I just got done listening to a Gospel Coalition roundtable of biblical scholars and genius’ reflect on Love Wins. How to explain what the GC is…They are the Keepers of the Truth, the orthodox of the orthodox—and I greatly respect them.
They made a number of good points. Tim Keller made the one that most resonated with me, and that was, why the hostility towards traditional Evangelicalism? To paraphrase, he said: “As I understand it, the primary rule of engagement is this: You state your opposition’s case in the strongest possible form, that way your opposition feels they’ve been listened to and they’ll at least take your rebuttal seriously…If I’m going to disagree with my wife, I don’t begin by ridiculing her position, I know that I can’t get anywhere if I do that…when I read the opening chapter to his book I was just honestly hurt by some of the things he said and the way that he said them.” That was very genuine, and I hurt for Tim when he said that.
What troubled me the most in the roundtable was the lack of any acknowledgement that Bell had anything worthwhile to say. If you can’t say that Bell had at least a few constructive and helpful points to make, then I’ll have a very hard time respecting you. Now, I don’t know that any of these men wouldn’t say that, but there wasn’t a hint of it in this 48 minute roundtable. And because of this I was reminded of a wonderful John Wooden quote: “When everyone is thinking the same, no one is thinking.” It’s true that I have an unrepentant iconoclast that lives inside of me, but I still believe that the groupthink present in the roundtable would be apparent to many. Are you serious, there is not one person there with the courage to say, “Well, this was a good point, this point wasn’t so good”?
The one disheartening sentiment I come away from the roundtable is this: We’re not listening to each other—and that goes for Bell and his crew as much as it does for the GC and our ilk.