Rob Bell Emerges Out of the Closet…and the Wool (Again)

By Elliott Nesch

The Emergence Christianity leaders continue to come out of the closet, and out of their sheep costumes, as one after another they end up mirroring Western postmodern culture in support of gay marriage.

In Tony Jones’ article today [Monday, March 18, 2013] entitled “Is Rob Bell (Finally) Pro-Gay Marriage?” he gives two current examples of how Bell is now advocating gay marriage. For instance, he brings up how Rob said the following at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco last night [Sunday, March 17, 2013]:

I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are. (Source)

The audio of that statement may be found here. Greg Carey of Huff Post says,

“Bell’s interview marks the first time that he has openly supported marriage equality and perhaps the first time he has definitively separated himself from politically conservative evangelicalism.” (Source)

Secondly, Jones points to a book he recently received by Jeff Chu, an openly “gay Christian,” entitled Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America. Jones says, “Jeff is gay and Christian, and unabashed about both.” (Source)

On the back of the dust jacket of Jeff’s book is this endorsement from Bell:

“In telling these stories–chief among them his own–Jeff has done an extraordinary thing, showing us all to the God who is big enough and loving enough and true enough to meet all of us exactly where we’re at. This book is moving, inspiring, and much needed.” –Rob Bell, author of “What We Talk About When We Talk About God” and “Love Wins” (Source)

Recently, Bell appeared at the Viper Room in West Hollywood talking about his gay friend, who he described as “holy.” He says to homosexuals, “You’re our brothers and our sisters, and we love you.” He says that gay people can be “passionate disciples of Jesus” just like him.

Jones concludes,

“Surely, Rob knows that endorsing a book like this, and affirming marriage equality at Grace Cathedral, would out him as a supporter of gays in the church and in society.” (Source)

While Jones has been a GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] advocate in the Emergent Church all along, others like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell have recently followed. For instance, over five years after McLaren exhorted the church to take a five-year moratorium on the homosexual debate, McLaren sided with the homosexual agenda. In 2012, McLaren led the commitment ceremony for the homosexual union of his son with another man. The New York Times reported that “Trevor Douglas McLaren and Owen Patrick Ryan were married,” and Brian McLaren “led a commitment ceremony with traditional Christian elements before family and friends.” (Source)

Jones also accepts the following statement by J.R. Daniel Kirk from his book, Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?: A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity, calling it “Fair enough,”

“…many of us who argue for the full acceptance of GLBT persons in the church like to say that if Jesus didn’t want gays in the church, he would have said something.” (Source)

Others suggest that Jesus nowhere openly condemns gays or lesbians or even mentions homosexuality.

Did Jesus ever say anything about homosexuality? 

While Jesus did not explicitly condemn homosexuality, He approved of God’s creative plan for sexual union of one man and one woman. Jesus also affirmed the command: “Honor thy father and mother” (Matthew 15:4). He is taking for granted that a child’s parents consist of a father and a mother. This rules out the possibility for homosexual union. Again, Jesus said that, “a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh” (Matthew 19:5). In this single declaration, Jesus does not leave the options for people to be brought up with homosexual parents or marry a person of the same sex.

He says more specifically: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4). First of all, Jesus explains that this design was intended for procreation because God created a man and a woman. Secondly, Jesus acknowledges that parents consist of a father and a mother. Thirdly, Jesus conveys God’s intent that preceding generations would follow the same pattern of procreation with a spouse of the opposite sex. Based on Jesus’ approval of God’s plan for sexual union, in conjunction with the creation of the universe and nature, we can safely say that Jesus condemned homosexuality, which is against nature.

Jesus’ comments on God creating the man and woman, and the man leaving his father and mother to be joined to his wife, was in response to a question from the Pharisees about divorce. They asked him if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause (Matthew 19:3). Matthew tells us that when they asked this question, they tempted Jesus. Doesn’t the Emergent Church tempt Jesus in a similar way? We could expect Jesus to respond to the new Christians in the same way:

The new Emergence Christians came to Jesus, tempting him, and said to him, “Is it lawful for a man to be married to another man?” Jesus answered them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’”

It is easy to see how Jesus’ statement to the Pharisees also answers any argument for homosexuality from the Emerging Church. Silence is the worst kind of argument. Jesus never mentioned many sins. But are we to assume that just because Jesus didn’t explicitly say something about a certain sin that it is then okay to practice?

Furthermore, in Jesus’ teaching on divorce He offered one exception clause wherein divorce and remarriage would not be considered adultery: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32). “Fornication” (porneia in Greek) includes any and all sexual immorality, including homosexuality, incest, adultery, fornication, and intercourse with animals. Also notice that Jesus, once again, took it for granted that marriage never consisted of two men or two women.

Jesus quoted from the Old Testament (Matthew 4:4, Matthew 4:7, Matthew 4:10), affirmed that the Old Testament Scriptures were unbreakable (John 10:35), authoritative (Matthew 22:29), truthful (John 17:17), and historically and scientifically reliable (Matthew 12:40; Matthew 19:4-6; Matthew 24:37-38). While Jesus did not perpetuate the Law of Moses, specifically the ceremonial and civil ordinances, He did affirm God’s moral standards of living. Jesus initiated a New Covenant, distinct from the Old Covenant, but both covenants came from the same Father whose morality cannot change. While there are some differences between the two, there are many similarities, such as God’s transcendent moral law within the Law of Moses and the Prophets.

Adventures in Missing the Point-McLarenIn Adventures in Missing the Point, Tony Campolo offers a typical Emergent position by arguing that homosexuals can be transformed into heterosexuals through prayer, but then he turns around and scrutinizes every one of the passages in the Bible condemning homosexuality (p. 201). For instance, he argues that the Torah prohibitions of homosexuality found in Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 23:17 are not moral standards but part of the Kosher rules for Orthodox Jews in the same category of other Kosher practices such as the prohibition of wearing mixed fabrics, and eating shellfish or pork (p. 201).

An honest and natural reading of Leviticus chapters 18 and 20 would lead us to the conclusion that God’s command is not merely part of Kosher rules, but God’s universal moral law. These chapters declare: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22); “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13). These commands are not surrounded by ceremonial or civil ordinances but other binding moral commands, such as commands against incest (Leviticus 18:6-19; Leviticus 20:11-21), adultery (Leviticus 18:20; Leviticus 20:10), child sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2-5) and bestiality (Leviticus 18:23; Leviticus 20:15).

Likewise, Deuteronomy 23:17 couples homosexuality with the sin of prostitution saying: “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.” Only a morally corrupt people would find these practices acceptable. Today, what has long been considered perversion and murder, such as homosexuality, child sacrifice or abortion, are now acceptable. The fruit of Emergence theology will be the acceptance of other immoral abominations such as incest and bestiality. Jesus’ view of marriage agrees with the morality of both the Old and New Testaments.

Emergence View of Paul on Homosexuality

Additionally, we have the Apostle Paul, sent by Jesus Himself, who said by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:26-32).

Thus, homosexuality is a grievous sin which is part of the judgment of God upon a society that has rejected Him. The early Ante-Nicene Christian apologist Athenagoras wrote in about 175 AD repeating the general message of Romans 1: “They do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest bodies in all sorts of ways” (ANF, 2.143). How much more will this sin be evidence of the judgment of God when it is committed under the banner of Christ? The term “gay Christian” is becoming more and more common because of the “queermergent” theology.

Campolo offers the argument that “Paul does not condone those born with homosexual orientations, but rather heterosexuals who…become debased and decadent” (Adventures in Missing the Point, 206, 207). This argument does not account for the condemnation of homosexuality throughout the Bible and the moral declaration of such behavior as unseemly, not convenient, unrighteous and wicked. Campolo further dismisses the Pauline letters, arguing that the Greek word “arsenokoitai” found in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 (translated “homosexual”) has an ambiguous meaning, that Paul was “condemning not homosexuality per se, but pederasty” (Adventures in Missing the Point, 205). The Strong’s Concordance is probably the most often used and trusted Greek and Hebrew concordance for the Bible. It defines this word as “one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual.” The word is only ambiguous to those who refuse to acknowledge the clear meaning of the Bible.

Likewise, McLaren bypassed the Pauline letters by criticizing a conservative Christian spokesperson for putting the teachings of Paul on the same authoritative ground as the teachings of Jesus (in regard to the gay marriage debate) saying his “willingness to grant to grant Jesus no more authority than Paul renders me speechless” (Adventures in Missing the Point, 274). McLaren’s comment renders me speechless. No doubt Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18), an authority that Paul did not have in himself, but when it comes to the authority of the Scriptures, as McLaren is talking about in relation to the gay marriage issue, Paul’s words are equally as authoritative as Christ’s and “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Bible does not teach that some Scriptures are more God-breathed or more authoritative or more inspired than other Scriptures. All scripture is given by inspiration of God! God breathed out the words that the apostles penned in their epistles. Peter esteemed Paul’s letters to the churches equivalent to the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16). Peter clearly believed Paul’s epistles to be the inspired Word of God. But “queermergent” theologians may be described as those “unlearned and unstable” men who distort the meaning and interpretation to suit their own interests or views.

While McLaren argues that the writings of Paul are not as authoritative as the words of Jesus, the New Testament conveys otherwise according to Jesus Himself. Since the apostles would be guided by the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15), they were preaching, writing and teaching by the authority of Christ. Paul confirms saying, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37, emphasis added). Apparently, the Emergent church movement is not “spiritual.” Sadly, they are twisting the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16). Moreover, the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision by night, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee” (Acts 1:9,10). Paul did not receive the Gospel by any man, nor was he taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12).

One comment

  1. I hope that Rob Bell is telling his homosexual friend that in the Bible it is written that it’s a sin to have relations with the same sex and that they have to repent from thier sins and be born again by acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the only way in order for them to inherit the kingdom of God. The Bible is God breathed and his word never changes. If your not teaching that your are decieving them and leading them in the wrong path. In the last days their will be false prophets preaching heresy.