When evangelical preachers lose their way and turn their backs on biblical Christianity, why is it they end up in the Episcopal Church?
As a preacher who traveled in the opposite direction and left the Episcopal Church 22 years ago—or I should say the Episcopal Church left me—I think I have a clue.
On March 18, the Huffington Post reported that Rob Bell, the one-time evangelical pastor who rejected the core of Christian faith, has endorsed homosexual marriage.
Where was that endorsement made? Surprise, surprise: Grace Cathedral, the Episcopal Cathedral of the Diocese of California. Grace Cathedral is located in San Francisco, the Mecca of homosexuality and all things anti-biblical.
Bell is now living in California, where he’s promoting his book, Love Wins. The book has propelled Bell to a stardom of sorts, even though it rejected a cornerstone of Christian faith—that no salvation is possible except through faith in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, that rejection caused his split with mega-church Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan.
The solid cliff of the Christian gospel that Bell has jumped off is the same cliff that I held fast to when I left the Episcopalian Church. I chose the way of Jesus. Unfortunately, Bell and others have chosen the way of Judas.
“Shock jocks” in the church are not new. They love to make a splash on their way from light to darkness.
In fact, I venture to say that most of them—like Bell and Bishop Spong before him—traveled alongside those in the light, but in reality, were never in the light themselves. They faked their evangelicalism until they could fake it no more. The pressure to be accepted by modern society became too great, and the wolves had to remove their sheep coverings and come out. Then they often found a welcoming audience in the Episcopal Church, who also had long ago given into the need for acceptance from the world.
However, Mr. Bell’s pronouncement of the demise of Bible-believing Christianity may be premature. To be sure, statistics back his assertion that many people are rejecting biblical faith. But that only serves to strengthen true believers.
From the beginning, Jesus taught that true believers would always be small in number, but their impact would be inversely proportional to their size.
After all, martyrdom served as the seed of the church, and it may do that again.
Bell refers to biblical Christianity as a “dying” subculture, but he of all people should know what Jesus said. For Bell once opened the Bible and taught from it.
We know that the sheep and the goats will get mixed up until God begins to separate them. The wheat and weeds will grow together until harvest time, when the angels will bind the weeds and bundle them for the eternal fire.
Therefore those who remain Bible-believing Christians should never panic nor be surprised when we see the weeds revealed. We should not be surprised, but neither should we gloat. Far from it.
It is a tragedy. We should grieve and weep and feel the depth of sorrow for them. May God have mercy on us all.