Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Layman vs. the Vicar

Rob Bell
One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is “Once the layman was anxious to hide the fact that he believed so much less than the vicar; now he tends to hide the fact that he believes so much more.”

I knew Rob Bell left his church in Grandville, Michigan, for southern California, but I didn't know his Michigan congregation essentially fired him, so I was surprised to see this article in the Christian Post.

I had assumed Bell was at Mars Hill Bible Church so long because the congregation enjoyed having a "celebrity" pastor, in spite of Bell's sad, hip search for relevance, but that's not the case. In fact, 3,000 members of the church left after the publication of Bell's book Love Wins, in which he questions the existence of hell (because it's just not nice to think about), among other things. Now Bell is in California, looking for ways, the article notes, "to move beyond old-fashioned worship."

As an aside, isn't it interesting that all you have to do is call something "old-fashioned" and in some quarters you've won the argument? C.S. Lewis had a term for that logical fallacy: "chronological snobbery."

So God bless the Mars Hill congregation—the laymen. They knew more than the pastor and told him so.


Nicole said...

Anyone who believes the Word of God as written in the Bible had to disagree with the essence of Rob Bell and his portrayal of a God with human definition(s) as His spiritual statement. He's off the mark in so many ways. Lost. Hopefully he'll find the real Jesus, repent, and receive true salvation.

This idea of universalism always adheres to a human idea of what love "should" be, not who God defines himself as. They really struggle with sin and hell - not that we all don't. However, when it finally hits you who God is and who you are: Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He is the origin of all. All definitions of who He is and who we are. No exceptions. His generosity in giving us Jesus is unparallelled and unequaled. But apparently not enough for folks like Rob Bell.

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Yikes! Nowdays, public support for heresy is as easy as crying "victim" and slapping on the "old-fashioned" or "intolerant" label. It's scary how people are being deceived by Satan and leading others into deception. Jesus is coming back soon.

Karin Kaufman said...

Nicole, I agree that the human definition of love is the main obstacle for people like Bell (we all struggle with it to some degree). And, of course, like a lot of heretics (oh, that word!), he thinks he got it right but the Apostle Paul got it wrong. Or he got it right but St. Peter, St. Augustine, and so on got it wrong. It's that arrogance of thinking that 2,000 years of Christianity needs to be corrected, and thereby saved from approaching obscurity, by a twenty-first century man.

Gwen, isn't that "old-fashioned" label a riot? It takes a certain mindset to think that the word, almost by itself, settles an argument. My radar goes up when I hear the word as the basis for knocking an idea. One good thing, though: the congregation kicked him out. I don't think that was generally known until now. Imagine 3,000 people leaving a growing church. It takes a lot of courage to leave a church home--which means they felt strongly. Thank God.

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