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Rob Bell – Not Surprised

Several years ago Rob Bell’s video series was becoming popular.  It was being pushed in the local Christian bookstores and in church literature.  I don’t remember why but I checked out the series I guess mostly just to satisfy my curiosity.  Those were the days before my website so I don’t have recorded what bothered me about Bell’s series of DVDs such as Nooma or his book Velvet Elvis.  That is a nice thing about having this website.  I can eventually go back and remember things I have forgotten.

{Just a side note: My husband dislikes one word titles like the Nooma series which tell nothing about the topic; Rain, Trees, and Dust. He prefers titles like Edwards Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, that tells you something.}

Anyway Rob Bell has a new book out called Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived .  I was surprised at the interest this book has generated but obviously there are many people who still were undecided about about Bell.  Personally this new book just confirms my initial conclusion. So in case you didn’t know I don’t recommend Rob Bell and believe he is not preaching the Biblical Gospel.

The important thing to know about Rob Bell is how he has twisted the gospel so that in the future you will recognize false teaching from smooth tongued liberal emergents. That is very important!

Quotes from Bell himself:

A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided, toxic, and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear. (viii)

It begins in the sure and certain truth that we are loved. That in spite of whatever has gone horribly wrong deep in our hearts and has spread to every corner of the world, in spite of our sins, failures, rebellion, and hard hearts, in spite of what has been done to us or what we’ve done, God has made peace with us.

These [Eucharist] rituals are true for us, because they’re true for everybody. They unite us, because they unite everybody. These are signs and glimpses and tastes of what is true for all people in all places at all times—we simply name the mystery present in all the world, the gospel already announced to every creature under heaven. (157)

Millions have been taught that if they don’t believe, if they don’t accept in the right way according to the person telling them the gospel, and they were hit by a car and died later that same day, God would have no choice but to punish them forever in conscious torment in hell. God would, in essence, become a fundamentally different being to them in that moment of death, a different being to them forever. A loving heavenly father who will go to extraordinary lengths to have a relationship with them would, in the blink of an eye, become a cruel, mean, vicious tormenter who would insure that they would have no escape from an endless future of agony.

If there was an earthly father who was like that, we would call the authorities. If there was an actual human dad who was that volatile, we would contact child protection services immediately.

If God can switch gears like that, switch entire modes of being that quickly, that raises a thousand questions about whether a being like this could ever be trusted. Let alone be good.

Loving one moment, vicious the next. Kind and compassionate, only to become cruel and relentless in the blink of an eye.

Does God become somebody totally different the moment you die?

That kind of God is simply devastating. Psychologically crushing. We can’t bear it. No one can. . . . That God is terrifying and traumatizing and unbearable. (173–75)

We Have Seen All This Before: Rob Bell and the (Re)Emergence of Liberal Theology – Al Mohler

This brings us to the controversy over Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins. As its cover announces, the book is “about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” Reading the book is a heart-breaking experience. We have read this book before. Not the exact words, and never so artfully presented, but the same book, the same argument, the same attempt to rescue Christianity from the Bible.

As a communicator, Rob Bell is a genius. He is the master of the pungent question, the turn-the-picture-upside-down story, and the personal anecdote. Like Harry Emerson Fosdick, the paladin of pulpit liberalism, Rob Bell is a master communicator. Had he set out to defend the biblical doctrine of hell, he could have done so marvelously. He would have done the church a great service. But that is not what he set out to do.

The Blood-Drained Gospel of Rob Bell – Russel Moore

… What caused me to gasp out loud though was Bell’s dismissal of the blood of Jesus.

There’s nothing wrong with talking and singing about how the ‘Blood will never lose its power’ and ‘Nothing but the blood will save us,’” Bell writes. “Those are powerful metaphors. But we don’t live any longer in a culture in which people offer animal sacrifices to the gods.

“People did live that way for thousands of years, and there are pockets of primitive cultures around the world that do continue to understand sin, guilt, and atonement in those ways,” he continues. “But most of us don’t. What the first Christians did was look around them and put the Jesus story in language their listeners would understand.”

On this point, Bell couldn’t be more wrong.

Rob Bell: Universalist? – Justin Taylor

So on that level, I’m glad that Rob Bell has the integrity to lay his cards on the table about  universalism. It seems that this is not  just optimism about the fate of those who haven’t heard the Good News, but (as it seems from below) full-blown hell-is-empty-everyone-gets-saved universalism.

God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins” – Kevin DeYoung (long review)

Love Wins, by megachurch pastor Rob Bell, is, as the subtitle suggests, “a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” Here’s the gist: Hell is what we create for ourselves when we reject God’s love. Hell is both a present reality for those who resist God and a future reality for those who die unready for God’s love. Hell is what we make of heaven when we cannot accept the good news of God’s forgiveness and mercy. But hell is not forever. God will have his way. How can his good purposes fail? Every sinner will turn to God and realize he has already been reconciled to God, in this life or in the next. There will be no eternal conscious torment. God says no to injustice in the age to come, but he does not pour out wrath (we bring the temporary suffering upon ourselves), and he certainly does not punish for eternity. In the end, love wins.

Bell correctly notes (many times) that God is love. He also observes that Jesus is Jewish, the resurrection is important, and the phrase “personal relationship with God” is not in the Bible. He usually makes his argument by referencing Scripture. He is easy to read and obviously feels very deeply for those who have been wronged or seem to be on the outside looking in.

Unfortunately, beyond this, there are dozens of problems with Love Wins. The theology is heterodox. The history is inaccurate. The impact on souls is devastating. And the use of Scripture is indefensible. Worst of all, Love Wins demeans the cross and misrepresents God’s character.

Love Wins – A Review of Rob Bell’s New Book – Tim Challies

Questions matter. They can help you to grow deeper in your knowledge of the truth and your love for God—especially when you’re dealing with the harder doctrines of the Christian faith. But questions can also be used to obscure the truth. They can be used to lead away just as easily as they can be used to lead toward. Ask Eve.

Hell appears to be more about what we do to each other than what we’ve done to God. Bell reads Jesus’ warnings of divine punishment as addressing only the temporal, rather than both the temporal and the eternal. These warnings were for the religious leaders of the day, and had very little to do with some other reality or some other time, he argues (pp. 82-83). Instead, hell is “a word that refers to the big, wide, terrible evil that comes from the secrets hidden deep without our hearts all the way to the massive, society-wide collapse and chaos that comes when we fail to live in God’s world God’s way” (p. 95). There’s no fire and no wrath, at least, none that is extrinsic to us.

Does Rob Bell deny the existence of hell? He would say no. We would say yes. He affirms, but only after redefining. And that’s just a clever form of denial.

And the video of the MSNBC interview of Rob Bell:

Just a note: I didn’t read the book nor do I intend to. Just like I’m not eating spinach from Japan to see if it has radiation, I can trust those who know. 😉


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How Does Your Church Treat the Elderly?

Our family has spent a very busy, weekend visiting nursing homes with violin Christmas music and handing out Candy Canes. But it makes you think, what are the churches really doing for the elderly?

Many of those who are still in the churches feel their church has been stolen from them. It isn’t anything like it used to be. The music is too loud. They don’t know the songs anymore. What happened to dressing in your “Sunday Best”? When did play clothes and beach attire become acceptable for church?

What about those who are in the nursing homes and assisted living? What is the church doing for them? They don’t get the same attention as other groups who aren’t in church? Many churches will have bus ministries to pick up children but fewer have bus ministries for the elderly who are unable to drive.

My family gets alot of attention when we visit churches. We have a child in every age group from teen/college to preschoolers. We just lack a baby. So many of the churches are eager to share their ministries with us.

“We have great nurseries.”
“Fabulous children’s programs.”
“Children’s church until grade 5.”
“Rockin’ youth groups.”
“Youth camps.”
“Youth Church.”

Everyone is so eager to “sell” us their ways to be relevant to our family. The only thing is that if they really looked at us they would see that we don’t look like their typical family. The girls are modestly dressed and the boys aren’t in jeans and T-shirts. We also have more than the typical two children. A good “selling” point would be:

“We have family integrated Sunday Schools.”
“Our youth leader is the parents.”
“We aren’t offended by children in the worship service.”
“If you need to step out we have a Cry Room in back so you won’t miss the service.”

Who’s Emerging for the Widows? Thoughts on Missional Partiality

…who’s emerging for the elderly? What about emerging toward the culture of the convalescent home? What about analyzing the windowless worldview of the shut-in? What about making your life and the life of your church relevant to the local widows? What about becoming all things to those with Parkinson’s, artificial hips, cataracts, failed retirement plans, and no family?

Many today are eager to get tattoos and dress hip and overemphasize technology to “relate” to the surrounding culture, to “connect,” and to “open doors.” But if the majority of these people are truly motivated by a compassionate heart, why aren’t any of our youth dressing like the precious elderly folks in the nursing home? Who’s learning to play bridge and chess? Who’s playing vinyl records and eating at the HomeTown Buffet for no other reason than to open doors?

Shame

Shame on you
for proclaiming to the woman
seasoned with white silver hair
“we’re all about young families now”
and letting her miss church
the place where
she first believed
where she prayed at the altar
and repented once for all …

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The Voice – The New Emergent (Mis)Translation

New Emergent Bible Translation: The Voice

“The Voice,” Dubbed a “New Bible Translation,” Bows in October

Featured writers, scholars, artists and musicians for The Voice include the president of Ecclesia Bible Society and internationally acclaimed speaker and pastor Chris Seay (project founder); Blue Like Jazz author Donald Miller; internationally known speaker and author of over 12 highly acclaimed books Brian McLaren; theologian, author, and futurist Leonard Sweet; and nationally renowned author Lauren Winner. The translation and literary style of The Voice have been checked by biblical reviewers, theological scholars and a biblical archeologist, among others.

Review of The Voice New Testament – Part One – Chris Rosebrough

I recently purchased a copy of this fresh “dynamic translation” of Bible and spent some time doing comparative work with key passages of the New Testament from The Voice, The ESV and the Greek text. Sadly I must report that this new Emergent “translation” is so far off the mark that I think one could reasonably argue that by producing their own distorted version of the Bible the Emergent church has crossed the line from being a ‘movement’ to actually becoming a cult.

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The Shift !?!

I got an email from Slice of Laodicea entitled The Shift is Underway. I would have probably not paid any attention to it except I had just recently seen a local church which has a pastor’s blog named Shift. I am not sure if they are in anyway related but it was interesting to me since I knew nothing about “The Shift“.

Some of the supporters of “The Shift” are:

Al Gore

Marianne Williamson

Deepak Chopra


Willow Creek’s Emergent & Mystical Youth Conference

Willow Creek’s “Shift” Youth Conference 2008 features the emergent & mystical…

A “Shift” Is Coming {Link no longer available}

Such New Age luminaries as Marianne Williamson, Dennis Kucinich and Deepak Chopra are featured on this short film, The Shift. (Note the title.) Brian McLaren’s site is called DeepShift.org. They’re all about a shift into a new paradigm.


Turns out I did know about this from Oprah and Tolle earlier this year. I just did not realize that “The Shift” was a movement and an upcoming movie.

Paul Proctor’s OPRAH AND THE GOSPEL OF ME had mentioned them together way back in April.

If you break it all down, the New Age is, at its core, just spiritual narcissism – cloaked in charity, compassion and unity.

Remember this next time you see celebrities, authors, books, movies and commercials promoting The New Earth – The Secret – The Shift and The Moses Code.


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The Emergent Church and the Gospel

“The gospel is not about any merit I have on my own, but is based upon Jesus’ merit alone. It is not what we have done for Jesus, but what Jesus has done for us (Rom 5:19, 2 Cor 5:21, Phil 2:8). In the covenant rainbow sign with Noah, God says He “remembers” never to flood the world this way again, so likewise in the covenant in Christ’s blood, God “remembers” not to treat us as we justly deserve for our sins. The mystery of God has been made manifest in the Person and work of the Son, who frees the prisoners, gives sight to the blind, breaks loose the chains and changes hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. We were taken captive to do Satan’s will and could not escape until Christ set us free. In other words, Christ, in His cross work, does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He lived the perfect life that we should have lived and died the death we should have died, in order to free us so that we might then proclaim His excellencies, make known his gospel and spread justice and mercy to the poor.

But this is not what many of the the most notable characters in the Emerging church (e.g. McClaren, McManus, Bell) mean when they use the term “gospel”; for Christ, in their view, did not come so much as a Savior, who delivers us from His just wrath, but rather, came to make us “Christ followers”….”

For the rest of this article see:  The Emergent Church and the Gospel


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