Kevin DeYoung: "Two Thoughts on the Rob Bell Brouhaha"



Kevin DeYoung's (not) Rhetorical Questions

In case anyone was curious, Kevin’s “two thoughts” were (summarized):

1.) This is not a Matt 18 issue calling for private response before public airing;


2.) Rob isn’t only asking questions. He’s trying to teach a point using questions as a rhetorical form.


A pity KDY doesn’t take his own advice and actually read the Bible passages he refers to and think and pray about what they mean - instead of just trotting out the old bad news formulations. And where is the love, where is the humility in what he writes about Rob Bell? How sad it is to see an influential church leader write in this way.


Actually, Kevin specifically called out against Calvinists acting like “jerks” against Rob; so he at least recognizes there’s a danger and seems to be at least a little self-critical about wanting to make sure he doesn’t fall into that himself.


I don’t perceive Bell as intending to ridicule these doctrines–merely stating the questions that so many have wrestled with. Maybe just the fact that he dares to question these “sacred” truths, is enough to bring on the charge of “undermining and ridiculing”?

It’s reasonable to believe that a righteous God will be angry about sin, but does he really not see that there’s reason to question and wrestle with ECT and PSA? In the video, I don’t recall Bell questioning God’s wrath at all, just ECT. But to Keith, it seems to mean the same thing.



In case anyone is curious (and since it’s hard to find in the mega-long comments there), here was my comment posted in his thread. (I doubt he read it due to the thread length, so no one should think less of him if he doesn’t answer.)

As someone who has written thousands of pages of apologetics for orthodox trinitarian theism (as well as historical apologetics): I also find something Rob said in that video to be pretty common. “[W]hat gets subtly sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God.”

  Trinitarian theologians of all people ought to know better than to schism between the Persons like that, but this is what the people in the pew often end up learning–and frankly I’ve caught trained theologians saying what amounts to this, too.

  If we’re going to be trinitarian, be consistently trinitarian, and then make sure our soteriology follows consistently. Or (though I wouldn’t recommend it) deny trinitarianism and be a modalist or an Arian of some kind. But don’t go both ways–and don’t deny a precept of trinitarianism in order to bolster a soteriological position. That’s an incoherent theology, and we can be sure we’re not interpreting the scriptures properly (in one or more ways) if that happens.

  I’m saying this because some of the things Kevin has written seem to imply this thing that Rob was complaining about (and not in a question but in one of his declaratives.) And yet Kevin is worried that Rob is saying something that is inconsistent with orthodoxy.

  Would you care to comment on that Kevin? (Or point to where you have already?–it’s a long comment thread. {g}) Which do you find and believe is consistent with orthodox trinitarianism and which is inconsistent?–that the Father does not abandon the Son (no moreso than the Son rebels against the Father), or that the Father abandons the Son?

  That the Son has come to save us from the Father, or that the Son has come (with the Spirit from the Father) to save us from our sins?

  That God is essentially love in God’s own interpersonal self-begetting self-begotten existence as the ground of all reality (and so “Love wins”), or that God is is not essentially love and so is not the self-existent interpersonal Trinity (neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance); or perhaps that God is love this has nothing to do with God being a loving relationship as-and-at the ground of all reality; or perhaps that God is a loving relationship as-and-at the ground of all reality but God is not essentially love?

  That justice has nothing primarily to do with love and/or has primarily to do with hate (and so the Persons of the Trinity are never just to one another, or maybe primarily hate one another as well as love one another); or that justice is primarily and ultimately (even in punishment) about the fulfillment of love and fair-togetherness between persons (like in the eternal unity of the Trinity that grounds all reality against which we sin by being un-righteous, i.e. acting to fulfill non-fair-togetherness unlike the Trinity from all eternity)?

  These and other related issues are directly relevant to whether trinitarian theism is true, and/or to what trinitarian theism uniquely means compared to other propositions of theism. But they also have huge logical consequences in regard to soteriology–including some consequences that Calvinists have historically been staunch defenders of! (But also including some consequences Arminians have historically been staunch defenders of!)

  The basic question is whether trinitarian theologians are consistently interpreting what the scriptures say about salvation and condemnation in light of the Trinity? Or not? (In light of something other than the Trinity?–less than the Trinity?–more than the Trinity??!)


Are they REALLY giants of church history? In God’s eyes? The first ‘christian’ terrorist, an anti-semite, and a conspirator to murder who believed in a sadistic capricious god!
Give me strength!


Was David great in God’s eyes?