Post by Ken Schmidt

I hope you are a reader.  Books, magazines, blogs, etc. occupy much of our time.  I have a plea.  Use discernment when reading.  There are many good books out there…and numerous ones that are not so good.  A year ago, I won a free book from a book website I frequent.  When I received the book, I read it and laughed harder than I have ever laughed reading a book.  The problem was that the book was supposed to be a theological memoir of a modern-day prophet.  This is an example of a book that impacted very few people.  It would be a dangerous book if it had wide readership. 

Why bring up this subject?  There are some authors that label themselves Christian who are having a major impact on the church.  They are hip, artsy, anguished.  They are concerned with reaching the lost without offending the lost.  The problem is that they appeal to a broad spectrum of people who are not using discernment.  They are throwing out the offensive or scandalous teachings of the gospel (the exclusivity of Christ is an especially offensive topic).  And they are doing so with deliberate ambiguity.  It is hard to pin them down on any doctrine because they love asking provocative questions (answering them with  more provocative questions) and hate labels. 

This plea comes in light of the newest book by Rob Bell.  In this book, Bell questions the biblical teaching of hell.  He is the most frustrating of all the Emergent authors because he does questions and ambiguity better than any contemporary author.  In this book, he is at his best.  Check out this thoughtful review of his newest book by Tim Challies.  In this review, Challies takes his artistic ambiguity to task.