There is an ancient proverb that goes something like this,“When two minds agree one is redundant.” Yesterday I started reading Rob Bell’s latest book, Love Wins. I must admit that I bought the book mostly because of all the controversy surrounding its release. People are concerned that Rob has walked away from core Christian beliefs.
Since I have not finished reading the book, it would be irresponsible of me to weigh in on Rob’s “theological correctness.”
I am, however, fascinated by all the waves this book has created. Why is it that the Evangelical community gets so stressed out anytime someone questions the “core beliefs?” What is so wrong with rethinking assumptions?
A few years ago I was part of a Bible study. One evening we discussed God’s heart for the poor. About half way through the evening one person had finally had enough and declared, “I don’t know exactly where it is in the Bible, but it tells us that God helps those who help themselves.” There are people who believe that God helps those who help themselves, but to assume that Scripture supports this idea is wrong. The better Biblical argument is that God helps those who can do nothing for themselves.
Is it possible that what we assume the Bible teaches and what it actually teaches is not always the same thing? Western culture has done a good job of marrying things like God and country or health and wealth to God’s favor and blessing. Untangling the Christian faith from culture is never easy and always uncomfortable, mostly because it challenges assumptions and dearly held core beliefs.
When core beliefs and convictions are questioned maybe the best response is to listen, reevaluate and rethink. Being labeled a heretic is not always bad; I suspect that Jesus wore that title from time to time.