Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rob Bell - Trouble Maker or Prophet?

Rob Bell is a pastor of Mar's Hill Church in suburban Grand Rapids, Michigan. He says things that might make church people mad. Like this (in the most recent edition of Relevant Magazine):

"What a lot of people call church in America has little to do with the church Jesus had in mind. I think you just begin by acknowledging that [America's idea of church] is an absolute total failure. The whole system that says these few people, because of what they said, did, believe, etc., are going to Heaven and everybody else is going to Hell, is deeply flawed and must die. The systems that says big growth and numbers are the goal must also die. The central metaphor Jesus uses is the Eucharist. His body is broken and His blood is poured out to the healing of the world. God is looking for a body of people who will break themselves open and pour themselves out of the healing of the world."

Thats not all. Rob goes on:

"I think the problem is that when people say "church", many mean religious good and services where you come and have a nice inspiring talk, good coffee in the back, snappy music, and everything ends up fine. Jesus speaks of His people who are willing to suffer and die so that the world can be healed - that's an entirely different proposition. For us [at Mars Hill church], if you can resolve the sermon in the course of the church service, then the sermon has failed. If you can resolve what's being talked about just by listening to it, then something's seriously wrong. The only way to resolve the church service you just experienced, and specifically the sermon, is that you're going to have to go and wrestle with it and then live it out. Our interest is not in providing goods and services that will leave you with a well-packaged religious experience. We understand the Gospel is to be how you are going to break yourself open and pour yourself out for the healing of the world. I know what we believe and what we're trying to do, but the degree to which we're successful - I have no idea. Someone else can talk about that. I always get a bit suspicious of religious leaders who talk about how big their [ministry] is or their crowd ratios."

That'll preach just fine.

I think that Rob has been reading a lot of
Dallas, and a lot of, ah, maybe.....the Bible!
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