In this case there really isn’t a middle ground….or this middle is certainly “less traveled.”
This blog post is not about my agreement or disagreement with Bro. Rob.
Yep, I referred to him as Bro. Rob because – in my heart – I believe he is my brother in Christ. That very statement may have inflamed some readers. Others probably voiced their own, “Amen.” My Christian brotherhood with anyone isn’t based on how much I do agree or don’t agree with their perspective.
I’ve read a lot of articles pro and con. I’m in the process of actually reading the book. My reason: I don’t feel I can talk intelligently and heartfully about it unless I’ve actually read it, myself.
I pondered, “To read or not to read” for awhile. I’ve got a plethora of important literature on my plate ready to be consumed already. But, the tipping point was when I read Eugene Peterson’s endorsement. I’ve respected Eugene and his writings for a long time. Not to mention the fact that his Bible paraphrase, “The Message” has been one of my favorites.
As far as taking a cue from Eugene’s endorsement is concerned, I decided that I had to settle on one of two reactions:
- OMG, Eugene Peterson has become a heretic!
- Because of his solid reputation and scholarship, I can’t just “blow off” Eugene Peterson’s opinions
Frankly, if I choose the first option, I would also have “trouble” with it not “tainting” my feelings for “The Message,” and I’m not willing to do that at this point.
Another thing I determined was that, as a pastor, I needed to read this controversial issue for myself.
So, here’s my main input at this point, having read some of what Bell is writing:
- I don’t agree with all of his conclusions
- I do agree that there are questions that Christians interested in re-presenting Jesus need to be grappling with. I don’t mean the theology of the questions, but those queries that are being expressed by sincere well meaning people. If, as Christ Followers, we have the answers we say we do….then we need to actually have the answers we say we have. Thought out, prayed through answers. The kind that we’ve wrestled with ourselves. Not the one’s we’ve been told we should believe by those that teach us. We need teachers. But, we also need to follow Paul’s words to the Bereans, “Search the scriptures to see if what I’m saying is true.”
Unfortunately, too many have been satisfied to lead a Christian life that is not well thought out and prayed through. Not enough questions are challenging us. Iron sharpens iron. The late Francis Schaeffer said, “The problem with Christians today is that they’ve forgotten how to think.” C.S. Lewis echos the same sentiment.
It’s time to think, pray, and ponder! Maybe….shall I say…..ummm….turn off the TV a little earlier so we have time to pray, read, and ponder for ourselves?