The Judgment of Rob Bell
The judgment of Rob Bell with his new book “Love Wins” is a great example of how disagreement stirs up hate, controversy and the lack of honor. Controversy brings to the surface what is rooted deep within a person. It creates environments where evil can thrive and also environments where love can thrive. It creates a place where people can genuinely ask questions or creates the fear of asking them. I felt God was saying that the reason many are sounding the trumpet over this book is because of their “immaturity.” It is the failure to eat the meat and spit out the bones. The lack of love over this book reveals that some continue to drink from the breast of information or tradition, which lacks experiencing Gods love. I am grateful that it is immaturity because it doesn’t mean people are helpless, it just means they know not what they do.
I do not agree with everything Rob Bell writes. I don’t even know him. I have only read a few of his books while having watched a few of his videos. I may have even listened to a podcast years ago, but other than that, I don’t pay much attention to him. I have always been fond of his heart that reveals humility, honesty and passion for truth. I believe he has a genuine gift from God. In many of the things he writes, God does shine majestically through the heart of his words. I see this because I look for what God likes about Rob. We are to see the gold in people and not the dirt that the world so passionately pursues. We are to grow in the love of God.
It is fine if someone does not like his book. We are all free to have our perspectives, but when someone is judged, labeled or even hated because of their writing about the things they think about and wrestle with, it becomes inconsistent with the heart of God. On the other hand, Bell’s book is bringing many people to life. Freeing them to discover. Freeing them to ask questions. Most importantly, it is positioning people to discover who God really is.
The Lover & The Watchdog
Now imagine that this book is a piece of Rob Bell’s heart, because it is. He wrote this with his passion to learn, grow and ask questions that move himself and others toward God. So now, lets put in perspective the slander and the criticism he has received. I can imagine a conversation of a religious person attacking Bell like this,
“Rob, do you see that part of you…. that part of you that is asking those questions and saying those things. Those are stupid and you are a heretic. You need to repent. You have no right to say those things or even write about them. You are not to be trusted. You have fallen off the path of life.”
Does this sound like love or a religious watchdog? Religious Watchdogs who think that protecting the truth through information is going to turn people to God are in grave danger of making people twice the sons of hell. Their supposed call, as a heresy hunter is what turns people off, even though they can convince the weak to listen. Even if some of their words were somewhat correct, the spirit they are of isn’t. They invite people to information instead of revelation. Remember, Satan used the Bible to tempt Jesus. Hersey hunters use the scriptures and God’s name to justify their judgments and their right to not show love. Besides, if their love-less foundations are found out, they would actually have to trust God instead of themselves.
God does not deal with us like watchdogs. Father God is not like, “you suck Preston because that part of you doesn’t believe this is right or that is wrong. Now I am going to withdraw My presence from you because you don’t believe the right things. In fact son, I am going to inspire others to post stuff all over the Internet about how crappy your writings are and how far off you are. I am going to inspire other Christian leaders to attack your stuff. I will bless those who curse you because you don’t always believe or say the right things for the people to understand.”
That is ridiculous. Some people’s view of God is so void of experience and understanding as it is based on processed information marked by arrogance. This is why Bell’s honesty brilliantly invites us to experience God. This is the childlike humility that discovers. It invites us to wrestle with God so we know for ourselves who He really is. Bell brilliantly invites us to actually manifest our love and belief in God now. He reveals the call of God to bring heaven to earth right now as Jesus taught and demonstrated. He calls us to responsibility, something the heresy hunters have “left behind.”
The Older Brother Syndrome
The words that have come against Rob are certainly rooted in the older brother syndrome. They are rooted in a hunger for justice and truth that is void of a great relationship with God. It values slave mentality above friendship. It values being right above loving people. The Pharisees were great at this. Their love for law far outweighed their love for God, and they missed His very heart. In fact, they missed Jesus Christ standing right in front of them because their interpretation of His teaching labeled him a false prophet. They made void the very word of God standing in front of them because they had already voided Him in the understanding of their hearts.
The older brother syndrome is the voice of a fatherless people. Many attacking Bell are simply manifesting their fatherlessness. Those who have not been fathered by God are quick to point out what they think is wrong with other people and their beliefs. It is an orphaned heart that has not allowed the genuine love of God to fill their being. With them, God’s love never wins because it is rooted in rejecting the love the Father shows people. Father loves people, not because they believe the right things, but because of who He is. Love has won the hearts of those who know God. Accusation rules the hearts of those who operate out of the system of the father of lies. When you listen more to the father of lies than our Heavenly Father, you are quick to point out flaws and supposed wrongs. But Father’s children are learning to quickly bless those who persecute them. They simply pray for the heresy hunters to encounter God.
Experience: The Substance of Love
Without experiencing God, who we think He is shapes us, instead of who He actually is. We are then left in poverty to fight over the scraps of Scriptures, books, teachers and whatever else that keeps us from a relationship with God by trying to justify our beliefs. Any teaching we don’t agree with then becomes a target of our limitation. Religious devils thrive on their own interpretation of God and His Scriptures that are void of experience. Experiencing God cannot be replaced by information. It must flow from experiential knowledge and revelation.
Asking a question can reveal more of a genuine answer then answering a question we think we know. Rob Bell does this well. He asks questions that go to the heart. He is right to not to give pat answers to certain people’s questions because it actually forces them to come face to face with what they actually believe, instead of someone else telling them. Instead of breastfeeding them with handed down answers, Bell invites us to eat the meat of God’s very essence.
Love and Humility go a long way. It honors and loves people we don’t agree with, signifying that being right or wrong is not how we win. How we win, is through love. God, who is Love, doesn’t agree with some of the things we believe, but He still invites us to be at home with Him. Love Wins, because it looks past the standards of the world. The standards of who’s right and whose wrong and it looks into the standard of the heart of God.
All this is not really about Rob Bell’s book or what he believes. It is about our heart and the heart of God. This about how we respond. It is about how we love. Even if someone had fallen into deception, you are to restore him or her with a spirit of gentleness, not a spirit of condemnation. At this point people should drop their stones and remove the wood from their eyes so they can see clearer. Rob Bell is clearly revealing his nakedness in the garden of humanity for his hunger to know God as He is. So on his journey, why don’t you love and support him, instead of sliding around on your belly looking for questions to corner him with accusations. Instead of sarcastically saying “farewell” to a brother, we should welcome him with open arms like our Father and celebrate who he is, not who he isn’t. Maybe we should let Love Win.
Let us live as if “Love Wins” was not the title of a book, but the title of our hearts.
PS..I am not defending the Rob Bell that people think they see. I am defending the Rob Bell that God sees.