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11/19/2008

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I think you've missed the mark here a bit regarding the meaning (both strict and contextual). Paul is pleading with the Philipians to abstain from reasonings that have ulterior and malicious desires as the primary motivator. Making a sounnd argument over important doctrinal issues is a virtue. I would caution you about your application of Rob Bell...note I didn't say reading. I've read a good bit of Bell myself and I've come to the conclusion that his writings can be very dangerous for Christians young in their faith or those who don't have a solid grasp of the subjects and issues he writes about. Also most of us not living in the Western U.S. simply lack a cultural filter necessary understand the context out of which Bell writes. Unfortunately Bell has been published, hyped, and marketed to the masses rather than a niche specific audience to which his writings actually appeal. Furthermore I feel that Bell (and others like Leonard Sweet and Doug Pagitt) fit rather succinctly into what John MacArthur calls "neo-orthodoxy".

"Neo-orthodoxy is the term used to identify an existentialist variety of Christianity. Because it denies the essential objective basis of truth—the absolute truth and authority of Scripture—neo-orthodoxy must be understood as pseudo-Christianity...Neo-orthodoxy’s attitude toward Scripture is a microcosm of the entire existentialist philosophy: the Bible itself is not objectively the Word of God, but it becomes the Word of God when it speaks to me individually. In neo-orthodoxy, that same subjectivism is imposed on all the doctrines of historic Christianity. Familiar terms are used, but are redefined or employed in such a way that is purposely vague—not to convey objective meaning, but to communicate a subjective symbolism. After all, any “truth” theological terms convey is unique to the person who exercises faith. What the Bible means becomes unimportant, What it means to me is the relevant issue."

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