RIP, Rob Bell

Rob Bell Affirming

Some evangelicals are now not only saying, ‘Farewell, Rob Bell’ but actually declaring him dead to evangelicalism.

RIP, Rob Bell.

As if the ‘Love Wins’ controversy wasn’t enough, in the first week of his new book’s release (which i read yesterday on my flight from Orlando, and recommend), Rob did what most of us do – had a Q and A.

And after what one person reported from a Q and A session last night in San Francisco, it appears this morning that Rob Bell came out in support of gay marriage (I first saw the story from Tony Jones).

Rob said,

‘I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs – I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.’

The Huffington Post reported his remarks here or you can download the audio of his entire talk here.

WATCH: An Interview with Rob Bell on Why He Supports Gay Marriage

Conservative blogger Denny Burke also linked the story, although the majority of his commenters had an unsurprisingly slightly different response than those at Tony Jones’.

Comments ranged from calling Rob a heretic or implying he’s a false prophet (which really is nothing new) to asking if now we can say, ‘Farewell, Rob Bell’ with a clear conscious || as if this – supporting gay marriage – was the final nail in the coffin we’ve all been waiting for.

Brian McLaren received similar treatment when news broke of his supporting his gay son in a private ceremony earlier this year. For my thoughts on that situation, you can read my note to Brian on his blog.

I’ve talked about same-sex marriage repeatedly (e.g., here here here and here) so this post isn’t regarding my own personal views.

What IS intriguing to me, however, are the two quite polarized responses from folks who read the same bible – some with a more modern, conservative, traditional interpretation and others with a more progressive perspective.

Just last week, LifeWay researcher Ed Stetzer posted his most recent findings on the cultural shift toward acceptance of gay marriage. Things are changing. And the shift isn’t just taking place within the church.

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Just in the past week, not only Rob Bell, but Hillary Clinton and republican senator Rob Portman have joined the growing ranks of those who have ‘evolved’ on the conversation about same sex marriage. The list is certainly likely to grow in preparation for (and even the wake of) the Supreme Court’s pending decision in June.

The increasing cultural disconnect between conservatives (social, political and religious) and progressives reminds me of the critical importance in our work as ambassadors of reconciliation – bridge builders.

The litmus test of our faith in Christ is not whether or not we’re able to agree on political, cultural or religious secondary issues, nor (dare I say) even what it is our position is on such issues; rather, it is in our ability to love, even those with whom we may not agree.

Also by Michael: The Evangelical Reaction to Louie Giglio’s “Change of Plans”

In the same HuffPost article, Rob was quoted as saying,

‘What do you do with the people that aren’t like you? What do you do with the Other? What do you do with the person that’s hardest to love?’ . . . That’s the measure of a good religion, is – you can love the people who are just like you; that’s kind of easy. So what Jesus does is takes the question and talks about fruit. He’s interested in what you actually produce. And that’s a different discussion. How do we love the people in the world that are least like us?”

As the cultural shift happens (and it is happening) regarding LGBT issues right in front of us, I wonder how well we’ll do in elevating the conversation above the yes/no || right/wrong || win/lose || in/out || us/them || polarizing rhetoric that has so often shaped this conversation, and respond in a more thoughtful, Christ-like way?

Maybe there’s something to all that ‘solidarity with the Other‘ language after all…

What do you think?


Michael Kimpan is the author of the WayWard follower blog, a site designed to inspire thoughtful conversation and movement among followers of Jesus Christ. Michael works with The Marin Foundation in Chicago, a non-profit organization which works to build bridges between the LGBT community and the Church.




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About the Author

Michael Kimpan

Michael KimpanMichael Kimpan is the author of the WayWard follower blog, a site designed to inspire thoughtful conversation and movement among followers of Jesus Christ. Michael works with The Marin Foundation in Chicago, a non-profit organization which works to build bridges between the LGBT community and the Church.View all posts by Michael Kimpan →

  • Jonathan Starkey

    a more thoughtful, Christ-like way? Like taking a side on an issue that will put you in a position to say he is absolutely right, or we need to stone him.

    I’m wondering if we need to get over this gentle Jesus stuff.

    Rob, knows he’s doing subversive violence.

    I’m thankful for Rob. I don’t know whether he’s right or wrong? In my heart I say he is right, in my spirit, I’m like I don’t know.

    • Jonathan Starkey

      But I totally dig Brian McLaren supporting his son. I would do that.

      • Questioning

        Jonathon I dig your digging Brian McLaren supporting his son. My son is gay and I support him to the max…..

        • Ford1968

          You’re a good dad…saw it in your remarks elsewhere. Your son is truly lucky.

          • questioning

            I thank you. I cannot do otherwise.

  • Jonathan Starkey

    To say Rob’s dead is that the evangelical equivalent of creating murder in your heart? I would be more afraid of that.

  • Chris

    Love is telling the truth. The truth is that sin needs to be repented of and faith needs to be placed in Jesus Christ’s atonement for that sin on the cross. Jesus paid the penalty on the cross for the sin of those who believe. Without repentance there is no faith. Rob Bell and other liberal christians want to redefine sin based on today’s standards established by man. This is error and it is giving false hope to those that are sinning and under condemnation for that sin (Ephesians 5:6).

    God is the same yesterday today and forever (Malachi 3:6;Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17). He doesn’t change His mind on what is sin yesterday for us today depending on “where we are”. Homosexual sex is defined as sin in both the OT and the NT. Marriage is exclusively explained and supported in the OT and the NT as between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27 and 2:24; Matthew 19:3-7).

    • Tex

      but marriage was not so exclusive with OT heroes of the faith. Multiple wives and concubines were the cultural norm and not treated as sinful…so much for the same yesterday, today and tomorrow…

      • Andy

        Being the cultural norm is quite different from God’s approval. God works through all sorts of people but all of them have one thing in common – they are sinners – including all our OT “heroes”.

      • BW

        Agreed Tex!….these Christians are not capable of commenting on RB’s case when they themselves dont know their own Bible…oh you forgot the Bible (God’s word) allowing slavery!

        • Frank

          Might want to do some more study.

        • SamHamilton

          Do you really think that Christians aren’t aware of the cultural norms of Biblical times or that some people had multiple wives or concubines?

    • otrotierra

      Leaving your house must be very difficult for you Chris, since you are constantly surrounded by christians who refuse to repent for eating meat & dairy at the same time (Exodus 23:19). With all those cheeseburger sins, you sure do have a lot of condemnation to spread.

      • Frank

        If only you understood what you are talking about instead of maintaining your ignorance of scripture.

        • otrotierra

          The ignorance you seek is nowhere in my post.

          • Frank

            I am not seeking ignorance but I see it in your posts. You obviously have a limited understanding of Levitical law. Might want to study up so your positions are not so easily dismissed.

          • otrotierra

            If you have a legitimate counter-argument that might “dismiss” my post, why do you continually refuse to share it?

          • Frank

            I have before but you seem to be unwilling to open your mind. There are different types of Levitical Laws and the moral laws are the only ones that still stand. So to keep bring up posts about fiber or shrimp or whatever are not relevant and do not speak to a hypocrisy that you seem to want to exist.

          • Jared

            it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. Matthew 15:11

          • Frank

            Sure yes. So anyone claiming homosexual behavior is not a sin is in deep trouble.

          • otrotierra

            Never mentioned Leviticus in my post, nor did I mention fiber or shrimp, Frank. As for the counter-argument that you claim to have, I see you are still unable to share it.

          • Frank

            What do you think this comes from? From the Law.

            “eating meat & dairy at the same time (Exodus 23:19)”

          • Revsimmy

            “There are different types of Levitical Laws and the moral laws are the only ones that still stand.” Exactly where are either of these things stated in scripture?

          • Frank

            The moral laws were restated in the NT while the sacrificial and dietary laws were not. Jesus IS the only sacrifice needed so there is no more need of sacrifices.

            Why do I suspect you already now this. As a “rev” you most certainly should.

      • Ryan

        Levitical law has no bearing on this conversation. We are not bound by the law, but the law of grace. Paul makes it very clear that the law has no bearing on believers anymore. Read the book of Romans. We should not want to spread condemnation at all, but if we must, than lets follow Jesus example and condemn those who think they are righteous, not the lost.

        • otrotierra

          I didn’t cite Leviticus in my post, Ryan. But you are correct: we are not bound by ancient man-made laws.

          • Frank

            Except they were Gods laws and we are still accountable to some of them.

          • otrotierra

            Why is Jesus continuously absent in your comments, Frank?

          • Frank

            Jesus is always in the truth of my comments, although my failings are also there as well.

            Jesus affirmed Gods plan for sexuality as one man and one woman.

            Why do you ignore God/Jesus’ perfect plan and therefore reject them?

          • 22044

            Do not bear false witness.
            “Why is Jesus continually absent in your posts?”
            If you insist on keeping telling lies, your question has no validity. But one could with perfect legitimacy ask you that question.

          • RJayPearson

            I think it’s very much worth noting that the only passage from Leviticus that Jesus ever cited was Leviticus 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is one of the two integral passages that make up The Greatest Commandment, which Jesus explicitly said outweighed every other code in the Law. “There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31). When we insist upon strict adherence to codes, verses, etc., as if they were the standard of God’s grace rather than acknowledge the primacy of Love as the sole criterion for living human faith, then we end up straining the gnat and swallowing the camel (see Matthew 23:23-24).

      • Chris

        otrotierra, the civil laws of the jews were abolished at the cross The moral law was not. Jesus said he came to fulfill the (moral) law. Homosexual sex as a sin was part of the moral law.

        • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.olson.522 Daniel Olson

          While i strongly disagree with otrotierra’s callous cheeseburger remark, Christ came to fulfill the WHOLE law. I now follow neither the civil law nor the moral law. I follow Christ who met the requirement of the law for me. If we had to follow the moral law then having sex with a woman during her period would still be sinful and one would have to be cut off from his people. While many of the moral laws are very helpful and designed to improve our relationships with each other, our position with God does not rely on them.

          • Drew

            There is no coherency in that position. So a ban on incest is helpful but our position with God does not rely on it, meaning it is acceptable? Fascinating.

          • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.olson.522 Daniel Olson

            “So a ban on incest is helpful but our position with God does not rely on it”
            Correct

            “… meaning it is acceptable?”
            No it doesn’t mean that.
            My/our position with God relies on the work of Christ on the cross. This doesn’t make sin “acceptable”, because we are not our sins. …and I didn’t say *it* was acceptable. I’m saying *I* am acceptable. *You* are acceptable, and *WE* are acceptable. Because Christ makes us that way.

            “Fascinating”
            Absolutely… and then some!

    • Eric Masters

      A few points to note:
      1. Those verses in Genesis and Matthew seem to have a lot more to say about people moving out of their parents’ basement than about homosexuality.
      2. Even if homosexuality is a sin (and I believe a variety of positions on this issue are acceptable) then why are modern christians so concerned with the legality of it? Divorce, drinking alcohol, tattoos, and killing somebody in self defense are all condemned in the bible but are legal in the U.S. and nobody seems to want to excommunicate divorcees?

      • Chris

        Eric, are you really trying to support homosexuality with the acceptence of other sins in society? Tatoos and drinking alcohol don’t fall under the same cateogory. The verses in Genesis validate that one man and one woman marriage is acceptable. No place in the Bible does homosexual marriage have support or validation. Any argument comes from silence at best.

        • Eric Masters

          The verses in Genesis DO validate that one man and one woman marriage is acceptable. It doesn’t say any more than that, and to base a doctrine on what that silence might mean seems unwise. By that logic, There is no place in the bible that specifically supports and validates women’s suffrage or ability to own land; but I think we can all agree now that they should be able to.
          Regardless of our views on homosexuality, we need to get out of the way of gay marriage. The first amendment not only allows us the right to practice christianity, it provides others the right to not be trampled by christianity.

          • Frank

            Its anti-Christian to accept, affirm, condone, celebrate or remain silent about sinful behavior.

          • Thisisstupid

            Just curious. How do you react when people condone, celebrate, etc your sins? Do you seriously bring up your family and friends sins every time you see them? Are you so open for people doing this to you? Are you the guy I met at Starbucks the other day talking about his coworkers telling him to not put people down and talk so harsh to non believers and your reply was “we’ll I’m only saying what is true?” If not you should meet him.

          • thisisstupid

            Frank, I am waiting for you answers? Are you someone who telling the “truth” is only acceptable when you are the one telling it? Do you point out your family and friends sins every time you see them? If not why? How about their sins of having more clothes then they really need when others have none, or overeating and wasting food when others go hungry, or not loving their neighbors as they love themselves? Are you ever guilty of these sins? If so how would you take it if everyone on here decided to tell you the “truth?” Please answer.

          • Frank

            I embrace the truth. After all there is no love without truth. So I am not afraid of it.

          • Truth

            Dear Frank. Please stop using me in your reply’s so much. I don’t like the attention you bring to me. Sometimes I wish you could concentrate more on love then me. Maybe if you spent more time loving people you wouldn’t feel the need to talk about me so much. Just let me rest for a while unless you want to say something like “well the truth is I am also a sinner and sorry for making such an out of thing Jesus didn’t talk about, I’m going to concentrate more on what He actually did talk about.” Thanks.

          • Frank

            I admit this was cute the first time. Now it just smells desperate.

          • http://twitter.com/jkz118 ey

            You just came across to us as the pharisees who want to stone the adulterous woman to death. They was speaking the truth as well as it was in the law that such women should be stoned to death. What did they end up doing? Did they keep shouting the truth after what Jesus said to them? No, they left one by one from the oldest to the youngest. You should do the same Frank. Your telling the truth does not come across as loving to any of us. I hope you are not the same in real life. If you don’t know how to love, you should not keep speaking the way you do. It’s not going to convert any of us to heterosexuals.

            You know what I think as well? If Jesus does walk pass you today, you probably would not recognize him because you are too focused on the scriptures and the law.

          • Frank

            Jesus spoke the truth “Go and sin no more.”

          • Eric Masters

            Perhaps our own sinful behavior, but I’ve never been convicted to scoop the speck out of a stranger’s eye.
            I think Billy Graham said it best: “It’s God’s job to judge, the Holy spirit’s job to convict, and my job to love.”

          • Frank

            There is nothing loving about accosting, condoning, affirming, supporting or remaining silent about sinful behavior.

          • Frank

            There is no love in affirming, supporting, condoning, accepting or remaining silent about sinful behavior.

          • Eric Masters

            There is also no love in condemning, judging, ostracizing, refusing to understand, or our complete inability to remain silent about sinful behavior.
            You keep repeating this, but please give me one verse where Jesus judges somebody outside of his religion.

          • Frank

            I condemn no one. That’s not my job.

            Actually everyone Jesus judged was outside his “religion.” That aside:

            John 5:22
            For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.

          • http://www.facebook.com/melle.eldridge Melle Eldridge

            The genesis example of one man one woman does NOT tho invalidate or prove that one man one man or one woman one woman is NOT acceptable>>

            anymore than David having hundred of wives versus Joseph and Mary being able to only afford each other proves that God took a stance over multiple marriages versus singular marriages.

            (Though I will say, I am well aware that marriage in the OT with multiple wives and concubines CULTURALLY was about taking care of someone with less ability to care for themselves… not necessarily about having sexual/intimate relationships with all those women….)

            But I truly FAIL to find where God says outright.

            hey. don’t sleep with someone of the same sex.

            I just don’t see it.

            Especially not POST New Testament where Paul teaches us All things are now legal thru Christ who has redeemed us…. Including FOODS, ALCOHOL, and *breath deep….* Sex.

      • SamHamilton

        Eric,
        Homosexual sex and being homosexual is legal in the United States. No one I know of is seeking to criminalize it.

        • Eric Masters

          Technically male homosexual sex is still illegal in several places in the U.S. but I don’t think it’s enforced anywhere. Anyway, I said nothing about criminalizing homosexual relations, but referenced christians demanding their way when it comes to the civil legality of gay marriage.

          • SamHamilton

            Your point number 2 dealt with “the legality of [homosexuality as a sin].” You said that just because something is sinful doesn’t mean it should be outlawed. While I agree with that, no one is trying to outlaw homosexuality. Perhaps I misread your point.

            When it comes to gay marriage, homosexuals are free to have a ceremony, exchange vows and call themselves married. They don’t need the state or church to get involved. There is no criminalization of this act going on. What some people oppose is the state and/or church calling that relationship marriage. But still, there’s no criminalization going on.

          • Eric Masters

            Ok, maybe I misspoke, but let me get this right- There are two components to marriage, correct? The ceremonial side and the civil side. I got married two years ago and we had a beautiful ceremony, but first we had to go to the courthouse and apply for a marriage license. The ceremony is what was important to my wife and I, but it was the marriage license we needed to put her on my health insurance and file our taxes jointly.

            So you are saying that you are ok with homosexuals having the ceremony and even using the word marriage, but you draw the line at them being recognized by the government in a way that gives them the practical benefits of marriage? I’ll be honest- that makes no sense to me. If you are advocating for the removal of government from marriage that’s fine, but that’s completely different from continually blocking 5% of americans from enjoying the rights that I already have.

          • SamHamilton

            I understand all this. I think it was your use of the word criminalization that threw me off. No one is being prosecuted by our legal system.

          • Eric Masters

            Fair enough. Btw, I didn’t originally say criminalization- I said legality. That doesn’t mean something is criminal or illegal, but that it is not supported by law. Some may say it shouldn’t be, but without secular, social reasons as to why it shouldn’t be legal we have no leg to stand upon. Religious opposition shouldn’t dictate policy.

          • SamHamilton

            Apologies… I’m clearly confused. Right, legality.

    • Ryan Copeland

      Chris, you made a theological mistake in your very first statement. Christ paid for the sins of THE WHOLE WORLD, not just those who believe in him. and speaking of errors that give false hope – I would be more worried about the false hope millions of people have of going to heaven because the “said the sinners prayer”, yet their lives and actions never change. The error of once saved always saved that gives false hope. Those are worse than saying ‘Let the gays get married’. Israel was ‘called by God’ correct? yet Ezekiel (ch. 16) tells Israel that they will not be returned to their former estate until their sister Sodom (destroyed for its homosexual lusts and sinfulness) is returned to her former estate. So God’s chosen people are not going to be redeemed until Sodom is redeemed?? What does that tell us about Christ’s work on the cross? just something to make us think…

      • Chris

        Ryan, The error is in my wording, but clearly the Christ atonement is only APPLIED to those who believe. It is sufficient for the whole world, but clearly the whole world doesn’t believe. Your theological mistake is that you believe someone can lose their salvation. That is error. Either your were truly converted or you were not. If you do not bear fruit than you were never HIs disciple to begin with from the start. Good works are the proof you were truly converted, not the basis of keeping your salvation. Again, you were either truly converted and sealed with the Holy Spirit by God or your profession was a false one from the start.

        • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.olson.522 Daniel Olson

          But we all sin…. and we all bear fruit. So How does one person know where to draw the line between sin and too much sin, enough fruit and not enough fruit? This method for determining someones salvation, or lack of it, is not so obvious from the outside. We all sin willfully at one time or another… sometimes for a moment, sometimes a day, and sometimes for a season. Is God’s grace, His seal of the Spirit, enduring through these times of temptation and poor choices? I find that when I think NO it is because I am either the victim of someone’s sin or I am indirectly jealous because they seem to be getting away with something that I cant. “If I have to be good then everyone does. its only fair”. Praise God he doesn’t deal with me on that level.

          Rather It is recognizing my true identity: that I DO want to serve God in my Spirit. Recognizing my true identity in Christ is my only hope of victory, and recognizing my good standing with God, which is only possible because of the shed blood of Christ, enables me to have fellowship with Him.

  • Eric Masters

    I wasn’t surprised that some people on the right were talking about this already- but I was surprised at the mirth. Anytime you hear the words “Rob Bell” or “gay marriage” uttered in those circles there seems to be a lot of anger, but now that they can say both at the same time they seem elated. This confuses me. If they are correct that Rob Bell can now be labelled a lost cause- wouldn’t the proper response be one that is heavy-hearted instead of triumphant?

    I just pray that I’m never so antagonistic to somebody I disagree with that I would celebrate the apparent evidence of that person’s heresy.

    • Karla Marie Robinett

      Excellent point,Eric. It reminds me of the church father,I forget his name,who relished the thought of watching his “enemies” burn in hell.

  • D

    I’m a born again Christian and married mom in my 30s who’s coming to terms with conservativism being inadequate for fully expessing my full commitment to Christ. With that said, I’m not completely sure where I stand on the gay marriage issue. I see the cultural shift, referred to in this article, in a big way. I don’t have a close relationship with anyone who’s gay, at this time. My thoughts are: if I thought I was gay, I think I would look to the reasons why instead of assuming I was born that way. I do realize that people can turn out gay and be from a positive, healthy, committed family, but isn’t that unusual (tell me if I’m wrong). Also, I think committed Bible Christians are concerned about legalizing gay marriage because people assume if something’s legal it’s ethical (and the implications it would have on raising kids in a country with this line of thinking.) I don’t feel like the church has “kept up” on this issue.

    • Ford1968

      Most gay people don’t come from unhappy families (at least not any unhappier than the average crazy family:). I know plenty of straight people who come from really tough family situations. Family circumstance is not a cause of homosexuality.

      • Sara

        Hello D. You ask some really wonderful questions. I’m a gay Christian and I can try to answer a few of them. I agree with Ford1968 that gay people tend to come from the same mixture of happy and unhappy families that straight people come from. Nobody’s family is perfect, but my own is very loving and I had a happy childhood. I have no idea why I’m gay and I’m not sure that I can know that. Someone people point to environment, others to genetics, others to biological factors. I’m more interested in the question of how to live my life and follow Jesus and make sense of my experiences. It is my opinion that loving, consensual, committed relationships between two adults (in order words marriage) are not forbidden in the Bible just because the two people are of the same sex. I arrived at that conclusion through a lot reading, prayer, and research. But it is a difficult question, and lots of people arrive at a different answer than I do. If this is something you want to learn more about, Justin Lee’s book, “Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gay vs. Christian Debate” is really phenomenal and I can’t recommend it highly enough. And Lee lays out both sides in the debate about same sex relationships. Thanks so much for asking honest, open questions. God bless you.

  • Shems

    I think some might find it surprising how much support there is for gay marriage within evangelical congregants – mostly we have discussed it quietly with people whom we know won’t shout us down but either show grace to those who hold a different view or who also believe the same. My change of mind on this issue was no snap decision but changed over several years questioning, praying and with a high view of scripture and before I heard any evangelical leader espousing the same view. The views of Rob Bell and Steve Chalke, for example, are reflecting a view that many evangelicals now hold.

    • Frank

      Yes much like divorce is so easily accepted in Christian circles because people always default to sin, acceptance of homosexual behavior is following the same path. However God says differently. The church clearly is going in the wrong direction which is why the liberal progressive churches are dying the US.

      • tom

        Frank you are exactly on the wrong side of your own argument, the lib progressive churches are booming because people are loved rather than hated on like the old conservative church’s that are infact dying on the vines today. Sorry

        • 22044

          Tom,
          Your information flies in the face of all of the other reports I read about which churches thrive and which ones don’t. But if you have pages I can look at, I’d be happy to.

        • SamHamilton

          Where are you getting these statistics from Tom?

      • Shems

        That is your perspective, mine is that I do not believe homosexuality to be inherently sinful (any more than I believe heterosexuality to be inherently sinful) so I don’t believe I am ‘defaulting to sin’ but rather faithfully seeking to follow God in all things. As I understand it it would be sinful to oppose gay marriage.

        • Frank

          How do you scripturally arrive that homosexual behavior is not sinful? Where does God do anything but condemn it? What are your beliefs based on?

          • Tanya

            I recommend checking out Rachel Held Evans recent post about Mark Noll’s book about slavery. Christians in the 19th century found slavery endorsed all over the Bible. Those who were opposed had to appeal to more general themes about love and justice. This is like that. You’ve got what, 7 verses? I’ve got a lifetime of love for a brother who is a way better person than me.

          • Frank

            There is nothig in the bible that endorses slavery as we understand it. The people who “found”that suffered from eisegesis just like those trying to find support for homosexual behavior in the bilble.

        • drflyfisher

          Are you informed enough to distinguish between homosexuality and homosexual acts? Homosexual acts are sinful enough that God called them abominations and required the death penalty.

  • Drew

    I’m going to break my no-posting ban for a moment here. Yes, I still follow this website occasionally – mostly I am repulsed by what the movement has become (extremist liberalism gone wild), but a few authors and a few posts make me still read (Jenny Rae Armstrong is always a favorite read of mine).

    Rob Bell represents much of what is wrong with Christianity and especially liberal Christianity. He abandoned his flock to hang out in California and make television shows and write more controversial books and sew more discord in the Church. He adopts the latest liberal theology on no other grounds than it makes him feel good rather than discussing the actual theological reason for his beliefs.

    As for reading the Bible differently, it usually comes down to sin and the nature of man. Romans 1 speaks beautifully on this topic as well as other passages of the Bible. If given a chance, man will always want to follow his own desires rather than Christ. (Yes, there can be honest differences in Biblical interpretation among God-fearing believers, but a fair amount of the time it comes down to those following their carnal desires and those following Christ). Folks desperately want a belief system where everything they already believe or do is confirmed in the Bible rather than have their lives radically changed upon accepting Christ. They want Christ to follow them, not the other way around.

    Bell says it best – “I think the church needs – I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.” – Rob Bell In other words, we need to transform God’s Word to where people are at, not to let God’s Word radically transform their lives to where Christ is at.

    • Frank

      Drew I know we have clashed in the past but please come back. People need your voice!

      • Drew

        Online discussions with people hardened in their beliefs is probably the least productive ministry out there. I’m finding more return on investment in other ministries I’m involved in. However, to each their own.

        • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

          I read a study once that claimed (regardless of how we justify it to ourselves) we don’t argue to sway others to our side, but rather to assert dominance. I don’t know if it’s always true, but it seems true fairly often, and in those cases… well, discretion is the better part of valor.

    • SamHamilton

      Thanks Drew. I had a similar thought when I read Bell’s quote. It seems like an awful maxim for a Christian use when deciding what position to take on any issue. But some people seem to gobble up all the Bell they can get. I’ve seen him speak a few times on TV and I’m underwhelmed. It doesn’t seem like he wrestles with the parts of the Bible and Jesus’ red letters that don’t support whatever message he’s pushing.

      • Drew

        The Bible says that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. While good-intentioned, a lot of folks think that if they change the message of the cross, that it will not longer be foolishness and thus no one will perish. However, we are not called to change the message, but rather to preach the message and be faithful to the message until the end. I don’t think Rob Bell is maliciously changing the message but nonetheless is changing the message, and not based on solid exegesis either but rather based on what he deems will make the message more popular.

    • Dean Chang

      If the sin nature of man prevents you from reading the Bible correctly, how can you be so sure that your own reading on same sex marriage is correct?

      • Drew

        Nowhere did I state my view on same sex marriage. However, I can clarify that while the sin nature of man “can” prevent us from reading the Bible correctly, it does not “bar” us from reading the Bible correctly.

        • Nate

          So then, you claim to have the tools to subvert your own sin nature and read the Bible correctly. How can you be sure?

      • Frank

        Now that’s a great question: I think we can ask ourselves the following questions:
        (not exhaustive)

        Is this view consistent in scripture?

        Does it contradict anything in scripture?

        How did scholars over millenia interpret the text?

        Is the new interpretation driven by culture or the church?

        Does it contradict what we see in creation?

        I think as we ask ourselves these questions with the HS’s guidance we can be confident that the bible calls homosexual behavior sinful.

        • Annonymous

          I wish you could ask yourself these 5 questions in relation to SLAVERY (and imagine you are a still a Southern Baptist in the 1850s).

          Is this view consistent in scripture?
          Does it contradict anything in scripture?
          How did scholars over millenia interpret the text?
          Is the new interpretation driven by culture or the church?
          Does it contradict what we see in creation?

          • LuxRex

            That’s a good example on how what is culturally acceptable at one time and place–can, actually be entirely contrary to God’s Word—as the Christian abolitionists from the 1700s forward saw with clarity, and finally brought an end to slavery in the Western world. I would suggest the the cultural winds constantly whispering sodomy and relationships based on it, is good and lovely in God’s sight–are the same ones who told Southern Christians (very few of whom then were actually Southern Baptist) that slavery was just fine in 1850. Both are clearly condemned in God’s Word. Those who love God, obey Him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.olson.522 Daniel Olson

      We need to affirm people’s God given value, where ever they are. When I can love someone despite their sin and failures (because I am well aware of my own, and my need for love in spite of them), I have overcome. It is not my place to instruct or correct those with whom I have no established accountability. I must speak of my own weaknesses and how Christ has strengthened me.. if that so be the case. To win hearts for Christ, criticism is a poor motivator.

      It is only for those who have willfully submitted to my leadership that I need to exhort and rebuke. For if I take on that role, I know I will be held accountable for my words and instruction. This should bring about a great sense of meekness and humility. Unfortunately… this is rarely demonstrated on discussion boards.

      • Drew

        Your response is sound but not entirely based in the Bible. We affirm creation, but we do not affirm the actions of creation if it contradicts the Bible. Jesus is the model for this – he would be in relationship with anyone, anytime, anywhere, but never once did he affirm sin, and called for repentance. Obviously, we are not Jesus, so we are not to be self-righteous enough to only tell others to repents while we ignore our own sins (you are correct on this point). However, that does not mean that we are “barred” from preaching the Gospel and talking about sin and repentance.

        • http://www.facebook.com/melle.eldridge Melle Eldridge

          yes. but as evangelist we’re to preach the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel of Christ…. that’s the part where it says Hey… You[ve screwed up but Jesus loves you.

          Then the TEACHERS come in and TEACH….

          The five fold ministry should allow and ENCOURAGE those bringing the sheep in to do so by LOVING them right exactly where they’re at…. regardless of where that is….

          • Drew

            I’m not a fan of the sinner’s prayer, but you must think it is particularly egregious that an Evangelist also ask folks to repent of their sins as well as ask Jesus into their lives. Billy Graham was not an Evangelist by your definition.

        • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.olson.522 Daniel Olson

          I agree we aren’t barred from preaching the Gospel. But what is the Gospel we preach? Sin and repentance are such a small part of the Gospel. The GOOD NEWS is that Christ paid the debt for us all!!!!

          • Drew

            You are correct – extremist liberalism often ignores sin and repentance. However, Jesus does not ignore it.

          • Tim

            What Bible are you reading? The Bible is filled with stories of sinners in need of repentance and forgiveness….the new testament is filled with instructions on how we are to live and filled with warnings to protect us from sins consequences. Christ paid the debt alright, but only those who except it and follow Him receive that gift…the rest who turn their back on God and Jesus and the Bible, don’t. It’s a sad but real truth. God is not all hugs and kisses and love, He will judge the sin of the world because he is holy and just. But because He is holy and just, he will forgive if we ask for it and truly seek to follow Him. Everything else you hear and see is just the schemes of Satan, father of lies, leading the world astray…altering the mind to think differently than God intended…why, because we all have free will to make our own choices. I hope this helps anyone who reads this. :-) Blessings! P.S. if it’s not written in Scriptures, PLEASE DON’T BELIEVE IT.

  • T King

    The title of this article is a shame. Rob has done more in challenging people’s thought processes within the Christian world than this author will ever do.

    • Matt D

      You clearly didn’t read this article. The author is an avid supporter of Rob Bell and is challenging the folks who are wanting to claim “RIP, Rob Bell”

  • jeffm73

    It’s a sad day to me when “evangelicals” like Bell and McLaren, whom many look up to, are deceived, and deceive others into believing the lie that gay “marriage” is somehow OK and should be celebrated by the church. The church is to be different from the world! Look at the reasons for the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah! God clearly made man and woman, unique but complimentary. Gays cannot procreate. That alone should be enough to say how unnatural these unions are! The point above about two individuals reading the same Bible and getting to different interpretations is one that baffles me, too.

    • bethdeesb

      I can’t sit here and say that I know every interpretation of scripture. There are so many scriptures that I have no clue what God is trying to tell me and even with all my questions, He does not always give me the answers. That being said, I will never judge others for their interpretation of scripture.

      I don’t always agree with everything Rob Bell or Brian McLaren say, nor do I always disagree with what they say. I read their writings, I pray and I continue my journey of knowing God. I think it’s really important what they have to say, as I think it is important what anyone has to say. However, I just wish we said things more out of love than out of judging. Not just loving when we agree with them, but an unconditional love……a love that shows others the same grace that God gives to us all.God’s greatest commandment was to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and to love each other. Now that’s a scripture we all can understand!!!

      • Ford1968

        Beautifully said, Beth. Thanks for sharing your thought.

      • thisisstupid

        Agree. Thank you.

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      The reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were pride, arrogance, failure to care for the widowed and the orphan. Check Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel. All of them name these reasons. None of them, nor the writer of Genesis, names homosexuality.

      • jeffm73

        I suggest you look at Jude 1:7–it doesn’t get much clearer. The 2 cities were destroyed for “sexual immorality and perversion”. How you cannot think homosexuality is part of that is beyond me!

        • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

          How about because “sexual immorality” can mean any immorality that is sexual (e.g. adultery, necrophilia, rape)? The only way to claim that Jude is talking about homosexuality is if you assume the connection by virtue of it being Sodom and Gomorrah – which defeats the purpose of using it to prove that homosexuality was the sin of Sodom. That’s circular logic. Instead of reading the word “homosexuality” into the text because you want it to be there, try reading what is actually there.

          How you can think it’s okay to add to the Biblical witness and then claim to remain rooted in Scripture is beyond me!

    • thisisstupid

      Also sad when “evangelicals” deceive others into believing that people who divorce for reasons other then marital unfaithfullness and get remarried is also okay? Churches most weekends celebrate this by letting them use their facilities to get remarried. What were the reasons for Sodom and Gomorrahs destruction? You mean because they of their “pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy?”

      • Frank

        Divorce is a sin outside of the concessions of Moses that Jesus affirmed. Divorce can also be forgiven. So if someone receives forgiveness for their divorce they can move forward and therefore if they get remarried its not adultery. Unless they divorce again which starts the process over. Same thing with homosexual behavior. Forgiveness is possible until they engage in it again and then the process starts over.

        • Thisisstupid

          Not sure what your point is. I understand that both sins can be forgiven.

          • Frank

            My point is that even if someone divorced for the wrong reasons they can receive forgiveness and that sin is wiped out unless they divorce again. So a church allowing a divorced person who has received forgiveness to use their facilities to get remarried is not an issue but a gay couple who wants to get married obviously has not repented of their sin.

        • honest seeker

          Sounds like an awfully vicious process/cycle: sin, confess, ask for forgiveness, receive forgiveness, sin, confess, ask for forgiveness…….

          Does that mean we have to be constantly worried about our salvation? I had an aunt that was in constant fear that if she thought something bad and got hit by a car before she could ask for forgiveness she would go to hell. Is that where God’s love and adoption of us leads if we fail? If that’s the case then we are in trouble. It’s easy to pick on the “big sins” like homosexuality, fornication, murder, stealing, etc. but what about lying, being unloving, gossip, etc that I see so much of from people in church? Haven’t we already been forgiven once? Didn’t God know from the beginning we would constantly fail Him over and over?

          • Frank

            Faith is determined by a lifetime of choices.

        • Questioning

          Interesting Frank…. usually adultery is defined as a sex “act” outside of marriage. Or as Jesus described it, even the thought of a sex act outside of marriage. But you are saying that all we have to do is ask for forgiveness, remarry and everything is hunky dory. As if, it is the remarrying that is the sin, not the intimacy that follows. Seems to me that by Jesus’ definition, each and every time that couple is intimate they commit adultery, since “that” or even the thought of “that” is the problem, not the marriage ceremony. Where in your Bible is your interpretation explained exactly? Or is it just just me…. I can see it does blow up your whole theory of forgiveness, sin, and starting over, for homosexual and heterosexual alike.

      • bethdeesb

        If we didn’t allow sinners in the church, there wouldn’t be anyone there because we are all sinners!!! You know people can judge and condemn all day long but what does it prove? Do we kick people out of the church because we don’t think they have repented? What right do we have to decide what each person’s relationship is with God?

        What does God say is the main purpose we are here on this earth? It’s definitely not to judge, or to condemn, or to tell anyone how to live their lives. We spend our whole lives trying to blame others, or our past for the choices we make today. We either live our lives trying to make ourselves happy because of our selfishness, or we spend time trying to fix ourselves and others because we don’t like what we see in the mirror or in our homes, or on the street.

        The battle has been fought on the cross and the war has been won, paid for by the blood of Jesus. Why do we continue the fight? Why do we continue to hurt others by our actions and our words? Why do we believe our sins are not as bad as others? We were put on the earth to glorify God and to bring others to Him. We can’t do that in hate or in judgement. We can only do it through love. Love for God, ourselves and others.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1629060174 Mark Schnitzer

      “the church should be different from the world”
      Then why is the divorce rate fairly equal to the world?
      Why is addiction to pornography rampant, as it is in the world?
      Or child abuse, subjugation of women…
      or gossip. obesity, jealousy overrunning churches?
      Why are we known as critical, judgmental, angry and hateful. Sounds like the world to me.
      Why is materialism/consumerism/individualism touted as blessings from God?
      and finally…why is unconditional love and grace, forgiveness and mercy missing from most of our churches today?
      I have been in the church for over 30 years and in 4 different denominations. We are NOT at all different from the world. In fact sometimes we are worse.
      I think that we need to get our own house in order before we attack a group of people that only want the same rights every other American has.

      • Chris

        Mark, It’s because most of the visible church never truly repented of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ. They just joined the club. Others do not even study or read they Bibles and are more concerned with the experience of church through music , drama and programs.

      • Frank

        Getting our house in order does not mean accepting, condoning, affirming or remaining silent over sinful behavior whether its lying, stealing or any number is sexual sins among them homosexual behavior.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

          Test 12345

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1629060174 Mark Schnitzer

          Perhaps then we should not condone lack of control when a pastor weighs 300 lbs?
          Perhaps then we should not condone Mr/Ms so and so gossiping and calling it prayer?
          Perhaps then we should not condone the “whats in it for me” mindset when it comes to church?
          Perhaps then we should not condone hating people in the LGBT (and calling it speaking “the truth in love”)
          Perhaps then we shouldn’t condone materialism as “blessings from God”

          But we won’t and don’t and never will because it is easier condemn those outside of the church.

          • Frank

            Sounds good!

  • Benjamin

    I think that I don’t hate Rob Bell, (this isn’t about hate, even though it is often framed that way.) I do disregard his theological opinions because I think, and have thought for a long time before Love Wins, that he is primarily interested in appeal over truth.

    I have sensed, for quite a long time, that the “progressive” interpretation of Scripture is primarily interested in appealing to large crowds. (Though doing so seems to imply a desire to convert people to SAY they are “Christians,” more than a desire to convert people to follow Christ.)

    “Progressive” is a strange word to use to describe any honest interpretation of a document that has been around for over 1500 years.

    • Jonathan Starkey

      This argument always seems arrogant to me. Do you think Rob Bell and others are so insecure and self conscious, that they are just trying to be liked, that he and others change the message just to have a large group of friends.

      I don’t buy it.

      It’s not appeal over truth, it’s “let’s do some heavy lifting” and “careful reading,” around scripture that has been taken out of context and used to divide. Scriptures that distort the image of God.

      I think it’s progressive because someone is saying, “hey stop,” these traditional readings of scripture aren’t so traditional. or Let’s look again. Rather than wanting to remain in error.

      • Frank

        What error?

        • Jonathan Starkey

          Exactly.

          • Frank

            I am confused you wrote:

            “I think it’s progressive because someone is saying, “hey stop,” these traditional readings of scripture aren’t so traditional. or Let’s look again. Rather than wanting to remain in error.”

            So what error? what does “exactly” mean?

          • Jonathan Starkey

            Frank, You like to argue. You’re already in like 3 debates. Even if I showed you something you would not listen. So I’m going to pass. Thanks, Jonathan

          • Frank

            Ok but your statement rings hollow unless you explain it.

          • Jonathan Starkey

            Oh, Frank you say that to everyone. I don’t care about your opinion.

          • Frank

            That’s fine you don’t have to. But you should care what God says in His word and if you think it says something different, show us, if you can.

          • Jonathan Starkey

            Frank your kind of an a-hole.

          • Frank

            SO in other words you can’t support your position. Got it!

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003507967305 Neal Lindberg

            In the “F-word” article post, you called someone “foolish” when he asked for an explanation. You admitted to having little patience (love is so truthful, and it’s patient too!), on top of coming up with the cop-out excuse that you’re on a mobile device. Doesn’t like the taste of your own medicine? Once again, don’t go off-tangent and pull a cop-out again saying, “Neal, believe what you want about me.” You want grace extended to you, extend grace to others.

      • Benjamin

        Yes, I think he may, (though I shouldn’t pretend I can read his mind,) but I think it is highly likely, particularly given the wording he uses, that he “just” wants to be liked. This has a massive effect on career possibilities, particularly in Hollywood. There is an increasing pressure to do what is done in Europe, arrest preachers who say “offensive” things.
        There is certainly a possibility that I’m just projecting, but I find his wording very suspicious. I think it likely, that perhaps on at least some level, he has nearly convinced himself that it is true so as to benefit himself. Persecution, or even the potential of future persecution, may cause the more selfish part of us to come up with excuses. Suddenly it is “hateful” to be opposed to homosexual behavior? How convenient! So an attempt to pit the conscience against itself in favor of a good relationship with society? Perhaps. I do not think my claim is that hard to understand. It may not be the case with every “progressive”, but I think it is often the underlying reason for this differing interpretation.

        • Jonathan Starkey

          Yes, but he is being persecuted and ostracized by the dominant religious culture. His asuppossed family. If you didn’t want to be persecuted you would say nothing at all.

          It’s easier to go against culture. Hate your enemy.

          Maybe one could say, that you like to be in the Christian Ghetto/ Bubble and you’re afraid to question because you’re afraid of loosing your friends.
          —-

    • Eric Masters

      My faith isn’t in a document, but in God made flesh.

      • Benjamin

        Good, your faith should be in Christ. I never countered that.

      • Frank

        Great! How did you hear about Jesus? Where did you get your information about Jesus?

  • thisisstupid

    Trust me, I get it. Homosexuality is a sin and homosexuals should not be allowed to marry. I get it. I really do. Most people on here love to tell us that it’s wrong and should not be allowed. This topic has been discussed here in the comments many times. I am ready for something new and something we can all agree on. Like how war should not be allowed and how everyone here is totally against it because murder is a sin. Or how divorcees are sinners and should not be allowed to remarry. We all agree on this. Or how we all agree that pride, fullness of food, and how the christians who don’t strengthen the hand of the poor and needy are sinning (Ezekiel 16.) Maybe we need to speak against the war and capital punishment and our parents who have gotten a divorce for reasons other then marital unfaithfullness. We all know that if any of these was a topic here no one would argue. We would all agree that our family members who killed in wartime or our divorced parents were sinners and in need of repentance and the ones who killed in a war should go to jail and how there should be laws keeping our parents from remarrying again. Well actually people on here wouldn’t agree with what I have just said cause that hits a little too close to home. Okay, lets get back to picking on the homosexuals again instead.

    • thisisstupid

      Here is what my point is. It seems as though everytime we are on this subject a lot of people come off as being haughty. Then they say that they are just speaking the “truth.” I get it once again. Speak you “truth” then every chance you can and on every topic like you do here about homosexuality. Go tell everyone with 2 coats to give one of them away. Speak out about capitol punishment, divorce, pride, gluttony, hoarding of ones money, the true lack of faith that most everyone has in God. Get rid of your 401k’s because you have faith God will provide for you. Etc. Some people’s “truth” that they are just speaking is sometimes doing too good of a job casting a shadow on the love they are supposed to have and coming off being very negative towards others. It seems like a lot of times peoples posts are not coming from a place of love at all. I am very close to someone whose “love” and “truth” comes off as being very self righteous. Lets all of us try and stay away from this. Let us try and fully love one and another and maybe some peoples posts will come off not so unkind. Thank you.

    • wayne

      Is exceeding the posted speed limit a sin? If so, should the Christians determine our speeding laws???

  • http://www.facebook.com/Coopergirl101 Tracy Cooper

    Homosexual acts are against God’s law and Paul speaks against it also in the new testament, however if Jesus came down today and judged us all by the law, is any Christian arrogant enough to suggest that they would be justified by the law. We are all saved by our faith in Christ Jesus. We are not saved because we are the perfect model of following God’s laws. It sounds like many in the Church do not really believe in grace, and may actually think that they are doing God a favour by being a Christian, given how righteous they are. I suggest we all take a good look at ourselves, and say ‘have mercy on me, a sinner’.

    • Kevin

      Amen!

  • Guest

    What a comment thread. So many ad hominem attacks! It’s interesting that so many of the objections to Christians affirming gay marriage seem to come from 1) a stated concern for the salvation of people (who?) and 2) a concern for truth.

    For the first concern, whose salvation is in question? I hope that no one would argue that merely believing the wrong thing about a particular issue would threaten salvation. Otherwise, we are all screwed! No one gets everything exactly right. And even if the concern is for those who practice something that you see as wrong or forbidden, how is arguing about it going to help? If you really care about the LGBT community, I would think listening and learning would be much more loving. What are their needs, concerns, questions?

    Which leads me to the second concern. I think all of America has gotten the message loud and clear that Christians don’t think homosexuality is okay. It’s one of the first things that comes to most people’s minds when they think of Christianity.

    And these two concerns completely miss the point. Christians have a vested interest in religious freedom. We would be very oppressed if the government did not allow us to follow our convictions. Imagine living under a government like that!

    Therefore, we owe it to people who have different beliefs than us to allow them the freedom to follow their convictions. It’s a matter of treating others how we would want to be treated. The only qualification is that it does not harm another person against their will. The freedom for two consenting adults to get married is a basic, obvious example of allowing that freedom.

    How would you feel if homosexuals were the majority and banned heterosexual marriage because it was against their beliefs?

    • sharon bowler

      Thank you for this comment Guest. I’m sure one of the reasons we see more and more lovers and followers of Jesus saying they reject the word “Christian” is that it’s become known in the context of the LGBTQ conversation.

      “Oh Christians, yea, they are the ones who hate gay people.”

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we had proclaimed our faith in a manner that people would say, “Oh Christians? Sure, we know them my their love. Even though they don’t always agree, they really love God and others.”

      • Christiana Vandermale

        Thank you for your thoughts! I’m so encouraged to hear your vision for what we could be.

      • Tim

        I am a strong Christian and I don’t hate Gay people :-/ I have friends who are gay. Their relationship with God is theirs, not mine. They are no lower than anyone else. God loves them just as much as me. By the way…”Christian” is used very loosely in today’s society. I define it as this: A personal relationship with Christ…a follower of Christ and His biblical teachings. A person who has accepted the personal gift of Christ’s death and resurrection for the sanctification of sins and eternal life with HIM. I won’t reject the true identification of Christian just because there are other who think of themselves as holier than everyone else. The haters CANNOT be true followers of Christ….they just can’t be!

        • Sharon Jennings Bowler

          Tim, I hope you know that a year ago when I wrote that I wasn’t talking about you. :)

          I am saying that Christians, as a group, have the reputation of hating gay people. This is partly owned and partly not.

          Jesus said we would be known by our love. We have a ways to go to make that true.
          Peace.

    • Another Guest

      Guest, for me as a Christian, there are two different dealings with Gay marriage. One is a state sanctioned marriage that the government legally recognizes. That is a political decision and a government sanctioned marriage. The other issue at stake is whether my religious freedom will be ignored by forcing me to perform a marriage between same sex partners in my church.

      • Christiana Vandermale

        Hi Another Guest. I’m the original Guest, for some reason it didn’t post my name when I first posted. Thanks for your comment.

        For your first concern, the concept of a government “sanctioning” or “not sanctioning” seems to be mostly philosophical. Even so, the word sanction comes from the root “sancire”- the same root as sanctify, to make holy. I argue that the government does not have the power to make something holy (set apart). Rather, God makes things holy, and He calls us to make things holy (1 Pet 3:15). If the premise that homosexual marriage is not right is true, then God does not sanctify it, and no one else is being forced to sanctify it. There are many things that are legal, but not holy (adultery, alcoholism, etc). This is because the government is not here to sanctify or not sanctify, but to protect people from harming each other against each other’s will.

        For the second concern, I agree with you, and I think your argument is supported by the concepts of freedom of speech and religion. However, I think that those freedoms are being upheld. I would point to Westboro Baptist Church as an example of the extent of religious freedom that we currently have. The government does not even step in and try to stop extreme hate speech and actions like that, so I think that we are fairly well protected from the government stepping in and taking away that freedom. If we someday have to face the fight for freedom of speech and religion, let’s do it together- pro-homosexual marriage and anti-, and let’s all have freedom.

        There is enough freedom to go around- those who don’t believe in homosexual marriage and those who do can both have the freedom to practice their beliefs.

      • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

        >>The other issue at stake is whether my religious freedom will be ignored by forcing me to perform a marriage between same sex partners in my church.

        So far as I know, no one is suggesting that you would have to do so.

        As I understand it, the issue is a simple issue of being an American:

        Does one mean it when one pledges “with liberty and justice for all” or is one merely paying lip service to that American ideal?

        IOW, should gays have the same rights to marriage and all of the connected incidents thereof that heterosexuals have?

      • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

        >>The other issue at stake is whether my religious freedom will be ignored by forcing me to perform a marriage between same sex partners in my church.

        So far as I know, no one is suggesting that you would have to do so.

        As I understand it, the issue is a simple issue of being an American:

        Does one mean it when one pledges “with liberty and justice for all” or is one merely paying lip service to that American ideal?

        IOW, should gays have the same rights to marriage and all of the connected incidents thereof that heterosexuals have?

      • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

        >>The other issue at stake is whether my religious freedom will be ignored by forcing me to perform a marriage between same sex partners in my church.

        So far as I know, no one is suggesting that you would have to do so.

        As I understand it, the issue is a simple issue of being an American:

        Does one mean it when one pledges “with liberty and justice for all” or is one merely paying lip service to that American ideal?

        IOW, should gays have the same rights to marriage and all of the connected incidents thereof that heterosexuals have?

        • Tom

          In Australia there’s been huge press over that idea. The loudest of LGBT advocates have been known to advocate that oppression includes religious denominations refusing to wed people of specific sexual orientation.

          Wholly, marriage shouldn’t be largely affiliated with State. It’s a religious exercise and should be treated as such, even from a legal point of view.

          • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

            >>Wholly, marriage shouldn’t be largely affiliated with State. It’s a religious exercise

            In modern western culture, perhaps. And from a legal point of view in the US, religious doctrine cannot and should not form the basis or play a role in our legal system

          • Brandy Taylor

            So, unless one is religious, one shouldn’t wed? Surely you see the flaws in that logic. No one is attempting to stop atheists from marrying – nor would they be successful in doing so. There is a difference between being legally married and having the religion of your choice bless your union. Civil marriage comes with rights and privileges that religious marriage alone doesn’t offer.

          • Erik

            I don’t see the flaw in that. If there is no conviction leading one to wed, or any commitment beyond the ceremony, then marriage is useless. If you are not doing it to be joined before god: If you don’t believe that it is sanctified by god, then you are doing it out of spite.

            I think that atheist marriage, the same as same sex marriage, is an affront to the religious tradition of marriage: as it is forced upon those who go through the rites and rituals for political and financial gain without any religious reason.

            The roots of marriage are in the bible, the root of the marriage argument here is about insurance and taxes. As a follower of God, do you have no ability to discern between the laws of God and the laws of man? I personally am not insulted by same sex “marriage”, or atheist “marriage.”

            But knowing the difference between the laws of man and the laws of God, I have to say that standing before God and making a promise, and standing before a lawyer and making a promise are two wholly distinct things.

            The biggest difference between them is that one is done to please god, and the other is done either for financial gain (due to an unconstitutional tax system and an illegal insurance infrastructure), or to spite those who are wed for the purpose or irrevocably joining their lives in God’s eyes.

            Abolish government sponsored marriage entirely. If you want to be married, you don’t need a license, you need a pastor.

      • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

        >>The other issue at stake is whether my religious freedom will be ignored by forcing me to perform a marriage between same sex partners in my church.

        So far as I know, no one is suggesting that you would have to do so.

        As I understand it, the issue is a simple issue of being an American:

        Does one mean it when one pledges “with liberty and justice for all” or is one merely paying lip service to that American ideal?

        IOW, should gays have the same rights to marriage and all of the connected incidents thereof that heterosexuals have?

      • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

        >>The other issue at stake is whether my religious freedom will be ignored by forcing me to perform a marriage between same sex partners in my church.

        So far as I know, no one is suggesting that you would have to do so.

        As I understand it, the issue is a simple issue of being an American:

        Does one mean it when one pledges “with liberty and justice for all” or is one merely paying lip service to that American ideal?

        IOW, should gays have the same rights to marriage and all of the connected incidents thereof that heterosexuals have?

      • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

        >>The other issue at stake is whether my religious freedom will be ignored by forcing me to perform a marriage between same sex partners in my church.

        So far as I know, no one is suggesting that you would have to do so.

        As I understand it, the issue is a simple issue of being an American:

        Does one mean it when one pledges “with liberty and justice for all” or is one merely paying lip service to that American ideal?

        IOW, should gays have the same rights to marriage and all of the connected incidents thereof that heterosexuals have?

      • Sarah

        Why on earth do you think that a gay couple would want to be married by someone who hates them, or even just “loves the sinner but hates the sin”? I would never in a million years have wanted to marry my wife in a church that was anything less than fully affirming and supportive. So I *really* don’t think you need to worry about this. The odds that you’ll ever be forced to marry a gay couple in your church seem extremely slim to me.

        • guest

          Why do those odds seem slim to you? Haven’t you seen the recent trend of privately owned companies being sued for not providing flowers or cakes for weddings? The trend actually is moving toward more pressure for churches that don’t agree with same-sex marriage to preform wedding ceremonies. They may not be forced to but I think there’s a good chance that at some point a church will lose its tax-exempt status if they refuse to do a same-sex wedding.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      “How would you feel if homosexuals were the majority and banned heterosexual marriage because it was against their beliefs? ”

      That’s the obvious end point of this battle.

  • Christiana Vandermale

    What a comment thread. So many ad hominem attacks! It’s interesting that so many of the objections to Christians affirming gay marriage seem to come from:

    1) a stated concern for the salvation of people (who? How is arguing going to help?) and
    2) a concern for truth. (I think all of America has gotten the message loud and clear that Christians don’t think homosexuality is okay. It’s one of the first things that comes to most people’s minds when they think of Christianity.)

    And these two concerns completely miss the point. Christians have a vested interest in religious freedom. We would be very oppressed if the government did not allow us to follow our convictions. Imagine living under a government like that!

    Therefore, we owe it to people who have different beliefs than us to allow them the freedom to follow their convictions. It’s a matter of treating others how we would want to be treated. The only qualification is that it does not harm another person against their will. The freedom for two consenting adults to get married is a basic, obvious example of allowing that freedom.

    How would you feel if homosexuals were the majority and banned heterosexual marriage because it was against their beliefs?

  • http://www.facebook.com/timeogle Tim Ogle

    I find it difficult to believe that “Love Wins” and this newly voiced support is not a publicity stunt. It is so in line with his, “Hey guys, I’m just asking questions here,” approach.

    • 22044

      He just released a new book this week.

  • IAmHuman

    All Rob is saying is that we shouldn’t hate on people. He’s not saying he thinks it’s right, or wrong, he’s just saying people are going to do it, so he can’t stop them. All we can do is love on them and show them Jesus. They may work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. My lies are no less then their homosexuality.

    Also, who are we to say someone’s salvation is in danger? Are we God? Can we judge? Christ never judged, with the exception of those who judged; he just loved.

  • Mike

    Why does fidelity matter? Is it becasue of the golden rule? What if neither partner wants fidelity? Do we force fidelity on people who don’t want it beause God said one man, one woman?
    Maybe the bible is wrong. Maybe it is outdated. By why then is it right about fidelity?
    There are ways to pick and choose what the bibles says. People can and do appeal to institutional churches, religous traditions, latter day revelation, cultural norms, and human reason to set aside certain things in the bible. I don’t judge that because I think we all do it whether we realize it or not.
    But what is the basis for saying that the genders in one man, one woman are irrelevant but the number of people, two, is sacred?
    If our culture changes to accept gay marriage, most Christian churches will eventually follow. That’s just what happens. But those churches that rush ahead and embrace gay marriage will open their doors to any lifestyle that their congrugents desire, and they will collapse like all of the churches who rushed too headlong down the path of progressivism before them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RyanNix Ryan Nix

    Congrats to Rob Bell on actually becoming a Christian on the issue of LGBT issues.

    • Frank

      There is no Christian love in accepting, affirming, condoning, supporting or remaining silent about sinful behavior.

      • Questioning

        Nor is there any Christian love in any of your comments Frank. I took your advice and I am not remaining silent.

      • Benjamin

        Frank, one fellow seemed unwilling to argue with you, so he basically called you an a-hole, and now they accuse you of not loving. Know when to leave an argument. We haven’t the time to sit and argue with those just wanting to close their eyes and call names. You can’t argue against men who seem so caught up in a “What is truth?” mentality. Let us pray for these people and leave. I see little good we can accomplish here now. let them call names, let them make accusations. Pray for them. What more can be done?

  • Steve

    Bell is dead to evangelicalism, which is itself dead and irrelevant.

  • SLA

    My freedom came/comes from the cross. My Christian walk is to simply LOVE.~ with a love that is blind and deaf to anything but love… to face injustice with a fearless hope that Love will some day come from it… This is not to say that I would not stand in front of the evils in this world because I would, I have and would again when ever those without my God given strenght need me to block the bullet ~ in what ever form it comes in… We inmy understanding, asa people faith, (NOT RELIGON) need to stand together under one God and Celebrate this Easter Season like never before … Love, In Christ, a follower

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650119982 Brant Huddleston

    Acts 10 includes an interesting story where the Apostle Peter is told by God to eat things the scriptures specifically forbid. When Peter refuses, in obedience to the scriptures, God says this: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

    God the contrarian. God the rule breaker. God who will not be named. God the box buster. God who is bigger than the Bible, and bigger than what the Bible forbids. Just when you think you’ve got him/her all figured out, she breaks free of your ideas and goes in a very different direction.

    And what if a sheet were to descend from heaven today? To whom would it appear, and what “unclean” thing would it hold? I don’t know for sure, but I suspect it would make every gay and lesbian person in the world rejoice, for we are not to call unclean anything that God has made clean.

  • Dave Pritchard

    People, haven’t we got better things to do? I’m so glad that I don’t worry about this kind of stuff anymore! I can’t wait to get up in the morning and just serve God!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pastorjoe1 Joseph Paul Grasser

    Go Rob Bell I’m with you

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.mcgregor.39566 Tim McGregor

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find some of these ‘preachers’ not only come out for gay marriage but eventually ‘come out’. Anything goes in a world without sin.

  • http://twitter.com/namastechi A Man Named Mike

    In 2003, a prominent Christian minister came out as a Christian
    Universalist when he began preaching his “Gospel of Inclusion.” Bishop
    Carlton Pearson was treated like hell for denying hell as a place of
    eternal torment all non-Christians are destined for in the afterlife.
    Across the internet and in letters to the editors of evangelical
    Christian magazines, hate-speech was leveled at him as he was accused of
    denying Christ and turning his back on God.

    In 2011, another prominent Christian minister wrote a book called “Love
    Wins.” Rob Bell didn’t go so far as to institute Christian Universalism
    into his religious teaching, but he was accused of it anyway. Across the
    internet, hate-speech was leveled at him, too. He was accused of being a
    heretic at best, and destined for hell at worst.

    Even Billy Graham has been mistreated in the same way, having appeared
    on Larry King Live in his latter years. He was asked if adherents of
    other world religions are going to hell, and he graciously referred to
    the sovereignty of God when he said God knows the hearts of all people
    and how they would respond to the Gospel if they heard it and understood
    it. Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen made a similar remark during
    an interview with King’s successor, Piers Morgan.

    Other prominent evangelicals have also become more open and inclusive;
    leaders such as Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo. A conversation is taking
    place across the evangelical community as our theological model is
    being reshaped. People are asking big questions, and rethinking the
    unsatisfying “answers” we were given during the indoctrination process
    in our churches.

    Most of these evangelical leaders haven’t gone as far as Carlton
    Pearson, in terms of ideas and doctrines, but here’s the thing: They are
    reaching for a deeper connection with and understanding of God’s
    amazing grace – God’s covenant love in motion. An unconditional,
    limitless, endless and perfect love beyond even the best of human love.
    There is no reason to treat them like hell for it.

    We are all tasked with managing the relationship between heart and mind.
    As we grapple with figuring that out, many have also wrestled with the
    extremes. One one side, there is an exclusive approach to theological
    orthodoxy (mainstream religious thought), while on the other side, you
    have pluralism. Many of us have struggled, or are now struggling, to
    figure out how to be open and inclusive without going outside orthodox
    theology. The good news is Christian history has not limited our options
    to these two; there is an inclusive approach to Christian orthodoxy.

    The problem evangelicals are having is they have been taught to limit
    all of orthodoxy to evangelicalism, as they have been taught it. So,
    anything that seems way out there is misunderstood as automatically
    unorthodox. Then, they react and level hate-speech at their brothers and
    sisters: with the world watching.

    This is not only unnecessary – it’s sin. We’re talking about people
    whose hearts are in the right place as they sincerely reach for a
    greater measure of God’s grace, and they’re being treated like hell for
    it. I understand that our friends who mistreat their fellow-Christians
    are sold on the rigid, constricting and exclusive ideas they’ve been
    taught, but there is an even greater problem. They’ve confused theology
    with mere ideology. Theology is not something one only thinks, as though
    it is born of the intellect; it’s a lifestyle you live from the depths
    of your being. It is the outgrowth of your connection with and
    understanding of God’s amazing love for you. It’s all about love – God’s
    perfect, unconditional, limitless and endless love.

    • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.olson.522 Daniel Olson

      Mike.. that’s so beautiful I’m speechless. I wish i could post your response on my FB page. I see Jesus in you.

    • Chris

      Kingdom building right there :) strong powerful statment. In my eyes you do not have to legitimize someones lifestyle in order to love them. We are here not to change the world for Jesus, but to put on display what a world looks like through Jesus. God reveals himself to people, not me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Barbara-Mack-Blackburn/100001180250101 Barbara Mack Blackburn

    I love Rob Bell. To me, he’s more alive now than ever. I was afraid something happened to him, actually, reading the title. ;) God bless him. God bless people who love one another and who want to marry. God bless those who live in a closed-minded world still and have never known or loved people who are different. God bless struggling souls who are different and yet still cling to faith. God bless us all. Help us learn how to be like Christ and to learn to talk to one another without hatred or cruelty. Help us to learn to speak truth in love. Help us to be gentle, for the Lord is near. Help us to be kind, patient, not insisting on our own way or keeping record of wrongs, help us not to be rude. Help us to love.

  • LuxRex

    Sexual ethics are NOT “secondary matters” rather are a clear indicator of whether or not someone is truly loving, and therefore obedient, in following the one real God revealed in scripture–rather than an idol of your own–or the culture’s–imagination.

    I am convinced Mark Driscoll is right: Post-modernist Christians, like Bell, McLaren or evidently Kimpan, are to biblically faithful Christians today (whether smeared with the title “conservative”(eww!) or not…) what liberal Christians were to a previous generation of biblically faithful Christians. Saved? God knows. Confused and disobedient, and thereby leading others to Hell? Definitely.

    • Peter’s Legacy

      It is unfortunate that so many evangelicals allow themselves to be deluded into thinking that accepting gay marriage is caving in to secular or popular society. But one must deliberately ignore reality in order to believe such nonsense. Go to a public school or a bar or a spring break beach. Approach the most secular, worldly, beer-guzzling guys you can find. Ask them what are the three most common one-word put-downs they know of. I guarantee one of them will be ‘fag’ or ‘queer’. I strongly support acceptance of Christian gay marriage not because I want to fit in with the world, but because I want to stand up to it for Christ’s sake.

  • Peter’s Legacy

    I would encourage Christans who seek a strong Biblical basis for recognizing marriage and ordination for gay Christians to look closely at Acts 11. Evangelicalism has always argued that Christians become Christians by accepting Christ, by having the Holy Spirit present in their heart and life and by bearing the fruit of the Spirit. We recognize each other and welcome each other by seeing the same gifts of the Holy Spirit in others that we received in our own lives. All it takes is honesty to look at a gay Christian’s character and recognize that they have received the same gift of the Spirit and will practice the same devotion, fidelity and commitment in their Christian marriage as we do in our own. As Peter stated when he finally understood this, “Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
    This is what led me to recognize the validity of Christian gay marriage. And I concluded just as Peter did, ‘Who am I to hinder God?’ It’s simple.

  • Polly

    I think Rob Bell is EXACTLY right. Jesus was a radical in his ability to receive the outsiders and love them. This is what Rob is doing. Way to go.

  • http://bartsbarometer.com/ Bart Breen

    A lot of these issues are tied into an confusion I believe as to what the “church” is. Issues such as ordination and sanctioning marriages of any form find their roots in a view that sees the church primarily as an organization which contributes to and maintains standards within society and culture.

    Add to that that within our US evangelical culture that we’ve engaged continually in a few decades of escalating political involvement with specific issues being identified as litmus tests such as abortion and marriage, and it’s become more an issue of power than of love.

    Add further to that our own human nature and trend toward self-righteousness and we tend to react vehemently to those who sin differently than we do.

    What is sometimes seen as a move toward licentiousness may in fact be a move away from legalism and a realization that as Christians we can accomplish more by following the example of Christ to reach out, accept and love people where they are without making their behavior the determination of whether that love and care will continue.

    I confess that I have difficulties with this issue in terms of the ideals and whether my testimony as a Christian should be to stand on moral issues. Despite a lifetime of spending a great deal of effort in promoting conservative morals and values, I find now that I’m questioning the whole dynamic of measuring righteousness by how I change institutions, organizations and even nations through politics and the mobilization of power to impose my will upon others. I’m seeing more and more that Jesus moves through love, acceptance, and seeing hearts changed which in the end bring about freedom that leads to righteousness that come from changed hearts instead of political battles that drive people away to where they associate Christ’s love with the manipulative type of behavior modification we engage in which in effect demands that people change before Christ brings about change within them.

    Jesus showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners and enemies He died for us and not only that but he submitted to a death brought to him by His own creation and by people created in His image. Perhaps the time has come to more collectively consider whether the church (and by this I mean the body of Christ and not necessarily the organizations that we call churches) needs to return to the advancement of the Kingdom of God rather than political manipulation of the Kingdoms of Men and emulate Christ who met people where they were, loving them in a way that set him apart and led the religious and political powers of His day to desire His death.

  • Kesh

    “Evangelical Christianity” especially from the Conservative camp has become believe what we belief or you are no longer and Evangelilcal.”

    An Evangelical is be”longing to one of the Protestant Churches or Christian groups that believe the teaching of the Bible and persuading other people to join them to be extremely important:” It does not state what theology ect… so it is very open to debate.

    If Rob Bell is trying to convert others and believes in the Bible (his own interpretation) then he is an Evangelical by definition. So from what I know of him it is not RIP to Evangelicalism for Mr Bell.

  • Kelly Beane

    Rob Bell I love you!!!! Heritics unite!

  • guest

    I am ready to change how we handle marriage completely. First, we have to change the way pensions, taxes, and social security are managed. They don’t reflect the reality of the culture. While we are at it, if we are going to change marriage in a way that has not been supported by any past culture then lets do it all the way! There are many more cultural patterns with multiple spouses, and in some aboriginal cultures, those spouses may be husbands, than ever homosexual marriages. Sooo, marriage becomes a civil contract with specific rights to each spouse, however many there are. Each gets an equal deposit to a personal retirement account, some discussion about responsibility for children in the event of dissoulution of the marriage..but anyone with the legal right to make a contract can enter marriage with any combination of partners, one or more.
    That said, once the civil contract has been signed, those of us with religious beliefs may go to our respective places of worship and be married by the rules of our religion…NO griping about the free choice and its consequences. If you are married in a church that says one woman, one man, no cheating, no divorce…then expect to live by that and accept the consequences within that company of believers if you do not live by the rules. If you are marrying out of those rules then don’t go there. You can always have the civil ceremony, leave the religious marriages alone if you don’t agree.
    I have no problem with not looking like the world. I think that is an honor the church has forgotten in their haste to be acceptable to critics.

  • PotomacTebo

    I know that, if I go to AAA seeking guidance on the best route for my trip, I will get that guidance. If I go to the doctor seeking guidance on how to have a more healthy body, I will get that guidance. If I go to my professor seeking guidance of how to refine a skill or trade, I will get that guidance. And on, and on, and on. Yet, I would never go to most churches seeking guidance on how to live more in the spirit because I know there will be a bait and switch where I will have to endure a lot nonsense about homosexuals or creationism or whatever other petty obsession church leaders indulge now. How is it that one can supposedly have access to the spiritual enlightenment and eternal love of the alpha and omega and yet end up with such base and spiritually debasing concerns? I find it hard to believe that anyone who is tapped into such an ideal of love would exude such a hateful and toxic pathos…

    • Digger

      Speaking of hateful and toxic, you should read the voluminous quantity of slanderous posts against conservative churches on this and other ‘emergent’ church websites. The vitriol against conservative Christians is thousands of times more prevalent than the supposed vitriol against homosexuals that liberal christians imagine in their idea of what goes on in a Bible-believing church.

  • Tim

    Wow, after reading all of these posts, I have one thing to say…when is the last time any of you set foot in a good, bible following, loving church. When is the last time any of you sat down and prayed with an open heart and mind for wisdom and then delved into the Bible to see what IT says…not what everyone tells you it says or what you wish it said. When is the last time you sought to really KNOW Christ the savior. There are so many misguided views on here! Gay, straight, drug addict, alcoholic, think you are better than everyone else, child, man, woman, homeless, rich, poor, lonely, thief, in jail, life’s going great…….we ALL NEED THE LORD. God just wants what’s truly good for each of us because His love is greater than any love out there. This isn’t about them, it’s about “look into your own heart and seek what God wants for YOU!” Maybe then the world would be a better place to live if we all stopped bashing the sinner (YOU AND ME) and started praying and loving and turning this sinking ship of a world around.

  • Kesh

    I have been a Christian a long time. Gone to many different denominations. Read the Bible many times and have the Holy Spirit. I go to a conservative church but take the view that Homosexuality is not a sin but do not think all churches should be forced to go down that route. Churches should be free to marry whom they like but the state should make gay marriages legal. I have prayed into this read the Bible and in order to love God and love my neighbour as myself this is the only conclusion for me.

  • DoubleDogDiogenes

    In the end. there are many doctrinal and life paths through the Bible. These paths can lead to becoming loving humans or becoming witch burners and inquisitors, greedy and wealth accumulating sociopaths, or pure selfless servants of God and man. The choice is yours. Look around. See where the fruit grows.

  • Nate

    I think Christians need to wake up and realize that it is not God or Jesus or their faith that tells them to openly discriminate against others. It is their own prejudices and socialization that tells them that it is ok to create a second class of citizens in the United States.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    It isn’t RIP Rob Bell. It’s RIP Jesus Christ. No matter which side you are on, what we are seeing is a complete abandonment of the principles of Christianity.

  • evanagee

    Here’s a very good example of where the church is truly focusing on the wrong things. We’re so busy looking for criteria to discredit pastors, it’s no wonder we don’t have much time left to model a life in Christ that would actually ATTRACT others! I can’t help but see a connection with the Pharisees of Jesus’ time on earth. It’s time to RISE church!

  • David

    If, at the final judgement, wherein Christ levels judgement on the living and the dead, he tells me that my acceptance, in love, for gay, bisexual, transgender people was a sin and an “abomination” then I shall accept that judgement, and I will plead & beg mercy for those who did likewise because of me. But for some, strange, “blowing in the wind” feeling (for “(t)he wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit”- John 3:8) that this will NOT happen. For I am convinced (convicted even!) by the liberating winds of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit which brought me to rebirth in the love of God in Jesus Christ, that, in accepting & loving my LGBT brothers & sisters, I am doing EXACTLY what God, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit, commands me to do! As Martin Luther once so famously said, when confronted by the hypocrites, the legalists, the judges of the institutionalized church, those who KNEW their interpretation of scripture was the ONLY correct interpretation, “here I stand, I can do no other. So help me God.” Amen, come Lord Jesus!

  • Kesh

    Good post David I agree.

  • http://www.timothyburns.com/ Timothy Burns

    Bell left biblical Christianity log ago. He is preaching to a church he’s making in his own image, as he did in Grandville Mi.

  • René

    How sad is to see the decline of the Christian cultural values in North America. Once in the past, these values established the foundations for prosperity in this great country. The situational ethics you are living, seems to be unseen for all of you folks. In the Christian worldview there is no place for this kind of approach, there is light and darkness clearly defines through the Bible. I can’t imagine how people can change the clear Christian perspective exposed by Paul in Romans 1:18-32. For us, living in a environment totally different these perspectives sadly are that you as society are in an urgent need of a new spiritual awakening that let you see the Bible as is. (Simple)

  • Michael Schnibben

    “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Tim. 4:3

    Mr. Kimpan is correct … the culture is changing to be more accepting of homosexual behavior … just as it has already grown accepting of divorce, pre-marital intercourse, and abortion … this is simply the next logical step. All of the pro-homosexual articles on this site basically say that Christians should change the way they view homosexual activity lest we end up “on the wrong side of history.” This is nothing more than a sophisticated version of the “Bandwagon Argument,” which basically says “everyone else is doing it so we should too.” However tempting this is, Christians must realize that humans have an inclination toward sin (Gen. 8:21); as such, we should never look to the culture to seek the will of the Holy Spirit.

    The current push to reconcile Christianity with the pan-sexual agenda is reminiscent of the push to integrate Christianity and National Socialism in Germany during the 1930′s. Fearing that they too would be left “on the wrong side of history,” various Protestant ministers and theologians struggled to create a church that would conform to the spirit of the age. The result was a movement called “die Deutsche Christen,” which billed itself as a Christian religion completely free from the “taint” of Judaism. While triumphant for a time, die Deutsche Christen were consigned to history’s ash-heap with the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Though I may not live to see it, the fate of today’s so-called “affirming churches” will be no different.

    • Luke Adams

      Excellent comment. I realize we all are sinful people, and probably all in one way or another condone on-going sinful activity in our own lives. So, I will wisely refrain from judging the salvation of LGBT people truthfully trying to follow Christ. At the same time, just because I believe we can exist in state of sin, yet be following Christ as best as we are able does not mean that I should stop calling sin, sin. Let’s be people of grace, not accommodation.

  • Kesh

    To compare the idea of accept homosexuality being the same as accepting the Nazis is shameful.
    We accept homosexuality now for a number of reasons.
    1) Homosexuals have always existed and most were born that way. Despite trying to be “normal” many are now coming out some in their old age as they cannot be something they are not both lying to themselves, others and God.
    2) Homosexuals are reduced to depression and suicide due to the churches oppression of such people who were born that way. Before people argue why would Gay people choose to be Gay in a Christian Community and then be depressed or commit suicide?
    3) It can be argued that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. After many years of being a Christian and a former Conservative Evangelical God has opened my eyes to the truht and this has set me free. I no longer see this as a sin and many Christians now see sense.
    4) If we still assume homsoexuality is a sin then as you say divorce, wearing clothes of more than one garment, eating Pork, blood transfusions, women speaking in church, women not wearing hats and jewellery etc will all be sins.
    5) It is simply not loving to condemn people born a certain way through no fault of their own. This is NOT the same as being born sinful. Hetrosexuals can get married. Gay people are not allowed according to SOME Christians.
    God Bless

  • pharisee-pharido

    “This was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”

    Evangelical religion isn’t Christianity. It’s legalism, idol worship, and Antichrist.

  • Tim

    Your objection to us/them, in/out rhetoric is a false dichotomy. There has never been a more polarizing person than Jesus Christ.

  • Jesse Fortner

    Gay marriage is the nail in the coffin, more so that universalism? That’s really sad.

    • stabber

      His book does support universalism and their is nowt wrong with gay marriage

  • lexi

    i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady who en charm him with her beauty, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don’t know what to do until I complained to my friend and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr Saibaba. who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 2days. she ask me to contact Dr Saibaba. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by two days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two days my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness and that he never knew what came upon him that he will never leave me again or the kids. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband, you can contact Dr Saibaba on any problem, he is very nice, here is his contact templesaibaba@yahoo.com

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