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Rob Bell is another in a long list of pastors, theologians and Christian writers who have defaulted to the love motif for resolving what he considers the perceived injustices of the God of the Bible; that is, the God of love who allows humans to suffer eternally in hell.
Most notable in this list of Christian writers is the late Joseph Fletcher, an Episcopal theologian whose controversial book, Situation Ethics: The New Morality, published in 1966, opened the door to social as well as Christian ethical relativism. Fletcher, unfortunately, was only partially right. While attempting to validate biblical love as the means by which all moral and ethical decisions should be based, he ignored other important precepts of biblical truth. The primary flaw in Fletcher's argument was that he failed to define biblical love, other than attaching the Greek meaning of the word agape. Biblical love, even agape love, requires biblical definition within the context of biblical revelation, and biblical love can only be defined by biblical truth. Without absolute truth, love cannot be absolutely defined. As in the case of so many Christian writers who default to the love motif for answering perceived biblical inconsistencies, making love the exclusive fallback position almost always sacrifices biblical truth in the process. The irony is that in doing so, these Christian writers bring themselves down to the level of humanists, philosophers, philanthropists, song writers, celebrities and mystics whose mantra is "What the world needs now is love, sweet love," and promote love as the solution to all the world's ills.
Ted Haggard, the disgraced ex-pastor of a 14,000 member Colorado megachurch, has announced in a press conference that, in spite of a promise not to do so, he is planting a new church in his home town of Colorado Springs. On his website, he writes, "St. James Church is for anyone, and I do mean anyone: Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those who go to Tea Party rallies. If you are straight, gay, or bi, I want to walk through the Scriptures with you. If you are black, white, Hispanic (sic), native American, or a confusing combination, you are welcome here. Those working to overcome their sex or drug addictions, St. James is for you"¦. Adulterers, Ex-con. Everyone is welcome."
Few of us who have followed Haggard's fall of shame in the last few years are surprised by this announcement. And there is a very good reason why: Christian or not, evangelical or not, Ted Haggard is the poster child of a classic pathological narcissist.