Michael Brown

In the midst of his announcement on Sunday that he now supports same-sex marriage, Rob Bell warned American evangelicals to “adapt or die.” His counsel, intended to be helpful, is actually a guaranteed formula for failure and a proven recipe for disaster. In fact, the only way for us to make a lasting impact on the culture and maintain a relevant witness to society is to do the opposite of what Bell advised.

Over the last few years Bell, a bestselling author and former megachurch pastor, has steadily distanced himself from the mainstream evangelical community. Known for asking provocative questions and challenging the status quo, he amassed a large following which has been drawn to his non-dogmatic approach, an approach which I call a “celebration of ambiguity.”

To paraphrase this approach, rather than the leader saying, “This is the way. It is proven and sure. Follow me,” the leader now says, “Who am I to know? How can anyone be sure? Isn’t it narrow and small-minded of us to be so inflexible and dogmatic?”

Somehow, young people in particular have rallied around this mindset, a mindset that has already lost its way before it even starts. Yet losing one’s way is celebrated too: “The destination is not important,” we are told. “It’s the journey that matters!”

Personally, I would rather enjoy a terrible journey to heaven than a lovely journey to hell. Speaking of which, Bell’s 2011 New York Times bestseller Love Wins represented another departure from the evangelical mainstream. In the book, Bell suggested that, to a great extent, hell is here and now, and in the end, everybody will make it into God’s heavenly kingdom.

Last year, speaking at a church gathering in California, Bell stated his belief that you could be a practicing homosexual and a follower of Jesus at the same time, encouraging his listeners to take their focus off of gay-related issues and to look instead at the “truly big problems in our world; that I believe Jesus would us to band together, and tackle together.”

Michael Brown

Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire and is the president of FIRE School of Ministry. His newest book is Outlasting the Gay Revolution: Where Homosexual Activism Is Really Going and How to Turn the Tide. Connect with him on Facebook at AskDrBrown or on Twitter at drmichaellbrown