In our previous blog, we expressed our wish to be Rob Bell. I suggested the first five reasons and they were:
Reason #1- I could move to California and take up surfing.
Reason #2- I would know that whatever I wrote would become an instant bestseller.
Reason #3: I want to be thought of as one of the 1000 most influential people in the world.
Reason #4: I want to tell stories that people read and say, “Wow. I never thought of the hypostatic union or dispensational premillennialism like that! Man, that anecdote really helps!”
Reason #5: I want to have important people like John Piper tweet about me.
In this second part, five more reasons occur to me:
Reason #6- I would make videos that would be used by youth groups around the world to stir theological discussion and cause senior pastors to invest in Tums in trying to answer the questions which are raised. Bell’s video series “Nooma” has some really good stuff. It also has some not-so-good stuff (I think of the video “Bullhorn” which presciently raises some issues dealt with in his book years later called Love Wins). Because I’ve written a lot about eternal lostness, if I were able to produce some videos, they might well be called the DOOMA videos.
Reason #7- I would like to have the great freedom of asking all kinds of theological questions, feeling no obligation to answer any of them! “I’m just asking questions” isn’t really a defense, because the way a question is asked, the circumstances under which it is asked, the tone of asking — none of these are strictly neutral. Let’s not forget that the serpent in the garden was a master questioner: “Did God really say?” There’s a really good blog about Bell’s way of presenting his theology by Alastair Roberts found here. Roberts compares Bell’s approach to advertising’s efforts to produce a feeling or an experience, rather than set forth an argument.
Reason #8- I want to have Christians picket my meetings. I would be thrilled if someone told me, “There are Christians outside passing out tracts, calling you a heretic!” In my present ministry, I’m lucky if anyone remembers what I preached on. Sometimes even I forget!
Reason #9- I want people to hold seminars and workshops and post blogs challenging my teaching. So far, only my mother-in-law has read my Ph.D. dissertation (“The Pneumatology of John Nelson Darby 1800-1882”), my children have read one or two of my books (one because DocTALK was required in the class she took), and my wife has said, “Good thing we’re not counting on your royalties for our retirement!” Just once I’d like to see someone, somewhere host a conference on “The Theology of Larry Dixon.” [It would be my luck to find out that they were really talking about the NASCAR drag racer Larry Dixon – see photo]
Reason #10- The last reason I wish I were Rob Bell is I would have the opportunity to re-examine my own teaching and listen to Evangelical leaders who are saying that I have abandoned the gospel and need to get back to what was my first love — teaching the Bible. I truly believe that Bell’s gospel is toxic, that he has moved away from the Scriptures on the doctrine of eternal lostness, and that his newest book sounds like he might be moving into a kind of panentheism. Bell has also recently come out in no uncertain terms in favor of same-sex marriages. He says,
Seriously, I pray for Rob Bell that he would come back to the full authority of the Scriptures, that he would use the platform he has to preach the true Good News about Jesus, and that he would humble himself before the Lord and seek godly counsel. May we all do the same.