In his new book, written along with his wife, Rob Bell, one of America’s most influential “evangelicals” writes, “Marriage, gay and straight—is a gift to the world, because the world needs more, not less, love, fidelity, commitment, devotion and sacrifice.” When asked about this on a recent show with Oprah Winfrey, Bell defended his position on gay marriage. The conversation went like this:
Oprah: “I think it’s great that you all made a conscious choice to include gay marriage in here” [i.e., in the book].
Bell: “Because one of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness. I mean, it’s one of the things that goes way, way back. Loneliness is not good for the world; and so, whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want somebody to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want somebody to go on the journey with.”
Oprah: “When is the church going to get that?”
Bell: “We’re close, lots of people are already there. We think it’s inevitable. We’re moments away …. I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone.”
If you read one of those “letters from 2000 years ago” that Bell trashes as culturally irrelevant, ironically you read of men just like Rob Bell. In fact, Rob Bell brings the letter of Jude into focus and cultural relevancy. Does he not, in fact, fit the description of certain men who have “crept in unawares?” He has acceptance in the church as an evangelical. He’s a graduate of two evangelical institutions, Wheaton and Fuller Theological Seminary. He was the founding pastor of what was one of America’s fastest-growing churches. Within six years of its establishment over 10,000 people attend the two services on Sunday mornings.
Jude had intended to write of the “common salvation.” However, as a matter of urgency he was forced to warn the church of men who had the potential to do serious damage from within. Consider Rob Bell’s influence in the church. According to Time magazine, Bell was one of the most influential people in the world in 2011. In January 2007 TheChurchReport.com, named Bell No. 10 in its list of “The 50 Most Influential Christians in America.” A third criterion that Rob Bell fits is that these influential men in the church support their false teaching and immoral practices by claiming the grace of God; they “turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.” Forget what God says, Bell argues. God’s grace allows for all of this deviant sexual activity because God doesn’t want us to be lonely. John also warned of men like this: “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).