In a TV special with Oprah Winfrey a while back, Rob and Kristen Bell had the following to say about homosexual marriage and the church:
“Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.”
“Marriage, gay and straight, is a gift to the world because the world needs more not less love, fidelity, commitment, devotion and sacrifice.”
Rob Bell went on to suggest that the church and Scripture are largely irrelevant:
“I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone.”
It is as if he thinks that there were not flesh-and-blood people who were friends, relatives, and acquaintances of the early church leaders and theologians. Apparently the church’s understanding of human nature and society were formed in a sterile vacuum devoid of any real people. (Note: This is one reason why studying history is so critical.)
That’s one fatal flaw of modern progressivism: the assumption that modern science and psychology has helped us understand something about human nature that the millennia before us were too ignorant to comprehend. Bell’s inference here is that if the early church had only known what we know today, they would have written and taught differently.
It’s the oldest temptation of human history: to fulfill my own needs and desires while determining for myself what is right and wrong. God becomes irrelevant. All that matters is what I want and that is what I call “good”. That’s an attractive, appealing, and beautiful road in life that ends in calamity.
This worldview championed here by Oprah and Rob Bell is nothing new; it always ends the same way. Augustine of Hippo and, later, Martin Luther, used a phrase to describe this: cor incurvatus in se, a heart curved in upon itself.
That is precisely what Rob Bell is advocating and preaching here: a definition of love that is self-referential and self-oriented: incurvatus in se. When resolving your loneliness becomes the basis of your thinking about relationships, love, and marriage, you have already begun the journey of destructions of others. The more you need others to fulfill your own desires and satisfy your own emptiness, the more they become merely objects to be used. This kind of love is ultimately only thing: the love of self. There is no room for others, not truly. They are only useful as long as they serve some greater purpose in my life. This view destroys personhood, human dignity, and the very idea of relationship itself.
When the heart is curved in upon itself, in time the whole world becomes curved in upon you as well. In this world, love does not win. It is obliterated and humanity destroys itself.
Real, true love is grounded in the recognition that God establishes the order for human relationship and identity. He is the fixed reference point for what is true, good, and right. The only way we can fully and freely love others as we were intended is by anchoring ourselves to that point of reference.
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