Yesterday the news broke that Rob Bell, former pastor and bestselling author, is in favor of same sex marriage.
While not surprising in the least (when considering the trajectory of his teaching), it is disappointing, if for no other reason than the stance is couched in the language of Jesus’ “revolutionary message.”
But there’s nothing all that revolutionary about saying “this is the world that we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
This is not a post about Rob Bell, nor is it one about same sex marriage.
This is about the gospel.
The gospel really is revolutionary.
In the gospel, all have equal value, regardless of ethnicity, social status or gender (Gal. 3:28); men and women are made new (2 Cor. 5:17) and are declared “sons” of God—beloved children of their Creator (Gal. 3:26).
We are freed from the passions of the flesh and bondage to the “god of this world” (Eph. 2:3; 2 Cor. 4:4). We are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). We are heralds, ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), called to declare the glorious good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the hope that extends from it, and the promise of a world renewed and restored for God’s glory that is to come.
This—not affirming what the world affirms—is what is compelling and revolutionary. It’s not honest, compassionate or compelling to say, “I agree—you’re super just the way you are” when someone’s been sold a false bill of goods.
Especially if you know the real thing is so much better.
But many have forgotten this. “This is the world we live in” after all, and the message of the gospel, apparently, doesn’t cut it anymore.
We don’t want to be controversial because we’d be seen as being “against” people. And controversy gets kind of boring after a while, anyway. But we also, it seems, don’t really want to do the hard work of truly loving them by leading them to the source of their greatest good—Jesus Christ. So instead, we settle for small, meaningless, impotent, pretend “gods” who resemble Jesus in name, but have none of the power or majesty.
Controversy is boring… but so is taking a bold stance to be for whatever the world is for.
The gospel—the real gospel—is so much better. Let’s be about that, shall we?