A former pastor whom Time magazine dubbed among the 100 most influential people in the world said it’s “bulls—” that his faith is brought into question now that he’s publicly backed same-sex marriage.
Best-selling author and teacher Rob Bell told a British radio host it’s time the church catch up with the “modern world” in accepting same-sex marriage and that questioning the orthodoxy of those who do amounts to “the sort of bulls— that really, really, really pushes people away” from Christianity.
Bell has become a superstar of the emergent church movement, and his Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., was once one of the fastest growing in the country, until his controversial book “Love Wins” created fallout in the congregation and pushed him to move out of the pastorate toward a wider ministry.
But Carl Gallups, pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Fla., and author of the Amazon.com science and religion best-seller “The Magic Man in the Sky: Effectively Defending the Christian Faith,” warns that on this issue, Bell has become “nothing more than a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.”
“Rob Bell says that the real mission and glory of the church is to ebb and flow with whatever culture it is in,” Gallups said in a radio interview last week. “Well, that is the antithesis, that is the exact opposite of what the Scripture commands the church to do. The Scripture commands that we are the salt and the light, that the church is to change and affect the culture around it and to never never, never, never give in and compromise with the culture.
“[Bell's] whole view of Scripture, his whole view of the role and mission of the church is perverted,” Gallups said, “and out of his mouth comes what’s in his heart.”
Bell had appeared on the U.K. faith debate program “Unbelievable?” hosted by Justin Brierley on Premier Christian Radio to discuss same-sex marriage.
“I think it’s time for the church to acknowledge that we have brothers and sisters who are gay and want to share their life with someone,” he told Brierley. “This is a part of life in the modern world and that’s how it is. And that cultural consciousness has shifted, and this is how the world is and that what’s happening for a lot of people, is that they want nothing to do with God and Jesus because they can’t see beyond that particular issue.”
On the question of whether or not homosexuality, however, is a “sin,” Bell said, “I’m not aware that Jesus mentions it. I think you have about five verses that can be read a number of different ways. And there is a large Christian tradition that sees this as there are Scriptures that speak to this, but I don’t think you make it an overwhelmingly (sic) case against it.”
Here again, Gallups, in an interview on “PPSimmons Radio,” said Bell is wrong.
“Jesus did mention it, one time indirectly and a couple of times very, very directly, and I’m surprised that Rob Bell doesn’t know this,” Gallups said. “Jesus speaks a couple of times of marriage, and one place particularly, he goes all the way back and quotes Genesis and quotes the beginning and quotes God’s idea and ideal of marriage from the beginning. … and it’s very clear it’s between a man and a woman. … The only definition he gives is a man and woman, the traditional, historical, biblical definition.”
“When he defines marriage with such exclusive boundaries, there is an indirect reference to homosexual marriage,” Gallups said. “Rob Bell is just absolutely mistaken.”
Gallups, in fact, wrote a column for WND titled, “Did Jesus Condemn Homosexuality?” which details further Jesus’ words on the issue.
For example, Gallups writes, “Three of the four gospels contain quotes from Jesus about the sinful condition of Sodom and Gomorrah and the destruction that the celebration of the presenting sin of homosexuality wrought upon them. One of those quotes equates the sins of Sodom (homosexuality) to the same type of pervasive perversion of Noah’s day (Luke 17:26-30). So, as it turns out … YES, Jesus did speak rather forthrightly, and often, about the sin of homosexuality and the judgment that it brings upon societies that celebrate it.”
Put to further questioning in the U.K. interview, Bell further questioned New Testament writings, penned by the ancient Paul, on homosexual relationships: “Paul didn’t have that cultural framework or conception [of committed same-sex partnerships] operating around him. I think he had men and boys, I think he had temples, I did not think he was talking about what we’re talking about in 2013, which was two, committed people of a same-sex relationship.”
Yet Gallups again argued that Scripture is clear and plain, such as Romans 1:26-27, which states, “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
Gallups speculated there are only three reasons a Bible teacher like Bell would so “twist” the Scriptures: “Either he flat does not know the Scripture at all, [or] somebody very, very close to him is deeply involved in this sin and it’s such an emotional issue with Rob that he is desperately trying to make it right in his mind [or] he himself is somehow involved in this sin.
“These are not accusations,” Gallups clarified, “I’m speculating, but I’m just telling you, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if in months or years to come we discover that this is a highly, highly emotional issue to Rob Bell because of something like this. … Either he just flat doesn’t know how to interpret Scripture or somebody very dear to him, maybe a brother or a sister or a relative or a best friend is caught up in this and he’s trying to justify it or somehow he slipped into this area of sin himself and desperately wants to be justified before God.
“There’s no other logical explanation for it,” Gallups said. “If this man knows the Scripture at all, then he knows this is not correct.”
Gallups’ interview can be heard below:
The original interview with Bell can be seen below: