Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Martin Bashir: My New Favorite Journalist

You’re creating a Christian message that’s warm, kind, and popular for contemporary culture. . . . What you’ve done is you’re amending the gospel, the Christian message, so that it’s palatable to contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of hell and heaven very difficult to stomach. So here comes Rob Bell, he’s made a Christian gospel for you, and it’s perfectly palatable, it’s much easier to swallow. That’s what you’ve done, haven’t you?

-Martin Bashir


Ed said...

First off, let me say that I think that Bashir creates a couple of false dichotomies with his aggressive questioning.

Secondly, Rob Bell is a slippery little guy. I love his appeal to "well, some people 'in the Christian tradition'" have believed it. That's total b.s. Some people 'in the Christian tradition' believed just about anything you might want to believe. Bell sounds like a pluralist to me. I'm not impressed.

rod said...

Where did that Japan question come from? Bashir suggests that Bell didn't answer his pretend question, by asking it again, but he asks it with different answer choices the second time. He does this throughout the interview, and all the Bell Bashers pretend that that means that Bell is squirrelly. Bashir is pretending that Bell hasn't answered his questions.

Matt Perkins said...

Hey Rod,
As far as I could tell from the interview, Bell didn't really answer questions. He made excuses for himself by claiming to be a pastor as if that gives him some right to pursue heresy to tickle people's ears.

Regarding the disaster in Japan, Bashir did give Bell the same possible answers both times - that either God is not all-powerful or He is not perfectly good. Knowing that Bashir attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC causes me to think that Bashir in reality believes in both God's omnipotence and His complete goodness. But the problem of evil is one which has no easy answers so it was interesting to see what Bell would do with it. For all I know Rob Bell also believes that God is omnipotent and perfectly good and I really don't have much of a problem with the way Bell answered when pressed about the problem of evil. In reality dealing with evil is not a thing that can be done in a few minutes in an interview. I think Bashir opened with this because obviously what's going on in Japan is big in the news right now and it was a good segue into the rest of the interview.

Ed said...

Honestly, I think it was a bit of a trap, and I kind of wondered about his doing that. Yes, Japan is big news, but you can't bring someone on to talk about his book and then hit him with this (standard atheistic) "not loving or not all powerful" thing.

Bashir's questioning in general seemed to lack nuance. He was very polar about things, "either it's black or it's white." That kind of simple reasoning is the thing that makes heretics (like Arius) take basic doctrines (like the unity of God) and run with them to unchristian places (e.g. Arianism).

That being said, I did enjoy watching the guy try to fluster Rob Bell, because I think that you and Bashir are essentially correct: he's a cultural accomodationist, from his liturgy to his theology.

Ben said...

I thought it was an interesting interview. For me the biggest take-away was just watching someone ask questions thoroughly entrenched in modernity to someone who wants to be (or maybe is) postmodern.

But yeah, Bell was dodgey and totally full of it when citing the history of the church.

I loved the "why chose Origen and not Arius?" question. I've been asking that since my first year of seminary every time someone goes on and on about how great Origen is.

Brit. North American Freedom said...

A wolf in sheep's clothing if you ask me. Thanks for warning the Church about this guy. En Agape,
Matt. 6:33

Josh said...

The message of hell was so, like 1990's (did you hear my valley girl accent?).

But seriously, is this guy for real? Since he is a pastor, "he deals with real people, with real issues." What do the rest of us deal with us? I'm no pastor but the people in my life are pretty real and I pray to God that they know Jesus before they breath their last breath because you don't want to be "assuming" things like how eternity will turn out. Wow.

Matt Perkins said...

Exactly Josh. The problem is that he makes a huge assumption that isn't obvious from Scripture and has only been believed by a handful of historical figures in church history. I don't pretend to know with certainty the eternal destination of those who die. But I know that the Bible says that there is no other name under heaven by which man may be saved than Christ and that those who don't believe are condemned. Therefore I will preach with urgency the Gospel to those who are perishing.

Patricia said...

Hey, sorry to leave an unrelated comment, but I couldn't find any contact information for you. I'm wondering if you'd be interested in a guest post. Drop me an e-mail. Thanks!

Matt Perkins said...

Hey Patricia, your profile doesn't link to any e-mail but if you want to e-mail me my e-mail is: rodan90@hotmail.com