Rob Bell, among others, has come out as open to Same Sex Marriage (SSM) – but not everyone is on-board with it.
David Fitch (with a Canadian connection) posted this:
Who is Rob Bell speaking for/to in affirming gay marriage? His (former) church? Christians at large? The press? Culture observers? Gay Christians (in Grace Church SF)? Why or who should be paying attention to him? and Why?
More and more I’m seeing Christian leaders who have no congregation/people they’re accountable to (who yet carry media/publishing driven leadership) create division with pronouncements. This results in damage to the church’s wherewithal for witness in a world that sees all this. I don’t know if Rob Bell is to blame (for the media) but I do think we Christians should not encourage this nonsense. (On the other hand, I can listen to the Pope differently because he stands within 2000 years of a tradition so that he cannot make statements without being accountable to it).
When we listen to a Christian leader we should first and foremost look at place of ministry/accountability from which he/she speaks. What say you? agree?
Jason Postma (another Canadian connection) added this:
Newsflash: Neither is Rob Bell is not the first Christian to “come out” in support of marriage equality nor is he single-handedly destroying the Church in sharing his opinion.
I would go as so far as to say that the culture-warrior saber rattling in response to Bell is more divisive than anything else precisely because it serves to marshal support and draw lines in the sand, none of which is helpful for unity or for opening the possibility for a charitable discussion.
I should point out that Postma added many bold posts including:
Question: when did support for marriage equality become a theology boundary that could not be crossed when there remains a robust theological pluralism on things that are central to the faith, like, I don’t know, the atonement, justification, ecclesiology, etc.?
Here is my thought on the issue:
It can be difficult as a local church pastor to speak out on a very controversial issues.
- You feel the weight of your congregation’s expectations.
- You feel a responsibility to your denomination/ ordaining body.
- You feel the pastoral/shepherding responsibility to your community.
Those 3 things weigh heavily on you. SO when you are in the pulpit/in the employment of a local congregation – you might not feel all that free to share where you are on any given issue.
Rob Bell, then, being independent of his official responsibilities and obligations, is free to say what he really thinks – and by doing so – to further the cultural conversation in a way that helps those of us who are currently employed at churches within denominations that may not allow us (at the current time) to say such things.
I, for one, am glad that Rob Bell came out as affirming.
No – he is not employed at local congregation any more. But that should not disqualify him from weighing in on the matter.
In fact, his willingness to do so may be the exact opportunity that some of us who have:
A) a smaller spotlight and
B) responsibilities at a local church
to speak up for something that we have deep convictions about but don’t want to assume our entire congregations are with us is.
What do you think?
Is Rob out-of-line as a out-of-work minister?
How do we give voice to issues that our congregations may not be 100% with us?