I know. I know. I said I was done with this. But, the chatter continues. Trevin Wax floated a link he feels we should consider on Rob Bell, while Founders Ministries advocate, Timmy Brister, deals with the issue in a more generally focused post on hell>>>
Few "heavyweights" from Southern Baptist quarters have weighed in. Drs. Al Mohler and Denny Burk, both of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary gave their take early. Predictably both supported The Gospel Coalition blog squad. I mean, why not? Both are strongly "Reformed" in outlook as is The Gospel Coalition. What remains entirely regrettable is, while one could predict--and even understand--they would support The Gospel Coalition, it hardly follows that thinking men would also support The Gospel Coalition's premature, public hanging of Emergent misfit, Rob Bell, condemning him for theological heresy, heresy they claim he apparently holds in his soon-to-be-released book, Love Wins.
There is a problem--none of his critics have read the book.*
Even so, at least one "heavyweight" from the "other side" has weighed in on the question I raised about the premature web of condemnation for heresy being spun against Bell by TGC & co advocates. Professor Ben Witherington had this to say:
It seems that there are a ton of Christians out there in cyberspace who are prepared to judge Rob Bell before his book has even been published. As I happen to have the same publisher as Rob now has (Harper), I called them today... and the publicist will send me one at the appropriate juncture. It will then be time to critically evaluate Rob’s latest thoughts.
...I must say I am hugely disappointed in people like John Piper and Mark Driscoll, who also haven’t read the book yet, and yet are prepared to condemn Rob— one even saying dismissively— ‘Farewell Rob Bell’.... . And what should be said to them is— shame on you for prejudging a brother in Christ. Shame on you for being prepared to pontificate and judge before you have even read what the man has to say. IS THIS THE SORT OF BEHAVIOR JESUS WOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT? I think not..." (embolden added)
I've got to say, from my standpoint, Southern Baptist educators have no business prematurely entering into knee-jerk assessments of doctrinal pieces no matter how severe the error. Southern seminary could have done what academic institutions do and should do thorough and as exhaustively as necessary--wait to properly, soberly, and definitively offer a response to Rob Bell's alleged heresy in their journal as well as their own writing ministries once the materials to be criticized are actually published and officially available.
In short, my view is, Mohler and Burk should take notes on how to deal with "outing heresy" from Ben Witherington.
With that, I am..
*At least there's stone-cold silence about the book's content from all the critics I've read. I asked Justin Taylor on his site about how it came about he had a copy (at least partial copy) and received no response. This makes it easy to presume, at least to me, Taylor, Burk, and other critics actually may have a copy (or have access to one) and have read the book but won't comment because, well, it's sorta an "under-the-table" copy. Hence it projects a possible presumption which none of the critics desire if, in fact, they don't have a copy...