...or a democrat.
For a several weeks now, Rob Bell has caught some heat from some Christians, but even before the controversial promo video, Bell has always been in the cross hairs, it's just that no one could ever seem to "pin" him down.
Rob has and is being called emergent, though he has never claimed such a thing. Tony Jones wrote a very good post on how Rob is kind of in a category by himself.
And this seems to drive people crazy.
Why? Because we love to categorize people. We like to place others neatly into an "either"/"or" bin where we know exactly where they stand and exactly how we can judge them.
So it's no surprise when Bell released a promotional video which raised a few questions about heaven and hell, some smelled blood in the water. Many saw this as the "straw that broke the camels back" and they could finally crucify Bell and throw him into the "heretic" category or bid him "farewell".
No one really cares what Rob believes as long as they can justify with themselves, what I believe to be, un-just labels. It doesn't matter what Rob says or writes, the questions will still be..., "but do you believe in hell?", "but are you a universalist?", "can we please put some sort of label on you?".
Trust me, I know this to be true... There are usually much bigger conclusions behind the simple questions.
Questions such as, "Do you believe in hell?" some times seem to really mean, "do you believe what I believe about hell or can i write you off and disassociate myself with you?"
Reminds me of the religious leaders and how they were constantly trying to pin some label on Jesus in order to write him off as a blasphemer because he didn't fall in line with their way of thinking about God and the Kingdom.
But Jesus was too good for all that. Out of all the direct questions Jesus was asked in scripture, He ends up directly answering 3 of them. All the rest he answers with more questions, parables, or he simply performed a miracle as a way of saying, "deal with that!"
Every one wanted to put a name on Jesus... Was he a Pharisee, part of the Essenes, Sadducee, Zealot, Son of God, Messiah, Blasphemer, Heretic, God, man, conservative, liberal, born of a virgin, have an earthly father, was he one with God,...
On one occasion an expert in the Law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment?"
"The law says to stone her, what do you say?"
and we are still doing it today.
Are you republican, democrat, conservative, liberal, universalist, exclusionist, protestant, catholic, literalist, gay, straight, Calvinist, Arminians, emergent, modern, post-modern, christian, lost, saved, unsaved, believer, non-believer...
do you believe in the virgin birth, resurrection, inerrancy of scripture, authority of scripture, absolutes, certain atonement theories, trinity, miracles, young earth, old earth, A literal Adam and Eve, original sin...,
Who did you vote for? What authors do you like? What book are you reading?...
But then Paul writes...
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, FOR YOU ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.