Rob Bell recently came out (pun intended), rather enthusiastically, in support of homosexual marriage. Contextually, these comments seem in keeping with the spirit of his new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, and its promo videos, in which Bell speaks of “the way Christians are used to talking about God” (to wit, “orthodoxy”) as an outdated, nonessential relic (he builds an analogy around a broken down Oldsmobile) of a less enlightened age. Bell’s clarified position, while disappointing, is not surprising. Rather, it simply demonstrates a consistant trajectory from his previous publication, Love Wins, in which he championed a thinly-veiled doctrine of universalism. When Love Wins was published in 2011, prominent evangelical minister (from Bell’s own state), John Piper, tweeted “Farewell, Rob Bell,” indicating Bell’s departure from orthodoxy. Tellingly, Piper received quite a bit of criticism from mainstream Evangelicals for this. With this fresh round of Bell liberalism, however, there seems to be fewer “oh no”‘s and more “I told ya so”‘s, and I can only hope there will be a few apologies to Piper. Mainstream Evangelical Christianity has become a camp that values popular appeal more than the clear eyes and hard words of a wise and faithful minister. Fool you once, shame on you; fool you twice and it’s a lot worse than shame, but it’s still on you.
For more on Rob Bell’s problematic presentation of orthodoxy, see Alastair Roberts’ great piece on Ad Men, Mad Men, and Bell’s ability to sell, and this keen satirical video from the folks in Moscow, ID, “Robbed Hell”.
On a mostly unrelated note: I may be the only one, but I recently noticed how much John Piper is beginning to resemble Larry David. See for yourself!: