I started to watch and review the video of Adrian Warnock’s interview with Rob Bell.
The part I have seen so far shows the reasonable face of Adrian who has “no intention to be hateful to [Bell] or to anyone”, a brother in Christ who shares with me a passion for the Resurrection and the work of the Holy Spirit.
But then I read Adrian’s follow-up post Heaven, Hell, and Rob Bell – How DARE you question God?, and suddenly I saw, or read, a completely different Adrian: one who responds with “How DARE you?” to anyone who questions the received “Reformed” concept of God, a person showing hate and condemnation for anyone who doesn’t preach a God of hate and condemnation.
Adrian quotes some passages from Rob Bell’s book Love Wins which he describes as “verging on blasphemy”. Here is the main one:
Millions have been taught that if they don’t believe, if they don’t accept in the right way, that is, the way the person telling them the gospel does, and they were hit by a car and died later that same day, God would have no choice but to punish them forever in conscious torment in hell. God would, in essence, become a fundamentally different being to them in that moment of death, a different being to them forever. A loving heavenly father who will go to extraordinary lengths to have a relationship with them would, in the blink of an eye, become a cruel, mean, vicious tormenter who would ensure that they had no escape from an endless future of agony. If there was an earthly father who was like that, we would call the authorities. If there was an actual human dad who was that volatile, we would contact child protection services immediately. If God can switch gears like that, switch entire modes of being that quickly, that raises a thousand questions about whether a being like this could ever be trusted, let alone be good. Loving one moment, vicious the next. Kind and compassionate, only to become cruel and relentless in the blink of an eye. Does God become somebody totally different the moment you die? That kind of God is simply devastating. Psychologically crushing. We can’t bear it. No one can.
And that is the secret deep in the heart of many people, especially Christians: they don’t love God. They can’t, because the God they’ve been presented with and taught about can’t be loved. That God is terrifying and traumatizing and unbearable.
So, Adrian, if you reject these words of Rob Bell as “verging on blasphemy”, can we take it that for you God does indeed “become a cruel, mean, vicious tormenter. … Kind and compassionate, only to become cruel and relentless in the blink of an eye”? Is this the kind of God you believe in? If so, how can you profess to love him? Or has Bell hit the nail a bit too much on the head about Christians who “don’t love God. They can’t, because the God they’ve been presented with and taught about can’t be loved. That God is terrifying and traumatizing and unbearable”?
As I wrote in a comment on Adrian’s post (and I credit him with allowing the comment to stand):
Do you love [God], or do you actually hate and fear him, and protest your love out of fear that he might damn you for not loving him? If so I don’t want anything to do with your God.
well argued and positive … I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone whose background is “Reformed” or conservative evangelical and whose faith seems to be somewhat doctrine-centred and dry.
Why do we see such a different Adrian in his new post? The only way I can explain this sudden complete changes of his attitude is that he is suffering from something like dissociative identity disorder, the PC name for a split personality. And he has shaped his God to have a similar disorder, “Loving one moment, vicious the next”. He should see a psychiatrist. Oh, he is one!