In retrospect a friend asked me to share a few lessons I saw in the Rob Bell, Love Wins debate so I typed them up and figured I would share them here. I was mainly just an observer, and I compiled this list as I watched the debate unfold. Here are 16 lessons that come to mind:
01: The gospel is eternal, but vulnerable, never to be assumed, and never to be left unguarded (1 Tim 6:20, 2 Tim 1:14).
02: Bloggers have emerged as the church’s frontline defense against popular-level theological error.
03: Academic-bloggers, pastor-bloggers, publisher-bloggers, and blogger-bloggers offer key strengths. We need them all.
04: Social media enables bloggers to piggyback and collaborate, resulting in a rapid response to error.
05: Bloggers can quickly and accurately apply revered theological writings (like those by J.I. Packer and D. A. Carson) to rapidly developing debates.
06: Yet there remain a number of online influencers who ‘enable’ bad doctrine. They may not believe it, but they keep it on the table.
07: Slower moving institutions (like SBTS) play the role of confirming blog findings, providing a platform for a follow-up discussion, and ensuring those findings are scattered broadly.
08: It is entirely appropriate to subject brief promotional videos to theological inspection.
09: Justin Taylor is quick, discerning, and gutsy.
10: In serious and timely theological discussions 92.6% of blog comments fail to advance the discussion.
11: Some will declare a 3-word Tweet definitively ungodly but cannot do the same after reading an entire unorthodox book.
12: Identifying false teachers is no good way to “win friends and influence people.” It forces the question: are we addicted to the approval of man?
13: Bogus theology follows a trajectory, meaning that careful discernment requires past experience with a particular teacher. Less experience can lead to unnecessary caution.
14: Discerning pastors, who are short on time, should be regular readers of a few key blogs, especially Justin and Kevin DeYoung.
15: When serious theological debate happens, the national media will be watching, so speak as a bold defender and a humble evangelist.
16: The theological errors of universalism and inclusivism have been around for a long time and will outlive us all.
What did I miss?