cuts both ways

Sometimes I’m told that I shouldn’t be critical of Pete Rollins for denying revelation and the resurrection of Christ because his message can reach people that I can’t.  My response is that’s probably true, but what message is he reaching people with?  It does no good to jump into the quicksand to rescue your friend if you forget to bring the rope.  You’ll both drown.

Yesterday a blogger named Ranger posted this comment from my September 3 post on Pete’s writings:  “Honestly, I disagree with Pete, but enjoy his writing. Unfortunately, I read him first because a friend of a friend became an atheist after reading Rollins and thinking that Satre and Camus did it much better, and if this was all Christianity had to offer in response to Existential criticism, then it wasn’t worth believing. I’m sure there was much more to the story, but since it wasn’t a personal friend (and since I now live on the other side of the world), I couldn’t invite them out for a cup of coffee to discuss the historic Christian response to the existential crisis.”

Ranger reminds us that a false gospel not only won’t bring anyone to Jesus, and it may actually drive them further away.

On a personal note, I have the idea that Ranger is living in China, where I spent two wonderful years about 20 years ago.  Ranger, if you’re reading this and that is true, ni zai nar?







5 responses to “cuts both ways”

  1. Absolutely right.

  2. Yeah, but…um… fair trade coffee and peace poles!

  3. Jonathan Shelley

    Z: Now I’m wondering, do postmodern innovators boycott Starbucks because they use free trade coffee and not fair trade, or is fair trade something that only applies to the “what would Jesus do, according to my imagination of who/what Jesus was” crowd? I get so confused on the “rules” of holy living. Why isn’t there some written code I can look to for guidance?

  4. As a reformed kid, I was taught that the Spirit calls/invites us to follow, and it’s our failure to listen to God as well as our human nature that keeps us from following…

    So, blaming Rollins for someone’s eternal salvation seems to miss some good theology offered by the biblical text…

    I’m just saying that the text still matters. As such, Rollins may have stuff to say, but I suspect it’s always secondary to God’s desires… unless of course, Pete knows something that God doesn’t… which I doubt even Pete would suggest… 🙂

  5. Joel

    I like Pete, he’s a nice guy. I just gave him a new catch-phrase the other day that he enjoyed (he’s the James Dean of emergent writers; a rebel without a theology).

    Anyway, I also agree that he can reach people that a more traditional Christian may not be able to, but that’s because he’s abandoned the truth. His “theology” is wrapped up in existential angst and nihilism. There’s really no ultimate hope in what he teaches, other than a “hope in hope.” It seems that just as Gianni Vattimo would say, “I believe that I believe,” Rollins would say, “I have hope in hope.” This is nihilism.

    He’s a great guy and easy to get along with, but that doesn’t mean I’ll start handing his books out to skeptics who are cautious of traditional Christianity.

    (As a side note, for your book on faith you may want to read “Fides et Ratio” by the late John Paul II. I know he was the Roman Catholic Pope and all, but that book actually offers quite a bit in the way of explaining the relationship between faith and reason)

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