Rob Bell - Bullhorn Guy Part #1
Rob Bell - BullHorn Guy Part #2
Todd Friel - Response Part #1
Todd Friel - Response Part #2
The above videos are just one example of a larger "conversation" (often more of an argument really) going on in the world regarding God's disposition towards the lost and how should we relate to them. Should we tell people their headed for hell in a hand basket - or that God loves them just the way they are? Which is it?
Perhaps neither approach is correct in and of itself. Yes, God's wrath is on the unsaved. That's clearly understood from scripture and a terrible reality. God's love for the lost is also evident - had it not been, he would have never implemented a plan to sacrifice his only son (Jn 3:16) on their behalf. God can perfectly love and hate those who are lost.
What really troubles me is that the focus of "Evangelism" has been solely rescue from hell and destruction. Don't get me wrong, that is most assuredly a result of redemption - but is it the point? Remember, God created mankind in order to enjoy relationship with him forever! The New Testament calls believers to the "ministry of reconciliation" (2 cor 5:18) - the emphasis being on seeing people reconciled (ie. "brought back together") with God through Jesus Christ (Is. 58-61, Lk 4). As a result, God's wrath is no longer on them, and they don't need to spend eternity separated from God. .
When we simply stand outside and tell people "you suck - God hates you - you're headed for hell!", is that really what reconciling looks like? Would you seek to restore a sibling to your own father by calling them up and screaming "Dad hates you, you'll never see him unless you change!" Is it true? Yes, but just because something is true, doesn't make communicating that truth without love an okay proposition.
On the flip side, we must be sensitive, but courageous and firm in helping the lost see their brokenness if they desire to be reconciled to God (Jn 3:36). There's plenty of loving ways to do this without a bull horn - which is the point I believe Rob Bell is making in the above videos.
So how then should we witness? I propose by the Spirit of God - using the law as often as necessary, but with the right purpose in mind. The law, according to scripture, is just if one uses it justly...
"Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Some have deviated from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion. They want to be teachers of the law, although they don't understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on. Now we know that the law is good, provided one uses it legitimately. We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching based on the glorious gospel of the blessed God that was entrusted to me." - 1 Tim 1.5-11
The law is much like an X-Ray machine. It reveals brokenness, but is powerless to fix it, or like a mirror that can show us our dirt and grime, but itself cannot remove it. Therefore, the right purpose of the law is to show us that we need cleansing. Some people need X-rays to prove to them that they're broken. Others no it the moment they come to the ER! As ministers of reconciliation, we need to be attuned to the Holy Spirit to know what's necessary in dealing with others to bring them along in the process. Love is never optional in this process (1 Cor. 13:1)!
With that in mind, we need to respect that fact that God has gifted the saints differently with various gifts, styles, and yes, even methods. Perhaps if we stop trying to prove everyone else a heretic and ourselves a hero, and follow Christ's command that we love on another, we can spend less time arguing about bull horns and more time reconciling!