I caught wind of a scholar by the name of Ben Witherington and his recent posts concerning Rob Bell. One was a couple days ago concerning Rob’s stop in Lexington during week two of his Sex God tour.
One of Ben’s main disagreements with Rob came up during the Q+A session; he disagreed with what he perceives to be Bell’s stance on homosexuality. I can’t speak of it myself, since I can’t remember reading or hearing about Bell’s particular views before this.
First of all, Rob made the blanket statement that you have no moral authority to speak on this issue unless you have gay friends and understand their struggle. While I am all for having pastoral empathy with people and their struggles, on that showing, Paul should never have spoken on this issue at all. This comment by Rob is simply an unhelpful way of silencing important voices in a divisive conversation, and its not helpful. Indeed it goes against the whole M.O. of Rob himself, which is to honor other people’s views and beliefs and questions.
Secondly, Rob then makes an argument from silence which is in fact misleading. The argument is this— “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality”. This is not quite true. Jesus took all sorts of sexual sin very seriously, even adultery of the heart, as Rob admits…
This is only the beginning of a conversation. Read the rest at Witherington’s blog. I’d love to get some feedback on this, since I’ve never been satisfied with any answer to the problem. I fully agree that it should be treated as any other sexual sin, but it seems like Rob is saying more than that during this Q+A (according to Witherington).
Thanks to Poop is Emergent Too for the link.