Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Who Are We REALLY Worshipping?

There's a lot of internet traffic out there right now about a well-known pastor and outstanding communicator named Rob Bell. Apparently he has a book coming out that says that a loving God would never send people to Hell and as a result Love Wins, the title of his book I believe. Hell is essentially empty.

And while it's tempting to jump into that discussion I'd rather talk about why I think the discussion is going on in the first place.  And I think the reasons do give us something as spouses and parents to consider in our homes and families.

Let me start with a question.  If Rob Bell were not famous, the writer of many books, the principal teacher of numerous videos and a regular conference speaker around the country and world, would we care much about his views on Heaven and Hell?  I doubt it unless we were attending his church or part of his family.

A lot of people care about Bell, however, because he is well known, people look to him for insight and seek out his superb teaching.  And sadly many seem to have also elevated his words, perspectives and even final thoughts on all matters theological equal to those of the Spirit.  And I'm pretty sure that was never Rob's desire nor is it really his fault.

I run into all the time people who also seem close to deifying their favorite speaker, author or teacher: Rick Warren, John Ortberg, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Joel Osteen, John MacArthur, Joyce Meyer . . . the list goes on and on. In their minds what that leader says about anything goes . . . it is THE truth, THE perspective and THE only way to look at the Bible or its implications. The first thing out of many well-meaning Christian's mouths is . . . "Well so and so says . . . " before "This is what the Bible says."

And when that happens we are on shaky ground. Yes, God has given any of us who speak or teach the privilege of teaching the Bible as accurately, clearly and compellingly as possible but none of us has the final word on anything that is not clear and obvious in Scripture. Maybe we've forgotten that.

I wonder if we've not begun to worship more the messenger than the Messiah, the pastor than the Priest, the author than the Ancient of Days.  Do we want to hear the words of the Rob Bell's more than the Word of Life, Jesus Himself?

So that when a Rob Bell stirs the pot about Hell (and he may be totally wrong for all I know), we fear that so many may become confused or led astray because of the thousands of  people who follow and perhaps worship him.  Maybe if we adored our teachers less and our Savior more we wouldn't get so upset when our spiritual heroes aren't quite as perfect as we think.

How about as leaders in our homes we commit right now to keeping our eyes first and foremost on Jesus?  He's the only Savior, the only one who died for the world and the ultimate author of truth.  Teach that, model it and speak about it in your home.  Perhaps we need to do a better job of balancing our own personal study and worship with that of listening to our favorites and expecting them to feed us.

Second, how about we pray more for our leaders, pastors, teachers and preachers that they remain humble, authentic and students of the Word?  Let's let even famous people be human.  Yes, we can challenge and disagree where necessary but we can still respect them as fellow believers and Christ followers.

And finally, let's be loving, no matter what.  We must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), we must model love, we must show others who are watching that love still guides us.  Because as some pastor once said, "Love wins."
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.


  1. Good thoughts, Mr. Sinclair. I especially like the quote "Maybe if we adored our teachers less and our Savior more we wouldn't get so upset when our spiritual heroes aren't quite as perfect as we think." Excellent read, however, I would really prefer to hear comments about the book "might" teach about Hell from someone who has thoroughly read it. There's a lot of decisions being made about this book by people who haven't read a single line of it yet, which I find to be disappointing. If he is a heretic on the doctrine of hell, then so be it. But I would respect that opinion much more if it was not based on guessing. I do, however, appreciate very much your main point, which is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus instead of the people we so unfortunately put on pedastals.

  2. Great thoughts about how we can idolize leadership. Your post reminds me when Paul finds out some of the Corinthian believers claim to be followers of Paul, or of Apollos, or of Cephas, and asks"Were you baptized in the name of Paul?" In the same chapter he says that God uses the humble to confound the wise. I just love how God levels the playing field. I appreciate you!

  3. Great post! I agree with your main point; being certain we remain true to worship The One and Only, Jesus Christ. Yes, when we put too much of our faith into people they let us down, but Jesus Christ is all sufficient.