Rob Bell’s forthcoming book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, already has begun to cause a stir with the release of two trailers offering teasers of the book’s content. According to the publisher, in this book, Rob Bell “does for the concept of God what he did for heaven and hell in his book Love Wins.”
In the most recently released trailer, Bell compares God to Oldsmobiles, a car that, though once quite popular and reliable, no longer is being manufactured. Bell begins the video by describing the Oldsmobile he used to drive as a 20-year-old. He says it “served him well in those years,” and then continues,
But they don’t make Oldsmobiles anymore. They used to be popular, but the factories have shut down, and eventually the only ones left will be collector’s items, relics of an era that has passed. Oldsmobile couldn’t keep up with the times and has become more and more something of the past, not the future. For them, not us. For then, not now.
For a growing number of people in our modern world, God is a bit like Oldsmobiles.
Things have changed; we have more information and technology than ever. We’re interacting with a broader, more diverse range of people than ever, and the tribal God, the only one many people have ever heard of, appears more and more small, and narrow, and irrelevant, and in some cases just plain mean, and other times not that intelligent.
The former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church continues and shares examples of these allegedly outdated, irrelevant ideas of God. He infers that the issue of women in leadership within the church, which is forbidden as taught in 1 Tim. 2:12, is one that should be reconsidered. He challenges Christian convictions regarding the sin of homosexuality, and appears to belittle those who proclaim the importance of adhering to a literal, six-day creation.
Denny Burk, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, offers his summary of what Rob Bell implies in the video:
The traditional doctrine of God and his ways is as passé as an Oldsmobile. It was good for a time, but now it is no longer relevant. Modernity presents us with new evidence, and that new information compels us to cast aside the ancient faith in favor of a new model. In short, it calls for a revision of evangelical theology. Your belief that pastors should be qualified males must go (1 Tim. 2:12). Your conviction that homosexuality is sin and that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life also must also go (Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 1:26-27). Your belief in the authority of scripture must take a backseat to what science teaches us about “creation” and human origins (Gen. 1:1, 26-27). If you don’t set aside such outmoded beliefs about God and His word, then you are not only irrelevant to modern people, but you are also causing them harm. Source
Many likely will agree with Burk when he says, “The trailer makes the book sound like it will be a total redefinition of the Christian faith.” The teachings of Bell over the years certainly seem to indicate that he has been embarking on such an endeavor for some time. Yet, as Burk also observes,
Bell has already had his coming-out party as a false teacher with Love Wins. Everyone gets it at this point. The novelty has worn-off. What else is there to see here? Source
What We Talk About When We Talk About God is scheduled to be released on 12 March 2013.