Wow, friend Jeff Goins sent me a video interview of Rob Bell for his new book Love Wins. It is the closest I have seen anyone corner Rob Bell. Watch it for yourself.
There has been a lot of talk about Bell and his new book. Much of it centers around his video and how it seems universalist. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t chime in, but that’s not the point here. What disturbs me is how Bell seems to deliberately obscure what he says. He says that love eventually wins and also that what we do now is important in the case of salvation. Waving off how those two ideas coexist, he claims paradox. If it’s just paradox, like he says, then why write about it?
Granted, the interviewer has an agenda and super-imposes ideas onto Bell. Where Bell says love wins, the interviewer says God wins. I have never heard Bell actually say that. The interviewer accuses Bell of softening the gospel into a more palatable idea. He also asks if it’s relevant what we do in this life repeatedly, even after Bell answers with an affirmative. Even so, Bell still doesn’t make himself clear.
I have been accused of being esoteric and vague at times myself. When faced with a direct question though, I tend to be as explicit as I can. It’s important for me to speak plainly if I can so that I am not misunderstood. Bell doesn’t seem to have that problem.
In discipleship, we speak into people’s lives. Some things are paradoxical and are therefore hard to wrap our minds around. If we can’t make a decision about an idea and clearly communicate it, we should be silent. It isn’t fair to guide someone in their faith, raise a bunch of questions they haven’t thought of and then be obscure in our reasoning to answer those questions. That’s just cruel and irresponsible.
I don’t know what is going on with Rob Bell or his book. He says there are questions he hears as a pastor that led to writing this book. Maybe he has people around him asking these questions. Maybe he explains more in his book and doesn’t want to give anything away in an interview. For whatever reason, I take more issue with what seems careless pastoral awareness than theological expression.