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how to get your ex back he wants to get his stuff back – Last month I interviewed Jim Gilmore for the SkyeBox Newsletter. Part of the dialogue, which I have not published until now, included Gilmore’s responses to my earlier interview with Rob Bell. I’m curious to know which perspective you resonate with more, Gilmore’s or Bell’s. And stay tuned for another surprising interview in the April newsletter. More details are coming soon.

Skye: Rob Bell thinks part of the reason we don’t talk about vocation is that we’re ignoring Gen 1 and 2 and j

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umping straight to the “bad news” in chapter 3. Do you agree?

Jim Gilmore: I don’t agree. His statement in the interview that you did with him — “a lot of Christians have been taught a story that begins in chapter 3 of Genesis, instead of chapter 1″ — struck me as blatantly absurd. I’ve never ever met a Christian who didn’t start with Genesis 1, right along with John 1, for that matter. The very first sentence of the Nicene Creed affirms the first two chapters of Genesis; ditto the Apostles’ Creed. Of course, to the extent contemporary churches no longer affirm and recite the historic creeds… But seriously, today it’s Genesis chapters 3 and 4 that gets downplayed in many circles. That’s the case with most all liberals — and certainly among the prosperity-gospel types.

What do you think of Bell’s call for the church to “ordain everyone”? Are we diminishing other callings and only lifting up pastors/missionaries?

Now, I believe in the priesthood of all believers and that every Christian should be a theologian. But let’s not turn churches into places with all shepherds and no sheep; places full of self-actualizing experts. To me that’s a perfect definition of Hell (a word I capitalize by the way, for its an actual place, like Peoria). To abandon the notion that certain of us are ordained by God to hold church office, well, is there any surer

way to eradicate sound preaching and good teaching in churches than that? As James says, “not many of you should presume to be teachers.” To me, this is just further evidence that business-thinking, especially that of Silicon Valley, has infiltrating organized — make that disorganized — religion. It’s “the cult of the amateur” that Andrew Keen warns about, now permeating Christianity.

Bell says, “What you believe about where the story is headed deeply impacts how you live now and what you believe matters, now.” What role does your eschatology play in your understanding of vocation and mission?

I’m a pan-millennialist — as the old joke goes: it will all pan out. Of course eschatology is important here. And either an over-realized of under-realized eschatology can muck up one’s thinking. But let me also offer this: what one believes now and how one lives now, matters for all eternity, not just in the here and now.

Any other comments that you would like to add concerning the Rob Bell interview?

Where do I start? First his notion of “ongoing creation” is most confusing. And the notion that we somehow “co-create” with God is simply silly. Stewardship provides a much better model for thinking correctly about our role on this planet. I sound like a broken record here, but let me point out that the idea of “co-creation” is one that has been floating around for some time now in business circles — and it’s another example of the corrupting influence of business on our churches. The world would be much better off if we reversed the flow of thought here — and have the biblical idea of stewardship exert greater influence on leaders within the business community.

Secondly, Bell is not the first to point out that “desire” need not be a bad thing. There’s this guy in Minneapolis named John Piper! And may I point out the obvious contradiction in Bell’s remarks here: he says in one breath that it is “destructive” to have people think they are to “deny their hearts” — and then in the very next breath he says Jesus “insists that we can be transformed in such a way that our desires and God’s desires for us become the same thing.” Which is it?

Finally, I would affirm Bell’s admonition to view a broad array of occupations as potential vocations. But I do think he does so in the context of a much too over-realized eschatology. So much so that I fear he has mankind taking on roles that are God’s alone. Or course, that lands one right back in Genesis 3: you shall be like gods.

  • http://wvr.org Jim Wood

    I am in complete agreement with Gilmore. I am very glad you gave him an opportunity to respond.

  • Tim

    I’m with Bell—Gilmore’s moral universe is far scarier than one without God altogether.

  • http://www.charliedean2.com/ Charles

    Hailing from Peoria, IL, I’m deeply offended at the close association of Hell to Peoria. Guess that means I’m voting for Driscoll!

  • Steve

    But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.
    And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. (Matthew 23:8-10 ESV)

  • Karen

    Wish we could combine some of Gilmore’s greater biblical precision in his thinking on issues like the role of a shepherd in the local congregation and on stewardship of creation vs. “co-creation” with Bell’s understanding of the nature of the Atonement and the gospel as the victory of Christ’s self-giving love over sin and death and a rescue operation that demonstrates of the love of God for the world, not an exercise in God avenging His own honor and “satisfying” the demands of His “justice” by the gratuitous punishment of an innocent, but perfect, Divine-Human Victim, which too often, does exactly as as Bell claims–makes it sound as if the message of the gospel is God is rescuing us from God (in some cosmic version of “Good Cop vs. Bad Cop” one wonders?), rather than from our sin and death as the Scriptures teach.

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