Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rob Bell's Most Heretical Sentence in "Love Wins."

Most heretical line from "Love Wins":

"This is crucial for our peace, because we shape our God, and then our God shapes us" (pg. 182).

We "shape our God"?

What is odd is that he does both Schleiermacher (see the chapter entitled "Rocks everywhere") and now Feuerbach without any irony. Just like he did Erasmus in the first few chapters-right down to the lack of clarity in Scripture!

What's actually most annoying about the line is that it presupposes what we need is a better "concept" of God. A better "concept" of God can actually be nothing more than a new law for us to obey and correspond to. 

What we actually need is God himself, present in Word and sacrament justifying and sanctifying us!  This isn't a better concept of God, it's God himself doing God to us!

There is actually much unintentional hilarity when he describes what is pretty much Luther's concept of the hidden God and says "wow, if that God was real, then that would destroy us." Yes, you got it! It does!


  1. Pastor Bell is always talking about incarnating the kingdom. God couldn't possibly incarnate the kingdom without us, so we might as well go ahead and shape God however we like too.

  2. What he means by incarnating the kingdom is doing the works of the law. He pretty much considers faith too boring a response. Of course, the reason for that is that the Arminian concept of faith is boring. It's making an intellectual decision to accept an abstract debt repayment program. It's not a living reality, that receives Christ and his benefits through Word and sacrament.

  3. Yes, faith isn't nearly as incarnational as planting trees!

  4. "It's making an intellectual decision to accept an abstract debt repayment program."

    Great line, can I steal it?

    He is right in one sense. To borrow a line from Calvin, “The human heart is a factory of idols...Everyone of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” He is wrong of course in seeing this as a positive.

    I am surprised (Well, not really surprised, none of these have ever read Luther anyway.)Bell didn't quote Luther in his favor. Faith makes your God. He would be wrong of course!

  5. Steven, Yes, you can.

    And yes, you do bring up a good point about Luther. But of course, faith is grounded in the objectivity of the Word of promise for Luther.

  6. What sucks on the Rob Bell thing is that he's having the conversation in a way that actually engages people. Hell, to me, is not an easily passed over subject; there are some heavy scriptures on hell and some often ignored contexts that I'm very interested in.
    I haven't any issues with his conclusions on hell, I have issues with this lack of balls to make assertions on well founded research, taking theologians and scripture in context. He's not saying anything new, really, he's just doing it in a way that's obnoxious and hip.
    There are TONS of saints and church fathers that were catholic redemptionist... but Rob Bell missed what it is that creates an interesting conversation about the subject.