How does a so-called "Pastor" stray so far from God? The Bible is very clear that every church needs a shepherd who will feed, and guide his flock to spiritual growth and service for the Lord Jesus. God's Holy Book says a pastor "must hold fast to the sure and trustworthy Word of God as he was taught it, so that he may be able both to give stimulating instruction and encouragement in sound (wholesome) doctrine and to refute and convict those who contradict and oppose it [showing the wayward their error]." (Titus 1:9).
Instead, The Christian Post featured an article showing just how far the "modern Church" has veered off the narrow path. Recently, Oprah Winfrey featured radical churchman Rob Bell and his wife Kristen on her TV show. They were there to promote their new book, The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage. If you guessed that he is pushing an agenda for same-sex marriage, you would be correct. In fact, they state that the Church is just "moments away from embracing gay marriage." And, if you are wondering what in the world "Zimzum" is, you may be surprised to discover that it comes from the observance of Kaballah, the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible. In Hebrew the word Zimzum means "contraction".
First of all, where is God in this Zimzum ... this dynamic energy field between two partners? Does this pastor truly believe that God is going to abandon His part in one of the most important relationships He has ever instituted? Does that sound like the God of the Bible? Doesn't His Word say He is Sovereign? And who is Rob Bell to think that he can 1) re-define God's instruction for marriage, and 2) presume to suggest that God would change (or contract, or pull back on) His position of Authority to accommodate man's cultural desires?
This is what angers me the most about the new crop of "culturally identified" ministers of the Gospel! They no longer separate themselves from the world; and indeed, they cultivate a sympathetic connection with the culture and society, thinking that will make them more relevant and popular. And who better than Oprah Winfrey to help spread the "new gospel"?
What is the basis for his call to redefine marriage? "One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness. Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It's central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with." Presented in this manner, his argument for same-sex marriage becomes all about LOVE. He then asks, how could we, as Christians, deny another human being the opportunity to love?
But he misses the bigger picture. Yes, God designed us in His image; and the God of the Universe seeks not only an intimate, personal relationship (centered in love) with each of us, but desires that we express love to each other. But here's the deal, when it comes to MARRIAGE, He gives us a very specific manner in which to conduct this sacred relationship. And His Word is also very precise about how He feels about sex between two partners of the same gender. But according to Rob Bell and pastors like him, “The culture is already there, and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense [against same-sex marriage], when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone.”
So let me get this straight ... as the Church of Jesus Christ, we should follow the culture? Whatever is accepted of the culture should be adopted and approved by the Church? The Culture now outranks God? As if that's not a big enough slap in the face to us Christians who seek to live God's values in the world, instead of being of the world, Bell has now decided that the word "Christian has so much baggage" that he doesn't wish to question whether his friend and mentor, Oprah, even is one.
These issues of the approval of homosexuality and same-sex marriage are threatening to split apart the Body of Christ. I want to make it clear ... In no way, do I sit here today and condemn a person for being homosexual. That is not my place. And a person's sexual preference does not dictate whether I like them, or whether I am able to love them. (To the contrary, some of my dearest friends are gay and I honestly love them). But I cannot deny what God's Word says, and I cannot compromise my faith and approve of homosexual relationships or same-sex marriage. As a Christian, I must submit to the explicit, straightforward teaching of Scripture, and I will not be coerced to accept an unBiblical position in order to be "culturally acceptable or relevant."
In this short video on the book they wrote together, Rob and Kristen Bell actually paint this picture of what a relationship should be ... about the "pull of dynamic energy" that draws two people together. "The art of marriage is protecting that energy flow because it can become this extraordinary source of life." Of course, this promo is designed to be vague (and non-threatening) about who the partners are, while at the same time, inclusive to embrace people of all gender combinations in this institution called "marriage". Plus, did you notice that the primary "source of life" is the couple, and not God? I don't know about you ... I love my husband more than anything or anyone on this planet, but we both agree that our "Source of Life" (with capital letters) is our Lord and Savior. Without Him, our marriage is earth-bound.
That's how Satan does it ... convincing us that marriage is meant to be about "protecting that energy" between two people, no matter who they are -- then get Christians to question each other about whether they are demonstrating love for their fellow man -- followed by a pastor or two who will accept same-sex marriage from the pulpit, thereby preaching false doctrine -- and, hey, even elect homosexual priests and pastors and clothe them in elegant robes and performing baptisms, weddings and sacred ceremonies.
For instance, Episcopalian Bishop Gregory Rickel is quoted as saying, "Same-sex couples are not asking for special treatment. They are asking for equal treatment. They are asking to be accountable, as a couple, in community. To me, this is a conservative proposal. I am for it..." But here's my question, Bishop ... aren't they forgetting who they are to be accountable to? It's more than an issue of being answerable to each other, or the community in which they live ... ultimately, we all have to be accountable to the One who created us, and who gave us commandments on how we are to live our lives! The modern Church only seems to be concerned with gaining approval from the culture ... nobody is looking UP!!! So, do you see how it will work? Before long, if you are not on that bandwagon, then you, my fellow Christian, will be declared irrelevant and intolerant.
As sorrowful as I am about the apostasy of the modern Church, I am not surprised. That same irrelevant book written 2000 years ago -- the very one that Rob Bell demeans -- told us we would face this. But it also tells us that there will be a True Church that will not falter and will stay faithful to God's commandments. And no matter what Mr. Bell or Oprah Winfrey think, God is still the Supreme Authority and Power in this world and the next. One day they will see His "dynamic energy" and bow before His throne.
For another well-written article on Rob Bell's latest attack on the Bible and the Church, click here.
2 Peter 2:1-2 "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed."