Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Ultimate Question Asker

I find nothing wrong with asking a serious, sincere question about God. In fact, even series of questions can lead to provocative, challenging conversations with people. What is most ideal are the times when people ask those questions with honest inquiry instead of those who ask from behind the door of their house on I Already Know the Answer street.

The firestorm this weekend over Rob Bell's new book seems to me to boil down to questions. A quote in yesterday's First Things blog caught my eye. There he quotes Robert Stoner, who had a conversation with a man who was a part of the early days of Mars Hill Bible Church with Bell and is considered to be a close friend. In light of Bell's consistent posture of asking questions, Stoner writes, "That’s the danger of posing too many questions. You may wind up confusing your own friends, if not yourself."

Again, Bell has become known as, according to at least one blogger, a great question-asker, asking all the right ones, but for Stoner and others, people who too many question - and, at that, consecutively like Bell in his video - create more confusion than clarity for themselves and for others. For them, this spiral slide of skepticism ends in sheer rejection and unbelief when one's question-shaped feet finally touch ground. I find this to be a valid concern, so where do we go for a corrective?

I offer no comment on Bell's or others' views of Hell. Many have written on this, including one excellent piece in Christianity Today. What I offer is simply this: Rob Bell may be a great question-asker, but God is the Ultimate Question-Asker. Our constant questions of his character and purpose may eventually lead to confusion, but - if we allow for it to happen - just one question from Him will cut to our hearts and bring complete clarity. Our "did God really say?" is crushed by God's "where are you?" Our "where are you?" is destroyed by God's "what is your name?" Our "are you really loving?" is put to shame by Jesus' "Do you love me?" Our questions of God, no matter how many or rapid fire they may be, will never put God in his place. However, God's questions of us, from just one to dozens in a row as with Job, always put us in our place.

With all the questions you may have, will you let The Ultimate Question Asker ask just one of you today?

By His Grace.


  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Well said. Sounds a bit like you're saying that Systematic Theology is held in check by Biblical Theology.

    As for Rob Bell, I generally like it when people stir the pot and ask dangerous questions. I'm more afraid of playing it safe and having churches full of half-believing half-wits who pad the numbers but add little robustness of faith to the community. When the dust of confusion settles, we'll have greater clarity.

  2. Thanks for the words, brother.

    The stuff on Rob Bell will be interesting over the next couple weeks. The reaction was swift and in many cases wrong. The media has picked up on it, which is rarely, if ever, a good thing. However, these are conversations that need to be had by evangelicals, especially with non-Christians. I hope we are faithful, prayerful, and articulate enough to respond.