Here’s Rob Bell explaining why the resurrection as historical fact is really not necessary (from his Velvet Elvis book, approvingly reproduced by a Bell supporter):
it is important to remember that we rarely find these first christians trying to prove that the resurrection actually occurred. for one, a lot of the people who saw jesus after he rose from the dead were still alive, so if people had questions and doubts, they could talk to somebody who was actually there. but there’s another reason: everybody’s god in the first century had risen from the dead. to claim a resurrection had occurred was nothing new: julius caesar himself was reported to have ascended to the right hand of the gods after his death. to try to prove there was an empty tomb wouldn’t have gotten very far with the average citizen of the roman empire; they had heard it all before. this is why so many passages about the early church deal with possessions and meals and generosity. they understood that people are rarely persuaded by arguments, but more often by experiences. living, breathing, flesh-and-blood experiences of the resurrection community. they saw it as their responsibility to put jesus’ message on display. to the outside world, it was less about proving and more about inviting people to experience this community of jesus followers for themselves.
Here’s how Bell’s reader applies the lesson:
people today could care less about the “proof” of our arguments, the “logic” of our evidence that demands a verdict, or our “cases” for faith, christ, easter, christmas or whatever else. the only evidence demanding a verdict people care about these days is how i live my life.
How, exactly, does Cooper’s retweet contradict this? The language is almost exactly the same, down to the emphasis on personal change.
This is why Cooper’s tweet is so foolish. There’s a dangerous movement in churches that look a lot like NewSpring to deny the necessity of the historical resurrection. Cooper’s message to his tweet peeps, many of whom have probably read Velvet Elvis, endorses Bell’s garbage.
UPDATE: Perhaps Cooper really has no idea what kind of doctrinal dynamite he’s playing with here. Earlier this year, one of his blog readers asked:
Brad, what are your thoughts on the whole Driscoll/Rob Bell ordeal that went down around this time last year I believe.
For context, Driscoll called Bell a heretic. Even though Cooper says he listens to Driscoll, he didn’t know what to think:
i definitely have convictions about Jesus… and i definitely have convictions about His Word— and i def think both of these men are being used by God— im not savvy to all the happenings of the Driscoll/Bell stuff.
Bell is “definitely being used by God” for what? An example of error, perhaps?