Yesterday, Scot McKnight posted an article for discussion. It centres around a recent article published by Rob Bell’s editor at HarperOne, Mickey Maudlin.
The article by Maudlin starts off this way:
Nothing makes me more proud than to see a book I edited reach a wide audience. By that measure, I should be beaming over Rob Bell’s Love Wins. And I am. Not only has it spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list (as of this writing), Rob has personally heard from hundreds of readers about how his book has been “a cure,” “healing,” “a lifesaver,” or has allowed them to connect or reconnect with the church.
Still, I cannot shake a deep sadness about the book. Considering how corrosive the effects can be on those who have been told they are “special” or that they are “God’s voice for a generation,” I was pleasantly surprised at the beginning of our work together to discover Rob to be a great listener and partner, eager for feedback, a hard worker, fun, and deeply grounded spiritually. He knew what God wanted him to do, and not do, and what his priorities were. At heart he is a pastor and an evangelist whose ambition is to overcome barriers to the gospel. In that way, he reminds me of Billy Graham.
The article ends with this concluding paragraph from Maudlin:
As a young evangelical, I was socialized to see the biggest threat to the church as theological liberalism. But now I think the biggest threat is Christian tribalism, where God’s interests are reduced to and measured by those sharing your history, tradition, and beliefs, and where one needs an “enemy” in order for you to feel “right with God.” Such is the challenge facing the church today and what the reaction to Love Wins reveals. So the success of Love Wins fills me with both hope and fear. But it has also made me thankful that I work for a publisher that is independent of these church wars and allows us to concentrate on books that offer hope and light. Because, with Rob, I really do believe that love wins.
On his own blog, after posting the article, Scot McKnight then poses this question: Do you think the church is more threatened by liberalism than by tribalism or tribalism more than liberalism?
What do you believe might be a great threat to the church?
[Note: Micky Maudlin’s original article can be found here.]