Well I have to admit that the whole Twitter explosion regarding Rob Bell passed me by, and in many ways I am grateful. It has also made me think again about using this media and the way that it is easy to become drawn into making hasty statements without any real knowledge of the basis for the original remarks...
I am concerned and saddened by the way that Christians have behaved towards Rob Bell and one another in this starting with John Piper's flippant "farewell" tweet to the raft of other condemnatory comments. Add to this the fact that the whole things was conducted on a public forum in a public way which goes clearly against Biblical counsel on disagreements.
Scott McKnight's words of wisdom should not have been needed, but we would do well to heed them, responding to a question from Christianity today he said:
" I want to wait to see what Rob Bell says, read it for myself, and see what I think of it. Rob is tapping into what I think is the biggest issue facing evangelicalism today, and this fury shows that it just might be that big of an issue.
The publicity approach of HarperOne worked perfectly. They got huge publicity for a book. They intended to provoke -- and they did it well. I think it is wiser to wait to see the real thing than to rely on publicity's provocations. Justin bit, and so did many of his readers.
Frankly, John Piper's flippant dismissal of Rob Bell is unworthy of someone of Piper's stature. The way to disagree with someone of Rob Bell's influence is not a tweet of dismissal but a private letter or a phone call. Flippancy should have no part in judging a Christian leader's theology, character or status."
Wait, read, become informed, then consider, and act with grace and integrity!
What a shame that the twitterer's were not able to do this, and in fact still aren't because the whole explosion continues, some are "praying" for Rob Bell, whilst others continue to defend him and are slinging mud at John Piper. Add to that the fact that Piper himself was linking to a blog post by Justin Taylor, and that Taylor freely admits that he has NOT read all of Bell's new book but is responding to a part of it and to the promotional video and the whole thing becomes frankly absurd.
Like Scott McKnight I will not comment on Bell's book until I have read it, and given the initial controversy I will probably read it twice and prayerfully consider it before commenting. I will say that I have enjoyed Bell's work so far, and the video that has caused such divisions is attractive and compelling but does not offer any answers- it raises questions- and that I suspect was the publishers intention.
Here for those who have not seen it is the video...
Also twitterer's you might like to spare a thought for the web-designer from West Yorshire who is currently amused by his sudden fame, but the insults and messages of suppoer that keep coming his way via twitter may begin to wear thin. His twitter name is robbell, if you want the other Rob Bell, you'll find him at realrobbell!
robbell has said:
Dear Christians, I am not @realrobbell although I hear he does really great things. Please at least look before you 'quote' me as him
oh dear, my namesake is now a Trending Topic worldwide on Twitter, best get ready for fresh lunacy! What else is gonna go mad today?!?
@bethbeutler lol thanks Beth. Not as bad or as many as I expected when other Rob trended. I don't mind, I hear he's a thoroughly good bloke
@reverendjohnson do they? Why would an entire religion want to bash a simple Englishman like myself? I'm quite concerned...
@theonetruemyles who is this @johnpiper and why is he denouncing me? Did he not like a website I designed?
Dear Christians- please at least look!