Love Holtz

The headline on MSN is just perfect:  Pastor doubts hell, loses job.
...of course he did.  Evangelical doctrine is bigger than God, isn't it?  After posting in favor of Rob Bell's new book on Facebook,   pastor Chad Holtz got canned.  I like seeing the article on MSN, since I think it is the kind of public reality check Christians need once in a while.  Or maybe I'm just a Christian pub.-hound.

My favorite line of the piece was this:
For many traditional Christians, though, Bell's new book sounds a lot like the old theological position of universalism — a heresy for many churches, teaching that everyone, regardless of religious belief, will ultimately be saved by God.
It is a beautiful example of assumptive speech, assuming a kind of dominant cultural viewpoint that doesn't make sense on inspection..  First, it equates evangelicals as "many traditional Christians", though later commenting that the debate is ancient.  What do they mean by "traditional" then?   It explains universalism as a a heresy for many churches, but doesn't define many churches.  Do they mean individual churches, denominations or individual people?  Given Mohler & Piper's comments in the article, I suspect many traditional churches = baptists, *sigh.*  For that matter, the author might have defined heresy, but no.

The reporter does make a point to inform us that the "no hell" posts were really the boiling point for his other posts:
Church members had also been unhappy with Internet posts about subjects like gay marriage and the mix of religion and patriotism, Holtz said, and the hell post was probably the last straw. Holtz and his family plan to move back to Tennessee, where he'll start a job and maybe plant a church.
So there you have it: the internet can cost you a job, what with all its pixelated theology and blogging.  What is sad to me is that there's no report of any church discussion, no debate, no coming together, as if perhaps the Biblical injunction to seek a unity of mind were as important to the church as a particular interpretation of hell.  I don't know, maybe Hotlz was a total dolt with low character, but I want to cheer for him simply for pushing back against the tyranny of the Christian status quo, and I suspect that as a former soldier concerned about church patriotism, he just might be on to something...

Perhaps this will be my last post on Love Wins, I don't know.  These posts are faddish, but I like to trot them out and take a look at current events, if only so we can talk more about them at church.  I'm not concerned about the universalism debate as I am the evangelical stranglehold on power.  Providentially, I have the privilege of working somewhere where old beliefs are challenged and we're not trying to be evangelical.  The whole situation is an opportunity to reflect on the "Evangelical Gaze" and how tied its "truth" is to the power of democratic capitalism - the "system". :)  It doesn't exist, but it is always monitoring and if you express contrary opinions the judgement of the masses is wielded against you structurally;  you get financially and socially cutoff.  If you disagree, you get annihilated.*  (Or at least sell more books?)  You've got to give it to John Piper - the man knows how to influence in the media.
Apparently, his Tweet after Rob Bell's book dropped was;
Rob Bell"

In the meantime, watch what you post, I guess.
(I'm screwed)

* bonus points to anyone spotting the lyric


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