Dear Rob Bell: The Church Isn’t Giving an Inch on Gay Marriage

Former pastor Rob Bell recently stated that the church is on the cusp of embracing gay marriage. Owen Strachan has penned an open-letter responding to that claim. Strachan writes:

Rob, you’re a gifted communicator. You drew many folks to your church in Michigan, and now you have a show on Oprah’s network. It’s clear that you’re charismatic, funny, and adept at making complex realities simple to understand.
But—excuse my own attempt at brevity—you’re dead wrong on the church and gay marriage. The church isn’t giving an inch on this issue. Sure, there are scattered congregations who are moving in this direction. But in terms of tens and tens of thousands of local churches from a wide array of denominations filled with people of all races and backgrounds who simply love God’s inerrant Word, we aren’t moving an inch. We’re not scared; we’re not intimidated; we’re not even impressed. We’ve seen this all before.

Read the rest here.


  • Chris Ryan

    This really depends on what you mean by “the Church”. Majorities of Mainline Protestants and Catholics already support gay marriage. Even a majority of Millenial Evangelicals support gay marriage. Granted, many Christians have staked out a moderate position–agreeing that gays should have the civil right to marry but opposing religious recognition. Still its hard to believe that Christians 20 years from now won’t view opposition to LGBT civil rights as they view opposition to interracial marriage today: As a relic of a bigoted past. And I say that as someone who firmly opposes the religious recognition of gay marriage as sinful. Almost inevitably, where the Culture goes, the Church goes.

    • Robert Karl

      With all due respect, this is most ignorant statements I have read. It is true that mainline Protestant churches have acquiesced the gay marriage and agenda but the Catholic Church has never ever flinched from the belief that marriage is between a man and woman. To say otherwise is just ignorant.

  • Don Johnson

    I think Bell’s statements in this case are so weak exegetically as to be embarrassing. Strachan is essentially attacking a straw man, one of Bell’s own making to be sure, but still a straw man.

    Yes, the NT is almost 2000 years old and yes it needs to be understood in its first century cultural context. Why could not Bell say this?

      • Brian Sanders

        “The church will emerge victorious over this vanquished false teaching.” …but only the “true” church!

      • Paul Reed

        Right, just like it emerged victorious over birth control and remarriage. For the churches that haven’t outright embraced homosexuality, nearly all have greatly softened their stance. Remember that it was once a very mainstream position that same-sex sexual contact was regarded as criminal.

  • Christiane Smith

    people who are already viewed as outcasts don’t need to be conquered victoriously

    . . . they need the Christ Who was Himself an outcast among His own people . . . so the Church must find a way to proclaim Him to the ones outside the gate . . . and when the Church gets this right, then there will be a REAL victory . . .

    We are told in sacred Scripture that our whole humanity was cast out of Eden.
    Our Lord founded His Church to proclaim to all ‘outcasts’ that He has come to find them, and that when He finds them, they will be carried to safety on an outcast’s scarred shoulders . . . . the same shoulders that bore the wood of the Cross.

    If the Church serves to make THAT connection, then, the Church will have great reason to celebrate.

  • Jonathan Charles

    of course it is
    as Russell Moore said most Christians live in Same sex marriages
    so when sacrificial male leadership = husband must be homemaker if wife wants to lean in like Sheryl Sandberg wants all women to
    you are giving in
    or just being biblically inconsistent

  • James Bradshaw

    Rob Bell took far more heat for his assertion that there may not be anyone in Hell and that God will eventually save everyone by “irresistibly” drawing the entire human race to Himself.

    I’m not sure why so many found this offensive. It’s simply “optimistic Calvinism”. Instead of God sovereignly ordaining a few to salvation, He ordains and decrees all. It doesn’t deny the existence of evil or the necessity of it being ultimately conquered (or even the role God has in ordering that it come to pass in the first place).

    • Christiane Smith

      Hi JAMES, a point of clarification concerning your comment:

      I don’t think we can say that God played any role in ordering evil to come to pass in a active sense, no, because God is not the author of evil;

      but we can say that God permits evil to exist for now and has been known to bring good out of what was intended by others for evil . . .

    • Gus Nelson

      James: The rub isn’t Bell’s desire that none go to hell, it’s his unwillingness to face passages in the Bible that indicate there is such a place populated by those not covered by the righteousness of Christ. It’s also the lack of any biblical passages which support what you refer to as “optimistic Calvinism.” Bell is just moving further and further away from Scripture and more into Oprahism.

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