I have to admit I've been following the Rob Bell controversy...
I have to admit I've been following the Rob Bell controversy lately. I'll also confess that I've read nearly everything he's published because his books are enjoyable. Period.
No, I don't agree with everything he says, and here's the beautiful partI don't have to. I don't read Bell because he is a systematic theologian who's going to help me set my theological foundations. People like John Wesley, Mildred Bangs Wynkoop , H. Ray Dunning, and H. Orton Wiley have already helped me do that.I read Rob Bell because I know he's going to surprise me, frustrate me, inspire me, anger me, and challenge me. He's a very helpful and known commodity along these lines.
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I had intended to order his newest release on Amazon weeks ago, but just didn't get around to it. So this past week I drove to the Christian bookstore nearest my home, a Family Christian Store in Gainesville, FL. Not findingany of his books on the shelf, I asked an employee whether or not they hadLove Wins , and she informed me that Family Christian had chosen not to carry the book. Quite surprised, I asked why. She stumbled through the best explanation she could muster, that corporate management had decided the content did not match their corporate standards.
Really? Okay. That statement, then, helps clarify for me what Family Christian truly supports. Consequently, all the other books Family Christian sells,I mean all of them,must match their corporate standards, since they only sell books containing content with which they wholeheartedly agree. Right?
So, later that evening I spent a little time looking at the Family Christian Stores website
I discovered that Family Christian carries numerous titles by Jesse Duplantis and Creflo Dollar; therefore, I would deduce Family Christian wholeheartedly supports Duplantis' and Dollars' health, wealth and prosperity gospel.
They sell books written by Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, William Bennett, and David Limbaughso, Family Christian happens to agree with all their political and religious views.
Also available for purchase are titles by Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Phyllis Tickle, and Shane Claiborne, all of which are heartily endorsed by Family Christian.Remember, they don't sell books that contradict their standards.
Or one could choose from works by Clark Pinnock, the venerable John Stott, or Gregory Boyd, whichmust mean Family Christian believes in annihilationism and open theism.
How about Jack Van Impe? Does Family Christian really mean to insinuate, as Van Impe often does, that President Obama is the Antichrist?
And these are just a few. I could go on, but the import is clearFamily Christian Stores simply cannot endorseall the content ofall the materials they sell, which is why their decision to not carry Love Wins is all the more disappointing.
I believe we are at a time in human history when discussion and dialogue are fast becomingthe primary methods by which younger generations determine and discover their theological identities. No longer will most people simply support their pastors' or their parents' positions just because 'they said so.' It is becoming more and more commonplace to hear more theological discussions at Starbucks than in Sunday Schools. The small group could quite possibly outstrip the sermon in both attendance and influence.
So Family Christian's ban on Bell appears, at least from my perspective, like an attempt to bury their heads in the sand and say, "If we don't sell this book, then conversations about heaven and hell that we can't control won't take place." And I guess it's this perceived position that frustrates me the most, Family Christian and many unnamed others like them refuse to have conversations unless they are in complete control.
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Posted in Home Post Date 03/13/2019