Thursday, November 01, 2007

Nooma should be MEma

I just struggled through watching Rob Bell’s new Nooma DVD (#18:Name) and I am thinking that the series needs to be renamed MEma as the focus is not on God but on ME. Yes there is truth in the DVD; that we do all too often focus on wanting to be like others and not wanting to be who we are. However, the message is simply psychobabble that we are to learn to be comfortable and accepting of who we are. Yes there is a level where this may be true but at the end of the day we are to seek to be who God calls us to be and that is the message of scripture.

Rob Bell is not alone in proclaiming messages that turn scripture into stories about us rather than about God. He uses the story of Jacob wrestling with God to say at the end of the day Jacob had to simply accept who he was. But Bell stops short, actually as he mentions the sun rising (Gen 32:31) he skips over, because in the passage God changes Jacob’s name to Israel (Gen 32:28). So the whole premise of accepting who you are, your name, is out the window because God changes who He was just as He did with Abram to Abraham and Saul to Paul. We are to seek to be who God wants us to be and we see in scripture that people do not stay as they were but are changed by God to be who He wants them to be and to be used as He wants to use us.

While watching the video my impression was, as the names on the back of the t-shirts flash by, that no matter who you are that is who you are and you need to simply accept it, in Bells words (best I can remember) “good, bad and everything in-between”. But since when we become a believer we are a new creation and the old is changed are we not new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17)? Yes we have a past that we have to deal with but God changes us so that we are not to stay who we are but are to be who God calls us to be and that design is revealed in scripture.

In all of this production there was no call to deny oneself and take up a cross (Matt 16:24) it was all about feeling good about yourself. That is the essence of psychology but then again the video starts out with a story about someone that is in therapy so I guess at least he is consistent. The sad par t in all of this is that many churches get sucked into this sort of man centered theology as the message seems right but as scripture says we all too often seek after what tickles our ears (2 Tim 4:3) or as Judges ends in Jdg 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” For too many King Jesus is not their King so they do what seems right to them.

If you want to preview this it is free here.

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