He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:9)
It Is The Job Of The Pastor To Clearly Articulate Sound Doctrine For His Flock
As near as I can tell, sadly, there really doesn't seem to have been much interest in the following disclosure by Emerging Church theologian Tony Jones, who despite our differences I do respect for going on the record publicly, when he confesses:
And yet, all the time I could feel myself drifting toward acceptance that gay persons are fully human persons and should be afforded all of the cultural and ecclesial benefits that I am. ("Aha!" my critics will laugh derisively, "I knew he and his ilk were on a continuous leftward slide!")
In any case, I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state. (Online source, bold theirs)
To his credit Tony Jones is speaking candidly and clearly on his position and the time has arrived for others in the very popular Emergent Church, which is affecting scores of younger people even within conservative mainstream evangelical churches, to also be man enough to go on the record with their views concerning a critical issue around which the very real possibility of hate crime laws revolve. And this is precisely why I asked the question: Will Rob Bell Now Follow Tony Jones Out Of The Closet?
You see, I happen to care a great deal for young people and I am greatly grieved that this postliberal cult of the Emerging Church is allowed to hold court in a rapidly growing circle of mainstream evangelical youth groups thus crippling their faith. In Emergent Wolves Enter Your Sheep Pens Through Youth Groups I showed you what Emerging Church pastor Dan Kimball has revealed in his book Emerging Worship: Creating Worship Gatherings for New Generations in regard to their standard methodology:
The staff at one church in rural Oklahoma…fully believed they needed to start making changes in the way they worshipped in order to be in line with the emerging culture and emerging generations… These staff members were afraid, however, to try anything too radical. After all, they served in a very conservative Baptist church…
they started by slowly adding a few things to their youth meetings. They corporately read ancient creeds and prayers. The lit candles and had times of silent prayer. They allowed the youth to paint during a worship time. They practiced lectio divina or "sacred reading," the ancient practice of prayerful meditation on Scripture. Not all at once, but little by little they added these elements of worship to their existing meetings…
It was a huge step for them…the staff are planning to have monthly emerging worship gathering for youth (and adults of any age who want to come)… Eventually the church wants to turn the monthly worship gathering into a weekly one. (102, emphasis his)
And that really is a pretty clear picture of the old adage about the frog in the kettle. And the huge influence of Emerging icon Rob Bell lies in his vague and seemingly innocuous Nooma DVDs along with his mystic musings now having the support of more and more youth ministers. With this in mind then a reader of Apprising Ministries wrote me today to share an email they had sent to Mars Hill Bible Church asking a straightforward question and the non-reply they received back. Essentially we could phrase their question this way:
Where does your teaching pastor Rob Bell stand concerning the following question — Can someone who is unrepentant in their practicing of a homosexual lifestyle also become a Christian?
Now such a question would appear to be straightforward and could actually be answered with a simple yes, or, a no. For example, were I as a pastor to be asked that same question my answer would be: No, I'm afraid they could not. The Bible is very clear that the practice of homosexuality is a sin (see—Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) and for someone to become a Christian they must repent of [i.e. forsake, turn away from] their sin (see—Mark 1:14-15; Acts 20:21).
But unfortunately an honest question to Rob Bell and MHBC on such a crucial issue of our time was met with a mere form letter from a "michelle." The opening line of the letter is a hope that one will feel this non-response will be "helpful"; even in spite of the fact that it "might not answer all your questions or concerns." Certainly we would expect that MHBC and Bell, like any large conglomeration, would receive mail at such a "volume" that it does prove "difficult" to be precise "in each instance."
Then the recipient of this form letter from michelle of "Mars Hill Communications" is told:
We care deeply how Scripture is interpreted and how to discern living the way of Jesus, and in encountering differing viewpoints it is our aim to agree or disagree in love, keeping central a shared desire to know God and serve Jesus Christ. Regarding your comments or questions, we'd like to direct you to our mission http://www.marshill.org/mission, Narrative Theology http://www.marshill.org/believe,
Directions http://www.marshill.org/believe/directions [shared values], and serving focus http://www.marshill.org/serving, available at marshill.org. You might also find our recent audio teachings http://www.marshill.org/teaching/podcast.php and archived series http://www.marshill.org/teaching/other.php as well as Rob Bell's recommended reading list http://www.marshill.org/about/rob/recommendedReadingList.php to be beneficial.
Right; so this is offered in the hope that people will encourage Rob Bell, who is without a doubt one of the most popular people in the visible church, to make the time to at least do up a form letter which answers the question: Can someone who is unrepentant in their practicing of a homosexual lifestyle also become a Christian? After all, I'm constantly told how Jesus-centered and Biblical Bell's teaching is; well Rob Bell, where do you stand; because Jesus answers the question—No.