A church elder from the UK recently blasted the teaching of Rob Bell regarding the issue of homosexual behavior, explaining that he believes Bell is “lowering the asking price” of what it means to be a Christian and is opposed to the fundamental doctrine of “being a new creation.”
Andrew Wilson of King’s Church in Eastbourne, East Sussex had appeared on the UK-based Christian talk show Unbelievable hosted by Justin Brierly, and was joined in-studio by Bell. The broadcast centered around a number of theological topics, and eventually turned toward the issue of homosexuality.
“For you, though, the Bible is clear on this, Andrew, that [homosexuality] is not part of what it means to live a Christian life,” Brierly posed to the preacher. “And so, for you, do you feel that Rob is in some way selling people short if that’s not the answer that he comes to, if that issue is raised at some point about what it means to be a Jesus follower?”
“Yeah, I do,” Wilson said. “Because to me it represents a misunderstanding of [being a] new creation.”
He explained that a number of men in his church that struggle with homosexuality have turned their back on the lifestyle.
“[E]ach one of them is saying, ‘Now, … I die to the old me and rise again to the new me that’s Christ-shaped,” Wilson outlined, “this transformed resurrection life, which is actually a different type of creature.'”
Bell shifted in his seat, appearing uncomfortable.
“It means that a lot of the desires that I have had, a lot of the things which I’ve wanted to do, like Paul did in the season he wrote 1 Corinthians and like Jesus [explained], I put on hold,” Wilson expounded. “I say actually, ‘I die to the things I want in order to follow Christ.’ That’s what it means to rise to new life.”
“We look and say, what does a Christ-shaped new creation look like?” he asked. “As I said, we’ve got gay guys in our church and women as well who have said, ‘For me, I am now dying to my old life, and am being risen again to new life in Christ.’ It means dying to all the acts of the flesh, including some of the sexual things that I wanted to do.”
Wilson then outlined that no matter the sin, those who come to Christ must say no to temptation and yes to what is righteous.
“It means that just like anybody else [that struggles with] greed, desires to slander or to swindle, or any of a number of sins — we say, ‘Those things die with me,'” he stated. “I repent and I get baptized.”
Wilson said that it is dangerous not to present this doctrine as the truth and to rather let people live however they please.
“For me not to put that in front of somebody is to put them at risk of saying, ‘You can have the Kingdom, you can inherit the Kingdom, but if it costs too much, we’ll just lower the asking price…” he stated.
Brierly then asked Bell if he was “lowering the bar” regarding what it means to be a Christian.
“I don’t see any reason to say to [practicing homosexuals], ‘You can’t do that, or you can’t be a part of the church, or you can’t be a contributing member,'” Bell said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
He added that he knows a number of homosexuals and doesn’t think their lifestyle is destructive.
“God gets to define that definition, doesn’t He, rather than my observation?” Wilson shot back. “The Scriptures don’t seem to have [your same] attitude. There are moments in the Scripture — a lot of them — where Jesus said, ‘If anyone wants to follow Me, he needs to hate [his sin].”
“Doesn’t God get to draw that line rather than you?” he repeated. “Why is it that Scripture speaks that way, and the fact that Paul, Moses, Jesus speak that way, why is that not the end of the conversation in terms of defining when something might be destructive and evil…?”