Monday, February 28, 2011

Rob Bell and Judgementalophobia

Good ol' drama. Not even Christianity can escape it. This drama came in three acts. Act 1: Rob Bell (pictured), the patron saint of the emergent church, releases a promo video for his upcoming book, Love Wins. In the video he "raises some questions" with some implied Universalist answers. Act 2: Justin Taylor of Crossway Publishing wrote a piece raising concerns about the potential heresy being promoted in the video. You can read it as well as watch Rob Bell's video here. Act 3: Those theologians within Taylor's circles (Piper, Driscoll and their whole gang) pass on his article and condemn Bell's book.

Enter the drama. The response has been incredible. We'll there is a good chunk of people who agree with Taylor and his supporters, there others who clearly don't. These people typically throw out two arguments. To me, these two arguments reveal an underlying phodia that the contemporary Church as.

Therefore, I've decided to create a new word just for kicks (hey, if Shakespeare and Tolkien can do, I should be able to too, right?).

Judgementalophobia: "The fear of initiating or receiving something perceived as indignation."

This is the most common argument being used in Bell's defense. "Don't judge him." "He's just asking questions." "Give him a chance." This, I believe, portrays a common sentiment among Christians. Granted, that sentiment does have some legitimacy. But I think we're so afraid of being one of those "judgmental Christians" (a very real concern) that we're afraid to call things what they are. Jesus was never afraid to call falsehood falsehood or sin sin. While God would never have us to act proud, arrogent or hateful, there is certainly a place for pointed out sin if our heart is right. Jesus said this is Matthew 7:5.

Also, there is a flawed idea of what judgment is. Today, we think any criticism or moral assessment is judgmental. But that's not the case. We are told to be wise, discerning and to expose wickedness and falsehood. Being judgmental is when we take the place of God and condemn the person rather than the falsehood.

There is a balance to be had, but really it's not as complicated as we might think. The answer is to simply be as wise as serpents and as peaceful as doves (Matthew 10:16).


  1. no trouble here..but there are even more verse that apply to your premise..

  2. Very true. There are entire books of the Bible devoted to much harsher rebukes than we even typically see today. Christ Himself was known for getting very vocal about his attacks on falsehood.

  3. John MacArthur's book "The Jesus You Can't Ignore" is a good one for seeing how Christ became "vocal". Its a book written as almost a commentary of the later chapters of Matthew.

  4. Thanks for commenting.I haven't read MacArthur's book but I've heard it's a good one. I'll have to read it one of these days.

  5. Did this get you in trouble with your mother?!?

  6. haha No. It's all good. :-)