Ten Reasons I Wish I Were ROB BELL (Part 2)

07 Apr

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 KeynoteScreenSnapz100theological 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.


Posted by on April 7, 2013 in same-sex marriages


Tags: , , , ,

13 responses to “Ten Reasons I Wish I Were ROB BELL (Part 2)

  1. Pastor James Miller

    April 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    #7 is my favorite.

  2. larrydixon

    April 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks, James! I really appreciate your reading my blog. Blessings. Larry

  3. Jon J. Cardwell

    April 7, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I stand shoulder to shoulder with James on this one: #7 is my favorite also. Again, Larry, I will post a link and file this under the I-Wish-I-Wrote-This category. Blessings. Jon

  4. John

    April 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm


    The humorous irony of your post has not escaped me. But underneath of all this “humor” I detect a tad of “sour grapes”. I wonder how many of the 10 wishes you really would like to have fulfilled ?
    The reference to Alastair Roberts trivel on advertising is typical an ad hominem approach and unworthy to be part of your post.

  5. larrydixon

    April 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    John: Wow. I’m kind of thankful that God has not put me in the limelight and on the stage which Bell occupies. The Bible says that teachers will be held more liable, especially if we don’t teach what is true. I guess we all struggle with “sour grapes,” but I’m extremely grateful for what the Lord lets me do. He knows my heart — as He knows yours. I’m especially fond of wish #10. I pray for Bell that he may return to the truth of the Scriptures. [I thought Roberts’ blog was dead on in comparing Bell’s approach with marketing strategies. Were you able to read it? I don’t think it was ad hominem at all].

  6. John

    April 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Larry, wow, yes, wow indeed!

    ad hominem is a short form for ‘argumentum ad hominem’ and is an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument.
    Alastair Roberts’s drivel ( =meaningless talk or thinking) qualifies for the FIRST part. Here are some excerpts:

    -Bell’s distinctive rhetorical style is taken straight from advertising-grabbing
    -His fragmentary and impressionistic statements, single sentence paragraphs, vague, one-size-fits all observations, generous deployment of unspecific adjectives, frequent uses of the second person singular to describe states of feeling, and heavy dependence upon narrative, anecdote, question, quotation, metaphor, and image are all fairly typical of advertising style.
    -The dislocated camera shots.
    -The fractured statements.
    etc,etc ….

    Now, Larry, don’t you think this drivel does not qualify as “personal attacks” ?

    What about the SECOND part? (relevant arguments)

    Here are some of Rob Bell’s words:
    “…because I believe there are other ways, better ways of talking about God and understanding God. Because I believe God is with us and for us. And I believe God is actually ahead of us, calling us and drawing us, inviting and pulling us all, every one of us, into a better future than we could ever imagine.”

    “…for a growing number of people in our modern world, God is a bit like Oldsmobiles…”

    There would have been plenty of room to engage in some meaningful arguments, but Alastair Roberts choose to stick to personal attacks.

    Larry, you take your teaching very seriously as is evident from your words: ” The Bible says that teachers will be held more liable, especially if we don’t teach what is true”.

    Your teaching on HELL and on HOMOSEXUALITY is only true in your own mind. The majority of mankind does not hold on to these medieval notions where words from the Bible were used to prove the truth. Keep in mind that the Bible was also used to burn people at the stake for claiming the world is not the center of the Universe. Homosexuality is recognized as a biological difference among mankind similar as to have left-handed people in a right-handed oriented world. They deserve our compassion and not our scorn.

    In the more educated parts of this world it becomes more and more evident that old-fashioned opinions are replaced by more realistic views. Mr. Rob Bell’s ideas are in this direction. His metaphor of the OLDSMOBILE could be improved by using DINASAURES instead, but I guess he is just too generous to use it.


  7. larrydixon

    April 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    First, I want to thank You for engaging with my blog. I count you as a friend, a mighty chess player, and as an intellectual who raises some really good points.
    1. Thanks for reading the Roberts’ article. I took his comments as pointing out the style of Bell’s writing and its focus on producing an experience — rather than a reasoned argument — for the reader. A personal attack would be against the person (“I shouldn’t listen to him — he’s a Jehovah’s Witness,” for example). I try to teach my students not to engage in ad hominems, and I try to follow my own advice.
    2. You, my friend, commit the logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum when you state: “The majority of mankind does not hold . . .” As you know from history, the majority of mankind have often been wrong.
    3. I admit that the Bible has been used to justify slavery, persecute minorities, pursue the Crusades, etc. The mis-use of the Bible does not negate its validity.
    4. I think you have also succumbed to what C.S. Lewis calls “chronological snobbery.” “In the more educated parts of this world . . . old-fashioned opinions are replace by more realistic views.” We are more enlightened than people before us, this perspective argues. It is easy to view ourselves as intelligent and smart and to think previous generations as benighted and naive.
    5. I’m sure we’ll talk a lot about hell and homosexuality. I would argue that even if science discovers a gay gene, we all come into this world broken. To suggest that homosexual orientation is on the level of being born left or right-handed is silly. I would think evolutionists of all people should oppose homosexual behavior. How do it advance the species? Of course, homosexuals deserve our compassion, but not our endorsement.
    I’m sure we’ll talk more, John.

    • John

      April 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      If you want to talk more, let us talk about one subject at a time without getting us lost in generalities.
      I suggest we clear up our divergent views on homosexuality. It is so strongly imbedded in your mind that it might do you good to listen to another view point. Are you game ??

  8. Dr. Larry Dixon

    April 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Interesting that you consider my points in the previous reply “generalities.” I thought I made sense! Oh. Well. Yes, I would like to discuss the issue of homosexuality with you. How about this resolution: “All of us come into the world broken. Homosexual orientation is one form of brokenness, is unnatural, and homosexual behavior is viewed in the Bible as an abomination in the eyes of God.” Your response?

    • John

      April 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      My “generalities ” did not refer to your last reply. I consider this discussion to be done in a serious way and was hoping that it would not get lost in generalities!

      Without jumping in and start disagreeing with you, I would rather try to give you a glimpse of my view. I do not personally know of anyone who his gay, male or female. Therefore my views are not formed from direct observation.

      Rob Bell’s books are about LOVE. To understand homosexuality you have to examine love closer.
      LOVE is a chameleonic word. It has many facets. There is love for Jesus, love of your wife, love of your children, love of your friends, love of playing tennis, love of reading books, love your neighbours, love of . . .,etc,etc . . ., the list goes on.

      In most cases can you replace “love” with “like” without changing the meaning. Eliminating these cases will shrink the list drastically. Now you will only have to deal with a few variations, but even then the meaning will be different. “Love of Jesus” is different from “love of wife”. “Love of wife” is different from “love of children”.

      You dismiss love between gay couples as abomination, because it does nothing for the advance of the species. There is no shortage of books that describe in detail the sexual practices of “straight” people, married or unmarried. Very few of these practices are aimed to advance the species, but rather the opposite, to limit the advance.

      If we set aside the more sordid sexual side of love and rather look at the wonderful bond that love can create between two people, then it is only a small step towards accepting the love between gay people in a more humane way.

      It is the view of the majority of people to see sexual attraction between people to be limited to opposite sex. But it is by now well recognized that same sex attraction is also present in a small number of people in our society. For these people the inborn attraction was not a choice , no more than a left handed person could choose to be left handed. You are free to call this comparison as silly. Doing so denies biological facts.


  9. Dr. Larry Dixon

    April 16, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Thank you for sharing your opinions with me. Some of my opinions are formed from direct observation. I have friends that are gay; one friend actually served on the mission field while practicing his lifestyle. I remember pleading with him to come back to the Lord and to abandon his homosexually promiscuous lifestyle. He had seen 100 of his friends die of AIDS. He died of that disease about a year later. So, this is not a mere academic discussion for me.

    I do not dismiss love between gay couples as an abomination because it does nothing to advance the species. I do not doubt that there is genuine affection and caring between those who are gay. I was only making the point that I find it amazing that our evolution-saturated intelligentsia do not oppose same-sex relationships for that reason.

    I thought my “resolution” to be a worthwhile one to tackle together: “All of us come into the world broken. Homosexual orientation is one form of brokenness, is unnatural, and homosexual behavior is viewed in the Bible as an abomination in the eyes of God.” We can also talk about homosexual behavior not being a choice.
    Blessings. Larry

    • John

      April 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      I have no further interest to pursue this. As I have a choice, I rather err on the side of compassion than on the side of righteousness.


  10. Bruce Dodge

    April 24, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I appreciate being able to read your debate. The first time reading, I finished sad, thinking that compassion is viewed as 180 degrees from righteousness. I completely understand why John says what he says “I rather err on the side of compassion than on the side of righteousness”. Although I can never be truly righteous without Jesus, I now feel challenged to do my part to make compassion an evidence of righteousness.

    Is Jesus, the only one who can accomplish that?

    I pray that Jesus will accomplish that in me and in others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: