Rob Bell, former megachurch pastor turned spiritual advisor to Oprah Winfrey, said that the culture is ready to embrace homosexuality and same-sex marriage and if the church hopes to stay relevant, it must accept those relationships and stop looking to the Bible as its best defense.
Bell was recently asked by Winfrey on her network's show, Super Soul Sunday, how close Christian churches are to accepting homosexuality. Bell said they are "close" and warned that if they don't, they will become even more irrelevant than before:
I think 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, 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.
You could say the same thing for a pedophile. The only difference between a pedophile, a gay, and a straight person in this context is their choice of partners. There is also the problem that one is illegal, one used to be illegal but now is not, and one is legal in some contexts.
What is moral, however, is quite another question. Pedophilia is immoral in the eyes of most people, but unfortunately, not all. Gay sex is immoral in the eyes of some people, and unquestionably, in the eyes of God. It is not just 2000 year old letters (inspired by God) that confirms this, but the Old Testament also confirms it and reveals just how much God hates homosexuality in the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and a few neighboring cities.
To suggest the God suddenly started liking homosexuality somewhere between the Old and New Testaments, or between the writing of the Bible and now, is absurd. God's character never changes - you can't improve on perfect. The proliferation of homosexuality in society today, in many countries is a clear indication that the judgment of God is very near.
Winfrey stated the obvious: "You sound really progressive to me."
That's supposed to be a good thing - progressive! Western societies have progressed into ever increasing vulgarity and preoccupation with lust. Just look at the box office results for the first week-end of 50 Shades of Gray. It set a record for the month of February. Oddly enough, the previous record holder for February was The Passion of Christ.
50 Shades is, by all reviews, a lousy movie, yet people were drawn to it because of unbridled lust and a complete lack of sexual morality. That's progress?
And that Bell is. He has long been dubbed a heretic by other Christian leaders for moving away from the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ and into pop-psychology. His best selling books include, Love Wins and Sex God. Bell has also made waves by questioning the existence of Hell and a God of love that would condemn people to be there.
Jesus spoke more of Hell than of Heaven. If He was that concerned about it, then isn't it stupid if we aren't the least bit concerned about it?
Before he moved to Los Angeles and teamed up with Oprah Winfrey, Bell was the pastor of the 10,000-member-strong Mars Hill Bible Church, Grandville, Michigan. He is no longer attending church and says he, his wife, and the group of friends they are "journeying with," are "churching" all the time in service to their surrounding communities.
Bell once said of Winfrey, "She has taught me more about what Jesus has for all of us, and what kind of life Jesus wants us to live, more than almost anybody in my life. Is she a Christian? That word has so much baggage, I wouldn’t want to answer for someone. When Jesus talks about the full divine life, you think, this is what he’s talking about."
So, you are Oprah's spiritual adviser and you don't know if she is a Christian or not? What are you advising her? Are you just making it up as you go?
You are learning about Jesus by watching Oprah not by reading your Bible and seeking His face in prayer. I'll admit that Oprah, like Jesus, has some compassion for hurting people; but Oprah is one of the richest women in the world, if not the richest, and Jesus never knew where His next meal was coming from. Also, Jesus spent time with His Father every morning and obeyed His every wish and command. As Christians we are called to obey the words and commands of Christ; to do so is to love Christ, to do your own thing is to despise Christ.
One definition of sin is, "doing our own thing, rather than doing God's thing". Mr. Bell is going to be very uncomfortable standing before Christ on the great and terrible day.