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Monday, April 18, 2011 | Comments (62)
“I have as much in common with the performance artist, the standup comedian, the screenwriter, as I do with the theologian. I'm in an odd world where I make things and share them with people." Rob Bell

Rob BellRob Bell’s denial of eternal punishment goes hand in hand with a warped view of the gospel. No wonder. Each error fuels and exacerbates the other. Eliminate every hint of punishment for sin; ignore the wrath of an offended deity; dismiss the demands of divine justice, and you abolish any need for the gospel.

The only hell that exists in Bell’s theology is a state of mind or an earthly experience of suffering that Bell says God wants eliminated. But it’s up to us to live rightly in order to end whatever hell on earth we might suffer. By living the right way we can exchange our earthly hell for a strikingly earthbound sort of heaven.

Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 148: "When people use the word hell, what do they mean? They mean a place, an event, a situation absent of how God desires things to be. Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, slaughter—they are all hell on earth. Jesus' desire for his followers is that they live in such a way that they bring heaven to earth.

In that same paragraph, Bell ridicules the notion that the anguish of eternal hell is a greater and ultimately more serious problem than the afflictions of this present life.

What's disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about Hell here and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth."

In Bell’s view, the reason eternal hell is nothing to be concerned about is because full reconciliation is already accomplished for everyone. Again, all people have to do is live accordingly:

Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 83: This reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling ‘all things, in heaven and on earth, to God. This reality then isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making.”

In other words, the only remedy for Bell’s hell is something like the power of positive thinking. First of all, we must stop thinking of ourselves as sinners:

Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 130: “I can’t find one place in the teachings of Jesus, or the Bible for that matter, where we are to identify ourselves first and foremost as sinners.”

Furthermore, Bell suggests this notion that universal reconciliation is “already true” means Christians should not make any differentiation between believers and unbelievers:

Velvet Elvis, 167: If the gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody.

And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display.

To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to those who are the “un” and “non”, they work against Jesus’ teachings about how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. As the book of James says, “God shows no favoritism.” So we don’t either.”

Bell therefore attempts to shift the emphasis from personal salvation for sinners, to an ambiguous emphasis on this vague hope of universal restoration:

Rob Bell and Don Golden, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, 179: “Jesus wants to save us from making the good news about another world and not this one. Jesus wants to save us from preaching a gospel that is only about individuals and not about the systems that enslave them. Jesus wants to save us from shrinking the gospel down to a transaction about the removal of sin and not about every single particle of creation being reconciled to its maker.”

He turns faith on its head:

Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 124–25: “Who does Peter lose faith in? Not Jesus; he is doing fine. Peter loses faith in himself. Peter loses faith that he can do what his rabbi is doing. If the rabbi calls you to be his disciple, then he believes that you can actually be like him. As we read the stories of Jesus’ life with his talmidim, his disciples, what do we find frustrates him to no end? When his disciples lose faith in themselves…. God has an amazingly high view of people. God believes that people are capable of amazing things. I’ve been told I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I’m learning is that Jesus believes in me. I have been told that I need to have faith in God. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that God has faith in me.”

All those quotations are from sources that have been in print for years. These are not new opinions being floated by Bell for the first time. So when Love Wins denies the heart of the gospel message, as Kevin DeYoung points out below, why should we be surprised?

Kevin DeYoung, “God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of Love Wins”: Bell categorically rejects any notion of penal substitution. It simply does not work in his system or with his view of God. “Let’s be very clear, then,” Bell states, “we do not need to be rescued from God. God is the one who rescues us from death, sin, and destruction. God is the rescuer” (182). I see no place in Bell’s theology for Christ the curse-bearer (Gal. 3:13), or Christ wounded for our transgressions and crushed by God for our iniquities (Isa. 53:5, 10), no place for the Son of Man who gave his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), no place for the Savior who was made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), no place for the sorrowful suffering Servant who drank the bitter cup of God’s wrath for our sake (Mark 14:36).

Ultimately, all of this goes back to Bell’s view of the Bible. Having rejected biblical authority, Bell has set himself up as his own authority.

Bell has never affirmed the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura.

Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 67–68: “It wasn’t until the 300s that what we know as the sixty-six books of the Bible were actually agreed upon as the ‘Bible’. This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true. In reaction to abuses by the church, a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only need the authority of the Bible. But the problem is that we got the Bible from the church voting on what the Bible even is. So when I affirm the Bible as God’s Word, in the same breath I have to affirm that when those people voted, God was somehow present, guiding them to do what they did. When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true. In affirming the Bible as inspired, I also have to affirm the Spirit who I believe was inspiring those people to choose those books.”

Thus, he sees the Bible as merely a human book.

Andy Crouch, “Emergent Mystique,” Christianity Today (Nov. 2004): The Bells started questioning their assumptions about the Bible itself“discovering the Bible as a human product,” as Rob puts it, rather than the product of divine fiat. “The Bible is still in the center for us,” Rob says, “but it’s a different kind of center. We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it.”

“I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible,” Kristen says, “that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again–like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color…”

Consequently, he has no problem ignoring certain parts of Scripture and reimagining others.

Charles Honey, “‘Velvet Elvis’ Author Encourages Exploration of Doubts,” Religion News Service (Aug. 2005): The Bible itself, he writes, is a book that constantly must be wrestled with and re-interpreted. He dismisses claims that "Scripture alone" will answer all questions. Bible interpretation is colored by historical context, the reader's bias and current realities, he says. The more you study the Bible, the more questions it raises. "It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says," Bell writes. "We must first make decisions about what it means at this time, in this place, for these people."

As a result, Bell is comfortable distorting clear gospel passages, so as to escape the unmistakable meaning of the passage. For example, when asked about the narrow gate in Matthew 7:13–14, Bell responded with this novel interpretation:

Rob Bell, Interview with Lisa Miller (March 2011): “I think it’s a great passage because the things in life that matter take incredible intention. And I think it’s a passage ultimately about intention and the power of devoting yourself to something and to somebody. . . . Jesus—I think—is speaking of all the different ways that we lose the plot of what it means to be human. So there was a very real, political climate that He lived in and a number of people said, ‘The thing we are to do as faithful people of God, we are to pick up swords and we are to fight the Romans.’ And He’s like, ‘Okay, the sword thing? We’ve tried that. Let’s reclaim what it means to be a light to the world.’ And He takes them all the way back into their history, which was a narrow way, so I think it works.”

Excerpts like those and many others only reiterate the point that Rob Bell’s gospel is completely antithetical to the true gospel of historic Christianity.

Why would we be surprised at the stance he takes in Love Wins?

John MacArthur (Grace to You)

John MacArthur
Pastor-Teacher


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#2  Posted by Roberto Mercado  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 9:46 AM

Thank you Dr. MacArthur for helping us understand more about this false teacher.

We still need to pray for him and the great number of people who sadly follow him and are lost.

I would also encourage everybody reading this to confront Bell's followers with Paul's teaching: "And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." 2 Tim 2:24-26

#3  Posted by Jim Doyle  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 9:54 AM

Rob Bell is llike Robert Schuller on steroids.

#4  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 9:59 AM

Jim Doyle:

Is that you, out in Chicagoland? If so, I got your "hello" from Alex at the TGC conference. Good to hear from you and hope you are well, my friend.

Travis Allen

#5  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 10:04 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#6  Posted by Linda Lang  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 10:55 AM

He uses the terms "I think" very consistently, doesn't he? That's the problem here, people are being subjected to what he thinks, rather than the Word of God. He reminds me very much of Tony Campolo......

#7  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 11:52 AM

Oh, WOW! I am actually reading quotes from a present day false prophet! At first, quotes from Rob Bell sickens me....but then ever so quickly, I am thrilled I "see" his errors. I see, I see! And then I shiver when I think about Rob Bell's destiny if he doesn't repent. And his poor wife. That is sad. And then I get angry. And then I question,"Was Rob Bell ever really saved?" We have to pray that his followers will have eyes to see. We have to pray they will find a safe place to fall. This has to be hard for so many that have been loyal followers of Bell's.

#8  Posted by Seth Callahan  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 11:53 AM

Rob Bell speaks from a post-modern perspective, which is that people interpret the world through their backgrounds, experiences, and influences. The fact that he begins a statement with "I think" causes me to respect his integrity much more than if if he were to say "Thus saith the Lord."

The fact that he attributes the Bibles goodness not to the text within but the Spirits hovering over the text through the ages means he, in the spirit of Luther, believes in a Bible that is a continually inspired text, even in the hands of the layman, through which God can speak to us all.

The fact that he affirms Jesus's prayer "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," means he is not of an evacuator mentality, merely waiting on the rapture to occur for life to begin, but that he seeks to make life better for people, through Christ, in the here and now. If that's not loving your neighbor, than what is? Think about that.

#9  Posted by Samuel Thermidor  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 12:49 PM

One thing about Hell that differentiates it from this life is the fact that in Hell there is no good expressed towards the rebel. As Jesus described it with the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man could not get a drop of water on his tongue. There is no goodness expressed to the sinner in Hell. In this world all types of good things happen for the unbeliever. They have children, families, taste buds, feel pleasure, can see the beauty in nature, and feel and express earthly love. How can this possibly be Hell? Not only that but the grace of God and repentance and the offer of salvation is extended to the unbeliever. Christ extends His hand towards sinners in the greatest act of love possible as expressed through His death on the cross for the redemption of the wicked. That does not occur in Hell as the rich man asked no longer for any relief for himself, because he realized none was available. Is this hell? I don't think so...

#10  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 12:54 PM

Samuel,

That is an excellent point. Calling life on earth hell is a rejection of God's common grace which every unbeliever experiences.

#11  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 1:18 PM

#8 Posted by Seth Callahan

QUOTE: "The fact that he affirms Jesus's prayer "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," means he is not of an evacuator mentality, merely waiting on the rapture to occur for life to begin, but that he seeks to make life better for people, through Christ, in the here and now. If that's not loving your neighbor, than what is? Think about that."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Affirming Jesus prayer in what manner? Not in the context of that prayer; so does context matter?

How many true believer's are waiting for life to begin? I know of nor have met one. The new life in Christ begins at the moment of salvation as the Apostle Paul affirms in 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.".

Loving your neighbor? The one who tells you the most TRUTH is the one who demonstrates love toward his neighbor. The one who sprinkles half-truths, which are lies are from below is no neighbor, but an enemy of the truth. There is good reason that in all of Scripture there are constant warnings about deceivers or false prophets.

Honestly, I had never heard of Rob Bell until recently, within the past 6 weeks and it doesn't take long to recognize a "fleecer of a false flock" who is getting rich of the backs of the ignorant. I will promise that God will glorify Himself with some converts in spite of this man and they will eventually leave and find a Christ centered church. Amen.

#12  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 3:03 PM

Only believers pray and give thanks to God for their suffering. Unbelievers on the other hand run for cover, ie, "if I can take the fear of Hell away from you, then I can take the fear away from me." Some doubt Christ but some of them, also, doubt their disbelief. In that quiet place, in the back of their minds, doubters of hell surely consider what an eternity in hell would be like should they be wrong?

But those doubters also know they intend on rejecting Christ in order to not give up their independence. So, they make an effort to make it pretty here and now and tell others in order to comfort themselves that hell is here on earth. "See, we have survived hell. You're OK and I'm OK." Fearful people often live in LA LA Land.

How often to we hear that some who are given a diagnosis of a terminal illness are in denial...don't take meds, won't go to the doctor let alone follow doctor's instructions? It's so common.

Plus, do we need another feel good pastor when we've got Joel Osteen? Howdy, neighbor.

You can be a believer and be in denial.....just not about the essentials. I heard John MacArthur say that we live in a world where everybody has their own truth implying that truth is what we make it. NOT! Truth is what is real. If anyone buys the idea that hell is here on earth, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

#14  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 3:45 PM

How true Rebecca, the last 3.5 years will truly be hell on earth. I converse with nonbelievers on some blogs and they deny the existence of hell so perhaps Rob Bell is trying to appease these people. False teachers who water down the message do no man any good by not teaching the whole gospel and the true gospel.

#16  Posted by Andy Cartwright  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 4:17 PM

Hi,

All false teachers were appointed to be false, just like Judas Iscariot, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Rob Bell to name a few and all those men all around the world and even on my side of the world.

Come on now, read 2 Peter 2 it's all about these false teachers. Jude started with mercy, peace and love and ended up talking about false teachers.

We are 90% worldly/religious and 10% saved, is this right? Yes it is right!! Narrow is the way and few find it. There are men on the road of Destruction holding up a sign saying Jesus over here.....wake up.

I thank God for John Macarthur's teachings on the right interpretation of biblical truths. He is in place "for such a time as this".

#18  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 4:51 PM

Scott, I agree. I guess we should ask,"You want the good news first or the bad news? OK, good news first. Jesus saves and He conquered death.Bad news. You're going to hell if you don't believe in Him, repent and accept His grace." Who wants to be the messenger with the bad news? Let's just tell them how much God loves them and let them find out about Hell on their own. Let's not tell them how badly they need a savior. Let's not tell them how depraved they are. Let's not tell them that all they have acquired will one day go up in smoke...literally. Let's give them that liberal, sinner friendly Jesus.

#19  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 5:12 PM

Rebecca, good news first please and by the way lets only talk about the good news probably reflects about 10% that Andy was talking about in his post prior to yours. Pastors are afraid to talk about sin. I am studying Romans right now and I am so glad I am because it reminded me of who I am before grace. And now when I reflect back on a sin I have committed I truly see where my heart was, and it was not pleasant recognizing the motive behind it. A fellow believer said at their church on two different occassions the pastor spoke about sin and afterward both times different people came up and said they would not be coming back because the church was too judgmental. It seems the word of God is offensive. They would rather have their ears tickled then face the truth.

#20  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 6:17 PM

@ #16

You're absolutely correct concerning John MacArthur! (I am not sure what you mean by: We are 90% worldly/religious and 10% saved, is this right? Yes it is right!!)

I get angered with these false teachers, but soon realize they like many other atheists I get mad at will be at the Great White Throne of Judgment weeping. That is a powerful image and a horrible one to see how many became deceived by Satan.

Unfortunately, talking with a man who has made up his mind and believes in no Biblical Authority it is quite hard to use the Bible, against him at least. Prayer is so far the only thing going for a false prophet.

#21  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 6:32 PM

Hi Seth

You post in #8: "The fact that he affirms Jesus's prayer "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," means he is not of an evacuator mentality, merely waiting on the rapture to occur for life to begin, but that he seeks to make life better for people, through Christ, in the here and now. If that's not loving your neighbor, than what is? Think about that."

In the last three posts GTY has presented many truths about Bell and his teachings for us to think about. The Christ he presents is not the Jesus of the Bible, so he is not trying to improve anyones life through Christ. Jesus is not a self help program, or a means to get rich, or a way to get self esteem. If Bell truly loved his neighbor then he would teach real biblical truth. What he is doing is potentially damning poeple to hell. There is only one gospel and Bell does not teach it. The whole notion that every one goes to Heaven usurps what happened on the cross, disrespects Jesus as the propritiation for our sins and seems to me to be a total works based kind of salvation. What Bell teaches, basically is that there are other ways to the Father then through the Son. If Bell truly loved his neighbor, truly loved his family, his flock, etc.. He would repent for the sin of being a heretical teacher, turn away from it and start the process of cleaning this wreckage up through an actual relationship with the Jesus of the inerrant Bible. He would lead his flock in authentic Christianity and not the type of Christianity that he presents, it is not Christianity at all. He would be begging people to reconcile themselves to God like the Bible says to do. I don't think he loves his neighbor at all Seth. What he teaches is cold, hard proof of that. I hope that you test everything that Bell teaches with scripture. I think once you do that then it will be obvious what kind of teacher he is. God Bless

Micah

#22  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 7:39 PM

@19 Scott, the people offended mentioned they thought the church was too judgmental? HA! They were being too nice. More like a two edged sword. They don't like two edged swords. Tell 'em to call it like it is. It's a sword. It slices, it dices, it pierces.

@21 Micah, oh how it would do my heart good to hear Bell repent. Does every religious leader that teaches a false gospel and makes a donkey out of himself like Paul did have to be struck down blind in order to get it? Is this Bell's road to Damascus?

So Bell says,"Thy will be done" and we think he means what it should mean....which means...when Bell says it, it doesn't really mean anything. I mean...sorry, had to get one more in....Bell is already changing scripture and orthodox interpretation. I'm sure what we think "Thy Will Be Done" means now will be challenged by Bell next. I can just hear it now,"What if 'Thy Will Be Done' isn't really referring to God, the creator? What if 'Thy' is really Larry? Then it would be read, 'if Larry will be done!'"

There is power in the word. It speaks for itself. I see no where in the bible where anyone used these kinds of antics to get the message across. No where. There were no gimmicks. Straight talk. Straight truth. And people everywhere from a few to thousands sat at Jesus feet and drank it all in. And they have for a couple of thousand years now.

#23  Posted by Seth Callahan  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 10:36 PM

@21 Micah,

I have a few comments regarding your response:

You said:

"The whole notion that every one goes to Heaven usurps what happened on the cross, disrespects Jesus as the propritiation for our sins and seems to me to be a total works based kind of salvation."

Just a small distinction, Bell does not say everyone goes to heaven. He says everyone "gets" to go to heaven. It may seem similar, but it serves an important point. If our death on earth does not seal our eternal destination, but God continues to offer his love through Christ's victory over death, allowing a chance for response, that is a much different reality than God simply dumping everyone into heaven against their will. It's simply a matter of whether one has a choice after death. Most of us evangelicals have been raised to answer this question in the negative. Bell is simply joining with those outside of evangelical, yet still Christian, tradition who do not limit God in such a way. One's belief on this matter is entirely dependent on how one views the character of God.

Those that subscribe to this view would say that they hold a much higher view of Jesus's work on the cross due to its effect on all of creation rather than a limited atonement.

You also said:

"What Bell teaches, basically is that there are other ways to the Father then through the Son."

This is not what Bell teaches. It is necessary to think about Bell's claims, compare them to Scripture, and come out the other side of the interaction in agreement or disagreement, partial or full. But attributing claims to Bell that he does not make is simply not honest. If Bell is a heretic, call him out for what he says, just as those in Christianity past have done. If he is in error, rightly divide the Word of God to show this error.

Let's be honest and clear about what is being said. Bell claims Jesus's death and resurrection has the potential to redeem all people, even after the point of death. Is this an overextension of the glory of the cross? That is the claim you must decide on.

#24  Posted by Jim Vaughan  |  Monday, April 18, 2011at 11:54 PM

How timely is John MacArthur's book "The Truth War -- Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception". If I may quote, from page 117: "The false church is growing. Waves of apostasy are rolling higher and higher and higher as we move ever closer to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul indicates that the final cataclysmic earthly judgment (the day of the Lord) will be preceded by "the falling away" -- an era of apostasy, and a time of "unrighteous deception" more widespread and more spiritually devastating than anything the world has ever seen. The ages-old war against truth is simply setting the stage for that final, desperate uprising. All of history has been one long, steady march to that goal. It is now closer than it has ever been."

#25  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 12:10 AM

@23 Seth:

So Bell states that everyone "gets" to go to Heaven, that Jesus himself presents us with the Gospel post mortem (correct me if I am wrong but I believe this is accurate) or something similar happens. That is NOT Biblical at all. I could site a mountain of scriptures to prove it's not a Biblical teaching. How do you reconcile 2 Thess 2:11-12 with the idea that everyone "gets" to go to Heaven. The Bible states that God will send unbelievers a deluding influence so that they remain in unbelief, so that they will believe what is false for the purpose of judgement because they took pleasure in wickedness. That does not sound like everyone "gets" to go to Heaven, in fact it sounds like there will be a time in human history where people who have lived in unbelief lose their chance for redemption and continue to follow the antichrist.

You state: It is necessary to think about Bell's claims, compare them to Scripture, and come out the other side of the interaction in agreement or disagreement, partial or full. But attributing claims to Bell that he does not make is simply not honest. If Bell is a heretic, call him out for what he says, just as those in Christianity past have done. If he is in error, rightly divide the Word of God to show this error.

This is exactly what is being done here on this site, GTY has not attributed claims to Bell he has not made and neither have I. The gospel he presents is not Biblical, he apparently has a low veiw of scripture, the Jesus he is teaching is not the Jesus of the Bible. He makes implications about the virgin birth and how it is not essential to our faith. Have you read the last three blogs by JM? How can you claim he is orthodox and not heretical when compared to scripture. Can you back any of his teachings with scripture? How is what he is teaching Biblical at all? How can it be when he teaches that scripture alone is not our guide? When he states it is a human product and not the inerrant word of God.. That statement alone should be enough to prove to you beyond a shadow of any doubt that he is a heretic! What is your veiw of scripture Seth? Do you believe that it is the sacred, inerrant word of God? I sincerely hope so. God Bless

Micah

#26  Posted by Seth Callahan  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 1:53 AM

@Micah,

I have read the three posts GTY have done on Bell, as well as many others online. I find JM's use of quotes and following commentary to be a very interesting take on the material.

I have also read Bell. I finished Love Wins about a week ago. I have not yet taken the time to conduct an in-depth study that many of Bell's questions deserve. Not having the experience of those at GTY, I imagine it will take me quite some time to come to some solid and studious conclusions, but I can tell you right now that I have some problems with Bell and what he says. Namely, this: he's human.

I think it's interesting that, just because I offer a less extreme take on Bell, you assume I support him. I look forward to the completion of my study on the matter when I can say with confidence why I do or do not support his views, but I can tell you that I have recommended Love Wins to many of my friends and family. Like Bell says in the introduction, "If this book does nothing more than introduce you to the ancient, ongoing discussion surrounding the resurrected Jesus in all its vibrant, diverse, messy, multivoiced complexity-well, I'll be thrilled."

I would like to hear your thoughts on the book. If you have yet to read it, then take this verse from below the comment box to heart: Proverbs 18:13 - If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (ESV)

#27  Posted by Stacey Weneck  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 2:16 AM

Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 130: “I can’t find one place in the teachings of Jesus, or the Bible for that matter, where we are to identify ourselves first and foremost as sinners.

What Bible has this man been reading?

Matthew 9:13 "But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Luke 5:32 "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Luke 15:10 "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 18:13-14 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

John 9:40-41 "Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

Luke 13:2-3 " Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

And there is much more!! And that's just in Jesus' teachings...

#28  Posted by Arthur Caputo  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 5:19 AM

Rob Bell has broken the first two commandments in that he has created a god of his own. His views of God are not biblical. He has molded a god to his liking that allows his teaching to tickle the ears of others who really have no desire to conform their lives to authority of God. Shame on him, but he will suffer a stiffer punishment for it. I vote: wolf.

#29  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 8:38 AM

Seth,I have read NONE of Bell's books.But I have read plenty of John MacArthur's sermons,commentaries,Q & A,as well as listen.I trust John MacArthur's teaching.I first heard John MacArthur about 8 years ago.I didn't care for him. Why? I was new & enjoying the delivery,the different styles of varied pastors.

Then,one day,I heard an excerpt from Pastor John & it peaked my interest.It wasn't that it appealed to me or sounded good to me. It was the biblical information he was giving.I had grown tired of style & was rapidly becoming really hungry for truth.I was discovering others that convinced me they were more interested in the truth than a popularity contest.And I began to notice that those passionate for the truth were familiar with one another.I started to hear them speak of these I believed to be presenting the truth.And John MacArthur's name came up in that group of truth seekers.It is true, birds of a feather flock together.

My point of this little testimony is that I embrace what John MacArthur has to say & I don't need to read each & every resource he has read in preparation for any lesson he might present.I believe that he has no hidden agenda,no malice against Rob Bell & would not be so bold to call Bell a heretic had he not read Bell's books, especially Love Wins.Here we have Pastor MacArthur teaching, unwavering, uncompromising the truth of God's word for over forty years in the heartland of trend setters.His integrity has stood the test of time not in the bible belt but in an area where morals of believers & unbelievers are challenged to the point that laws that protect traditional moral values are redefined to fit the cries of a very corrupt society.New legislation regarding the moral fiber of this country often find it's roots there only to branch out across America.

Yet,John MacArthur has been there, presenting God's Word, His truth. I trust his wisdom because he makes me look at the layers & layers of scripture & all the scriptures that relate. He is thorough & complete. I 100 % believe that he has a heart for God & for truth & nothing but the truth will satisfy him.

Now that said,John MacArthur,this man with incredible success in teaching God's Word in what would be a very unique setting for most of us,is warning you & me about Rob Bell.I look & listen to John MacArthur,I listen to Rob Bell. John, Rob. John, Rob. I hear John's wisdom.From Rob, I hear new age, new version. Maybe John & Rob should change geographical locations?

Seth,I started out saying I have read none of Bell's books,only a commentary from a man I trust.I do feel qualified to debate not the book but the references I read here. Question:Does Rob Bell believe or does he not believe that the bible was entirely inspired by the work of The Holy Spirit and does he believe that it is FULLY inerrant? Does he believe it can be 100% trusted?Because if he doesn't,that's problematic cause it's foundational. To not believe the bible reliable is a deal breaker.

#30  Posted by Seth Callahan  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 9:34 AM

@Rebecca,

I hear what you are saying. I, too, am in a quest for the truth of Jesus. Reformed Theology was very attractive to me for several years. I have a pretty good understanding of the inerrancy of Scripture, penal substitution, T.U.L.I.P., complementarianism, and several other RT doctrines. I also believe that salvation is through Christ alone, and one's holding to these doctrines does not confirm one's salvation, just as one's rejection of these doctrines does not deny it.

I think we need to be careful when we claim who we will follow. You may feel a little silly as I point out you didn't mention Jesus one time in your latest post. Let's not get too caught up in who it is that we follow, but Christ.

I am glad you are feeling fed and challenged my JM. I would encourage you to invest some thought in the claims of those that even he marks as a heretic. At the least, the struggle will help you be able to better define what you believe, and have have a richer, deeper faith in Jesus.

#31  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 10:24 AM

#30 Seth, I thought you might bring up my failure to mention Jesus while mentioning John MacArthur. If you read my other comments you will see it is Jesus I exalt. It is John MacArthur that started this blog. I defended him and his integrity to call out and warn others about Rob Bell and would defend any brother of integrity doing so. To have earthly heroes, in my humble opinion, does not take away from Jesus but rather compliments Him if that hero is rooted firmly in God's Word.

You have defended Rob Bell. I guess we both should be careful in whom we defend lest another thinks we hold that person in higher esteem than Christ? I did not notice you defended Christ. So I countered your defense for Bell and his integrity with my defense for John MacArthur and his integrity. Please reframe from doing what you claim others have done to Rob Bell and not divert from the relevancy of what I was saying. In other words, don't answer questions posted to you by starting another discussion. Stick with the topic and the questions I posted please.

I didn't give John MacArthur my time and attention until eight years after I first heard of him. I hardly make a snap decision about under whom I will study. I am probably cautious to a fault. So I am not blindly following John MacArthur with no regard for what he teaches than, I assume, you believe you are as a blind Bell follower or maybe groupie.

I do give attention to whom JM considers a heretic. I'm on this blog, aren't I?

I was vulnerable enough to confess that I have not read Bell's books. You seem the authority here. I asked, so why not answer my question? Does Bell or does he not believe that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and consider it fully reliable and inerrant? That is what John MacArthur believes. Oh, it so happens, that is what I believe too! Someone says black, someone says white. Someone is wrong. That's worth revisiting what we have been taught, by whom we have been taught and what we believe now.

Oh, and while we are on the subject of Jesus, indulge me a little with another question. Who does Bell claim Jesus is? Is He the Way to salvation....exclusively or not? These are yes and no questions. He does or he does not? Whether or not I mention Jesus in any comment has nothing to do with these very critical questions. They won't go away. The answers should provide all I need to know about Bell.~Thanks

#32  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 10:35 AM

#26 Seth, I have listened to Bell and read his work but I am not going to read love wins. I had rejected Bell's teachings months ago and all this blog has done is affirm that I made a sound decision.

You say: I think it's interesting that, just because I offer a less extreme take on Bell, you assume I support him.

Forgive me if I am wrong, but you come across as supporting him, especially when you encourage others to check out his teachings. I asked you earlier how you veiwed scrpture and you didn't answer but i'll assume you veiw it the way I do.. That the sacred scripture is the inerrant word of God.. That the men who wrote it were wholly inspired by God and every single word in it is profitable for correction and reproof... If you view scripture that highly why would you encourage others to read someones book who states that the Bible is not all we need? That in itself was enough for me to turn and run from Bell's teachings.

#33  Posted by Seth Callahan  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 12:41 PM

@31 Rebecca,

I have posted previously on Bell's view of Christ's redemptive work (#23). Through Christ alone people are saved. We are all saying that.

As far as scripture is concerned, MacArthur's quote (Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 67–68) is sufficient, though his commentary on the quote leads me to wonder exactly how MacArthur thinks the Bible was assembled. Was it not assembled by the church over time and agreed upon by councils? Did the Holy Spirit not guide this progression? Does the Holy Spirit not still lead to truth through the word?

@32 Micah,

On inerrancy of Scripture, I affirm scripture as God's true word and revelation to the people of his creation. However, we both must agree that inerrancy of Scripture is not equal to inerrancy of reformed theology. If inerrancy of RT is the claim, that's an entirely different matter worthy of discussion.

On not supporting Bell but recommending his works, I don't shy away from writings of people I disagree with. In fact, I welcome the struggle. As I've said before, different opinions do not hurt. Rather, they help us better define what it really is that we believe about who Jesus is and why that matters to us. Thus, I see a recommendation with caveats verses a marking of heresy as a much more healthy, growth causing way of life.

I do agree with many things Bell says, but not everything. As I have said, I have much to ponder on these matters.

What do you think? Is inerrancy of Scripture equal to inerrancy of Reformed Theology, or do we have the freedom to agree on some things and disagree on others?

#34  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 2:49 PM

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#35  Posted by Steven Hals  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 3:33 PM

Its amazing that some Bible-deniers use the history of the Church putting the 66 books in the common Bible as a method of denying it's God-Breathed inspiration (or more commonly, as conspiracy as Rob Bell seems to indicate) Jesus, Paul, John and others all told how we are to beware of false teachers, and therefore, their false writings.

Back then, there were no videos or sermon CDs, so the primary method of transmitting false teaching (besides false preachers) was writings. No doubt, when false writings came about to churches, those Godly teachers utilized the same discernment we do today. In Love Wins, there is nothing but false beliefs disguised as Christian writings. True Christians reject the false. This was true of the apocryphe, and other early writings that were inconsistent with the Gospels, just as it is true with the writings of Bell, Joel Osteen & other false teachers today.

So those men did what Christians should have done with those other books, disregarded them as uninspired and stayed true to the inspired Scripture. I guess I fail to see the problem.

#36  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 3:35 PM

Seth,

All I was wondering about was your view of scripture, not the theology you hold. Are you asking if we can disagree on certain doctrines? It really depends on what doctrines they are. There are definatley some close handed issues that you must have faith in or your not an authentic Christian. A few of the obvious ones are the trinity, virgin birth, and the ressurection.

There are certain Bible teachers I listen to who I don't agree with everything they teach, for instance I love reading RC Sproul and listening to him, but I am not a proponent of infant baptism. I think that would be an open handed issue. From what I have read of Bell and what has been shown here in these blogs he has twisted some of the close handed issues up. For instance you really can't be a true Bible teacher, in fact I will go so far to say that you can't be an authentic Christian if you don't believe in the Bible. There is no gray area here, it is either sacred and inerrant and everything it says is absolutely true, or it's not and you don't believe in it, or only believe in bits and peices of it and use what you want and leave the rest. The people who just use what they want and leave the rest are not saved. We should pray for men like Bell and his church. God bless

Micah

By the way, I never answered your question, I believe that reformed theology or the doctrines that make up calvinsim is what the Bible teaches. I think people's flesh tend to rebel at the notion that God is also glorified in his wrath just like his love. Once I came to terms with the total depravity of man and the fact that left to our own devices we are constitutionally incapable of choosing God, because of our depravity, then everything else just made sense. I am comforted by the fact that we serve a totally sovereign God. I praise God at the teaching in Eph 1:3-14 that God, before the foundation of the world, in eternity passed chose me in him to serve him. I could keep going but I fear I run the risk of rambling and boring you.. But I believe the Bible is inerrant, I believe the Bible teaches Reformed theology, in addition to that I do believe there are certain open handed and close handed that are to be discussed.

#37  Posted by Ekkie Tepsupornchai  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 4:47 PM

Rob Bell wants to deny that we need to be rescued from the wrath of God?

"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." - Ps2:12

Or that hell is not a separate place but either describes our suffering here on earth?

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Mt10:28

This notion that we should embrace books that challenge our thinking is great except nowhere in Scripture are we ever told to do that with the works of false teachers and false gospels. What Rob Bell is teaching is clearly a different gospel.

"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." - Ga1:8-9

#38  Posted by Liviu Stoica  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 4:48 PM

I have read some excerpts of this dialogue and it intrigued me that there are some Christians that claim attacking the true nature of the gospel is somehow easy peezy lemon squeezy stuff with points we can just agree and disagree upon. We must be able to discern that when a man speaks spiritually is either of God or not. And whoever does not discern that what Rob Bell preaches is of the Devil does not have the discerning capability and must read what the scriptures teach basically about Christ's sacrifice, man true nature, sin, HELL, repentance, inability of man to reach God. I can go on but there are basics just like in a childhood...you got basics like food, sleep, games,etc...get my point, then as time progresses a child goes to school. Anyway these things that Rob Bell is attacking are basics and it goes to me wondering how complacent many are getting with false p reachers all in the name of acceptability? We need to stand up for truth especially when false teachings are being flaunted in front of us so clearly and treated as christianity. It would have been better if this guy Rob Bell would have slapped a logo on his church and call it FALSE Church rather than try to stuff his heresies down a Christian pipe. After all it was Christ that says it would be better to be either completely false and completely true , than to be in-between. This is serious stuff and it is a surmounting effect to many people so called christians that want to change the attitude of the true church and slap yet another logo on it and make it COOL and RELEVANT to today's culture. NEW IDEAS, NEW SPIRITUALITY, NEW AGE. Let's just call it like it is: satanic. Perhaps to blunt but yes, his teaching is satanic and Satan does not creep it noticeably but rather subtly and sneakingly and slowly changes , and changes the true nature of Christ even in a building called a biblical church that has the bible as the main topic of discussion. I hope we all including I have the courage to stand up in the name of Love for God, for His truth, and for His beloved and potentially beloved and guard ourselves against ravening wolves that dress in nice Christian garments , and write nice books, and say nice things, and want only nice things for us. Let's get real.

#39  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 5:35 PM

Seth, is this it in a nut shell? You and Bell don't believe that the Reformers were trustworthy in their handling of The Books, perhaps did not have the help of The Holy Spirit, so Bell, in his personal study and with the help of The Holy Spirit has seen the light? And has a better handle (layman's terms) on God's love? The Holy Spirit is leading Rob Bell to the truth? And the rest of us are blind? Want to make sure I get it. Really trying hard to simplify differences where,depending on which path one chooses, millions and millions and millions of people might lose their hope of an eternal heavenly life with Jesus. This is hardly a simple matter. Someone is messing with others' eternal lives. I can't think of anything more serious. You do believe whomever is wrong, there will be hell to pay, don't you? A false prophet out of this will be revealed and damned. You agree with that, don't you?

#40  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 6:11 PM

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#41  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 7:47 PM

Seth,

Was it not assembled by the church over time and agreed upon by councils?

Depends on what you mean by that. Bell's quote gives a historically inaccurate picture.

His quote is, "It wasn’t until the 300s that what we know as the sixty-six books of the Bible were actually agreed upon as the ‘Bible’. " That makes it sounds like the Bible was created by a bunch of men in a room.

The Bible was not created, established, or assembled. It was recognized by the churches. To make a long history short, the vast majority of the biblical books were universally recognized as Scripture by all churches as they were distributed. Peter makes reference to this in 2 Peter 3:16.

There were a few books that were recognized by the majority of churches but disputed by some. Other books were understood as helpful, but not inspired, and still others were known as spurious.

What happened at 300AD was not the creation of the Bible, but an affirmation of what the Church had already agreed upon.

Liberals love to say the Bible didn't come into being until 300AD. It's demonstrably and historically inaccurate. Unfortunately, Rob Bell is known for using false historical information to make his points.

#42  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 8:57 PM

To add to Gabriel's comment to Seth, I would encourage those interested to pick up a copy of The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity written by Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger. I am currently reading through the book and the author's deal extensively with the claim Seth makes that our NT canon was shaped in the 300s and they thoroughly debunk it.

#43  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 9:18 PM

A lot of questions here, so I’d like to propose one: “Is what we are currently living truly REALITY?” In other words, “Is reality NOW, or is it LATER?” I have lately come to feel that our current lives are a sort of “Litmus test” but not the “true reality” – for when compared with an eternity spent somewhere other than here, this “dot in time” hardly seems to be the “true reality”. Therefore, “reality” comes after death, and according to God’s Holy Word, is either spent in Heaven or Hell. That is the “true reality”. And if that be the case, I consider, “Where will I spend my ‘reality’ = my ‘eternity’?” Well that depends on the outcome of my test. These current lives we are living are merely a foreshadow of our “reality”.

For those who’ve already left this life, they are now experiencing that “true reality.” This is why the false teachers will be dealt with so harshly (2 Pet 2:12-13), for they contribute to leading souls astray (2 Pet 2:14-15), to grieving the Holy Spirit, to displeasing, dishonoring, & even denying God (2 Pet 2:1).

Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like a hokey Rob Bell, proposing unanswerable questions or some “new truth”, but I do see this debate on whether there is a Hell or not as something vitally to be grasped. Yes it is difficult to consider God sending even our worst enemies to such a punishment - let alone someone we love, but I would bet we all know people there right now, & if we have any compassion, the type that Jesus expressed in His lament for Jerusalem (Mt 23:37), then we would value exposing these lies & warning all men of this truth, this reality, of what could be their destiny.

Keep preaching the TRUTH, GTY, one verse at a time!

#44  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 9:39 PM

That is why Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Phil 1:21, and “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me…” And he reminds us that we do not belong to ourselves - we are not our own, “for you were bought with a price….” 1 Cor. 6:20. And John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30.

This life, in a sense, is not reality – it is nothing. Eternity is everything. And eternity with God – in His presence – is the reality I want to experience!

#46  Posted by Eileen Harris  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 9:53 PM

This kind of preaching drives me crazy. Can you imagine some poor soul in a Middle Eastern country reading this nonsense? Can you imagine giving these books "Love Wins" or "Velvet Elvis" to some Christian Soul living in say China, Somalia ect? People, who like Paul, live daily with the knowledge that at anytime they could be attacked even killed for their belief in our Savior Jesus Christ. Imagine how they would feel reading how the Bible may not be the inspired word of God, that Hell is really here on earth and it is our responsibility to bring Heaven down here. Only in this country where we are safe from reprisal could a person believe that this type of drivel deserves serious contemplation.

A Pastor has a very real responsibility not to confuse the flock. I fear that is all Rob Bell does.

#48  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 11:04 PM

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." Romans 15:4

So according to Bell, that scripture can't apply to the Reformists, I guess. Bell asks why a God with the love the bible describes could not overcome a person's sinful heart. That suggests, that if some die without receiving their heavenly reward, then we have to assume or consider or believe, even, that God's love is somehow deficient. We aren't deficient, God is.

Bell gives us two choices, first choice, either believe that God's love is sufficient and therefore, since Love Wins, that although many die without God's grace, because of the power of God's love,those unbelievers eventually crater under the weight of God's love, they melt and become believers.....but they are a stubborn bunch and tough to crack so all that happens after death. It was only a matter of time.

Choice two: Believe that death draws the line. Be a believer before death and live with Jesus for an eternity in Heaven. Don't believe and live eternally in hell. Bada bing bada boom. The catch.If you believe that, you must confess that God's love was not sufficient. Decisions,decisions.

So does Bell have a Holy God between a rock (pardon the pun) and a hard place in Love Wins? I'm sure Rob Bell thinks so.I have to meditate on that idea. Hummmmmm.

#49  Posted by Jeff Bethke  |  Tuesday, April 19, 2011at 11:29 PM

Hey Guys you should check out "Rob Bell-Love Wins (Remake-Jesus Wins) on youtube. epic response to his original video.

#50  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 5:30 AM

To clarify myself, I’m not saying that what you do in this life has no meaning or value. However, if you think gaining fame or power, or money or possessions, or even if you solve some great worldly mystery or discover the cure for cancer or AIDS, realize that in the ‘reality” of eternity, it is meaningless. We will each stand naked before God (for naked we came into this world & naked we shall depart – Job 1:21), we can claim nothing & take nothing acquired here on earth save that of our relationship to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean we can do no good while here, (but remember we are not God, we did not create ourselves, & we were not created to serve ourselves; God created us for His purposes,) in fact Holy Scripture teaches us we were created to “do good works” prepared for us before time began – Eph 2:10, 2 Tim 1:9, Heb 10:23-24. And while we cannot eternally “judge” Rob Bell (for we are not anyone’s judge – Jas 4:12) or others like him, we have been given the tools to recognize the wolves though they be in sheep’s clothing. We can recognize a tree by the fruit it produces (Mt 12:33), and we are taught that those trees which do not produce good fruit will be cast into the fire (Mt 3:10).

To summarize: earthly things – possessions, power, or fame – hold no value in comparison to our eternal reward or punishment. Heaven or Hell is our “reality”, our real home, & how we live this life – for what purpose/for Whose purpose – is an indicator of our eternal nationality.

Jesus was our perfect example – though being God, He considered not His equality with God, but humbled Himself in full obedience – even to death (Phil 2:6-8) but praise God! Jesus conquered death & rose to take His seat at the right hand of the Father (Col 3:1-4). We celebrate that great “reality” this weekend! Happy Easter dear brothers & sisters!

#51  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 6:18 AM

Just to add some fuel to the debate, Gods words are not only true, but also authoritative to the true Christian. We do fully agree with God, because only He is true, good and perfect love. And nothing makes sense without God.

Let me give one example here from Denmark.

A young woman called one of those live national radio programs, where you can ask questions to a panel of 4-5 radio hosts. This woman was pregnant, but her boyfriend left her. Now she could not decide if she should give birth to the baby, and wanted an advice. These radio hosts debated the consequences about 5 minutes, and took a vote among them, and the result was that they advised her to get an abortion.

Rob Bells philosophy is no better than that. With no absolutes, there are only opinions.

#52  Posted by Toby Welch  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 6:46 AM

I don't understand why Rob Bell made heretic beliefs and gave people false hope through his beliefs. That is really dangerous! It isn't what the Scripture, the only authority, taught us to obey and not to change what the Scripture said to itch our hear (2 Tim. 4:3). We must be bold standing in the truth.

#53  Posted by Alan Pearce  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 7:04 AM

A certain test for true believers. Will we go down Bell's path or obey the voice of the Lord (Deut 13:1-5)?

#54  Posted by Seth Callahan  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 7:33 AM

@36,

Micah, I appreciate your cool headed response to a question that just makes many upset. I also like the open-closed hand metaphor and find it important to affirm that Jesus is glorified in his Church and many of her disparate views. I also believe theology and tradition are man made constructions to explain God and his Word. God works through us, works Christ into us, speaks to us through his Spirit, and theology as the result. We have a choice: we can interpret the Bible through our theology, or interpret our theology through the Scripture. The second one is much more difficult. That said, it's good to have a brother who can agree to disagree on some things.

@48

Rebecca, those are the choices Bell, and many others before him, give on the issue of salvation. Although it's clear you disagree, I do think it's important to at least see where people are coming from and why they think that way. Does Bell think that way because he is a totally depraved false prophet in the line of the anti-christ that is attempting to deceive the elect of God, or might he have other reasons?

#55  Posted by Elizabeth Offer  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 7:59 AM

#49 thanks Jeff, I looked at the original trailer of Rob Bell Love Wins on Youtube then Rob Bell love Wins (remake Jesus wins).

It is a good rebuttal of the lies of Rob Bell.

#56  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 8:44 AM

Seth Callahan - You never answered the question - What is your belief on Bible Authority? Are Gods words absolutes?

#57  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 9:18 AM

Seth, if it is clear that I disagree with Bell and how you and others have presented his ideas, his imaginations here, then that brings me peace. It is critical that anyone of us be clear about where we stand on scripture and the final authority of God and His Word. Rob Bell may have a long list of good intentions regarding his book. My mom used to say,"Good intentions aren't worth a pot of beans!" and that's true with Bell as well. She also used to say,"Hell's Bells"! Once again, I should have listened better to my mom!

You ask,"Does Bell think that way because he is a totally depraved false prophet in the line of the anti-christ that is attempting to deceive the elect of God, or might he have other reasons?" What say you, Seth? Just how liberal is God? I mean, can you not be a false prophet if you mention Jesus and His gift of salvation? Are good intentions worth more than a pot of beans? How severely will our Lord deal with the one that errs while shepherding his flock? Is the failure to rightly believe before death a deal breaker with our Lord? Do we need to further consider it? Or are we worried about nothing....being that upon death, for the Love of God, we believe then? Is that truly love? Or does it look like, sound like, walk like the liberalism of today? I think those are all equally fair questions.

With all the comments, it's been reduced down to this for me. Version one, Bell suggests that a God that sentences unbelievers to damnation upon their deaths = a God whose love is weak. So, God is weak.

On the other hand,with version two,a God that gives a second chance after death, is not weak, but shows a greater love. Again, Bell is trying to create a conundrum of sorts. What will we do? If I believe the first version, then I have a weak God (according to Bell)whose love is weak. If I believe the second version, then I have a God with this greater love that wins the hearts of many rather than a few. What to do, what to do?

Bell seems to be telling us what our choices are. You want a God with a weak love? Or you want a God whose love wins? Now, how can you reasonably answer that? It's like a wife that discovers her husband is having an affair and the counselor asks" Do you want a happy husband or a husband that feels confined in and by the marriage?"

It doesn't feel as if I am being challenged by Bell. I feel God is being mocked no matter how Bell or anyone else dress their words. Now I could say, that the Holy Spirit is guiding me but from what I have observed, Bell would in all probability say it's my ignorance.

Even after death, God might not reveal everything to us. But this will be revealed. Without a doubt, we will know the answer. No longer will that simply be a figure of speech......there will truly be no more doubt. God will not have to dumb this down for me!

#58  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 9:46 AM

Yes, Jeff, I echo Elizabeth comments. Great video and to the point. Bell and many....it is how much of society believes ...that God's justice is really a love that is weak.

I say a God that can't have perfect Love,perfect Wisdom,perfect Justice, perfect Answers, perfect Plans all rolled into one God,is a wooden carved out, made in man's image god.

I ask Rob Bell, "do you really want this liberal god whom you've created or the God of the Bible? Those are your two choices."

#59  Posted by Caleb Cook  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 11:23 AM

#54 from Seth says:

Rebecca, those are the choices Bell, and many others before him, give on the issue of salvation. Although it's clear you disagree, I do think it's important to at least see where people are coming from and why they think that way. Does Bell think that way because he is a totally depraved false prophet in the line of the anti-christ that is attempting to deceive the elect of God, or might he have other reasons?

----

, OR MIGHT HE HAVE OTHER REASONS?"

What???

Seth, can you *see* what you are saying with this remark? I think that you are saying in this black and white contrast statement that you just made reveals just where you stand on what Rob Bell is doing here. You are saying that "these other reasons" that Bell has MUST be some kind of unrevealed objective biblical reality that Bell has been shown (under the 'guise of the Holy Spirit) in order for Bell to be saying what he is saying. Especially to be promoting it like he is. (Just like Satan loves him to do.) Please correct me if I am wrong.

Seth, this particular comment demonstrates you have bought into the lies that Bell is putting forward. I assume, (hopefully I am wrong) that it makes you feel good to believe what Bell says about God pertaining to the idea that His grace to sinners may extend past death and that these sinners may still possibly be reconciled to Him in the "after-life". It's like you are giving God extra credit for what the Bible fails to state His grace is already capable of... in other words - you and Rob are saying the Bible got it wrong - God DOES MORE!!! Of course Bell's belief on Bible Authority (his blatant denial of Sola Scriptura) like Rudi has questioned him about already - explains why he feels it is "ok" to think like he does....

Think though Seth, if this is true that God's grace is that W-I-D-E then it was hardly necessary for Jesus' propiciating work on the cross for sinners to be done. One can only come up with this heretical garbage when one loses touch with God's absolute holiness, His perfect righteousness, and the fact He is a just God and that punishment for sin is death.

Apparently, in your ready acceptance of these heretical ideas that Bell is putting forward, you have become blinded to the reality that there just can be no way possible for the historical biblical Christian fundamental truths and these from Bell to co-exist. Bell's ideas aren't just opinions or "slightly off", and if you think that they are, that proves how blinded you are to the absolute truth of Scripture.

There is no compromise either Seth. You can't think that it is possible to just have differing views on these fundamental absolutes that the Bible is so clear on.

Please consider this and if your conscience leads you to pray over these matters then don't hesitate. Hopefully, the Lord will permit and grant you repentance, allowing you to turn back to the Truth and away from this false teacher Bell.

Take care.

#60  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 1:41 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#61  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 4:03 PM

I think those who believe that there is a chance of salvation after death should read Hebrews 3:7-19. I think those verses make it clear that those who don't believe in this life are unable to enter God's rest. They are UNABLE to enter due to their unbelief. These scriptures are a direct warning from the Holy Spirit not to put off until later coming to Christ. He is telling us that there isn't a later oppertunity to do so. It is only our sinful nature that tells us that God isn't as holy as He really is and that our sins aren't as repugnant to that holy God as they really are. I would recommend R.C. Sproul's "The Holiness of God" to get a true perspective on just how holy God really is as well as how repugnant our sins are to Him.

#62  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Wednesday, April 20, 2011at 5:31 PM

What gets me, or at least ONE OF THEM, is that he believes in a sort of post-millennial kingdom where all people are tolerate of each other despite Buddhists and Hindus don't believe in God Almighty or give him praise as His Holiness deserves.

He also believes hell is hell on earth, not a literal hell, but where your mind goes in some obscure place...

His teachings are destructive and people need to read their Bible. I bet a couple hundred years ago things like this may not have happened and certainly not to this degree because of Biblical literacy. I believe it was at Wheaton College where incoming students were given a simple test to put 5-7 Bible characters in order by time....they failed, miserably. These are the people buying into Bell's arrogant gospel of tolerance and 'new thinking' and prosperity gospels.

@ Rick White:

I am planning to read that book, hopefully, next week!

God Bless

#63  Posted by David Cougle  |  Thursday, April 21, 2011at 2:46 AM

One thing I take from all of this is, when Christianity is, to someone, ambiguous, unclear, and more of an "artistic expression" than anything else, I seriously doubt you will be willing to suffer and lay down your life for it.

Practically, when/if persecution comes to America in a big way, Rob Bell and those who follow this type of non-committal theology will not suffer for what they only/somewhat/maybe/kind of/partially believe is true.

That being said, I think in the end that theology like his will be thrown out the window when the rubber meets the road and it's go time. No one is willing to suffer and die for what they don't passionately believe in.

#64  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Thursday, April 21, 2011at 7:57 AM

I had saved in a convenient place on my computer a lesson John MacArthur gave in 1987 called "The Danger of False Teaching". I was saving it for anyone I might personally know that is in a church that has a false theology. I had forgotten about it and ran across it by accident (???) this morning.

Any doubters, any feeling pain for Rob Bell might find this lesson helpful. Thought about giving a few quotes from the lesson but there is just too much good information there for me to choose. It's not the only resource but certainly another resource. A transcript is available to follow along as you listen. If you copy and save as a document, you can highlight what interests you most. I'd be interested in knowing anything anyone finds biblically objectionable in this lesson.

You can find the lesson by entering in the search box Code:55-9.

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#65  Posted by Andy Bailey  |  Thursday, April 21, 2011at 1:33 PM

Bell is downplaying the seriousness of sin. He must not see sin as a very big deal, and worse, expects that God won't see it as a big deal either. That's why he thinks God won't punish sin and sinners for an eternity in the lake of fire. Or, in other words, that's why Rob Bell thinks that God would not be loving or good if God did punish sin and sinners for eternity.

But the truth of the matter is that God takes sin VERY seriously! Every sin is a personal assault against God; it is treachery and treason against the King! It was so serious that God (Jesus Christ) had to DIE in order to pay for the sins of those He elected. The blood of innocent, blemish-less animals was not enough!

Bell is throwing the responsibility of the predicament that man is in off on God! Bell is like the driver of a speeding car, blaming the police officer for writing him a ticket instead of taking responsibility and saying "Yes, I was wrong for speeding."

Instead of admitting that he and everyone else in this world is wrong, evil, and without excuse for sinning against God, Rob Bell is trying to make God out to be the "bad guy", or weak, or unloving for punishing sin. So Bell had to create a god that will eventually allow all into heaven. He is deceiving many, who will die in their sins and be punished in hell for eternity unless they repent of their sins and trust in Jesus. Jesus said that it would be better for a millstone to be hung around your neck and be drown than to cause a child in Christ to sin. Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2. Rob Bell is promoting sin, saying that God is not going to punish sin the way He promised, saying that you can live a life of sin and unbelief and God will forgive you after you die. I certainly wouldn't want to be in his shoes when he stands before God on Judgment Day - if Jesus meant what He said, Bell is in deep trouble! It makes me fearful to even think about it all!

#66  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Thursday, April 21, 2011at 4:27 PM

Amen, Andy Bailey, what a truly powerful post. I think you speak for most all of us here.

God Bless,

Mary

#67  Posted by Wee Kiat Lee  |  Friday, April 22, 2011at 8:02 AM

May we or anyone be cursed if we distort or create another gospel which there is none indeed, except the one written in the Scripture for us through the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:6-10)! The gospel does divide between believe and unbelieve; good and evil ; heaven and hell. If there is no hell, why talk about sin; if there is no sin, why bother our Lord Jesus to die for our sins. If we remember how we had fallen from God's glory (Rom3:23), how fearfully we repented before Him and how gratefully we have received Him and His grace of salvation, are we mitigating the fury of God now and changing the means by which we can be saved so as to preach a 'revised gospel'? Too many preachers today on the pulpit are tampering with the word of God, playing fast and loose with scripture and ripping the text out of context so as to impress men with their ill-prepared sermons. Let us be reminded that we are NOT the MESSAGE but His messengers so let those who preach remain faithful; preach nothing more, nothing less and nothing else except the gospel of Christ!

#68  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, April 22, 2011at 8:52 AM

Wonderfully and powerfully said #67, Wee Kiat Lee!