. I didn’t have occasion to even think through this part of the issue until gay marriage became widely discussed.

                    Exactly. Nobody did until gays started marrying and suddenly it was an outrage. And if the issue of same-sex marriage were to disappear tomorrow, if every gay person were to spontaneously turn “straight”, the calls to take government out of marriage would vanish just as quickly.

                    • EqualOpportunityCynic

                      I’m not understanding the “brazen hypocrisy”, because I’m not clear on why you think “marriages among other religions are also against the tenets of [my] religion.” Could you please explain? In what sense am I supposed to be outraged by a Muslim man marrying a Muslim woman?

                      “Nobody did until gays started marrying and suddenly it was an outrage.”

                      You’re still misrepresenting what I said. Government endorsement of marriage didn’t become an outrage. In retrospect I believe it was wrong for the state to impose any view of marriage including my own. All I said was that it was hard to come to that conclusion when the topic wasn’t even part of the discourse.

                      “And if the issue of same-sex marriage were to disappear tomorrow, if every gay person were to spontaneously turn “straight”, the calls to take government out of marriage would vanish just as quickly.”

                      I don’t think my view is a particularly popular one, so I’m not sure who are these supposed same-minded folks I’m supposed to be speaking for. All I can say is, if every gay person were now straight, I would still think the government should get out of the business of legitimizing marriage.

                    • Sven2547

                      I’m not understanding the “brazen hypocrisy”, because I’m not clear on why you think “marriages among other religions are also against the tenets of [my] religion.” Could you please explain? In what sense am I supposed to be outraged by a Muslim man marrying a Muslim woman?

                      Well, you yourself said that it’s an imposition on your faith when society imposes a view that does not correspond to your faith. So what’s the difference, to you, between a Muslim wedding (which you do not object to) and a gay wedding (which you apparently object to)? Both of them are taking place outside of the tenets of “traditional” Christianity, but only one of them is problematic. That’s what I mean by “brazen hypocrisy”.

                      Ultimately it’s a red herring. Marriage is about more than “recognition” or being “legitimized”, it’s everything from inheritance rights to hospital visitation rights to end-of-life decision-making. As long at spouses are relevant in these contexts, government has a vested interest in marriage. The question before society and before the courts is whether government, at any level, has any business abolishing same-sex marriage. The answer to that question is an unequivocal unambiguous no. Now you and everyone else can choose to stand up for equal rights, or you can choose not to do that. But I am deeply unimpressed with the character of anyone who is troubled by the “marginalization” of discriminatory organizations.

    • FatalDelay

      For me, the reason why THIS one issue is such a big deal is that marriage is a picture of the relationship of Christ, both to the Father and to His bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). We are told that there is an order of roles in Christian marriages and responsibilities for each. If you have two wives or two husbands, who is to submit to whom and in what manner? There is simply no way to reason that out in a homosexual relationship. God has given us clear instructions on what marriage is and how each partner should relate to the other in order to not only have a successful marriage, but a successful relationship with Him.

      • Meghan Schuster

        There are plenty of heterosexual couples who do not believe that one person is to submit to the other. Many are now believing that both partners can be equal and that God actually does not call marriages into a hierarchy. In that case, it makes sense that LGBT relationships can also operate as equal partners. Both can lead and both can submit. Rachel Held Evans talks about patriarchy much better than I can.

        http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/patriarchy

    • Jill Schaible

      First of all, Jeff, homosexuality, and how Christ followers react to it, is very crucial. We seem to always point out “bigger issues” in the world when it suits us. Social work and social justice is admirable, of course, but it is NOT the most important issue. Even Jesus did not come to make all things right in the physical world. He did not come to heal everyone or eradicate poverty, when he surely could have. No, he came to save souls, period. And his last words to his followers before he left this planet is a good reminder for us when we get off track: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yes, I am a firm believer in meeting physical needs to build relationships with people first and then evangelism to feed their souls. That is how people respond. HOWEVER, when we ignore sin in order to promote a social agenda, God’s word is pretty clear. Homosexuality is an abomination to him, much like any other sin. To keep justifying it or downplaying it is also sinful. It is views like this that make the Creator of the Universe seem powerless and distant from his creation. We humans have become quite arrogant and ignorant of our place in this world. We have elevated ourselves above God. We are but a vapor, like chaff in the wind, and we have no ability to fully understand all the mysteries surrounding him. Because of liberal theologies (accommodating homosexuality) that deny God’s authority, dominion, power, and holiness, we are now swirling down the toilet bowl at faster and faster speeds. Want to know what’s wrong with the world? Look at the new face of Christianity (emergent ideology and the overindulgence of sin) here in America and you will figure it out.

      • jeffstraka

        “before he left this planet” – so where exactly IS this Jesus? Pretty sure we’ve eliminated “heaven” as being up in space somewhere where your “sky god” lives…And as an atheist, I’m not at all convinced humans have a “soul”.

  • Joe Sellepack

    It would seem to me that if slavery as an issue was affirmed by both the Levitical tradition and Pauline literature, that the cultural context of slavery has changed since Paul (reading Philemon is like reading an apologetic on why slavery should be tolerated) and Leviticus, it demonstrates that these issues (purity laws) are ultimately culturally relative and each situation requires a different way to approach them justly and faithfully. So the real question for the respondent who was arguing with Rob is, “What differentiates this law on sexual purity from others on slavery, eating shell fish, eating pork, etc… and why did the definition of purity and orthodoxy change for some of these issues without changing for others?” Is it because he has a hangup with one gay man (in his words not mine) having sex with another gay man?

  • adamwhitley

    I have a deep love and respect for Rob Bell, but I’m a bit bummed that whenever he talks on the subject he make his position sound more like acquiescence than affirmation. I think he’s still uncomfortable voicing truths that might alienate people. He’s still a pastor.

    Also, They spoke for the hour before this all about the book and agreed on EVERYTHING. They were having a great discussion about God and the Church and the host had to throw in a contentious topic at the end to get attention for his show. Which is actually sadder than just having the whole interview be these 20 minutes.

    • Phil Miller

      Have you ever considered that maybe doesn’t really care all that much about this particular issue, and even though he’s given an opinion on it, it’s not something he sees as really all that important? I guess that’s the thing that’s tiring. The issue is surrounded by activists, and most people do not have the time nor energy to be activists about it. So maybe they do think that gay marriage is OK and not the end of the world, but they aren’t going to march in the streets to support it.

      Personally, I think there’s starting to be some amount of fatigue surrounding the issue. People get tired of hearing and talking about it.

  • graemecodrington

    Tony, the other thing going on in this interview is a very British way of engaging in debate, especially in the media. It isn’t about truth, dialogue or a meeting of minds. It is about a carefully crafted path of questions that leads a person to say something that can then be jumped on. It’s a much more sophisticated version of the American “gotcha question”, but nevertheless equally unhelpful as a method of discussion and debate. It almost always puts the interviewee on the defensive. Rob did masterfully well to maintain his narrative and his composure. I do however wish he would just come out and affirm the gay position unequivocally. I am so glad that more and more high profile Christians are doing this.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      I agree with you on both counts, Graeme. I think it’s amazing how well he stays composed, even when he seems tired. And I also wish he would have said, unequivocally, that God does not necessarily consider it a sin when a person has sexual relations with someone of the same gender. Period.

      • Ian Holland

        Rob Bell is sooooooo frustrating … he refuses to join in the
        game of “them and us”, of “you are wrong and I am right”, “they arewere wrong, and Iwe are right” … he is maddeningly refusing to participate in debates where the only outcome possible is drawing hard lines in the sand where combatants are dug in deep and fortified on their side of the line. Whereas Andrew Wilson is working really hard, politely but legalistically, unambiguously to claim the authority of the ‘church’ and scripture to define Rob Bell’s ideas as heretical (and therefore Rob is a heretic and outside the fold of the righteous). Rob is doing the hardest thing possible, the most countercultural thing possible, in simply not reciprocating. Rob is working hard to remain in the room, to remain in fellowship with Andrew, in calling him a
        brother and inviting him to the communion table.

        He knows that there are other places (blogs, books, radio shows) and other people that have engaged in the exegetical battles and arguments on both sides if the issue… with no side succeeding in ‘converting’ the other. Some are called to that hard work, thank goodness, so that we might understand the details and arguments. But that is not his calling… that is not his thing … he is bearing simply witness to the Gospel as he experiences it… and that relationship is more important for him than orthodoxy.

        He does not answer Andrew’s question of “is same-sex sex a sin
        or not” within Andrew’s frame of orthodoxy (and heresy), but he did very clearly answer it through his understanding of God’s shalom, and that committed loving partners (of any sex) bear witness to that shalom.

        • livingmartyrs

          I wish I could be more of his brand of frustrating! :-)

    • Tom LeGrand

      Very much makes sense. Not to over-spiritualize this engagement, but it smells a little like the exchange Matthew 21:23, where the questioning is intended to drive towards a certain kind of response that would either trap Jesus (or, in return, the Pharisees). Jesus effectively cuts off the discussion because it’s not sincere or productive.
      While I would prefer a more “satisfying” answer from Rob Bell, and while the interviewers are certainly within their rights to push whatever issue they like on their show, I think there is wisdom in refusing to play this game, at this time. Also, if Rob Bell was as exhausted and haggard as he appeared, he is wise to be non-committal. Why try to answer a question that seems so important to so many people, when you’re not mentally or physically equipped to do it at your absolute best?

  • http://kingdomcitizen.com/ Theo Morton

    I can understand what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to avoid the common pitfalls that one arguing in his position usually gets forced into. Rather than focus on those same droll arguments (which frankly, have been dealt with time and time again elsewhere), Bell emphasizes the positive and the good, what CAN be affirmed and agreed upon and to build understanding and compassion from THAT starting point. In one sense, in post-Resurrection reality, sin becomes a moot point (Paul, “anything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial”), so what really matters is what it means to live out a calling worthy of the Gospel, namely, to be monogamous, loyal, faithful and committed in our relationships (gay or straight) grounded in love. If you’re fixated on what he’s “avoiding”, you’re bound to miss what he’s emphasizing and why. Since he’s not able to communicate that well, perhaps just tired, I think he may come across “frustrated.”

    • Barbara Plourd

      How could Rob TALK when so many and so much of the time was spent with the interviewers talk …. And Rob really was mostly interrupted….Bravo, Rob, for being so “shalom” and gracious////

  • Nathan Myers

    Oh, the “martyrdom” of the “open and affirming” community when someone presses them in a legitimate, deep way to explain to us why they believe what they believe. Which is one way to evade the serious questions posed.

    I, for one, long to be part of a Christian community that asks hard questions of one another. I sat in on one particular discussion at Eastern Mennonite University where Mark Thiessen Nation and Ted Grimsrud discussed their book “Reasoning Together” where Mark and Ted asked each other hard questions, and neither played the martyr card. What a breath of fresh air.

    I wanted to tell Rob to suck it up and deal with it as I watched the video. Those are hard, good, heartfelt questions he was being asked; much like the ones he’s asked the American evangelical community for a good solid decade or so.

    We need good questions and seriously considered conclusions, especially as scientific conclusions shift on the subject of “nature vs. nurture” to very different conclusions (especially on genetics) than 20 years ago.

    • MIke

      Thanks Nathan. I think you have a great handle on this. These are heartfelt questions we are all asking. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong in my head but not my heart. There’s not “judgment” or finger pointing here, we’re all broken and there are no “categories” of sin. I hope I can still be in the conversation with being labeled a hater.

    • Nathan Myers

      As another sidenote, I was intrigued about one small piece of the conversation. Andrew Wilson had just highlighted that they just baptized some gay men at his church, and that they had committed to lay down their sexual desires along with a host of other things as they sought to rise to new life in Christ. Rob’s response went two direction.

      1. Homosexuals can be celibate by their choosing, and

      2. Some want a (homosexual) partner to live with for a lifetime, and are deeply committed Christians as they do this.

      I was wondering right afterwards, what about the obvious #3 that some persons in the process of laying down their desires and rising to new life in Christ with hard-fought new desires have married someone of the opposite gender? The option is not just one or the other. The third pathway has been trod as well.

      As I hinted at above in my first comment, genetic research today is pointing heavily toward conclusions that genetic identity is relatively fixed but constantly changing as one’s heredity interacts with one’s environment. In other words, even the most deeply rooted desires, fixations, or addictions people struggle with can be rooted out in favor of new ones. For some, this work may take generations, but for others, it takes decades, years, or months of work. This offers tremendous new opportunities for reflection for the Christian community on the possibilities of transformation when we consciously choose certain pathways, and have those choices reinforced and supported by a community.

      The conversation based on outdated science that “we are who we are and cannot change,” affecting sexual desires among many other topics, just shouldn’t be accepted any more.

      • Garrett Russell

        You sir have just, hopefully unintentionally, made a mockery of “third way” thinking. Superimposing heteronormativity on homosexual people who are living in a heteronormative culture is the exact opposite of the work of Jesus. Jesus’ third way solutions are generally deemed offensive to existing power structures (who do you think is in power and who is marginalized in Christian culture?) and creatively re-imagine our idea of the kingdom. Praying, or your pseudo-scientific “training” is the antithesis of freedom for captives.

        Yes, this is a harsh response, and I believe that you are in need of one. You are willingly serving as an apologeticist for oppression.

        And really, coming from an aspiring Ph.D in clinical psych with my study emphasis being human sexuality, you don’t “retrain” sexuality. That is really, really unwise and likely harmful. It would actually be much easier for you to become biblically literate and retrain your understanding of Levitical law or 1st century views of human sexuality.

        • Nathan Myers

          Garrett,

          There are previously homosexual-oriented people who are now in joyful heterosexual covenants. For all your attempt at demeaning my response, reality belies your attempt.

          NPR actually just did a piece on this several months back where a previously homosexual man expressed outrage that clinical psychologists, either by the newer editions of the DSM or by personal choice, would refuse to treat someone seeking to shed those desires in favor of heterosexual ones. And the anger he expressed came because he is now in a heterosexual covenant.

          I’ve been in a 11-year process now of “retraining” my belief that lethal violence is natural, good, and righteous in the right context into the belief that nonviolence is the right way. This has involved drilling down into the very core of who I am; desires, beliefs, patterns of living. Living in a decaying urban core has intensified that process. Only now, after 11 years, am I seeing tangible, practical results in what “feels natural.”

          You have a belief, as does the majority of the clinical psychology community, that you cannot retrain sexual desires (at least not homosexual ones). It is a matter of faith for your community. You’re staking your collective reputation on it, and institutionalizing it with changes in the DSM.

          Be careful of your mocking of laypersons who do not share your faith. Sometimes faith and reputation can blind us to what is before our very eyes.

          Nathan

  • JoAnn Forsberg

    Blessings to you all!

    Amen on that this issue is a “make or break” issues regarding faith and should not be.

    For our heart faith is what God looks at, not the physical being. I have been devoted to Jesus Christ for fifty years now. Married to one man 37 years, children, grandchildren. A daily devoted person to Christ, study and prayer.
    I have spent my adult life studying theology books on Christianity. For how can I state “I follow Christ” and then never attempt to seek knowledge of Him. It is the difference of Jesus and I being acquaintance or Jesus and I being bound together.

    To be willing to go out of my “spiritual box” of what was taught. Christ tells us to “seek” Him personally, so it is easier to not question our taught belief system and accept what is preached from a Pulpit. Then, to daily seek ourselves to know Him.

    Picture the Bible as a Tree. For at the beginning one of the first things we learn is: There is a tree of life and a tree of knowledge of good and evil. That mankind fell and was removed from the garden where these trees grew.

    Christ came to redeem mankind and thus the “tree of knowledge, now known as the Bible” has been growing for 2,000 years.

    Where so much confusion occurs and why we have so many different denominations in the Christian church is because the Bible is the “root and trunk”. We are the limbs and the fruit.

    The limbs spread out far and wide with many different views, each as a limb. Christ said: “To bare fruit”, for me that is a basic truth of the limb of belief I am a part of.

    “Am I baring fruit? am I reaching others for Christ? am I showing
    love and laying down myself daily for the sake of another?”

    Then, the next growth on my limb of following the Bible is: “there is no condemnation for those whom are in Christ Jesus”.

    So, do I believe that as a truth?

    No condemnation spoken from Christ lips. For another would stop me here and switch to another limb by stating: Gays cannot be Christians, we have now parted.

    For I view no condemnation at face value. It means all are accept, all are loved, all are allowed just as I am, just as you are.

    For me standing up for gay rights in the Church is MY CHRISTIAN DUTY; not a watering down of God’s word.

    God is still growing a “tree” here on earth with knowledge. For if when we understand theology, we also understand the Bible is a progressive revelation. That God reveals truths as the tree is growing through out time.

    There once was a time when n average humans would be jailed for reading the Bible on their own. So, yes; God is still revealing himself. God’s word is the same; yet, God is still revealing himself and we “choose” what limb we want to be a part of the growth upon.

    One of acceptance and love or one of condemnation.

    Blessings in our Lord and
    Saviors name. JoAnn Forsberg, Okemos, Michigan.

  • http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com jtothamo

    I think what is more powerful than the “bullshit” comment is when Bell asks, “Is there something that trumps our differences”?

    • MIke

      Definitely agree with that lol

  • http://ryanrobinson.ca/ Ryan Robinson

    He looks so exhausted. I can’t blame him for calling bullshit at all. Normally Justin (the host) is very good at moderating a discussion fairly but he barely questioned the other guy.

  • Bill Pavuk

    For Andrew to characterize Jesus as endorsing and binding the whole of Leviticus is, to use the lingo of the Brits, “rubbish.” I think for Bell to say “we do this because it’s what’s going on in the world” is also weak and unconvincing. The whole idea of trying to determine what Paul would say about what we have going on today is just really unfair and not very useful. It’s a bit like when people say “here’s what the founding fathers would think about assault rifles.” We just don’t have the knowledge or wisdom to go there.

    • Charliebrown822

      But think about this. To use Rob’s own logic from “Velvet Elvis,” Jesus was a rabbi, and would have upheld the law as such. He didn’t teach anything contrary to the law, and wasn’t there to abolish it. If Jesus came to start something new and take away the old law, he would have said, “ignore all that crap and listen to me.” But he read the scriptures, he knew what God intended in them, and he kept the same law the other Jews were keeping. His yoke was just different. I think you have to take the British pastor’s (forgot his name) argument a bit further, did God, in his wisdom, neglect to say anything about this issue, or do we work with what we have (i.e. the outline of marriage, etc.)? Alexander the Great was still pretty popular in this day, and had a homosexual relationship, so to say the ancients were ignorant of this issue is folly. I don’t pretend to be a scholar, but I think this British pastor is right: sweep all the way through God’s story, Genesis to Revelation, and see everything as a part of that story, and I think you’ll find homosexual acts weren’t (and aren’t) approved of, nor were “committed homosexual relationships” (which I think is a ridiculous notion) don’t fit into God’s view of marriage or creation.

  • http://www.anglobaptist.org/ Tripp Hudgins

    I too would prefer Rob to offer a direct response. The trouble is that to do so would be to conform to the presuppositions behind the question in the first place. This is what he’s trying to point out at the end of the interview. The parameters of the question assume that Rob’s interlocutor’s general “sweep” of Scripture is correct and that Rob simply disagrees on some details. What Rob is saying is that the premise of the question is faulty in the first place. It’s not about sex. It’s about fidelity. It’s not about men having sex with men. It’s about how the culture of the 1st Century is so radically different from our own, the concerns so different, etc. that we cannot look to scripture for specific rules about specific things. To have answered directly would have opened Rob up to the “But what about ______? And what about _________?” The moralist approach to reading scripture “simply” doesn’t cut it. That moralist interpretive lens (progressive or conservative) is inadequate. Yes, the Bible is an ethical document, but interpretation is such a sticky wicket that we cannot say “the Bible says _______ is wrong” when “_____” is a specific human behavior. There’s more than one moral position offered in scripture. Greed. Envy. Idolatry. These are examples of ethical issues. Not constructing golden calves, however, is not the same thing as avoiding idolatry. The specifics play out differently in each time and place. Rob cannot accept the premise of the question.

    I think. Maybe.

    • stevebonesho

      I think. Maybe. You are addressing the more pertinent issue of how we read scripture. Rob seems to read it to understand the ‘sweep’ of the revelatory story and to then discern contextual issues based on the the trajectory of that sweep as history moves forward.

    • http://flavorandillumination.wordpress.com/ Randall

      Yes, this! “The parameters of the question assume that Rob’s interlocutor’s general “sweep” of Scripture is correct and that Rob simply disagrees on some details. What Rob is saying is that the premise of the question is faulty in the first place. It’s not about sex. It’s about fidelity.”

      Questions only make sense in a given context. If you’re talking to someone driving an all electric car, it makes no sense to ask, “how much gas mileage does this thing get?” because even though that’s a question that we’ve asked of cars for generations, it just doesn’t apply to an electric vehicle.

      Now the questioner might protest, “well why don’t you just answer the question? It’s a simple question, one that auto enthusiasts have been asking for years. Why can’t you just give me a straight answer? How much gas mileage do you get?” And while the driver might reply, “well, this car doesn’t use gas…” The questioner responds, “oh, well now you’re just avoiding the question!”

      That’s the same kind of dynamic I see at play in the video. Wilson seems to see the Bible as primarily a book about God’s holiness as defined by right moral behavior whereas Bell seems to see the Bible as primarily a book about God helping us to find and live out right relationships. To push the car metaphor, Bell’s hermeneutic runs on electricity (relationship) and Wilson’s (and the host’s) runs on gas (morality) and they keep insisting on pinning down Bell on the mileage question.

      • KStrett

        You didn’t pick up on why Rob Bell was frustrated. He was trapped. Bell believes either:

        A. What Jesus and the Church taught about homosexuality was wrong for 2000 years
        or

        B. Homosexuality is consistent with Biblical doctrine because Rob Bell likes the idea.

        • joeyj1220

          Jesus said nothing about homosexuality… try again. And we know that the Church has been wrong on many social issues.

          • KStrett

            The OT clearly said homosexuality is a sin. Paul said this as well. Rather than going back and forth here, let me ask you this.

            The Bible clearly says sex outside of marriage is a sin. If Jesus and the apostles didn’t believe homosexuality was a sin, why didn’t the church perform marriage ceremonies on homosexuals or accept homosexuals into the church?

            You believe Jesus is God, do you not?

            Why would God let a group of people live in sin for over 2000 years?

            It is not like there weren’t any homosexuals back then. If they believed it was permissible, homosexuals would have been in the church for 2000 years.

            A. What Jesus and the Church taught about homosexuality was wrong for 2000 years
            or

            B. Homosexuality is consistent with Biblical doctrine because Rob Bell likes the idea.

    • NateW

      Exactly. When I think about issues like this Huck Finn’s momentous line, “All right then, I’ll GO to Hell,” comes to mind. There comes a point when obedience to God demands that we choose between our own understanding of (and reliance upon) moral law written on stone and the law of Christ written on our hearts. To do this will feel like we are giving up everything that holds us secure—which is precisely what it means to take up our own cross and follow Christ into forsakenness and death.

  • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

    I’m convinced Rob Bell is acquiescing to his convictions of inclusiveness; leaning more on God’s grace rather than God’s truth. And, I can’t fault him for that. Similarly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, once wrestled with a similar situation during the Nazi Holocaust. He wondered if it would be right or wrong to assassinate Adolf Hitler in order to save numerous lives. He too acquiesced to his own convictions and decided that Hitler must be done away with. Bonhoeffer resigned to God’s grace on the matter and only hoped he made the right choice. I believe it comes down to the matter of the heart. God judges the heart of man and his intentions. We may not agree with one another on the matter. And, that is okay. Even though I personally don’t agree with Rob Bell on this particular issue, I commend him for leaning on God’s grace and His love.

  • MIke

    I think both sides did a great job and the dialogue is what we’ve needed for a long time. Even the “bullshit” part was good. Valid points are made on both sides of this discussion. There are no winners or losers here, and there are broader ramifications here that we need to look at. I fundamentally disagree with Rob but I love his heart and humility and I think he is bringing important discussions to the forefront, not so we can reinforce our “rightness” on an issue, but so we can take a deeper look and be willing to mature in our understanding of truth. Thanks for posting.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Well, I’d sure like to listen to this… but the audio is not working (I checked my own system and it’s fine) and a few seconds in, I keep getting an error message.

  • MIke

    Read Joshua Weed’s story on Club Unicorn. It adds something to this discussion.

  • http://www.braintarts.wordpress.com/ MichaelL65

    I am 5 minutes into this and the conservative British pastor/theologian is really beginning to piss me off. He keeps harping on about, “Is two men having sex righteous before God… does God bless that… is God ok with that…” Then he brings Paul into it. My whole take on this is that our understanding of human sexuality is light years ahead of what the biblical writers understood. In Jesus’ day, people did not understand sexual orientation issues. I am not saying homosexual people did not exist, clearly they did, but the understanding that this sexual orientation is normal for some people never entered their mind. Also this guy talk about sex as being ‘righteous’. My opinion on that is that sex, gay or straight, can be both destructive and positive. We have all seen the havoc wrought by rampant promiscuity and destructive sexual behaviours, both in the straight community and the gay community.

    • Charliebrown822

      I think this frames the bible in a poor way. “…our understanding of human sexuality is light years ahead of what the biblical writers understood.” It’s almost as if you’re saying that if Paul were planted right here in our day, he’d be caught off guard as to what is going on. I don’t think that’s the case at all, and quite frankly, that implies that God didn’t have the foresight to address some of these issues to begin with. I think Rob’s error is that he wants to take this from a fidelity standpoint, rather than a sexuality view. If all that matters is fidelity and wanting to be with someone, then just about anything is permissible within those confines. That isn’t a biblical stance. You can compare and contrast promiscuity and fidelity all day and all night, but the real question that the British pastor was getting at is, do you trust the way God set things up from the beginning, or are you saying that we have to change because our culture is changing?

      • http://www.braintarts.wordpress.com/ MichaelL65

        I do not hold a literalist view of the Bible. I don’t think the writers were inspired by a so called God. My point is that our understanding of a whole range of things is far ahead of and superior to what is written in the pages of the Bible. Also, the use of the “slippery slope” argument does not wash.

        • Doyle

          A “so called God”? Dude why are you even here is you don’t believe in God?

        • http://www.ryanpeterwrites.com/ Ryan Peter

          Hi Michael, if you read a bit of Plato I don’t think you can really say that seeing homosexual orientation as normal is something people during this time would never have thought about. In fact, it seems that ancient Greek culture saw it as so normal that it was even seen as “better” than a male-female relationship; a “higher” form of love than male-female.

          It is into a highly sexualised and homosexual culture that Paul writes. Paul was fully aware of the culture and its arguments.

          I think your chronocentric argument falls flat when you check out some of the history. Ancient people were not stupid and they understood certain things about humanity that we actually seem to have forgotten. We don’t really know much more than them just because we can talk on computers – all we really know is new ways to hide the same problem – that humankind has had since it began and can’t seem to fix. We’re broken and in need of healing and salvation. And no matter what we do, we constantly find that we can’t actually fix the problem ourselves.

          • http://www.braintarts.wordpress.com/ MichaelL65

            I respectfully disagree. Being gay is not a “problem” that needs to be fixed. What needs to be fixed is the attitude that a sexual orientation that people are born with is somethig that is sinful or broken. What breaks gay people is silly things such a reparative therapy that seeks to pray the gay away. I have seen many people seriously hurt emotionally by this type of abuse. In terms of our understanding of homosexuality today, we have a greater understanding of how human sexuality and sexual orientation works on a biological and emotional level.

  • http://www.braintarts.wordpress.com/ MichaelL65

    One other thing I want to add is this: Conservative Christians will try to interpret scripture, that was written thousands of years ago in a very, very different culture – a culture that, if we had the opportunity to go back and experience first hand, we would not recognize or really comprehend. Why is it that we take things written in the context of that culture and time, and try to interpret it and apply it to our culture today? Wouldn’t it be much like trying to fix my new Japanese car using a repair manual for Model T Ford?

  • jwalters1

    If you push Andrew Wilson’s ecclesiology to its logical end then you get God standing alone on one side and God’s creation on the other. Gotta love Bell’s composure. Yet another reason to love the guy.

  • allandthompson

    “If you shared my view of scriptures you probably feel similarly.” No shit Sherlock! Did you come up with that all on your own?

  • Wayne Hastings

    I’m surprised Bell didn’t respond with asking, how does denying loving, committed, same-sex relationships demonstrate our command to love neighbor as self? Can I claim to follow Jesus if I deny the love of others or deny others the opportunity to love that I allow for myself. Experience trumps dogma, and I’m not surprised to hear Bell edge away from making that statement explicitly. The ancient Greek boy-man relationships were abusive. The temple worship sex was idolatrous. Neither describe the mutual, loving relationships being described in our 21st century.

    • livingmartyrs

      I’m grateful that he didn’t take this approach. This would have been fighting fire with fire, and Rob — to a better ability than I can — avoided doing that. This fight (and I’m choosing that word over “debate”) has been going on long enough, that no new revelation will be found in it. We don’t win unity in our fighting, no matter how good or appropriate we think our new accusations are, or how gaping the holes in the other guy’s logic appear to be.

      Consistently returning this conversation back to what unites us is, in my opinion, exactly the right course of dialogue. Trying to win doesn’t work, and the level of maturity quickly descends below “I put childish ways behind me” levels.

      • Wayne Hastings

        “This fight (and I’m choosing that word over “debate”) has been going on long enough, that no new revelation will be found in it.”

        You may be right. Where do you see this “debate” going, then? How do you reason with those you disagree with while not using words or arguments? It isn’t about winning, it is about opening hearts.

        • Dualhammers

          I think the point is that the “debate” is pointless. Rob Bell has reiterated this idea time and again. He would much rather move on and do the work of making lives better with those willing people around him than spend his life stuck trying to convince people who don’t want to change.

          When I went to church we talked about living life out for God for the sake of it, but the underpinning was this weird kind of hope that if we acted like we didn’t care if we changed the mind of others that their minds would be changed. It led to the same kind of impotent frustration about the pertinacious resistance of other people that happens when you directly try to argue with them.

          What I think Rob Bell is trying to say is “who cares?” If some people want to stay stuck then let them stay stuck. There are plenty of people out there I can help who want my help. If the people who previously had been opposed to me come around then wonderful, but I am not going to expend my energy on this when I can pour it into loving others.

    • Melvinvines

      The New Testament, to say nothing of the Old Testament, certainly doesn’t define love as tolerating behaviors that Scripture strongly, pervasively and counterculturally forbids. “Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices in conjection with the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). In a contect having to do with sexual behavior Paul insisted that what counts is “keeping the commandments of God” (1 Cor 7:19) and “This is what the love of God means, that we obey his commandments” (1 John 5:3).

      http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/HomosexHowBadIsIt.pdf

      • TacoKid

        I find it interesting that right at the beginning of this essay, 1A, the author does exactly what those who condemn Bell say he does to validate his opinions. “It is MY contention……”

  • Monkeyphilosopher

    I’m sorry but I agree 100% with Mr. Bell. They spent 20 minutes on an issue trying to
    define, discredit, who he is and his message. What a great waste of his and our time processing this crap. Truly a large distraction on the greater questions, which Mr. Bell has spent his life communicating.

    Mr. Bell has so much to give and has been influential to so many. In addition he has created an avenue for discussion for those who feel disaffected by the Church. The majority of these disaffected members of the Church are not homosexual, and don’t have an opinion either way. So, yes this BS continues to drive people away from the Church! Who is the ultimate judge anyway?

    • philosophersam

      Yes, I like how Rob said, “If you bring out the bread and the wine, both of us would take it.” Why do have to spend so much time second guessing each other? I was even frustrated by the whole “liberal vs. evangelical” division they kept referring to. Has not anyone read Dallas Willard’s essay that was properly retitled: “Discipleship: For Super Christians Only?” Willard effectively shows evangelicals, mainstream theological conservatives, and liberals have not properly understood what discipleship is and therefore do not practice it.

      If someone is mistaken on something like this one thing [what if we were worried about eating pork - Acts settles that, right?], won’t God forgive those errors if they seek Him with love and understanding? God is not mean. Any deep study of the New Testament will show that. We are the ones who are mean, filled with divisiveness, and hate.

      I have a view on this matter which I may share someday. I have thought about it a great deal. However, if I do share it will probably be done anonymously. I do not want to be personally attacked or pigeonholed to holding that view forever. So, please do not pigeonhole me by association to Dallas Willard! Willard warned that a great danger today is “Willardites.” I seek to truly honor the life of a saint by following Jesus first.

  • anthony

    Hi. New to this website. I watched this exchange three times (not today) and found it interesting. NO MATTER where you stand on this issue, I don’t why people, in these comments are so upset with how people “attack” Rob Bell. If you have an opinion on an issue, right OR wrong, people on the other side will attack it.

    To JeffSTRAKA- Is there ONE make or break issue? If so, what is that issue? If this issue is important to someone as a gay person or a person who doesn’t believe Jesus wants them to be gay, why can’t it be a make or break issue for them? If it’s important for someone, then it should be important to them…

  • anthony

    We shouldn’t affirm something because “that’s the way the world is…” we should affirm something because Jesus affirms it….

    • maurice

      Like love, compassion, inclusion, respect. Maybe even the humility to admit that we honestly don’t know what Jesus affirms on such minor issues.

  • Doyle

    The only BS here is the so called Martyr card. The other guy asked some questions and as per usual Rob just couldn’t give a straight answer. It wearies me so much that instead of a clear answer we get the usual jargon. Robs whining from 16.45 onward is cringeworthy to listen to. There is a reason why he get pressed on this.Toys prams etc

    The guy asking the questions was clear, kind and seemed genuine. Why can’t Rob suck it up and say “Yes” or “No”

  • Craig Wright

    The Unbelievable interview show is a good resource. I have enjoyed going back through their 5-6 year back log of podcasts. Justin Brierly usually does a good job moderating all kinds of different debates.

    But this time, I wrote in to him, and he read my email on the air the next week. I felt that Andrew Wilson was trying to steam roller over Rob Bell, and Justin let him do it. There is a way to question someone to clarify a position or to get new knowledge, or there is just a style of questioning trying to win an argument. I have heard Wilson on other podcasts and he has that style of over talking the other person.

    I admired Bell’s character in graciously continuing to answer in a calm manner.

  • RollieB

    I align myself with Mel White on these type of discussions… “God” approval of anything queer – I refuse to participate. Absolutists/biblical literalists cannot be influenced; they can’t be wrong – their beliefs MUST be correct… just ask them.

    No one gets to define the correctness of life, seriously, no one. If God is love…

  • Peter_J88

    Andrew really needs to move on from the whole legalism thing surrounding sex… It’s not really helpful to look at things this way…

  • Glenn Peoples

    The mere fact that there are people – right here in this discussion thread – pretending that evangelicals don’t care about the poor, don’t do any of God’s work, but instead spend their time on “make or break issues like this” just speaks to the lack of honesty that many evangelicals contend with.

    • http://www.ryanpeterwrites.com/ Ryan Peter

      I seem to know more ‘liberals’ who are always talking about this topic than ‘conservatives’. But that may just be because I’m more conservative. But it seems to me that most evangelicals are more interested in talking about planting churches and forming transforming / transformed communities than about homosexuality. The homosexual debate is a populist debate that, unfortunately, the Christian media has also cottoned onto. A pity. It speaks to me about how Christian media is honestly not doing its job.

  • Alan Popoli

    I just can’t handle how Bell and others in that vein encourage asking questions, but rarely give straight answers. If you truly believe you’re not a guru on a mystic mountain somewhere, but just another human like me, then love me by explaining clearly what you mean! It’s condescending and disrespectful to treat serious questions flippantly, and I’m just fed up with it. If you truly want to encourage understanding and dialogue, then you need to answer questions simply, clearly, and directly. It’s as though Bell doesn’t feel the need to clarify his teachings, despite the fact that he is one of the most well-known Christian teachers in the country. If you love people, you should respect and inform them, not confuse them.

  • RoddyK

    For those who don’t understand why or were offended by Rob being “pushed” for answers (oh me, oh my) then just watch this….

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=eZLyZvmdVw8&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DeZLyZvmdVw8

  • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana Hope

    They were supposed to be talking about his book? Lol.

  • HisPraisesISing

    What bothers me about Rob Bell’s comment is the idea that since society and culture has changed, then society must allow for homosexuality in Biblical terms. Now, I don’t care if someone is gay, but I DO care if they try to make it Biblically okay. The Bible is against it…end of story..there is no way around that…so, why would he try to say society should alter Christian views on the subject just because people have changed their way of thinking and what is acceptable? In other words, the Bible needs to change with society and culture leaving no clear cut stability of scripture. How very disappointing and how very untrue.

    • climate3

      Actually its comments like that which encourages people to not look in the Bible for deeper meaning and true actualities rather than proof texting. Some folks have said that the Bible does not necessarily against homosexuality. I mean the story of Sodom and Gomorrah included more offenses, the Leviticus laws are a part of the Mosaic code which we don’t follow, and in a general sense, God himself never said a word about homosexuality and neither did Jesus.

      • HisPraisesISing

        Jesus didn’t say having sex with a child is a sin either, but I’m thinking we’d all agree that it is implied and understood. I’m entitled to my opinion, as you are to yours. God bless.

  • Chris Eyre

    I felt strongly enough about this to blog about it. http://eyrelines.energion.net/?p=195. Love won again through Rob, to my mind.

  • Bill Habing

    If you see this with a conservative evangelical bend, one might conclude, that we have past the point where God says have it your way. And we find the whole bunch of us as sinners in need of God’s grace, and unconditional love……not the judgment of men or their book. If the first 3 chapters of romans, mean anything, it is that all are sinners, and the USA has gone too far. Trojan now offers, in an add on the television, a device even the religious can insert into their body that will blow your hair back. Paul and Peter both talk about a time that we cross a line………….that time is the time to realize once again that all have sinned. God’s creation has been altered, genetically by the greedy and the compassionate, in either case it is still altered. could that effect gender? We best go with unconditional love, trust our ability in Christ to do the right thing. What if there are prophets in 2013, the established religious system historically the murderer of prophet and message, should listen and if possible hold their tongue. Truth unfolds. A friend of mine was trying to help a young man through his addiction. He illustrated in real time how truth unfolds. He and young man went for a ride in Mike, my friends car. They turned a corner and saw an elderly man sweeping fallen leaves and twigs with a worn out broom. Since the broom had very few bristles the young man commented. Look at that stupid fucking old man trying to clean his yard with that piece of shit broom. Mike said really? Why don’t we go ask the man what he is doing? So they did. The man with the broom looked at the kid and mike, looked around his yard and said. My wife died 3 weeks ago, we spent 60 wonderful years together, this broom is her broom. When I stand here with it, and see the hose rolled up over in the corner, and the dragonflies, and fallen leaves I am joyfully reminded of the one I love. with love, your friend, bill

  • Roger Saner

    I thought the question to Rob Bell was fair: since he doesn’t consider homosexuality a sin, is that because A) he’s met lots of gay people and believes a culturally-sensitive response is necessary, or B) he interprets the Bible differently from the historical church? As I’ve thought through this for myself I’ve had to really wrestle with that question, and I’d like to hear Bell’s take.

    I’ve read Tony say in one of his blog posts that the onus is on those who disagree with the historical church on this issue to make the case for why Christians should change their minds. If B) is the case, then we need to show why we’re reading the Bible differently.

    As for me, I used to think homosexuality was a sin, and now I’m at the other end of the spectrum: gay affirming. I read all of Graeme Codrington’s posts on this as he worked through each verse in the Bible which deals with homosexuality. Although I think he makes great points (and there are some strong arguments for re-interpreting the texts, as Bell mentions in the interview), I remain unconvinced that the Bible doesn’t think that same sex marriage is not a sin: I find that there are just too many hermeneutical hoops to jump through, and it feels like I’m doing the kind of awkward apologetics which Pete Rollins talks about when Christians try to explain away the myriad fractures and contradictions within Scripture.

    I eventually changed my mind through meeting lots of gay people, hearing their stories, comparing their experience with the experience of various groups of oppressed people throughout history (slavery, black people under apartheid, the suffrage movement) – and saw the similarities. So I’m at the point of viewing the Bible as a book which condemns homosexuality, but finding it my Christian duty to disagree with this as a commit to social justice/Kingdom of God stuff. (This, of course, makes it rather hard to read the Bible: what do other people do?)

    I’m sure there’s some fancy academic term for this position – maybe someone can enlighten me?

  • Timothy Ryan

    He just wants to make $$$. “What Rob is saying is this…” C’mon. He’s an idiot, deviating from the Bible. He wrote a book, made money, move on. Can’t take the $ where he is going. Oops, no Hell, forgot. Well, at least in his beliefs. In the Bible I believe in, the one that I don’t pick and chose what to believe because some I like and some I don’t~ it clearly states, there is a Hell. Can’t dumb it more down than that. Kinda how it looks when someone cusses on Christian radio. Dumb! OOPS! I just judged. Dang. I’m working on that one but not for any of you to worry because when it’s time for the judgement and eternity is lurking….best be darned sure this Rob Bell truly has that in your best interest and not his own notoriety to be the Next Ghandi figure or Forbes top 1,000. Don’t think that will impress many anyways. He’s losing steam. Hell is soo hot it is diminishing the condensation for his steam. Day of Judgement getting closer. Who are you going to trust? A bible written by disciples and persons of the ages and Christ? or by some 21 century $ hungry fame taunting pastor who wants to tweak it to benefit his own daily rituals.
    Not my problem. Just had to state my point. Kind of like telling a stranger… Hey there’s a snake up in front of you. What you do with yourself after a little “heads up” is your doing.
    I just know I’m protected by the Holy Bible and not some New York best seller. Steven King was once one of those too!

    • Jill Schaible

      You go, Tim!

  • Mark Fuglestad

    Absolutely is homosexuality sin. God’s mind won’t be changed. But, as always, we must love the sinner and hate the sin. I have friends who are gay/lesbian. Neat people; just involved in a sinful lifestyle. But we don’t talk about those things. Nothing is going to change their mind on a human level. Only the Lord Jesus Christ through His holy spirit can convict of sin and convert the soul. Come, Lord Jesus!

    • Jill Schaible

      Amen! Sometimes I think we forget how powerful and convicting the Holy Spirit is. We think we have to “help God out.” Live out faith by example and others will want what you have. Simple.

  • Jill Schaible

    First of all, homosexuality, and how Christ followers react to it, is very
    crucial. We seem to always point out “bigger issues” in the world
    when it suits us. Social work and social justice is admirable, of course, but
    it is NOT the most important issue. Even Jesus did not come to make all things
    right in the physical world. He did not come to heal everyone or eradicate
    poverty, when he surely could have. No, he came to save souls, period. And his
    last words to his followers before he left this planet is a good reminder for
    us when we get off track: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
    in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yes, I am a firm believer in
    meeting physical needs to build relationships with people first and then evangelism to feed their souls. That is how people respond. HOWEVER, when we ignore sin in order to promote a social agenda, God’s word is pretty clear. Homosexuality is an abomination to him, much like any other sin. To keep justifying it or downplaying it is also sinful. It is views like this that make the Creator of the Universe seem powerless and distant from his creation. We humans have become quite arrogant and ignorant of our place in this world. We have elevated ourselves above God. We are but a vapor, like chaff in the wind, and we have no ability to fully understand all the mysteries surrounding him.
    Because of liberal theologies (accommodating homosexuality) that deny God’s
    authority, dominion, power, and holiness, we are now swirling down the toilet
    bowl at faster and faster speeds. Want to know what’s wrong with the world?
    Look at the new face of Christianity (emergent ideology and the overindulgence
    of sin) here in America and you will figure it out.

  • Jill Schaible

    Yes, when did we get to define what it means to follow Christ? God gave us the Word as his direction manual for life, and many things are extremely clear. Homosexuality is one of them. Rob Bell is leading so many astray when he says, “Your understanding of the Scriptures…” So, we suddenly have the right to change the standard set for us through God’s word? Everyone can have their own interpretation? This is ludicrous to consider. There is truth: sin is sin. hell does exist. I pray God has mercy on Rob Bell’s soul when he stands before HIM one day.

  • Jill Schaible

    Also, if culture changes, does that mean truth also changes. God says HE NEVER CHANGES! Can Rob interpret those words any other way? The reason people are fed up with the church and God is because of people like Rob Bell who diminish God’s authority and character and truth. They are making him seem weak and ineffective. No one people are unimpressed. American Christianity is weak and unimpressive because it is a self-absorbed, self-centered gospel. Yes, we do good deeds. We feed the poor. Gold stars for everyone. But what is our motivation? If we feed and clothe everyone in the world, but in the end their soul is left starving and they die without Christ, what have we really accomplished?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      Culture changes. And God changes.

      • Jill Schaible

        Malachi 3:6 declares, “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Similarly, James 1:17 tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” The meaning of Numbers 23:19 could not be more clear: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” No, God does not change His mind. These verses assert that God is unchanging and unchangeable.

        Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/God-change-mind.html#ixzz2ZPOA8Ad8

  • ChrisSommer

    I actually have the same struggle as Rob Bell. I’ve known gay couples who are nothing but monogamous and faithful to each other and in the Christian belief. I just want to say that since Rob has left Mars Hill, he seems to have gained a lot of weight and his hair do has gone to the gutter…. I’m not sure what this really means as to his current choice of work, relocation etc…I’m concerned…

  • Ty Paluska

    It’s interesting to me how much we rely on this sort of strawman response like “well it’s clear in the Bible….”
    when in reality it’s not that clear…or if it is clear it may not be
    relevant anymore. Take slavery for example. We could easily make an
    argument for slavery using the Hebrew texts. We could even draw
    conclusions from the NT that it was okay if we were good masters….but
    now we obviously would agree that slavery is wrong and not acceptable.
    Did God agree with slavery then?! Did he change his feelings towards
    it? Or did he just meet us where we were in that time and place and our
    understanding of where the world is or was. I believe it’s the same
    for the homosexuality issue. I think we need to recognize (as
    Christians) that this issue just isn’t really that big of deal and as
    Rob Bell said it is bullshit and it does turn people away. It’s not
    worth it in my opinion for us to keep hiding away from the issue. We
    need to take a stance and recognize this issue as a non-issue and allow
    those people in loving relationships to be a part of the kingdom and
    help us advance it in love. I absolutely agree with Rob that there are
    much more broad and even bigger issues out there that are destructive
    and evil and we should be striving towards tackling those issues. God’s ahead of us on this one and it’s about time we catch up.

  • Chris

    I think Christians should just accept the “Fact” that their “Infallible” bible is faulty. Rob Bell either believes this and doesn’t say it “yet” or He just takes a different stance. I believe Bell is going to come around like many have before him and realize that the book in which you believe to be “God Breathed” is actually a book anchored in the traditions and customs of a many cultured group of people of long ago. If Christians “actually believed” in some of the words in the bible then they would be appalled at what they claim is their God, but most people do not actually sit down and study the bible the way it should be. Instead most go to church and sing some songs, give an offering, and take notes on what the Pastor is saying on Sunday morning. This takes about an hour and a half. People like to be have their “feelings” aroused at church so they can feel a little better when they go and eat like pigs after service, and talk about all the unsaved people that they are sitting around while they stuff their faces. Don’t worry Wednesday night service is coming so they can be reassured until Sunday. That’s the stance that most take.

  • Tom B

    Rob Bell is an amazing teacher that inspires belief in God. Listening to his comments without fear does truly change your ability to love.

  • http://hereiblog.com/ Mark Lamprecht

    Andrew Wilson was calm and gracious pushing Bell’s position to understand where it comes from. There was no BS. I would say what pushes people away are celebrity-type Christians who resort to cussing when they have no answer for their position when challenged.

  • 1970greenie

    How about this from a PhD nun no less. The line in the bible that condemns homosexuality might actually be better translated as,” a man should not force someone to have sex,’ rather than ,’a man should not have sex with a man’.
    But I guess ‘everyone’ knows the correct way to translate a several thousand year old text in a language no longer spoken as long as the translation feeds their self righteousness. .

  • m.g

    Why are two married heterosexual men deciding if homosexuality is a sin or not?

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