This is the last of three posts attempting to tackle the questions that have been asked of me concerning Rob Bell’s newest book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. This post is an idea has been milling around in my head for a while, and it seemed to fit perfectly to conclude my discussion surrounding Bell’s book. Enjoy.
Heresy is a hush-hush word in today’s Christianity. Postmodern thought has developed to the point that heresy seems to carry with it too much judgment and not enough interpretation.
Rather than openly calling someone a heretic, many will make the claim that interpretations of Scripture and doctrine are specific to the individual, and as long as those beliefs do not directly offensively attack their own, then they are left alone.
I’ll draw my circle around me in the sand. I don’t care how big yours is, so long as you don’t break the line around me.
The early church–even up to the Protestant Reformation–was not like this. There was no, “Well, you think this is right? Fine by me.”
Councils were held. Leaders met. People debated. Scholars prayed.
But, they did so behind closed doors. Councils were called at Nicea, Constantinople, and Trent. Leaders hashed out the tough doctrines that are the cornerstones of our faith today.
There were no blogs. There were no articles. There were no books. There were no interviews. The general public was not invited into these meetings to weigh in their thoughts. Doctrine was debated by those who knew it the best, not by the armchair theologians who read C.S. Lewis once.
Just because they fought behind closed doors didn’t always mean it was pretty. Sometimes scuffles broke out. Most of the time parties left still at odds, some even left the church entirely.
But there was a conference of people dedicated to the preservation of Christianity whose goals were higher than the grasps of man: they wanted to seek God and portray Him as accurately as possible with what limited understanding they had. They were united by the God-man, Jesus the Christ. They acted as one body.
That will never happen again.
Why? Two reasons.
First, because Christianity has splinted into so many different sects and denominations no longer can a Christian council be called because the beliefs of “Christianity” can be painted with one of the broadest brush strokes on the planet. No longer is there enough common ground to debate civilly the core doctrines of our faith. No longer is there enough common ground to call out heresy.
Second, Postmodernity is an epidemic sweeping through culture, philosophy, religion, and life. No one can be called out as being wrong, because that is just your opinion from your perspective. When it comes to theology, opinions are invalid. It does not matter what you think or believe, it matters what the Bible says. Postmodern thought is the death of Christianity.
That is why Rob Bell will never be called a heretic.