Disagreeing Does Not = Disunity
It’s that time for bottom feeding bloggers, like myself, to weigh in on the whole Rob Bell, “Love Wins” craziness. Ok so maybe I won’t weigh in yet because I haven’t finished reading the book. But what I do want to talk about is the comments that I’ve been hearing in defense of Rob Bell. Sure, some of the criticism that came to him was mean spirited and probably even a little personal. But what drove me crazy were those who saw that some how disagreeing with what Bell wrote instantly meant that those disagree were being divisive in the church. Since when did disagreeing with what someone thought meant we were being divisive?
Rob Bell even wrote in his preference that he wrote the book in order to open the door to conversation. So conversation can not have opposing view? Since when was telling another person that you disagree with them and that you think they are wrong not a conversation? If all the people that we converse with agree with us, we are simply committing intellectual incest.
I am all for peace and unity in the name of tolerance, but tolerance does not mean I can not disagree. The reaction of those who say that the critics of Bell’s book are being divisive and they should seek unity are really misguided. Why can’t part of the conversation be disagreement? To me this shows a larger philosophical problem.
This goes back to my earlier post. The problem is our philosophical commitment to postmodern relativism. In this relativism, truth claims have been reduced to opinions or “perspectives.” There is a drastic difference between the truth of something and the opinion of that thing. For example, if Rob Bell said that he think chocolate ice cream is the best ice cream ever while John Piper thinks that Vanilla is, then these would be their opinions. It simply is a subjective/personal preference. HOWEVER, If Rob Bell says that ice cream is not really ice cream but dirt, and John Piper say that ice cream is still ice cream, ONE OF THEM IS RIGHT! Piper would be right. It doesn’t matter what Bell thinks about ice cream, it still is ice cream. The truth of the ice cream still stands.
In the “Love Wins” situation, Bell is not simply stating his opinion, he is making a truth claim. If it was simply an opinion or another perspective (like the type of music played in church), I would agree that it would be divisive to fight over it. BUT, in this situation, Bell is not simply sharing another EQUALLY VALID PERSPECTIVE, he is making a truth claim about heaven and hell and how “orthodoxy” has viewed it. It is completely fair to disagree, push back, and challenge, especially when there are two opposing truth claims. Both can not be right. One is more valid than the other and part of coming to unity is NOT running from disagreements, but engaging in them for the sake of coming together in one truth.