Mark Driscoll Thinks Rob Bell Is A Heretic?

Christianity Today has just posted an online article featuring Mark Driscoll.

Speaking of Driscoll…The blog world is already ablaze, apparently Driscoll has gone public at Convergent Conference with his belief that Brian Mclaren and Doug Pagitt are heretics, which is old news. But apparently he has now added Rob Bell to that list. Not sure where to go with that. My initial thought is this: I hope Driscoll has discussed his issues with Bell before he went public. That would be pretty immature to slam a guy in public without first speaking to him in private. Of course I was not there, so I’m not exactly sure what Driscoll said.

I’m sure we shall hear more soon.

  • http://travisjohnson.net travis johnson

    Is there a Biblical mandate for Mark to privately approach Brian McClaren, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell or anyone else for that matter who public endorse Biblically unfaithful positions in published books and interviews? I don’t know that there is Scriptural mandate for that.

    With that said, I am glad he so effectively drew a line (as a non-SBC guy) on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ and for contextualized confessional ministry.

  • http://awakening.typepad.com mike

    With all due respect, I believe that the scriptures do invite us to confront a brother in love and in private if we have something against them [Matthew 18]. Whether one sees Mclaren, Pagitt, or Bell as heretical or promoting positions and understandings that appear “unbiblical” is another matter. How we handle those concerns needs to be done in a way the exudes the grace and love of Jesus, as there is a whole host of people watching how we, who claim to be followers of Jesus, conduct ourselves with one another.

  • http://www.kylelent.com/ kyle

    pretty sure it would be immature to slam somebody anyway. good use of your time, mark.

  • http://www.activepursuit.blogspot.com Pat Gillen

    I had the opportunity to be there, and was really impressed with the humility that Mark moved forward in. He definitely didn’t “blast” anyone for the sake of it. He took the appropriate steps to address the questions and answers with the smoothest and easiest ways possible (not always a trend of his).
    Honestly, I was surprised at his humility. Good words. I’m a Bell fan of sorts, too. He brought up some stuff I hadn’t thought about yet – and it’s not as hardcore as Doug or Brian.

  • Nate

    Mike,

    Matthew 18 is in regards to a personal, private issue of sin, where you have been sinned against. (I am all about biblical discipline) But in the case with Driscoll, it isn’t a discipline issue. The issue Driscoll is dealing with is rather an issue of defense against a set of false teachings.

    Mclaren, Pagitt and Bell have clearly made their beliefs a public matter to a world-wide audience. Driscoll doesn’t have a personal issue with any these men (something he made clear at the conference) His objective is simple. To point out to the world-wide audience, the beliefs of these men are wrong. Something the bible is clear we are supposed to do.

    Nate

  • Nate

    p.s. here’s the link to the audio.

    feed://www.sebts.edu/chapel/chapelPodcast.xml

  • Pingback: Driscoll Podcast Is Now Up « Simply Missional

  • http://travisjohnson.net travis johnson

    Nate, I believe you are correct. I believe Titus 1:10-14 would govern Mark’s address as opposed to Matthew 18.

    “10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. 12One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.” (Titus 1:10-14; NASB)

  • http://mjp-journey.blogspot.com Mykel

    I am saddened by all of this. I listen to Driscoll and Bell’s podcasts. I don’t always agree with them but they speak truth. When will we stop fighting and see that we are all apart of the same body? Some are feet while some are noses….

    sad…

  • http://www.rethynk.org nick

    well said mykel… what exactly was driscoll hoping to accomplish by labeling other men of God as heretics? does he want an inquisition? this guy gets harder and harder for me to like every time he talks.

  • http://tearingbooksapart.blogspot.com Tyler

    Honestly, if we’re not prepared at some point in time to call someone a heretic, to say that they’re preaching another Gospel, then I really don’t think you and Paul would be on the same team.

  • http://adammoore.wordpress.com/ Adam

    just an fyi – driscoll said he has never met or talked to Bell.

  • http://missionsforum.wordpress.com wlh

    I was at the Convergent Conference. Mark Driscoll’s tone was somber, humble, yet also sober as he delivered the news. And hey, he’s right.

    Remember though, he knows personally McLaren, Padgitt, and others (though not Bell). He knew he was going on a limb.

    But with theology, there has to be precision. I mean, have you seen or heard something by Bell, not to strong on the gospel. And without the gospel, you have nothing but religion. I think we all are past religion, right?

    Bell is following David Bosch’s interpretation of Jesus, which was driven by his own conclusion. He wanted Jesus a certain way, so he interpreted him that way. Bell’s focus on (anti-Christian) rabbinical jewish interpretation sounds cool and impressive, but it defeats his own argument.

    We should take Driscoll’s advice and beware. Unity can never be acheived at the expense of God Himself. Theology matters because God matters. Theos-God, logos, word; theology-word about or study of God.

    Unfortunately, Bell does not speak the truth about God, he only muddies the truth about God. Driscoll, on the other hand, aside from his harshness, is clear about God. Let’s listen to Driscoll here.

  • Shane

    I can’t believe anyone is condoning slander, gossip, and running someone’s character into the ground. Not only are some of you condoning this bad behavior but your defending it.

    I don’t have a problem with Mark Driscoll, or having an accurate theology, but i believe we are meant to love people more than love our theology. I think you’ll find that what got the pharisees into Jesus’ bad books. I also believe God is quite capable of defending Himself, so we shouldn’t feel the need to build our ministry by reacting to someone else’s.

    Thankfully I’ve met Rob Bell several times and discussed some of this stuff with him in person. He’s a very humble guy, and very willing to openly discuss this stuff. I only wish some of you guys were as well. If you listen to His podcasts or read his book, he never criticizes people or individuals. He only ever confronts bad behavior and attitudes. Hopefully I’ll get to discuss some of this stuff with Mark Driscoll one day as well before criticizing him. Rob Bell is not a heretic, and anyone who thinks he is needs to be very careful. That is God’s call, and not one we need to preach about.

    Attempting to deliberately slander and undermine another person and their character is not Christlike behavior. Unfortunately it’s typical of Christian behavior.

    1st John 2
    9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.

    1st John 4
    7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son[b] into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for[c] our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

    If God has spoken to you and told you that someone is a HERETIC that is one thing, and i would really like to hear about it. If God has spoken to you and told you that someone is TEACHING HERESY, then that is an entirely different issue again, and again i would be grateful to hear about it.
    BUT IF YOU’RE JUST GOING TO DEBATE THE INTEGRITY OF PEOPLE YOU’VE NEVER MET THEN I THINK YOU SHOULD FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO DO WITH YOUR TIME. God did not die for our sins just so we could sit round and criticize others, and pat our theology on the back.

    I really don’t want to cause a problem here, but we need to be very careful when it comes to how we treat others, and speaking up for God.

  • Diane

    Rob Bell promotes New Age Spirituality. Look at the web site and teachings of Ken Wilber. Bell teaches Wilbers ideas in his book and in the footnotes recomends his readers to spend three months reading one of Wilbers books. There is a new form of musical songs out right now called smashed songs. What they do is “smash” two diffrent songs together to make one new song. Rob Bells “Christianity” is Christian PLUS New Age smashed together. If you didn’t know, New Agers are now called New Spirituality and the teach that God is “in” everything and “in” everyone. That we just need to realize “who” we really are. That we are all connected, we are all one. Does this sound familiar to anyone who has read Rob Bells books? This is what Bell teaches and it is NOT what the Bible teaches. Our oneness is only with fellow believers and the reason for our oneness is Jesus Christ. We have nothing in common with a unbeliever . They are darkend in there understanding, they are dead in there sin, and they are slaves to there flesh in this condition. True believers however are in the light, are alive in Jesus Christ, and are set free from the law of sin and death. We came to this position by having FAITH in the one true Jesus Christ as the only salvation, The only truth, the only “way” to peace with God. Rob Bell does not teach this. He “affirms” it, he does not reject it, but then he adds to it. He says keep all those old ideas but focus on these new ideas that we are “painting”. It is like adding goats blood to Jesus blood. He contaminates it all. Beware people there is a delusion and many are falling into it. How bold of Bell (or how sneeky of our enemy) to put falling people on the covers of his first book….Things that make you go Hmmmm………

  • Shane

    Hey Diane,

    I think we need to be very careful. I do completely agree with you that some people are mixing up the Gospel, with other stuff and diluting the authenticity of the Gospel. I don”t agree with everything that Rob Bell teaches, but i don’t believe that he is teaching anything new age.

    Rob Bell in the everything is spiritual teaching is actually teaching from the bible, and not from any new age sources. He uses N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard as some sources, and they are completely orthodox. His teaching was based on John 4 the woman at the well, and Naaman in 2nd kings to show that our worshipping God is not about LOCATION and TEMPLES, but it’s actually our whole life, and i believe that all of the teachings of Jesus support this view. If you have a problem with that then you have a problem with the bible and God.

    I have never read in any of Rob Bell’s books, Noomas, or the last 2 years of teachings him say ” That God is “in” everything and “in” everyone. That we just need to realize “who” we really are. That we are all connected, we are all one.” What he has said is that what we do with our whole lives matters, and the way we view and treat people matters. If there is anything in our lives that is anti-human then it is anti- God.

    I’d be really interested to hear what you think John 4 is actually about, if it’s not saying that everything is spiritual (connected to God). Feel free to email me at karenshotmale@hotmail.com, as I’d love to continue the discussion if you’re up for it.

    For you to suggest that Rob is being used by the enemy, or that his teaching are contaminating the blood of Jesus is just as heretical as your accusations. You can’t base your understanding of Rob Bell on the music scene. I’d love to know what God has been saying to you about this as you’ve been praying through this.

    Funnily enough the pharisees said that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebub in Matthew 12, so it seems that Rob is in good company.

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Wow, really great conversation…Thanks everyone. I do think Rob Bell is a Christ-follower…It’s obvious to me that he points people to the cross.

    I do think his Virgin Birth reference was not the best, yet he never denies the virgin birth-actually he affirms it.

    I do wish Driscoll would have had a one-on-one…Just not sure we can start name-calling folks at conferences unless we are 100% clear on one theology.

    At the same thing I do love Dricscoll passion for the Christ, the church and theology. I just hope he walks in humility and grace.

  • Christy

    It’s kind of disturbing to me how many posts I’ve seen on blogs about this issue are crying foul because Driscoll’s confrontation was public not private and because he dared to say specific people are wrong publically. Why aren’t people who do most of their communication in public forums allowed to be held publically accountable for what they publish. It is not gossipping or slandereing someone to point out that someone published something and you disagree and think they’re wrong. You are allowed to tell people you love that they are wrong, and that their beleifs are dangerous and potentially harmful to themselves and others. In fact that is the most loving thing to do.
    I listened to the whole address in question and I agree there is a difference between saying someone is teaching heresy and is a heretic, but it’s not like Driscoll ever said “McClaren, Bell, and Pagitt are heretics.” I’m also tired of reading posts by people who have not listened to what Mark said. If you have a problem with him “calling people out” without talking to them personally, then please do not be a hypocrite, and “call Mark out” for not playing nice without even listening to what he really said.
    One of the main problems as I see it with the whole situation is you have a guy like McClaren who is pretty much a self-professed sheep. He is wandering around looking for answers, chucking out what he used to believe and no longer finds satisfactory, trying out the latest theology he’s been reading, and all the while he really does not know where he is going to end up. This is fine on a personal level, faith is a journey, right? The problem is that many other sheep have latched on to him as a shepherd and begun to follow him in his wanderings. I question the pastoral ethics of someone who lets people follow him when he is not sure where he is going or in some cases doesn’t know who he himself is following. I’m not saying that McClaren isn’t a thought-provoking, sometimes inspirational read, but when you start looking to him for spiritual leadership like many people are doing, I think you can get into trouble. In which case, Driscoll, as a shepherd who has a clear idea where he is going (whether or not you agree with his direction) has a right to warn the sheep that they are following another sheep which may not be the best plan. Nobody seems to like the idea of drawing lines and picking sides, but if you are not a complete relativistic mushhead, and you believe that the truth is out there, then when it becomes obvious that people are not just taking diferrent paths in the same general direction, but are going in two very different directions, you have to honestly assess which direction is going to get you closer to the truth.

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Christy,

    While agree with many of your assumptions…I do think there is a balance in this. Here is the deal-How many people now think Rob Bell preaches heresy because of Mark Driscoll comments? Many of these folks jumped on the Driscoll bandwagon without coming to their own concisions, no prayer, no study, just a simple yes, because Driscoll said I believe it. I saw so many anti-Rob Bell blog post the same day Driscoll spoke. Hmm, is that really a good thing???

    I would have preferred if Driscoll clarified his statement. If your going to bring up names and suggest heresy-clarify it. Do you think they are heretics? Do you think they are not Christ-followers, are they leading people away from the cross etc. It’s as if he Mark brought up a bunch of junk and then he did not take the time to really be crystal clear.

    I do like how Piper is handling his issues with NT Wright. In a book format. That is really detailed and I think can be fruitful. We can digest the info and allow truth ti unfold.

    Also, I would have really appreciated Mark’s comments if maybe it came from a community perspective. What if Mark, Piper & Keller each took the stage and presented their disagreements and concerns?

    I think the danger here is lumping Bell in with Pagit and Mclaren. Bell is not apart of Emergent Village. And Mark has not met Rob. I think from a minister-to-minister perspective…Before you cause pain and controversy, at least make a phone call to clarify and even to let Rob Bell know what to expect. This to me is simple Christianity, thinking about others before yourself, etc.

    Mark also hates public accountability-this is why he hates bloggers who live with their moms-funny, maybe, immature-yes! How can you say statements like that when you are about to discuss a very serious subject. Driscoll can’t have it both ways. He creates a ton of controversy and he must also accept it.

    I’m not saying their is one right way to do this-my biggest concern is the tone that is being set and I fear in the future we will now have a lot more name calling that can divide the church. Sure it may be necessary at time, but we better do our very best to use wisdom.

  • Christy

    Well said Chris. I am also very concerned about unity within existing communities. For the record, I have spent the last month on-line and reading books trying to get a sense of the whole emerging thing because of some unfortunate comments made at the pulpit by an elder at our church basically calling McLaren and company Satan’s henchmen. Needless to say this has caused some division because a significant section of the younger leadership at our church (both youth pastors, worship pastor, younger teachers, etc) are at least sympathethic to much of emerging thought and practice if not very engaged in the “conversation” themselves. My husband and I have designated ourselves as the moderators and are trying to get more informed before we have a big church forum trying to vindicate to an extent the emerging movement/conversation. (We would fall in the sympathetic category – We’ve read a couple McClaren and Bell books, went to Wheaton College, and are at least familiar with the terminology that is thrown around in these circles. I have a masters in linguistics, and my husband has a degree in biblical studies so it helps in the whole Biblical postmodernism discussion.)

    My husband has read some Rob Bell and we have friends at church that are huge fans, and we would agree that he doesn’t belong in the same category as McLaren and Pagitt (who, by the way I enjoy reading, even though I think they’re off the deep end on some stuff.) You are right about the bandwagon phenomenom that seems inescapable wherever you line yourself up agreeing or disagreeing with what someone said about something controversial.

    I think what I am noticing is that there is this tendency among people who are highly invested in “the conversation” to become “followers” of certain charasmatic writers or bloggers (Driscoll and other more conservative voices included) and they get caught up trying to defend and promote their guy instead of trying to defend and promote Christ and the truth. People can be great people who love Jesus and who say good stuff and say stupid stuff. When there are so many people out there who evidently hang on every word their guy says, we need to call out the stupid stuff from time to time without being accused of character bashing or trying to ruin ministries. Peter and Paul had their sharp disagreements, it’s okay not to be lovey-dovey all the time.

    Another problem I see at our church (which is not an emerging church plant, or “seeker” church – we’re just a regular Evangelical, intergenerational church trying to reach both the culturally modern and postmodern) is that the highly invested ones are sometimes guilty of putting themselves under the leadership of their “guys” instead of under the leadership of their church. If you want to follow Rob Bell, move to Grand Rapids, and join his church and be accountable to him, otherwise you follow your pastor and other leaders. You listen to what Rob Bell and others have say, but don’t become their disciples. (I don’t think any of them would ever advocate this.) Both sides of this debate (the more conservative evangelicals and the emerging folks) are saying some hurtful, untrue,stuff about the other side and jumping on whatever they can to prove their preconceived ideas, and both sides are also saying some important stuff about Jesus, truth, church, etc., but most people I talk to are only listening to one side.

    We really liked the gospel coalition document that Tim Keller wrote (It’s called a theological vision for ministry at http://www.thegospelcoalition.org) as a starting point for discussion among our church’s young and older leadership. Not that you have to sign your name at the bottom, but the fact that some respected old guard Evangelical voices have agreed with it makes it easier to start finding common ground.

  • Diane

    Chris,
    First I would like to ask you if you know anything about the New Age (or “New
    Spirituality”)? Which authors have you read or speakers have you listened to?
    Second, have you looked at Ken Wilber’s web site (http://www.kenwilber.com)?
    Have you asked yourself why on earth would a Christian promote him? Third, I don’t
    see how you can agree that some people are mixing up the gospel with other stuff
    and diluting the authenticity of the gospel and having read Mr. Bell’s books, seen his
    videos, and been to his conferences – how you cannot see that Mr. Bell is doing
    exactly this.
    You don’t believe that Mr. Bell teaches anything New Age. Well, what’s New
    Age? How would you define their beliefs? The foremost thing you need to understand
    is that the New Age is not just about crystals, vegetarianism, transcendental meditation,
    or any other stigma that it has been labeled with. It is a “spirituality” with a false christ.
    It uses familiar terms (sometimes “Christian” terms) with different underlying meanings
    to make it’s message acceptable to a broad audience (including Christians). Have you
    ever witnessed to someone trapped in a cult (Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, etc.)? If
    you have, then you will understand the communication difficulties one can have when
    talking to a person that uses the same words but with drastically different meanings
    as you do.
    Following are several examples of how New Age spiritualists will change words
    that have stigmas attached to them so that their message is more acceptable. First,
    if the teaching that we are part of God and the earth (we are all one) is unacceptable,
    then say we are all connected and were intended to move as one, in rhythm with each
    other and the earth. Second, if “enlightened” or “higher self” is unacceptable, then
    say, “who we really are” or “fully human” or “self realization” or “who God intended us
    to be”. In New Age spirituality, people simply need to realize that they are a part of
    God. Once this occurs, then they can live a “positive” or enlightened life.
    I encourage you once again to visit Ken Wilber’s web site and hear what he has
    to say about himself. You will quickly see that he is a New Age spiritualist. Why
    would Rob Bell point anyone towards someone with obvious New Age beliefs? Why
    would he endorse someone who teaches against the gospel of Christ?

    As for John 4, I don’t understand why you pick one small thing and shine a light on
    that one tiny area. I haven’t heard the “Everything is Spiritual Tour” so I don’t know all
    that Mr. Bell has said. I agree that God is not about location and temples. We are to
    worship Him in spirit and in truth. I have no idea why you even brought this up. What
    does this have to do with Mr. Bell being influenced by New Age teachers and then
    proclaiming that teaching to Christian audiences?
    If you have never heard or read Mr. Bell teach that God is in everything and everyone,
    that we simply need to realize who we really are, that we are all connected – all one –
    then read the following excerpt from Velvet Elvis (page 21):

    “Over time when you purposefully try to live the way of Jesus, you start noticing some-
    thing deeper going on. You begin realizing the reason this is the best way to live is
    that it is rooted in profound truths about how the world is. You find yourself living more
    and more in tune with ultimate reality. You are more and more in sync with how the
    universe is at its deepest levels.

    Jesus’ intention was, and is, to call people to live in tune with reality.”

    Here Mr. Bell is not talking about following or obeying Jesus. He is talking about
    SOMETHING DEEPER. He is talking about realizing truths about how the world is
    and that we are to live in tune with the ultimate reality. He later states that the ultimate
    reality he is talking about is God. Mr. Bell thus creates a connection between the
    universe and God himself. He, in essence, is stating that God is part of the universe
    and the universe is a part of God. To use his own words, he states that God is in tune
    (or in sync) with the universe. They are playing the same song. They are headed the
    same direction. The universe, or how the universe is at its deepest levels or how the
    world is, is not God. God is Spirit and is separate from His creation which He created,
    don’t you see? This type of spiritual teaching is a very subtle distortion of the truth.
    Then Mr. Bell says what Jesus’ intention was – to call people to live in tune with
    reality? To live in tune with the universe at its deepest levels? To live in tune with how
    the world is? By living the “way of Jesus”? NO! Jesus came to seek and to save people
    who are lost. Who are those people? All of us. Why? Because all have sinned and fall
    short of the glory of a Holy God. He offered not a way of life to live, rather He offered His
    very life as a free gift of grace, not by the law or works, but a free gift to be accepted by
    faith in Him as God. Jesus intention was to give His life so that we, a fallen people in
    need of redemption, might have eternal life with Him.

    Mr. Bell offers works (“living Jesus’ way”) as a means of being connected to God.
    Where is the faith in that? Where is the required belief that the true gospel commands?
    Why would Jesus need to die as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity if we just need to live
    like He lived? Mr. Bell’s “living Jesus’ way” requires no faith, rather it puts us into a
    situation where our relationship to God is based solely upon our works. This is not the
    gospel. This is another gospel and I am telling you that this is the New Age gospel and
    it is anti-Jesus. You may ask, “How the hell can it be anti-Jesus when Mr. Bell preaches
    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… Live like Jesus.” Because he is teaching people to stay in their
    spiritually dead state and do these works of service (which are good and noble things to
    do) for the sake of the world and humanity. Anyone can do these things. How would a
    Christian be any different from a Mormon? Or a Hindu? Or a Muslim? The devout in all
    religions do good things. They all appear to imitate the “way of Jesus” without having any
    knowledge of or relationship with the risen Lord. It would be right for us to think carefully
    about the words of our Savior, “There is only One who is good.” (Mt. 19:17a). We are all
    in need of a Savior. Not a single one of us can be saved by living like Jesus did (doing
    good works for the people around us).

  • Diane

    Ooops… I meant to address my post to Shane not Chris.

  • Diane

    Check this out!
    http://www.kenwilber.com/home/landing/index.html Ken Wilber is a new ager. These guys – Doug Pagett, Ken Wilber, BrianMclaren,Marcus Borg,
    and Rob Bell do not teach Historical Christianity,
    they teach some other thing.

  • jake

    i think we also can’t be too quick to claim “bandwagon”…

    i think what people were responding to (with “anti-Rob Bell comments”) were an affirmation of concerns that some already had with things that Bell was teaching.

    His (over)use of Rabbinical literature and thus a faulty hermenutic, the dangerous line he walks in many of his “sources” of inspiration for his past two books (Williiam Webb’s “Slaves, women, and homosexuals”; John Bristow’s, “What Paul really said about Women”; Ken Wilbur’s “A Brief History of Everything”… which is interesting because he also lists John Piper in the endnotes of Velvet Elvis and says, “read everything by John Piper, starting with “The Dangerous Duty of Delight”)

    What is interesting is that Piper would call both Webb’s book and Bristow’s book into extreme question for their mis-handling of Paul’s Epistles and the roles of women and men…

    but ultimately, that isn’t my point.

    My point is that Bell has begun to shift in his beliefs…. and i am not going to criticize him for shifting… hey, he can go wherever he wants to go, but I will pause and ask the question, “is where he is going a good place for others to follow?” and if not… i will warn against a dangerous path as well.

    I am not calling for some inquisition or excommunication (i don’t believe Driscoll, after listening to that conference session, is either…

    I leave you with this quote from Rob Bell in a Christianity Today article from 2004.

    When speaking of their changes in thinking about Christianity:

    “In fact, as the Bells describe it, after launching Mars Hill in 1999, they found themselves increasingly uncomfortable with church. “Life in the church had become so small,” Kristen says. “It had worked for me for a long time. Then it stopped working.” 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.”

    The Bible is a human product and not some divine fiat (An authoritative command or order to do something; an effectual decree.)

    this is the beginning of a dangerous path than many have walked before and it is worth contending for.

  • Aaron

    “Mr. Bell offers works (”living Jesus’ way”) as a means of being connected to God.
    Where is the faith in that? Where is the required belief that the true gospel commands?
    Why would Jesus need to die as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity if we just need to live
    like He lived? Mr. Bell’s “living Jesus’ way” requires no faith, rather it puts us into a
    situation where our relationship to God is based solely upon our works. This is not the
    gospel. This is another gospel and I am telling you that this is the New Age gospel and
    it is anti-Jesus. You may ask, “How the hell can it be anti-Jesus when Mr. Bell preaches
    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… Live like Jesus.”
    -Diane

    So once we have asked for forgiveness of our sins and been saved by the grace of Jesus, what are we supposed to do then? I thought that faith without action was dead. I think that I want to bring Jesus to a broken world by imitating him (that means doing what he did). I ate a homegrown meal yesterday that did not have to travel over 1,500 miles to get to my plate. You might say, “great for you self righteous one”. But while I am doing this God is truly laughing and probably crying that his creation focus so much of their attention on criticizing others and arguing doctrine. I can imagine Jesus rolling his eyes at the right hand of the Father when he sees his people become the modern day Pharisees. “Don’t they get it, I thought I died on the cross to help them understand all of this”. I have a new topic for discussion… Christ Transcending Culture: What are you afraid of?

  • Robert

    The oppisition called Luther, Tyndale, and Calivin Heritics?

  • Robert

    I think Driscol needs to grow up!!

  • I can’t believe you people

    I would assume that most of the bloggers here are from the US. Well let me tell you something.

    If you sat down in a room with a Christain from africa, india, china, korea, and pretty much every other ethnic group that is not dominated by US evangelicals then you would probably call them all heretics.

    The thing is the way you express truth, is connected to your culture and your culture is not ‘the’ culture of christianity, it is just yours and is not superior to anyother.

    So when someone says that Driscoll is firm with his doctrine, all your saying is that he is expressing his doctrine in a form that I find comfortable. Other cultures would say he is firm enough others would say he is too firm.

    I just wish conversations like this were actually worth something. But they are not. You have your opinion some else has there’s and all it is one big waste time time. Do you think Driscoll of Bell will read this and respond??

    Wake up, move on, and do something useful.

  • Romy

    Hello everyone. I have read many of the posts here this morning and find both hope and something less than hope. It seems that we are all holding tightly to our own orthodox view of what the Bible says. Which is awesome. The conversation here is a million times better than the conversations I find myself confronted with in secular society. Having said that, just because our conversation is on the right subject, it doesn’t mean that we are conducting this conversation correctly. I guess for me, I’m more concerned about living out my orthodoxy (i.e. orthopraxy) than holding onto an orthodoxy that I can’t follow. If your view of the Bible is to save others… then save others. If your view of the Bible is to love others… then love others. If you believe that Jesus loves you perfectly (with all your faults), then love others (with all their faults). Instead, what I see (on this website and on others) is Christians saying they believe the Bible says this or that… but their words betray them. They preach love with hate speech. They preach salvation by marketing fear. Is baptism a choice I make because I want to be closer to my God or is it because I don’t want to burn. If you believe that God is mean… then don’t upset Him… convert now and save yourself. But if you believe that God is good… then welcome to the group… convert now and save yourself. For me, Christ represents love… not damnation. Reconciliation and restoration… not fear and separation (we’re “in”, they’re “out”).

    In response to the last post from (I can’t believe you people)… I feel your disgust and frustration. But we have all found ourselves in this place at one time or another. The challenge is if we can find a way to bring people together and trust God to reveal Himself to us. As we struggle and wrestle with the text in the Bible, let us not become to prideful in thinking that our version is the last version, but rather recognize that God’s absolute truths are so good and right that its difficult for sinful man to comprehend it all… instead we are simply called to trust it. And by that, I mean Love God with all our strength, mind, heart and soul and love our neighbor as ourselves. I’m not sure calling anyone who is sharing their journey is considered loving.

    PS: I have never heard Rob Bell say that he knows everything. If Rob admits to anything, it is this: We should be asking better questions instead of pretending to have it all nailed down and figured out and compartmentalized because God is bigger and better than we can possibly imagine. So, for those who believe they have cornered the market on understanding every truth of the Bible… that there is only one way to interpret it… that they alone have figured it out… I would question that.

    John 14:6-7 says, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

    To me, I understand it to read that those who want to know God and be in relationship with Him must humble themselves and posture their hearts with love. Only with love in one’s heart can one truly enter relationship with anyone or anything. For me, only when I love (as Christ loved) do I find myself in relationship with my God (i.e. do I enter the Kingdom of God).

    True repentance is a by-product of God’s mercy and grace. I repent not because I am fearful… but because Christ loves me so much, I am humbled by His sacrifice that I want to follow him. But when I repent out of fear… I allow the evil one to twist and pervert what I should willing want to do… to choose to follow my God of my own free will which is a gift I truly cherish. My God is not a master of puppets… instead He gives us the freedom to choose our paths in life… to trust Him or to trust ourselves. For me, I’m not interested in trusting my understanding of God’s truths… I’d rather just follow Christ’s example, life and teachings.

  • Romy

    Hi folks, after re-reading some of your posts and re-reading my own, I feel as though I did not necessarily respond so much to those posts as much as I did about the way they made me feel.

    Having said that, I’d like to offer my own experience with regards to Rob Bell and his body of works in an effort to bring some balance to the conversation, so here goes:

    I have been listening to the Mars Hill podcasts for nearly 2 years now, read both of Mr. Bell’s books and have added all of the NOOMA videos to our growing library of teaching and training materials.

    The general feeling I get whenever I finish a particular work of his is that he is saying, “there’s much more to this than originally thought” (which, by the way, seems to me to be the main theme in his Everything is Spiritual DVD).

    The fact that he offers more historical background to his scripture lessons than I find in our local churches is what keeps me entertained, mesmerized, inspired. I feel transported back in time to when things were simpler than they are today with all the hustle and bustle of being married, having children, working, coaching, mentoring, etc. Obviously this approach also offers credibility to his lessons, but I digress. This does not necessarily mean that those who have read and preached the same scripture lesson before him have gotten it wrong.

    Instead, I get the feeling he’s saying to me, “Romy… I hope you aren’t trusting in your own interpretation of that particular scripture.”

    Why? Because my own interpretation may be skewed. Maybe its not even my own interpretation but rather my denomination’s interpretation? Maybe its not that we all have it wrong… maybe we just don’t have it all right. That I think we can all agree.

    PS: If you think your team has it all right, I refer you back to Isaiah 14:12-14.

    Instead, he regularly invites me to look at scripture again as if to say… “Romy, are you sure you understand everything… or is there more to the story?” In which case, my closed mind is reopened and faith overtakes understanding.

    It’s sort of like the story of the Garden of Eden all over again. Genesis 2:17 says, The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Add to this all of Genesis 3.

    It is as if God understands that the moment we eat of that forbidden fruit (and think we know everything God knows), we are doomed.

    To me, it’s as if God is saying… quit pursuing an understanding of me… instead, just trust me. Eat from any other fruit (experience all that the life I have given you has to offer – joy, pain, anger, happiness, elation, depression, etc.). However, while you find yourself in THAT moment, do not attempt to understand it from your own perspective or particular view point… I have given all of these as a blessing, however, you will not always see every fruit as a blessing in that moment… for the taste of it may be sour or plain. But when mixed with the flavors of all My blessings, you will find it pleasing to the senses and know that I love you.

    Now I know how some may interpret that as saying, Oh… I get it, everything is good so go and do whatever we want. Please, don’t insult me. Instead I offer this:

    It’s funny (and sad) how faith and understanding are in constant battle with each other. If I understand that 2 + 2 = 4, it requires no faith on my part. I simply know that to be true and move on…. (i.e. I no longer depend on my math teacher to help me understand this. As my 12 year old daughter might say… I got it already… geesh. ;-)

    I wonder if God is warning us to not try to put Him or His infinite wisdom, joy, love, forgiveness, etc. into a formula only to seek until we get it right and then, “move one.”

    Perhaps, God is inviting us into conversation… where there are no formulas and no group(s) with claims to getting it all right, but rather an understanding/feeling of… I love all my creation, and I invite all to the table.

    That may very well be His calling… but instead, I feel we, being prideful, sinful beings would rather “un-invite” ourselves by proclaiming to have a better understanding of God, the Bible, the situation, the problem, the answer, etc. than the person who might have been seated next to us at God’s table.

    Mathew 7:7 says, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

    So again, I ask and seek and knock. It is through this humble conversation with my Lord that I find myself “IN” relationship with Him… dwelling within the Kingdom here and now.

  • Mars Hill Member

    Diane,

    I recently started attending Mars Hill. While I was amazed at how large it was (strictly by number of attenders) I never felt like I was one in a million people attending.

    You say Rob teaches about living as Christ did as a way of salvation. Not through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Rob recently did a teaching on this. Our SERVICE is directly related to CHRIST. In Deuteronomy 26:12, “When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. ” Living as Christ did meant, helping the oppressed. In this particular sermon, Rob reminded people, you cannot just say the prayer and go through the motions. Since we have been born again, God requires us to service as well. It’s in the acts that God requires us to do that others may benefit from him. The required belief that the true gospel commands is this is God’s LAW. You cannot have faith without service to God. Deuteronomy 26:5, “You will declare before the Lord your GOD, My father was a wandering Aramean ….” God’s intention on this was so that we would never forget where we came from. If we forget, we will not be thankful for all God has given us. If we’re not thankful to God, we will quit giving to Him.

    I will say this. I have learned more in the few months that I have been attending Mars Hill with Rob as the pastor than I have in the 27 years I’ve been going to church. Maybe my own interpretation was that Jesus was this person no one could touch. how wrong was I! Jesus did everything the religious leaders of that time wouldn’t THINK of doing. For fear it would displease God. They were more concerned about the PROCESS than the REASON God has specific laws.

    Well said, Romy. I whole heartedly agree with you. Rob sparks that desire and inspiration to read more about Jesus and to WANT to read the bible. Not because it’s the Christian thing to do … but because you want to understand him more.

  • mwalcher

    I’m just going to type a bit, and see if anyone has anything to say sometime later.
    I love Jesus, with all my heart..But is this what its about? I am 20 years old….That age where I am really trying to figure some things out in my life. I feel like i am constantly being fed these two different Gospels. There is the Gospel A (Rob Bell-ish) where Love and justice and mercy are important. Where having our theological doctrine absolutely correct isn’t the most important thing. Then there is Gospel B (Mark Driscoll-ish) Where having sound doctrine is EXTREMELY important. Love and justice and mercy almost take a back seat.

    Am I the only one that is just getting torn apart by all this?
    I feel like I can stay up all night reading blogposts about different types of theology and who has it right…But at the end of the night I am just more confused and discouraged….Ugh.

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Mwalcher,

    Nice thouhgts-let me say this-you don’t have to choose. Rob Bell is not anti-doctrine. Just because one begins to see things differently, does not mean he desires wishy-washy doctrine.

    If you study church history there has always been men and women who decided to stand-up against issues, these folks were hated by many.

    I think you have to take both “justice/mercy/love” and “pure doctrine” and combine them. Jesus is grace and truth.

  • http://www.rethynk.org Nick

    dang, this post is STILL being commented on? Gees, I was just beginning to find room in my heart to forgive Mark Driscoll… it really has been a while!

  • Alex

    Wow – after reading through all these comments, I feel quite naïve. I feel completely ignorant for perceiving I received so much benefit from listening to Rob Bell’s podcast of Mars Hill Church-Grand Rapids and viewing all those Nooma videos. And to think, I dropped $15 bucks or so to see him on the Gods Must Be Angry tour in the Emerald City. And then I am told he is a heretic. This is hard to deal with. Well anyhow – personally, I enjoyed many a Mars Hill podcast of Bell talking about how Jesus loved to “play” with the Pharisees particularly when they were touting their infinite wisdom of God and God’s law. And each time I heard Bell, I would delve more into the scriptures as this guy called Jesus really was pretty cool. And the times Bell reminded me that Jesus cleaned my/your/our slate with his blood and sacrifice – well that was pretty darn cool too. But to hear this is all heresy really troubles me. You know the first time I heard the word heresy – was in the movie “Beneath the Planet of the Apes”. I never liked the term or the attempted generation of fear the word could conjure up. It should be used judiciously – never just thrown out there to generate “press”. I truly believe both these men, Bell and Driscoll love Jesus dearly but I just do not see where Driscoll’s opinion is warranted. And like previously mentioned, Driscoll has enough clout where this reference will form opinions. Kinda sad. Gotta go – I think my mommy is calling me and wants me to stop blogging 

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  • http://www.activepursuit.blogspot.com Pat Gillen

    ok, i’ll bite.
    I just went to ‘the gods aren’t angry’ tour put on by Rob Bell. He wasn’t forthright in much of his theology — but he definitely used language that would lead me to believe he was a universalist. While I heard the criticism from Mark’s mouth at Convergence, I still knew I was a Bell fan. In a way, I still am. But I am becoming more aware of his general view on the atonement, and this actually does set me in a camp to where I can no longer be in solid favor of his ministry. He has many valid, great, teachings — but if he truly does believe that we are all already saved (something he basically said at the tour… and that what we call conversion is really our ‘awakening to the reconciliation that already exists’) then I’m going to have to say we don’t see eye-to-eye. It’s a pretty foundational issue.

  • chad floyd

    this is in response to driscoll and ken silva and both of Rob bells tours.

    Below is an excerpt of Driscolls complaint with the teachings of rob bell

    “Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up. I fear some are becoming more cultural than Christian, and without a big Jesus who has authority and hates sin as revealed in the Bible, we will have less and less Christians, and more and more confused, spiritually self-righteous blogger critics of Christianity.”

    There is only two problems that i come across and they are very alarming to me.

    1) He says that he will not worship a man that he can beat up

    i have a problem because we as deprived human beings not only beat up Jesus but we whipped him and then when the man was down we jabbed sharp thorns all over his head. and then if that wasnt enough we hung him to a cross. and then since we could not kill him quick enough we jabbed a metal rod through his heart and it busted. Jesus in the end did not die because of a cross but because of a broken heart. And this King that had all the power in the world was beaten up by humans. Not only was he beaten by them but he let them willingly so that he could show the forgiveness and peace that would unite myself and jesus and anyone who calls his name.
    2)the second complaint comes in revelation and while i agree that much of the time jesus is angry i believe that rev. 6 articulates more than clearly that jesus appeared to john as a lamb. a bloody beaten lamb. when everyone looked for a lion to save us we were given a lamb. a lamb who laid down and willingly died.

    I am not saying i hate mark driscoll and that i am a bell fanatic but i do believe that if we preach hellfire and brimstone to everyone while neglecting peace we walk a thin red line. i think if we preach judgement all the time we walk that line to the point of falling off. I honestly dont believe that jesus wants my fear but he wants my heart.

    i Know that people will be sent to hell. But i also am aware that Jesus said to believers…. come to me all you who are weary and burdened and i will give you rest. take my yolk opun you and learn from me for i am gentle and humble in heart. for my yolk is easy and my burden is light. in collossians paul says Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21″Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

    we have to ask is our fundamental goal as a follower of jesus. is it to practice piety so that our King will be happy with us because we are scared of hell.
    or is it to snatch others from the fire and save them.

    i agree that God hates sin and he hates to send people to hell but i believe also that when you come to christ there is no need to look over your shoulder to see if god was watching our evil actions. i believe this because i think that when people experience the love of god what they do stems from his love and acceptance not from his judgement. why would someone want to sin all the time when they know the implications of the love of jesus.

    i honestly believe that in todays world we are really and truely straining out knats but swallowing camels. i believe that we are teaching morality and piety more than we are teaching christ crucified.

    also what if rob bell was just another part of the body of believers. what if we truely took that passage to heart and said that Ken silva and Rob bell teach radically different messages but they are both used by god to represent a feeling of judgement for the lost and a onehundred percent safety for those that are saved. micah says Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of oil?
    Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

    8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
    And what does the LORD require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
    Does god really want to scare us into giving up the fruit of our bodies or does he want to comfort us by saying that we are to love the mercy that he has given .

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    is the writer saying to be perfect because this is what is required of us or is he saying sacrifice yourself because of the sacrifice God gave through his mercy. is the sacrifice in response to the love and mercy or is it the response of hell.

    i want to believe in a jesus that we can beat up because i want to believe in a jesus that gave himself up for us and saved my sin not for fear but for love.

    i want to say that we need to stop biting and devouring preachers but show them love and maybe if we quit accusing and start showing productiveness maybe an false teachings will be worked out.

    i hope God blesses Mark Driscoll
    I hope God rains blessing on Ken Silva
    I hope God rains blessing on Rob Bell

    and i hope that if there is false teaching that Gods blessing will work it out for each.

    What i brought home from the gods arent angry tour was that I have a King that loves me enough that he would show love to me through a person who is willing to loan a car. or who is willing to say to the suicidal that i am not embarrased of you. i brought home a message that God loves me enough that he forgot my sins and not just wiped them away.

  • http://www.kidtrek.org Joseph Parker

    Wow, this has taken a while to read all these comments.

    I am saddened by a couple things I have consistently read from the “Bell supporters”:

    In a nutshell:

    1. Why can’t we all just get along; It’s about all about “love.”

    and…

    2. Why can’t we all just talk about it; It’s about “Conversation”

    The words “love” and “conversation” have been used consistently by the Bell supporters; and while I actually agree about a lot of their own concerns about how this is all being dealt with (on both sides) I am also concerned that we ALL often forget two things:

    1.) Love does not always mean that we do the mushy, cuddly put your arms around someone’s shoulder kind of thing (e.g., see Hebrews 12). In other words, sometimes public rebuke and reproof are needed to correct and admonish us so as to save us from ourselves.

    2.) Conversation is the road to separation from God (see Genesis 3). God calls us to obey him, to fear him (see Deuteronomy 6:1-5).

    If you recall, God tells us in 1 John that to love him is to obey him…not discuss or debate what he said…as Satan did with Eve. Conversation inevitably leads to more confusion, but more important, it leads to us doubting God’s immutable sovereignty.

    Last, for argument sake, even if you, or I, do not believe Rob Bell’s teachings in and of themselves are heretical, scripture clearly teaches (see 2 John: 7-11) that when we promote someone else’s teaching that is heretical we are just as wicked as the person doing the teaching.

    So, if Bell is promoting heretical teaching (see Diane’s comments above) as being good, why are we following someone who is guiding us toward heresy?

    That has been asked over and over in various comments and not one Bell supporter has dared to answer it.

    Rather, I continue to read rants and defenses of Bell have abounded claiming why can’t we all just get along? Why can’t we love the way Jesus loved? Remember, Jesus’ love included publicly rebuking pharisees and heretical teaching.

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Lot’s of great comments. I wonder how we can learn from all this?

    Here is how I see:

    1. Many folks would put bell in the “grace” camp. And many would put Driscoll in the “truth” camp. Don’t we need both? One without the other is useless.

    I love both Rob and Mark. I’ve seen no evidence that Rob is a universalist . And I’m hoping that he does not go down that road. I do see Rob as one who believes the Kingdom is here to restore all things. So I wonder if we are getting a bit confused on various verbage or use of words?

    Also, I think a lot of this goes back to defining what a heretic really is. Is Mother Teresa a heretic? What about the various divides in Baptist/Pentecostal doctrine, or how mainline liturgy is used in modern day church.

    This debate has really caused me to think through how I would define heresy. Is Rob Bell pointing people to the cross? Does be believe that Jesus is the way? Does he really believe and clearly state that you can serve any God and that road will lead us all to heaven?

    As for Mark: I just see Mark as very uncaring and at times he seems to promote his agenda-no matter the collateral damage. Which scares me. I wish Mark would “defend his faith” in a more loving humble, yet to still strong an authortive way. Anytime someone is always in the middle of controversy, that is scary in my book.

    I know I’ve said this-but it really is my conviction. I can and do choose to love and respect both of these brothers in Christ. Yet I will watch out for those things that concern me, I will pray for both of them as God has given them influence and that is not an easy task.

    I just refuse to choose sides…And I really do hope for the best.

  • dissapointed

    guys.
    love wins.
    people are people.
    You can’t change anyone but yourself.
    not even rob bell

  • Diane

    Jesus chose sides.
    Pat Gillen and Joseph Parker you have disernment.

  • http://www.kylelent.com/ kyle

    hey chris, just wanted to encourage you by what you spoke yesterday at the vista. it was difficult to hear, but i needed to hear it. thanks for that.

    as far as this rob bell vs. mark driscoll thing, i think it’s vaguely interesting, and i admit i haven’t read all the comments (cause i don’t really care), but here’s something that really gives me pause: if you had posted something with a subject like “Jesus said lust is the same thing as adultery” or something similar, would there be all this discussion? hmm, probably not, and that’s what worries me. i’m not making a statement about your post at all – which is fine, but about all the traffic that seems to come out of the woodwork on THIS post, and not your post entitled “this is why i’m going to africa” or whatever. i fine it strangely – and maybe eerily – humorous that EVERYBODY can comment about this, but we stay away when it’s stuff about Jesus Himself. just a thought. :-)

    love you bro! keep up the good work. do me a favor: start a post called “jon piper is wrong about everything”, but simply put a link to my EP in the body. :-)

  • matt

    Oh God! Jesus! Save us. We need your Spirit here. Grow us into your unity. Forgive us for being so quick to tear at each others faults. May we place our full trust in you and never in our own opinion. May we see the world as you see it!

    I am a Bell-supporter. I’m not a blogger or a blog reader. I simply looked up the Bell v. Driscoll topic because I heard a rumor. But the conversation sucked me in.

    I want so badly to defend Bell’s teaching. I believe with all that I am that Jesus’ work on the cross was just as much about teaching us how to love one another as it was to save us from our sins. Yet, I’m struggling to find the words.

    I wonder if there is a gap in vocabulary here. Bell likes to repaint things… including the way we talk about things. Is there more than one way to proclaim the gospel? Is the gospel in the words of Paul more “true” than in the mouth of Peter? They didn’t say it exactly the same way… or else our New Testament would be quite a bit shorter. In fact, it seems that Paul found a lot of ways to explain it.
    Think about the historical development of Christian thought. In the reformation period there were about 5 different break offs from the Roman Catholic church. So in about 1530 there were 6 Christian Traditions all claiming to be right. They even went so far as to eliminate each other from the grace of God [When Ulrich Zwingli died Luther said that Hell had gained a noble soul]. Now from those 6 traditions we now have hundreds of denominations that each think they have it right. So my question is… who’s right? Your tradition? How convinient. And these traditions started off with fundamental differences on things as important to the gospel as atonement.

    So who’s the heretic? What’s sound doctrine? What is bibilical when the 1.8 billion other Christians in the world don’t read the Bible the way you do? Are they all wrong and you’re right? Are you that bold?

    Is there no sense of humility?

    Before I go to bed I have to point out one more thing. Diane mentioned earlier that we are not one with the rest of humanity. While I think I understand where you are coming from I must add that we are all made in the image of the Almighty God and that we have all tasted the fruit of sin. I just wonder if that means that we are all one? We may not be of the world, but we were born into it, just like everyone else.

    I realize this probably doesn’t begin to scratch the surface and does not precisely defend Bell. I suppose I’d rather hope that you might re-look at his work with an understanding that you might not be right.

    ps – I’m not challenging your certainty in the truth of Jesus Christ. I’m challenging your certainty that you’ve got that truth perfectly figured out. Someone else’s opinion doesn’t stand to threaten that basic certainty– instead I think it stands to strengthen it.

    Matt

  • http://www.kidtrek.org Joseph Parker

    Matt,

    At the end of the day…there is only ONE truth. That is the battle we are all struggling for. You are right, it is not easy to know, but that is the battle.

    My personal struggle with all of this is when we are so quick to “defend” Bell, Driscoll, etc.

    Who here, me included, is doing all we can to defend Jesus.

    The apostle Paul warns us not to follow or defend man, to not live or care for man’s opinion, but God’s.

    I am growing in concern that so many people have been so positively effected by Bells’ teaching (Praise God!) that when some of His teaching is confronted (as ALL teacher’s teaching should be…including Driscoll’s), we cry “FOUL!” and will do anything to defend him and follow him blindly, no matter what he says, and do not stop to ask…could any of these “challenges” be true?

    For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…why can’t anyone here at least admit to saying…you know what….maybe I should check some of this out.

    Love includes asking tough questions, giving rebuke and discipline where needed.

    We need to defend Jesus…not a man.

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Joseph, I so agree…and I think that is how I want to approach all this. Therefore, we need to be super careful o use the word heretic.

    I also wonder how the apostles fleshed this out…With those who disagree with Bell/Driscoll etc… can they say “at least Christ is being preached?”

  • Paul

    Long thread, and I’m late.

    Rob Bell says in Velvet Elvis that it doesn’t matter whether Jesus was virgin born or not (although he himself believes it).

    Isn’t that Christology 101? How does Jesus get to be divine if he wasn’t virgin born? Isn’t this unitarian universalism?

    Can someone help me here?

  • Mark

    Paul, Look at it this way. Is God so limited and small that the only way he is allowed to come to earth is by being born of a virgin? Where did that rule come from? Did you know that all the pagan gods of Jesus’ time were also born of virgins?

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    I think we have to put Bell’s statement into context:

    1. He’ believes in the virgin birth and clearly states that.
    2. He’s trying to inform his readers that Jesus is still Jesus no matter what you try to discredit.

    That being said, I do understand why his statement can bring fear to many folks-the virgin birth is a big deal to historical Christianity.

    However, just because you disagree with the statement, does not make Bell some flaming heretic.

  • Paul

    Mark, I have studied Egyptian, Greek and Roman paganism and while I was aware that a few of the ancient “gods” were purported to be virgin born, I was not aware that “all” were. If my memory serves me right, there was a whole lot of copulating going on among the gods and goddesses.

    So, again, I’m simply asking for a theory that preserves the deity of Jesus without a virgin birth.

    Chris, it doesn’t help me to simply attribute “fear” to me. I’m trying to have a substantial theological discussion. Can you help with the question I asked? And is Jesus still ‘Jesus’ if He sinned? Is Jesus still ‘Jesus’ if he didn’t die on the cross, rise from the dead, or even exist? Please help me understand what you mean by #2.

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Paul, let me be clear-I think Bell used a poor analogy to prove his point. When read VE I did not like it then or now.

    But, I think we can easily take what I would consider a poor analogy and act as if Bell is some sort of theological nut case because of one thought. How do we not define somebody by one statement…How do we see the totality of Bell’s theology?

    Also, not for sure what you mean by “attributing” fear to you. All I’m saying is I an see why the virgin birth statement can cause Christ-followers to cringe-it’s too vital to our belief system.

    I will try to define my thoughts more when I have time.

    Great conversation everyone.

  • Paul

    Chris, I will look forward to that.

    With all due respect, it appears to me that you are (so far) begging several questions:

    1. I don’t understand what larger point Bell was trying to make in that particular passage. Can you help me?
    2. I didn’t see it as an analogy. I read Bell saying that the virgin birth doesn’t matter. No analogy; just a didactic statement.
    3. I am trying to understand how he would say that and still see Jesus as divine. No one has explained that to me yet. For instance, if Bell said that the resurrection didn’t matter, wouldn’t it be fair for me to ask how one remains an orthodox Christian with such a position? Is Bell unaware of 2000 years of Christological debate and the great Councils? If not, he shouldn’t be writing books that mess up less informed minds.

    I’m an evangelical who wants to be have as open and gracious an orthodoxy as possible, but I need help understanding this and other things that Bell (and other emergent leaders) have said. I am not a heretic hunter, at all, but I have to wonder…

    It sure seemed to me that VE was just a warmed-over, slightly more evangelical version of Borg’s THOC, which Bell cited in a positive way in his footnotes. Of course, Borg is totally apostate, yet McLaren hangs with him.

    BTW, Bell also has had optional classes (from First Fruits of Zion) at MH that teaches that Christians need to abide by all of the Torah (a friend of mine taught the class).

    I hope you can understand that it seems that Bell really doesn’t know what he believes or why, and why it is so difficult to try to understand “the totality” of his theology.” I agree with so much of what Bell says, but I also think a great communicator is dangerous when they are unclear on the concept.

    What’s the point of being missional if one doesn’t know what one is missioning about? It sounds like, “I don’t know where I’m going, but please follow me anyhow…”

    I have written elsewhere that Unitarian Universalism (in various forms) is the default ,anti-Puritan (I’m sure no Puritan fan), American civic religion. It sure looks like the Emergent movement is headed that direction. By jumping out of the idolatrous religious right frying pan, it appears the Emergents are jumping into the UU fire. There are other options.

    Chris, please tell (and prove to) me I’m wrong. Seriously, few things would gladden my heart more.

  • Mark

    Here is a strange twist you may have never heard before.

    There is something that has always bugged me about the Christian tradition. The virgin birth story claims that God impregnated another man’s wife. That’s adultry. God violated his own commandment. God is supposed to be holy and pure. Having children by another man’s wife is not holy and not pure.

    Rob Bell is finding a way for people like me to believe that God is holy and pure again. For that I’m grateful to Rob.

  • mwalcher

    Mark, I don’t think they Mary was married when he impregnated her. Unless, I am totally wrong.

    Paul, In reply to number 2. You read it wrong. I just re-read it right now. Since pretty much every sentence ends with a question mark, I don’t think he is making absolute statements. I don’t know where you read Bell saying the virgin birth doesn’t matter. It simply doesn’t say that.

    Joseph Parker,
    “So, if Bell is promoting heretical teaching (see Diane’s comments above) as being good, why are we following someone who is guiding us toward heresy?

    That has been asked over and over in various comments and not one Bell supporter has dared to answer it.”

    I don’t think anyone has answered it…Because the majority doesn’t think he is teaching heresy. One pastor and a bunch of bloggers saying it, doesn’t make it true. Granted, that in no way means he *isn’t* a heretic.

    I’m sure now that everyone here thinks I have a huge man crush on Rob Bell. The truth is I go to Driscolls church, and podcast Bell every week.

    OMG BOTH SIDES.
    I must be a heretic going to hell. Shucks.

  • Jason Langley

    Mark compared Padgitt, McClaren, and Bell to the Ebionites. The Ebionites were Jewish believers of which very little is known about other than a few things written by early church fathers (which nobody can verify as true or false being that there are no artifacts about the Ebionites leftover), they did not believe in the Virgin Birth, and they believed in strict guidance to the Jewish Law. Driscoll has no foundation to lay on how Rob Bell would fall into that group.

    I really don’t have to know whether there were many or just one other “son of God” with the idea of a virgin birth, but fact is in the regions there were other ‘sons of Gods’ that were born of virgins, that were crucified, that rose from death three days later. Some of these characters date back before Jesus.

    Rob Bell’s whole point is that if we found out something tomorrow as an irrefutable fact that didn’t fit into our ideas, would we continue blindly following our tradition even though it’s been proven to be untrue, would we let it destroy our whole faith, or would we look at the teachings of Jesus (which in fact set Him apart from all the other characters) and continue on in faith showing love and compassion to those who need it. That is the point of Rob Bell’s ‘virgin’ analogy.

    Something else i read was from somebody saying that a person should either move to Michigan and join Rob’s church if he/she wants to following His teachings or follow the teachings established at the church they are. This is all in direct violation of the Bible.

    The Bible says in 1 John 2: “27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.”

    This is coming from John because of the spirit of the anti-christ being in the world trying to lead people astray.

    Jesus himself in Matthew 23 says ‘ 8″But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

    Jesus says to his disciples upon telling them that He will soon be leaving in John 14: 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

    We as people do not save souls. God through Jesus saves a person’s soul, Jesus is our teacher, and the Holy Spirit is our guide.

    Another question that i have is how exactly is Rob being a heretic? is it because he’d rather talk to a person and build a relationship with that person? is it because he doesn’t ‘preach to a person that they are going to hell if they don’t get saved by God when he first meets that person? I believe in building relationships with people, and by having conversations, I get to put in bits and pieces of my faith when it is necessary. We do not know how Rob handles his affairs with people. He does however stress following Jesus’ teachings or is that not what Jesus wanted? I guess Jesus was purely focused on getting people’s souls saved to go to an afterlife He very rarely even spoke about.

    James says “27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” This basically says to show acts of love and kindness to people around you and not to let the world drag you down to its superficial ways.

    The Bible even speaks of people being won over without words at all such as in 1 Peter 2 “1Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

    And if that’s not enough, Paul says in Philippians 1: “15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

    Somebody said that since Rob is printing material then he has every right to be called out in the public forum. Yes, I totally agree. Is that what happened though? No, a forum is a meeting place, a court, an assembly for discussion. What Driscoll did was venomous at the least. You can take 1 Timothy 5:20 “Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning,’’ as giving Mark the right to do it then do so, but that’s the only place that any such thing comes from. Secondly, we should never as believers create these controversies without discussion, because it only creates division. The most ironic thing is that Mark did this all at a Southern Baptist conference nonetheless and must we get into the heretical reasons and ways the Southern Baptists split the Baptist Convention into the SBC and American Baptists in the 1800s. Before anybody says that was over 100 years ago move on, let me just stress that, here in Mississippi where I live, the SBC churches are very prejudice and judgmental still to the American Baptists.

    Another thing I don’t understand is the talk of “enemies of God.” God loves all people, and the honest truth is what Paul says in Colossians 1: “ 21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[f] your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” We were never enemies of God except in our minds, and that what Paul is talking in Romans , when he says: “18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

    We let other things become our Gods! God wasn’t our enemy, but the Evil One threw all these things in our faces to love and said “Why would a good God take these away from you? Why can’t you eat your apple and worship God too?” So God is an enemy to us, because He goes against the human nature that is wicked. God was never the enemy. God only wanted what was best, but in our minds, God was the enemy.

    The word heresy or heretic is never mentioned in the New Testament. The only thing that comes close to that is the teaching of false doctrine, and this is what Paul says in Titus 2: “1You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. 6Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. 9Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”
    As far as Rob’s taking from New Age, I don’t agree with that either. Rob says that God exists in creation. Rob’s not saying to worship the ground, the trees, the water, etc. What I get from Rob’s analogy on that is that God encompasses everything. God is a part of everything that has been created, because God is the Creator. Paul in Colossians 1 (once again) says “15He (speaking of Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” In Jesus/God (however you want to say it), all things are held together…earthly and spiritual, thus God has control and encompasses all things.
    I leave you with some words from Peter “13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19through whom[d] also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge[e] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”

  • mwalcher

    So..I hate when people post a whole bunch in a row…But I am going to do it. (I guess twice in a row isn’t too bad)

    Anyways, I personally have been struggling with god…or God a ton lately…Basically, my thing right now (probably just part of my ‘spiritual journey’) is…uh…is god, or God even real? You can read more about it here…http://mwalcher.wordpress.com/2007/12/11/doubts-i-doubt-most-people-get-them-like-this/

    Basically, after thinking about this whole thread/topic/debate…It really encapsulates why atheists don’t believe in God.
    One side (driscolls side, for lack of better terms) is claiming Bell is a heretic. But he never actually said it…So you have to have a certain ‘faith’ that Bell believes in universalism (because thats mostly peoples complaint about Bell). Again, Bell has never actually said he believes in universalism.

    Atheists don’t believe in god (usually) because there is no hard evidence. They often laugh at Christians because they are living off of faith…Not very much tangible, hard proof.

    Bells side is claiming its more about love and peace and things like that. Atheists believe that is totally possible without god…or God. I wonder if an atheist read this whole debate, and would think to themselves “Side A doesn’t have hard proof, Side B doesn’t have hard proof…So obviously they are both wrong”

    Ugh, this made so much more sense in my head. Sorry.

  • Jason Langley

    Bell, Driscoll says, “holds up rabbinical authority as the key to Bible interpretation and hermeneutics. To me that’s very concerning because if rabbis don’t love Jesus they have a bad hermeneutic.” Driscoll references John 5:38-39 and says Jesus is the key to good Bible interpretation and hermeneutics – “if you don’t love Jesus you’re a bad Bible scholar…the Bible is about Jesus. Ultimately it’s all about Jesus, and to say that we cannot understand the Bible unless we look through the lens of people who don’t like, know, worship, adore, or understand Him is in a sense to say we must close our eyes before we open the book so we can see clearly.”

    I’m sorry but I totally disagree with Mark here. The Jewish/Eastern mindset is in fact totally different then our western philosophical mindsets. There are things that we can understand (especially about the Old Testament) better coming from Jewish rabbis. There are cultural differences between the early Jews and todays time that the Jews can enlighten us on. Reggie White (the old football player who a few years back) was a devout Christian but studied things under a Jewish rabbi.

    Driscoll also says Bell holds a trajectory hermeneutic, “the idea the Bible doesn’t teach certain things, but it sets into course of motion a direction that over times evolves into a doctrine that seems to contradict the Bible, but is the logical outcome of the direction that the Bible set the culture – the Bible is like a link you click on to go somewhere else.” Driscoll says Bell did this when he shifted from a complementarian to an egalitarian position after allowing female elders on his board. Quotes from Slaves, Women and Homosexuals by William J. Webb – Driscoll says this book argues that Bible set into course an evolutionary process that leads to now permitting women to be on the church board and men not to be heads of their household; Driscoll says 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 say the leaders in church should be men – “a consistent trajectory” between the Old Testament and New Testament.

    Well, we can’t argue this, but this by no means shows anything different then what’s going on in most denominations across the board. I’m extremely sorry if I’m wrong, but I feel like women totally have the right to be leaders in churches. I don’t get the big deal.

    Driscoll says in Bell’s book, Velvet Elvis, “he actually calls into question the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. The fact that evangelical publishers that evangelical conferences that evangelical magazines would tolerate this means that evangelicalism has ceased to exist….you can now do anything or say anything as long as you can draw a crowd or sell a book.”Driscoll picks up on Bell’s speculation, in Velvet Elvis, that if Jesus had a dad named Larry…and archaeologists found Larry’s bones….”would it really matter? Would we lose anything?”

    Driscoll then picked up on Bell’s thoughts about the virgin birth, and went through them point by point:

    1. Mary said she was a virgin; Driscoll says if the virgin birth didn’t happen, Mary is a lying whore…”why believe the extravagant claims of the son of a lying whore?” Why believe the claims of the resurrection of Jesus from a lying whore, and why believe the books of James and Jude, the sons of a lying whore?

    2. If Scripture is lying about the claims of Jesus “we lose Jesus…I went to public school and even I know that Jesus is huge for Christianity!” :)

    3. What if DNA disproves Scripture; “why should we presume that DNA 2,000 years later overrides Scripture?”

    4. Isaiah 7:14 – “The virgin would be with child.”

    I explained this in my first post. Rob wasn’t questioning it. He was just throwing a point out there. What if I for discussions sake asked ‘If Mary was knocked up by the Holy Spirit, does that still make her a virgin?’ The Bible strictly says she was a virgin

  • jason langley

    Driscoll referenced Bell’s take on theology not being like a wall with many bricks, but like a trampoline that bends. Yet, Driscoll said he noticed that a trampoline actually has a frame, with a solid foundation on the earth.

    The funniest thing to Driscoll’s comment is that he totally backs up Rob Bell’s point. People have the brick wall faith feel like they must come up with (in Driscoll’s case 4…see above) reasons to back up or protect their wall from crumbling. Where Bell’s point with the trampoline is that if one thing that we found to be truth was proven wrong, we could still go on with our faith.

    Driscoll also backs up Bell’s idea that when you have a brick wall faith, you must continue finding ways to defend your wall (in this case again the Virgin Birth) instead of just going out and loving, caring, and serving while others follow suit because they find the joy and peace that we have in our lives from serving as Jesus taught us to do.

  • jason

    i just had one more thing come to my attention as i was winding down for a quick nap before i start the day.

    Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13: 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    Tony Campolo makes the observation that until Perfection arrives ALL of our individuals theologies are in themselves heresies, because theologies like heresies are major or minor distortions of truth.

    Paul also says in Romans 11: 33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
    34″Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
    35″Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay him?”
    36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

    There are some mysteries that will not be answered until we pass into forever and meet God and Jesus face to face, so when we blast one person’s ideas, we should begin waiting for the untruths in our own theologies to be blasted also.

    the only thing that the apostles ever warned the believers to stay away from were people who professed to be believers but lived in habitual sin, jews who said that believers had to be circumcised, ‘ministers’ who were causing quarrels/factions/people to turn away, and ‘ministers’ who were teaching the ideas of the anti-christ in which they said that Jesus was not the Christ or that Jesus did not come in the flesh.

  • dissapointed

    I am dissapointed. We are call to unity and our desire should be for peace. If you have not heard the actual teaching you have no standing in anything related to this teacher and should look at your own weakness.
    I have heard most of Rob Bell teaching and will stand behind him 100% .
    We need to suport God given talented people who can help us to see the wonder of Gods Love for us and how then we should live.
    We need not quarel among each other.
    God loves you and more amazing He loves me, that is enough for me. I hope we can live in peace.

  • jason

    How did you get turned on to rabbinic teachings?

    I have a couple of Jewish friends who became Christians. They kept saying about things in the Bible, “You know what that’s about?”

    “No.”

    “Seder.”

    “What?”

    “Four promises in Exodus 6, the four cups. When Jesus says, ‘This is my cup,’ there are four of them. He’s picking the fourth one. Do you know why?”

    “No.” I didn’t know the Jewish background of Scripture.

    Jesus is Jewish. I thought he was Christian. So then I started reading. Jesus taught about himself with Moses—the Torah—and the Prophets. It drove me crazy. I thought, There must be a whole world of stuff in there that I’m missing. And there was. There are thousands and thousands of pages of ancient writings that Christians are oblivious to.

    The rabbis have an ancient ceremony called the Akedat—the binding of Isaac where they celebrate Isaac’s action. Christians celebrate Abraham’s faith; Jews the action. Isaac went. So this whole Akedat is a ceremony of the binding of Isaac.

    Baptism, the mikvah, all throughout Leviticus, all that stuff. It didn’t come out of nowhere.

    Everything Jesus said—the Good Samaritan is commentary on Leviticus 15—those things are discussions about Torah. He’s not randomly pulling things out of the sky.

    When Jesus becomes kind of an esoteric spiritual figure and not a real dude in a real place at a real time, the really subversive economic and political things he’s saying get lost in an effort to proclaim him as Son of God, which we do. But he’s also a Jewish rabbi who lived in a Jewish way in a Jewish time, and we have lot of information about what that world was like.
    How does rabbinics connect with today’s young Christians?

    I was just at a Christian college teaching on the rabbinical system, walking them through the educational system of the first century. At an early age, the kids would memorize Torah, but fewer and fewer make it to the next level. At the final level, the rabbi chooses as disciples only those he believes can be like the rabbi. Can this kid do what I do?

    And Jesus keeps saying to his disciples, like, you can do it. “You didn’t choose me; I chose you.” This is rabbinical language. Most of Jesus’ frustration with the disciples is when they don’t think they can be like him. Jesus had faith in his disciples. Then he says to them, “Now you go and make more disciples. I’m out of here.” That’s how a rabbi worked. A rabbi only chose disciples he believed in.

    That’s good news for people who doubt themselves. When you hear Jesus chose you, you believe you can fly.

    *He holds rabbinical authority as the key to Bible interpretation? He is using what the Jewish know about the customs and traditions of the time to gain knowledge and background. Who ever said that these rabbis were not lovers of God? For all we know they could be Messianic Jews. Driscoll should never talk about a person without any knowledge of the situation. I guess he would be ticked off to know that ministers in his very on church network have done this also. I can name two ministers who have churches that are a part of his network that study from outside of the Bible to get background knowledge of what Jesus meant when He said things especially during the feasts and festivals.*

  • mwalcher

    I read this today, thought it was really interesting. It’s an article from ‘Christianity Today’ about Mark Driscoll.

    “Still, Driscoll says receiving MacArthur’s criticism is “like a frat guy getting paddled. It doesn’t feel good, but I guess it means you’re in.” As a new Christian, Driscoll picked up hundreds of tapes to learn from MacArthur’s preaching. He regrets that MacArthur chose a public forum for criticism, when he would have gladly flown to Los Angeles to hear MacArthur’s advice.”

    Driscoll regrets MacArthurs public criticism?

    Sounds familiar.

    Full article is here…http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/september/30.44.html

  • Paul

    mwalcher,

    I just pulled out my copy of VE, and without a doubt, he views the virgin birth as an inconsequential “spring” in the Christian trampoline.

    I think a different analogy is more accurate–I believe it is like the leg of a stool. I can’t understand how Christianity would stand without it. That’s why Machen called it a “fundamental” (that’s back in the day when fundamental was a term for unity, not exclusion).

    Furthermore, Bell says, “God is bigger than the Christian faith.”

    Well, if you can know/worship God without Christ, that’s unitarianism. Not only do you not need a virgin birth/incarnation, you don’t need a cross or a resurrection. Besides, the Apostle John was quite clear that if you don’t know Jesus, you don’t know God.

    I’m disappointed that no one is answering the questions so far (Chris may be understandably taking his time), and some are simply asserting their subjectivity as objectivity, such as “I have heard most of Rob Bell teaching and will stand behind him 100% .” Does anyone seriously think I could change your mind simply by saying “I reject Bell 100%?” (which I don’t).

    Help me, someone. There’s gotta be someone here that can deal objectively with the straight-forward questions I think I’ve posed. I need a whole lot more (substantively) than what is being offered to reject the Apostle John and embrace Rob Bell.

  • icthus

    Since you want answers, I’m going to bring up more things to cause more thinking.

    descendant: A person, animal, or plant whose descent can be traced to a particular individual or group.

    Would anybody say that if you are a step-child that you are a descendant?

    Paul strictly says that Jesus was a descendant of David. He goes as far as to say by human nature (twice!). By human nature, Joseph was a descendant of David, not Mary. Can this be true if Jesus was born of Mary, who was not a descendant of David?

    So Joseph was a descendant of the line of David (the line of the kings) if Jesus’ blood was only from Mary.

    I guess the apostle Paul totally 1) forgot that the one with the blood of David’s line and not Mary 2) didn’t know Jesus was born of a virgin and thus tied him to the line of David 3) knew he wasn’t born of a virgin 4) blatantly lied in the letter to the Romans.

    if you want to check that all out, Matthew 1 has the lineage of Joseph’s family.

    then:

    Romans 1: 1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit[a] of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

    2 Timothy 2: ‘8Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.’

  • Paul

    Icthus,

    Very valid stuff. Thank you.

    So, where does this lead us. It seems to me that there are two options that would support divinity for Christ: (1) That Mary was a Davidic descendant, although that cannot be conclusively proven by either Matthew or Luke (so either one toys with the geneologies of the gospel writers, remembering that they were, at the same time, asserting virgin birth, or claim that Paul received further revelation); or (2) Take an adoptionist position, held by (among others) Robert Gagnon of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (who is best known for his voluminous work in support of a conservative interpretation of the Bible and homosexuality).

    Am I right on those options, Icthus?

  • icthus

    So if Mary was from the descent of David, why the the geneology in Matthew trace King David to Joseph and not Mary.

    If Mary and Joseph were both from the same blood line, people would probably (even if it is quite far off in descent) use it to say that they wouldn’t worship of Jesus, because he was born from incest.

    And how does Jesus get treated special in history as being ‘adopted’ into a family when Paul strictly says ‘by his human nature he was a descendant of David.’ Human nature represents, I would think DNA, blood, etc.

    Then what about the Book of the Twelve that was written in the late first century along with all the other Gospels, but was called Gnostic by the (Catholic) church which compiled the Bible because it says:
    1. AND in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God, unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Ioseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
    2. Now Ioseph was a just and rational Mind, and he was skilled in all manner of work in wood and in stone. And Mary was a tender and discerning Soul, and she wrought veils for the temple. And they were both pure before God; and of them both was Iesu-Maria who is called the Christ.
    3. And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail, Mary, thou that art highly favoured, for the Mother of God is with thee: blessed art thou among women and blessed be the fruit of thy womb.
    4. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God and, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a child, and He shall be great and shalt be called a Son of the Highest.
    5. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
    6. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her The Holy Spirit shall come upon Ioseph thy Spouse, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, O Mary, therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Christ, the Child of God, and his Name on earth shalt be called Iesu-Maria, for he shall save the people from their sins, whosoever shall repent and obey his Law.
    7. Therefore ye shall eat no flesh, nor drink strong drink, for the child shall be consecrated unto God from its mother’s womb, and neither flesh nor strong drink shall he take, nor shall razor touch his head.
    8. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God no thing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
    9. And in the same day the angel Gabriel appeared unto Ioseph in a dream and said unto him, Hail, Ioseph, thou that art highly favoured, for the Fatherhood of God is with thee. Blessed art thou among men and blessed be the fruit of thy loins.
    10. And as Ioseph thought upon these words he was troubled, and the angel of the Lord said unto him, Fear not, Ioseph, thou Son of David, for thou hast found favour with God, and behold thou shalt beget a child, and thou shalt call his name Iesu-Maria for he shall save his people from their sins.
    11. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was written in the prophets saying, Behold a Maiden shall conceive and be with child and shall bring forth a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God Within Us.
    12. Then Ioseph being raised from sleep did as the angel had bidden him, and went in unto Mary, his espoused bride, and she conceived in her womb the Holy One.

    Let’s remember that Catholicism had the Bible for years in their grasp since religion came directly from them, so they had plenty of time to ‘doctor’ passages up that they didn’t want to fit. Secondly, the Catholic church has had all kinds of Paganism tied into it’s early days especially that of Mithra.

    Mithra was born to a virgin on December 25th as told in the “Great Religions of the World.”

    There were many hundreds of Mithraic temples in the Roman Empire, the greatest concentrations have been found in the
    city of Rome itself.

    Persian legends of Mithras says that He was born of the Sun God and a virgin mother, called “the Mother of God”, on December 25th. They saw him as a symbol of justice, truth, and loyalty. He was considered the saviour of humankind, and stories abound of His healing the sick, raising the dead, and performing miracles (making the blind see and the lame walk). Throughout His lifetime, He was seen as a protector of human souls, a mediator between “heaven” and “earth” and was even associated with a “holy trinity”.

    Mithraism came into the ancient Roman world about 75 BCE., and ranked as a principal competitor of Christianity for 200 years.

    Trinities were popular in pagan sects before Christianity was introduced to the world. Some of the more well known trinity gods included Mithra-Vohu Mana-Rashnu, Amen-Mut-Khonsu, and Osiris-Isis-Horus.

    Among the pagan cultures that preceded Christianity, virgin birth stories abounded. The long list of pagan gods born of virgins includes: Romulus and Remus, Zoroaster, Buddha, Mithras, Chrishna, Osiris-Aion, Agdistis, Attis, Tammuz, Adonis, Korybas, Perseus, and Dionysus.

    In-as-much as Mithraism was so popular in Rome, it is no wonder why the pagan Emperor Constantine, who believed in the sun god, Mithras, designated a certain day of the week to him, Sunday, which means, “the day of the sun.”

  • Paul

    I understand, Icthus. None of this is new. There are several issues here, and it’s easy to conflate them as related challenges to orthodoxy, which, of course they are.

    Regarding the legitimacy of the Gnostic Gospels, of all the books out there, I would recommend eminent historian Phil Jenkins’ book, “Hidden Gospels: How the Search for the Historical Jesus Lost it’s Way.” Jenkins is no Darrell Bock or even D.A. Carson. He is a member of a liberal Episcopal Church and a personal friend.

    If you haven’t read the Nag Hammadi “gospels,” I highly recommend it. They are preposterous posers, which, of course, the Early Church recognized, even as they gave their lives for the gospel. They are the exact opposite of what Dan Brown made them out to be–they are anti-woman and anti-reason. I don’t know why you would give them the benefit of the doubt, when it appears most of them were written by demonized people–seriously. Maybe the same demons that tormented Mohammed.

    Of course, Gnosticism never went away. It resurfaced during the “Enlightenment” in Europe, in the hermetic/occult/kaballistic/rosecrucian stuff that currenly is most evident in Freemasonry and Mormonism. I don’t know why any evangelical would be anything but repulsed by it all.

    It seems to me that when the Enemy couldn’t stop Christianity with direct attacks, he tried to pervert it, which he largely seemed to accomplish.

    Regarding the pagan symmetries, I’m afraid I don’t know a single text to recommend. I find it fascinating that the Early Church dealt with this challenge (from Celsus and others). They claim that Satan planted those pagan myths in advance to foil the later true version. Many scoffed at that then and now, including Tom Harpur. I would agree that that is a preposterous response *if there is only one time dimension.* (And I think that is a weakness with open theism). But string theory opens up the possibility of multiple time dimensions, which is consistent with scripture.

    I am absolutely no fan of Constantinian “Christianity,” which I believe is the same perversion that we see in
    “Christian” Americanism. America is clearly more pagan than Christian.

    Regarding the Jesus Seminar, I have absolutely nothing good to say about them, and I greatly fear that those associating with Borg, et. al. and only getting themselves terribly, terribly confused. It seems to me that Bell and others may be trying to rescue an intellectually honest evangelicalism by retreating from the fundamentals of the faith. That didn’t work in 18th century Germany, and it won’t work today.

    If Jesus is just a legend, then someone has to explain to me why people don’t die a martyrs death for Santa Claus.

    BTW, Icthus, it seems to me that you didn’t respond to anything I wrote above. Is there a reason?

    I don’t know that I can handle all of the legitimate challenges to orthodoxy–I’m just a pastor, not a scholar, but I’m trying my best, just like all of us.

    I’ll stop there.

  • Paul

    Chris, I want to apologize for not correctly remembering Bell’s analogical approach to the virgin birth in VE. You’re right–it was analogical reasoning and, I agree, not a good one.

  • Paul

    To all,

    Just today, I think I understood my initial visceral response to Bell’s VE virgin birth discussion. It goes back to an OT prof in my evangelical undergraduate school that presented the documentary hypothesis to us so that we would be fully informed. In fact he presented it very well–and with no rebuttal whatsoever. Naturally, the question was, “If we don’t accept the whole JEDP thing, why not?”

    No answer.

    It was years until I was able to grasp onto a credible opposing view, and my faith was so rocked I almost left Christianity.

    Saying it’s just one of many spring of a trampoline is not good enough–in fact, I don’t think it’s good at all.

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Nice thoughts everyone,

    I will try and post more tomorrow…

    Paul,

    No worries VB analogy mix-up, so much information these days.

    I think we really have to remember that we are talking about men who are fallen and men who are trying their best to understand theology. And men who have been raised in various streams of understanding.

    No matter what man or pastor or theologian you study, they all have it wrong. No one had 100% proper theology.

    Yes, the VB is BIG. Very BIG. If Bell said “I don’t think Jesus was born via the VB, then I would cal him a heretic No doubt I would defend the Bible.

    But he clearly states he beliefs the VB.

    So…I think one has to look at the “overall” body of theology. And one has to look at the fruit of a man/womens life.

    So, do I agree with everything Bell agree’s with? NO NO NO. But when I look at Rob life I see someone who is desperately trying to seek Christ and love the world. I know my reformed friends will tell me that is not good enough? We need to seek Christ and love the world through a “reformed” theological world view. I just hope in our pursuit of truth that we don’t start demanding things from one-another that Jesus would not demand.

    Many or most in the Evangelical world consider Rob a brother. I know “mercy triumps over judgment” and the gospel is being preached.

    I understand that I’m reducing this issue to simple terms. I can throw all the history, theology and cause further debates. But we all know we can’t all agree. This can be a never ending conversation.

    I do know that 40,000 kids will die today because they lack food and clean water. When I was in Africa last month, I saw some projects that Mars Hill Bible Church sponsored. It’s hard not to respect that.

    I know many will find “holes” in my post, and e will use some scriptures in Jude and other parts of the Bible to defend what we believe so we can feel right and prove others wrong.

    I just don’t play that game. We will all stand before Jesus someday and give account. Until then I want to do my best to focused and doing the work of the gospel.

  • Bill

    This all sounds a lot like, “I follow Paul, I follow Apollos…”???

  • Diane

    There are many opinions about the two genealogies listed for Jesus (Matthew and Luke). However, one of the most common is that the genealogy listed in Matthew is Joseph’s line of descent. This would strongly imply that the genealogy listed in Luke is really Mary’s genealogy (Jesus’ human genealogy) showing that Jesus had a lineage back to Adam and so was of human descent.

    If that isn’t enough, there is Jesus’ own testimony in many verses where He is called the “Son of David”. Never once does He correct the people making the statement.

    Is Jesus of the lineage of David? Certainly. (Luke 18:35-42).

  • blake

    this is a question that i have been pondering:

    is there a chance that the reformers didnt get everything right? they could be wrong in some areas correct?

    i ask this because i hear people quote calvin and dort like their canonical.

    if they could be wrong then why are people who are of the reformed tradition, of which both calvinist and arminians fall, upset. it seems as thought theyve elevated these peoples thoughts to places they souldnt be.

    are not there areas that still need to be reformed?

    this is not in direct response to any post above but from wrestling through cal/arm class and the history of the reformation in light of on going critiques of current theological reforming.

  • Mark

    Hey, Shane, this was so awesome that I had to just post it again in case anyone missed it. Hey, all you so-called Christians, before you mouth off about Jesus in public again be sure to read the following very slowly and very carefully.

    Shane wrote:

    “If God has spoken to you and told you that someone is a HERETIC that is one thing, and i would really like to hear about it. If God has spoken to you and told you that someone is TEACHING HERESY, then that is an entirely different issue again, and again i would be grateful to hear about it.
    BUT IF YOU’RE JUST GOING TO DEBATE THE INTEGRITY OF PEOPLE YOU’VE NEVER MET THEN I THINK YOU SHOULD FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO DO WITH YOUR TIME. God did not die for our sins just so we could sit round and criticize others, and pat our theology on the back.”

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Mark,

    We really don’t need you screaming. Have respect or bail out.

  • Paul

    Chris, I appreciate your considered remarks, particularly about the Virgin Birth.

    Of course, I shared, I believe, a holistic concern about Bell and, in particular, VE.

    One of my core concerns was his multiple positive references to Marcus Borg and Borg’s “The Heart of Christianity.”

    Not only have I expressed concern that Bell may not know what he believes regarding core matters of the Christian faith, but the deeper problem in the Emerging movement (correct me if I’m wrong) that confusion is a good thing; that knowing what you think (even if you are open to substantial dialogue) about core theological issues is a sign of wooden phariseeism or something like that.

    It’s like being a theological “know nothing” is to be our highest aspiration, as long as we communicate what we think we know about what we don’t know in a cool way. How is that different than Fosdick?

    Am I wrong?

  • not half as bad as God is good

    What nobody has talked about is the fact that at the core of Jesus’ teachings is action. The Jews did not have the abstract sense of faith in terms of ‘belief.’ Faith was based on actions, thus the point of James 2.

    “14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

    19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

    20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

    25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

    theology and doctrine doesn’t create faith. it creates study time and arguments that keep us away from putting our faith into practice. think about the hour or so that we spend on the computer alone looking at things such as this, and then the time we spend studying and searching and finding out what we believe theologically.

    how many people’s lives could we have come across and changed if we weren’t sitting in a room doing those things?

    there is no perfect theology, and theology and doctrine becomes inherently sinful when it takes time away from putting our faith into action.

  • Paul

    Not half,

    I appreciate what you’ve shared, but I see it as seriously begging the questions…

    (1) What faith is it that we are putting into action? What are we being missional about? Is Islamic/Jewish/Freemasonic/Unitarian benevolence fundamentally different than Christian charity? If so, in what ways?

    (2) What action did Jesus speak of? If you try the following text (about freely giving) on for size, it sounds more like a John Wimber worldview than a Rauschenbusch worldview. No?

    Matt. 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts;

  • Frank

    Christianity is about Jesus Christ and His death on the cross to save us from our sins and impute his righteousness on us. As part of that righteousness we receive the Holy Spirit and out of our new Christ / other centered heart we do good works in Jesus’ name to bring Him glory.

    As long as we walk in the Holy Spirit we will walk along the path Jesus’ desires us to go down. When we lean on our own understanding and try to use wisdom and lofty words to justify ourselves we walk down a dangerous road.

    Because we have the Holy Spirit and we know Jesus, we know that the things He said and says are true. That’s the only reason we know these things to be true, trying to prove them true though logic or human reasoning or intense study is to use lofty words and wisdom.

    God’s power, plan and glory is beyond our human understanding, it’s incomprehensible, it’s not of this world but that’s ok. He doesn’t ask us to prove that it’s so, He simply asks us to Trust Him and give others a reason for our faith. After all how many of us came to Christ because someone else ‘convinced’ us? Was it not through the power of the Holy Spirit that we came to Christ?

    Jesus doesn’t ask us to prove to others it’s true either, He simply asks us to speak and walk in the Truth. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:17, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross be emptied of its power. Jesus Christ’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit is enough. We ourselves don’t need to prove anything to anyone; the convincing is done by the Holy Spirit. The entire book of Acts focuses on this truth.

    The bible calls for unity in the church not division. It also calls us to spread the good news. It reminds us that we truly don’t know if this is the last minute of our lives right now. If we only had 30 more minutes to live before Christ came back, would Jesus rather have us pointing out holes in some other Christian’s theology or speaking to an unbeliever about the person of Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can share the true answer to this question with each of us; apart from the Spirit’s actual presence and conviction it’s IMPOSSIBLE to answer the question I have just proposed.

    I can’t help but wonder why as I read blogs and posts I hear so little about the Holy Spirit and so little of Christians encouraging each other to seek the truth through prayer and pursuit of the Spirit. It seems like most of what is taking place is argumentative in nature and based on our own words of wisdom combined with tidbits of scripture. Let us as Christians truly live life by faith as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Let the Holy Spirit be with us and God Bless.

  • http://www.rethynk.org Nick

    Chris, I hereby motion to rename this post “The Post That Just Won’t Go Away Post.” Twenty years from now when Driscoll and Bell have started a ministry together and Bell’s son is engaged to Driscoll’s daughter, and all is right in the universe, people will STILL be commenting on this…

  • Ashley

    Have you guys actually heard Driscoll’s sermon? From the looks of it, I would say no.

    Watch it for your own edification:

    http://www.marshillchurch.org/sermonseries/religionsaves/week_08.aspx

  • Diane

    HAS ANYONE CHECKED OUT KEN WILBERS WEB SITE !!!!!!!!

    http://www.kenwilber.com/home/landing/index.html

    Rob Bell teaches this New Agers stuff!!

    WAKE UP FROM YOUR SLUMBER PEOPLE. HECK WHY DON’T WE READ ALL THE NEW AGERS BOOKS LIKE NEAL DONNALD WALSH’S BOOKS OR DEEPAK CHOPRA IF YOU LIKE ROB BELL YOU WILL LOVE THEIR BOOKS. BEING NICE AND DOING GOOD DEEDS FOR HUMANITY DOES NOT SAVE YOUR SOUL. I HEARD A POD CAST ON CATALYST WHERE ROB (WOLF) BELL TOLD GABE LYONS THAT BEING A CHRISTIAN JUST MEANS BEING A GOOD PERSON!!! ALSO ROB USES THE TERM ULTAMITE REALITY FOR GOD BECAUSE IT IS A NEW AGE (OR RATHER NEW SPIRITUALLITY AS THEY ARE CALLED NOW) TERM!!! AND DIVINE SPARK ALSO A NEW AGE TERM. WHAT THESE NEW BREED OF FALSE TEACHERS DO IS THEY AFFIRM ALL THE TRADITIONAL TEACHING BUT ADD ALL THE NEW AGE TEACHING. CHECK IT OUT, NO TRUE CHRISTIAN WOULD LIKE KEN WILBERS SPIRITUAL TEACHING MUCH LESS TURN AROUND AND TEACH IT THEMSELVES. STOP FOLLOWING ROB BELL!

  • mwalcher

    Ashley, these comments are from far before Mark gave that sermon. I was at the sermon, and while some of it was great, some he just had the same terrible reasons for not liking Rob Bell, nothing new, just out of context blabber like usual.

    Diane,
    This isn’t really about Ken Wilbur, yeah Rob Bell references him, but that doesn’t in itself make Rob wrong, unless you are going to play the guilty by association card…In which case we are all screwed. Also, I was laughing really hard at your all caps comment. Using terms and language that many new age people use, doesn’t make him new age. Early christians used similar language to romans, but that doesn’t mean their allegiance was to the empire.

    Also, I think you are the kind of person that makes me not want to be a Christian. no offense.

  • Diane

    Why is this not about Ken Wilber? Rob Bell is all about Ken Wilber. Rob Bell says to spend THREE MONTHS reading Ken Wilber’s book. Why would a Christian WANT to spend three months reading a book written by a New Age spiritualist??? I’m not playing any “cards”. This is not a game. Rob Bell is deceiving people with a New Age message. The New Age teaching that we are all one and God is in everything and in everyone. Rob Bell teaches pantheism. Pantheism is not Christianity. I’m glad you got a laugh about my all caps. I am frustrated at the lack of discernment Christians have. You are right – using New Age terms does not make a person a New Ager. But, teaching New Age concepts DOES make a person a New Ager and that IS what Rob Bell does. If a person who is trying to warn you about a danger that you can’t see can make you not want to be a Christian, you have a big problem with your faith. Your faith shouldn’t be about what you think about me – it should be about Jesus Christ. Are you even a Christian? What is a Christian to you? A Christian has the Holy Spirit who guides them and teaches them what is truth and what isn’t. Any person who claims to be a Christian but cannot see or understand when they are told that Rob Bell is teaching wrong things may not be a Christian at all. You know why you don’t like what I say? It’s because you are rebellious and you don’t like people who speak with authority. Why are you diverting the attention away from Ken Wilber??? Is it because even you can’t understand why Rob Bell would tell people to study Ken Wilber’s teachings? Yes, I said study. When you tell someone to spend three months in a book that would only take three weeks for a slow reader who is not very educated to read, you are implying that they study it thoroughly. Ken Wilber’s emergence theory is about humans evolving or emerging and the end result is realizing that all is one. We are God. Rob Bell AFFIRMS what traditional Christian doctrine has been but what he is doing is slowly and very carefully leading people into the New Spirituality. This New Spirituality is not new – it is just the same old New Age beliefs repackaged. That is what Ken Wilber teaches. He is happy to let you keep all your OLD beliefs – just make sure you join in the New Humanity and New Spirituality. If you want to believe the old stuff that’s fine. But, here is a new road to follow, the road where we are all one, we are nice like Jesus, and God is in everyone and in everything. Watch and you will see, every book and tour Rob Bell does in the future will reveal more and more of what people are trying to warn you about his teaching now. You are like the sheep biting the shepherd who is trying to protect you. I’m not a shepherd but I follow THE SHEPHERD who has warned me and protected me from this sneaky wolf named Rob. I’ll even give you more reasons not to want to listen to me since you are so eager to find reasons. I didn’t graduate high school. I can’t write or spell well at all. I have dyslexia. But, I am the oldest of six brothers and sisters and I am the mother of five children so it is a character trait of mine to feel a responsibility to care for and protect people. I have the MOMMA BEAR thing going on. I don’t like seeing wolves in sheep’s clothing stalking and harming the sheep. Trust The Shepherd and read the written word he has given you (the Bible) and then compare Rob Bell and Ken Wilber’s teaching to it…

  • mwalcher

    So question. Rob Bell also suggest to read everything by John Piper (Velvit Elvis p.182). Therefor, with your logic OMG JOHN PIPER IS A WOLF.

    Here is why I really don’t like people like you. You insist on yelling at me, screaming that I am wrong, and shoving your beliefs down my throat, while screaming that you are right. You don’t even know me, how do you know my ability to discern? Rob Bell isn’t the greatest teacher in the world, he is off on some stuff, does that mean he is a wolf? According to you, yeah…So with that logic EVERY preacher except Jesus, and maybe Paul/ other NT writers, is a wolf. Mark Driscoll…Yeah he doesn’t have it all nailed down either.

    Yelling at me, trying to get me to see your worldview is doing really nothing. I don’t worship Rob Bell, or new age spirituality. No I am not some pansy that accepts homosexuality, because I don’t want to hurt peoples feelings, I believe in the truth of Scripture…But I also thing it is extremely arrogant to think we have it all figured out and can nail God down into 5 points of Calvinism, insisting that this IS how God works.

    “Why would a Christian WANT to spend three months reading a book written by a New Age spiritualist?”

    For the same reason that I would read anybody else. Take some good, throw away the rest. Because someone has different beliefs doesn’t mean they are all wrong.
    If I wanted to go learn how to play the guitar, I will ask a guitar player to teach me, if they are a Christian cool, if not…That doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable lessons for the guitar. Rob never said to adapt to all of his beliefs…He insists actually that you don’t.

    I don’t care if you went to high school or not, what struggles you have in life…etc. None of those are reasons for which I wouldn’t like you.

    “But, teaching New Age concepts DOES make a person a New Ager”

    Wrong. Just like teaching people Christian concepts doesn’t make them or me a Christian. I can teach you all about Jesus, without actually having faith in him myself.

    Send me the link to Rob Bell teaching pantheism, then maybe I will believe you.

    Also thats cute of you to question if I am a Christian at all, because I listen to Rob Bell. Again, horrible logic. The people I seek teaching from doesn’t determine my salvation, if that were the case that would mean its not faith alone that brings salvation, but works.

    I can compare the Bible to Rob Bell’s teachings, not Ken Wilber, because that isn’t who I am seeking teaching from. If you suggest to me that Rob Bell resources Ken, and passes it down to me, therefor I am seeking Kens teaching…Again flawed argument.

    I would assume you have sought some teaching from your pastor, who has sought teaching from someone else, probably leading to Martin Luther…Who was a great teacher, but wrong on some points. That doesn’t make all of his work worthless though.

    It is very clear to me that you haven’t really listened to anything from Rob Bell, just read a few blogs about him, maybe listened to Mark Driscoll, then jumped to your own opinions. Maybe before denouncing someone as a heretic, we should at least make sure we are right, not just passing on information someone else said.

    I really don’t mean to sound like I dislike you Diane, I just get frustrated, I feel like all of your opinions about Rob Bell are just ridiculous. I am in no way suggesting I agree 100% with Rob Bell, I certainly don’t. It is dangerous to agree 100% with anyone/anything outside of the Bible.

    Again, I also haven’t heard a single actual argument from you as to why you dislike Bell, other than guilty by association (in which case everyone is screwed) and that he is a ‘wolf’

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Diane,

    I’m assuming you are very fundamental in your thinking and understanding of theology. I’m sure you mean well and you are hping to glorify God but really, Rob is not some crazy “wolf.” Maybe you don’t agree with him-fine. I don’t agree with a lot of folks, but they still love Jesus and try to live out the faith. We can disagree and still “contend” for the gospel. For instance, many people beleive the gifts of the HS are no longer needed-what if they are wrong? Or vice versa.

    All of us will preach a gospel that falls short. Some do go off the deep end and teach a false gospel. But Rob Bell is not near that camp.

    Mwalcher,

    This is why many are frustrated with Christians-we can be so narrow-minder and we can be ready to fight instead of love. And claim we are doing these things for the glory of God and to be faithful in scripture-but much of it is pride and wanting to be right.

  • http://alandofme.blogspot.com/ I moved to GR for RB’s teaching

    FWIW, Rob’s Easter sermon today clearly showed that he is not in the new age camp, he sees the Christianity and New Age spirituality in opposition to one another. Visually, he used four trampolines on the platform to show different kinds of thinking. The sermon will be available this week (usually Tuesday nights are when they post) at http://www.marshill.org. Direct your cursor to “Teachings” and then “Previous 12 Weeks.”

    Also FWIW, the last three months in Philippians are still available for free at the website, and it is the best teaching I’ve known in 37 years. It’s made me fall in love with Paul. The “Grace and Peace” sermon from Jan 6 and the two weeks after that have taken hold of my family, and we’ve been really extending that love and grace to one another.

    I am so glad I moved to Grand Rapids. It’s funny — I start getting excited about going to church sometime around Friday afternoon, and I carry that excitement with me all the way until I meet my house church friends at Mars Hill on Sunday morning. This is also a first, in my 37 years of living.

    Grace and peace to you all.

  • Ben Hammond

    I respect how carefully he went about this. It does seem to me though that he starts drifting form being careful near the end. Also, when he refers to “Slaves, Women, and Homosexuality” he actually tells things about the book that aren’t true. The books premise is to use Slaves and Women as evidence of things that God has been moving forward and Homosexuality as a static, transcendent law… but Driscoll claims the book lumps homosexuality in with the other two as things that God is moving Forward with – which is simply not true – the book painstakingly explains in every chapter why the commands about homosexuality don’t change and are transcendent. I won’t get into what he says about the evidence of the book “holding no ground what so ever…” and about 1 Timothy 3 saying that only men can be deacons (the word “wives” is just not in the greek… it’s “women”… just let the Bible speak for itself…)

  • Ben

    I go to a church that takes some of it’s inspiration from two of these men and we are gaining “converts” like crazy. For the last 3 years we’ve been growing at a continuous 20-30%. And people aren’t just coming, people’s lives are being changed.

  • Diane

    So, do you guys think the New Spirituality is Biblical Christianity? Do you understand that the New Spirituality really CHANGES peoples lives? They have a paradigm shift in their thinking and they experience a new outlook on life and they are excited about life again (or for the first time). They are AWAKENED and they focus on being connected with others and connected with creation and saving the planet? Do you believe that Jesus came not to show us His Divinity but to show us the way to the Christ within all of us whereby we experience Joy and love God (or Ultimate reality) and others like we never have before? Do you believe we are all “one” and that We all as humans have a divine spark in us and this divine spark is God? Is this what most of you guys believe Christianity is who write and read this blog??

  • Monica

    I find it to be quite ridiculous that mark driscoll would say such a thing. Rob bell takes a much more allegorical approach to his preaching than mark does. I have grown up in the church..its only by the grace of God that i remain their.. I too have become tired of the dry pastors who don’t practice what they preach..the passionless ones who speak of love but seem to have no conception of what that means. I happen to live in the seattle area and have visited Driscoll church many times. I have always felt that he has been a reactionary sort of preacher and speaks from a position of fear rather than truth. Don’t get me wrong..some of the things he says are great.. But it scares me that he prefers to stand in opposition to other men of the faith.. These disagreements have nothing to do with God..only legalisms. I also have read Rob Bell’s books, i listen to his sermons weekly and have seen most of his dvd.. i have yet to see anything that is directly contradictory to the Bible.. He uses much more scripture and histrorical context than any pastor i have had the privelage to hear.. He also puts things in a way that people can relate to.. he asks questions. Bell would be the first to tell people to follow along with him through the scriptures and question everything.. I am not sure what everyone is so afraid of..questions should be asked..especially when it comes to traditions or legalism that have nothing to do with God. Christianity shouldn’t be seen as afraid to ask questions.. I think we have a problem if people aren’t allowed to question or dig into their faith. Truth is truth..it doesn’t fade in the light of questioning. I have even heard driscoll tell his congregation not to read things because of their contradictory nature.. that is a huge red flag.. why not.. is your congregation not capable of thinking for themselves? Why are you so afraid? That is what i am afraid of.. God save us from a day when the religious leaders preach from the pulpit with agendas and politics..or worse personal opinions on non-biblical issues.. honestly mark.. i have no interest in your opinion.. only the opinion of the one true and living savior.. i wanna hear what the bible has to say..no so much you.. i wonder what driscoll thinks of dan kimball..or david pierce.. the problem is they are all human and guess what..they aren’t right about everything.. i don’t think you can just go around throwing words like heretic around..just because you disagree with the guy..i wonder how many of us fall under the category of heretic..or bring shame on the faith at some point of our lives.. i love that under all the scrutiny that driscoll has put him under, enduring the personal attacks.. bell still seems to love driscoll in spite of it..now that is christ-like..personally i’m starting to get a little tired of the mark driscoll show..

  • Andrew

    I believe any humble church leader would be quick to call us all to be followers of Christ. Not followers of Rob Bell, Mark Driscoll, Brian Mclaren, C.S. Lewis, Shane Claiborne or G.K. Chesterton. As I could go on and on with names of authors whose books I have read and enjoyed, it would be of no use. Ultimately, the wisdom of God transcends human understanding. IF we cannot read the Bible as infallible nor any other human writings, then it leaves us with prayer as our most direct connection with God: Precisely the point that Bell has made over and over, and most other authors that speak truth. All this to say that I mean only to stress the importance of being very careful to not commit oneself wholeheartedly to the teachings of any man. This is very dangerous. Although I believe that one can derive truth from a variety of sources, this does not mean that the sources are a consistently reliable source of truth. I have utmost respect for many of these authors, but I consider them a means to an end, the end being the truth of Jesus.

    I play soccer with Rob Bell and attend his church. On an almost weekly basis, he stresses the importance of the Church as an entity outside of any building. He insists that the members of Mars Hill Community form groups that meet in the community (at houses mostly) and discover what it means to follow Christ.

    A book is a collection of ideas; Not a claim to be the ultimate source of wisdom, truth or knowledge (although the Bible merits exception). If an author claims it to be, I would question this. God reveals new truths to all of us in a variety of beautiful, unpredictable, and unprecedented ways. Authors are no exception. Have we not all said one thing and then found it to be false, or prayed on thing only to find that we missed the point? We are all capable of heretical interpretations of truth and yet capable of finding truth amongst lies, beauty among brokenness. It is only through the guidance of Christ that we can constantly remain aware of that which is true. To judge an author’s character by a writing or collection or writings is a difficult and possibly meaningless task. Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge an author by his book.

    Let us continue to seek God and His truths through careful prayer and reflection, and seek His guidance as we sort through the myriad of thoughts and ideas out there.

    Grace and Peace.
    -Andrew

  • Andrew

    Diane,
    Have you followed up with Shane? He conveyed a genuine interest in talking with you.

  • Craig

    I must say that I am curiously surprised by the frequent criticism of Rob Bell and his teachings. Some people accuse him of being a heretic because of things they think he is implying by his teaching. So let me throw out an honest challenge to those of you who believe that Rob Bell is teaching wrongly about essential fundamental points of the faith:

    First, make a list of every point you think he believes or teaches that is fundamental to the faith and which you believe is wrong. (I imagine many will have trouble with even this basic step!)

    Second, go to the website of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids and look at the church’s doctrinal statement. It is listed as a gospel narrative, I think. See whether it supports your ideas of what Rob Bell allegedly incorrectly teaches or believes. Since that church was started by him and he is still the current pastor, don’t you think it fair to assume that the church’s dcontrinal statement is consistent with his beliefs.

    I challenge anyone to find an unorthodox belief in that doctrinal statement. I have read it closely and have found none.

    So, unless you are willing to do what I just said, I think you should be very careful before criticising Bell or what you “think” he believes.

    Peace of Christ to all!

  • Craig

    Actually, after I posted, I figured so many would never take the time to look up Mars Hill’s doctrinal statement that it woyuld be better for me to post many of the statements (the quotes are directly from their doctrinal statement):

    1. Inspiration of scripture: “We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit”

    2. The Trinity: “[God] was and always will be in a communal relationship with himself – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

    3. Sin: “The enemy tempted the first humans, and darkness and evil entered the story through human sin and are now a part of the world. This devastating
    event resulted in our relationships with God, others, ourselves, and creation being fractured and in desperate need of redeeming.”

    4. Christ’s birth and identity: “We believe these longings found their fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, mysteriously God having become flesh.”

    5. Jesus’ death and resurrection: “Yet [Jesus's] path of suffering, crucifixion, death,burial, and resurrection has brought hope to all creation.”

    6. Christ is the only way to salvation: “Jesus is our only hope for bringing peace and reconciliation between God and humans. Through Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into right relationship with God.”

    7. We must trust Jesus: “The Spirit of God affirms as children of God all those who trust Jesus.”

    8. The Holy Spirit and the church: ” The Spirit empowers us with gifts, convicts, guides, comforts, counsels, and leads us into truth through a communal life of worship and a missional expression of our faith.
    The church is rooted and grounded in Christ, practicing spiritual disciplines and celebrating baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The church
    is a global and local expression of living out the way of Jesus through love, peace, sacrifice, and healing as we embody the resurrected Christ, who lives in and through us, to a broken and hurting world.”

    9. The judgment: “We believe the day is coming when Jesus will return to judge the world, bringing an end to injustice and restoring all things to God’s original intent.”

    OK, I repeat, what about that is unorthodox?

  • http://alandofme.blogspot.com/ I moved to GR for RB’s teaching

    Wow, no replies to this in four weeks. ‘Tis a shame Craig. The statement is awesome.

  • http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ Diane

    Hey,
    Did you like how Rob Bell preached that God is the universe in his last sermon? The universe is Gods creation and God is the creator… they are separate. Check out my latest post on my blog. http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ It will really make you frustrated with me!!! By the way Rob Bell was at the Seeds Of Compassion interfaith event. He denied Jesus as the only way to God there.

  • http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ Diane

    I forgot I wrote this along time ago. More for you all to chew on….

    This is the NEW AGE gospel of Rob Bell
    Read this excerpt from an article entitled “The Evangelical Attraction To Mysticism” By Alan Morrison. ( You can read the whole article at: http://www.bereanbeacon.org/EvangelicalAttraction.html

    I. A BASIC INTRODUCTION TO MYSTICISM
    1. DEFINING MYSTICISM
    It has been well-said that mysticism ‘begins with a mist and always ends in schism’! There is more than a degree of truth in that witty aphorism. Chambers’ Dictionary defines ‘mysticism’ as ‘the habit or tendency of religious thought and feeling of those who seek direct [with the accent on this word 'direct'] communion with God or the divine’,2 while a mystic is defined as ‘one who seeks or attains direct intercourse with God in elevated religious feeling or ecstasy’.3

    Evelyn Underhill’s defines Mysticism as ‘the art of union with Reality. The mystic is a person who has attained that union in a greater or less degree, or who aims at it and believes in such attainment.’
    Aldous Huxley wrote: The technique of mysticism may result in the direct intuition of, and union with, an ultimate spiritual reality that is perceived as simultaneously beyond the self and in some way within it.’
    Professor Ferguson, Dean of the Open University and an ardent advocate of mysticism, lists five generalised points which one can identify in any manifestation of mysticism:
    ‘First, mystics believe that there is an Ultimate Being, a dimension of existence beyond that experienced through the senses…[which] is often, though not invariably, conceived in personal terms and called God… Second, mystics claim that the Ultimate can in some sense be known or apprehended… Third, the soul perceives the Ultimate through inward sense… Fourthly, it would be widely held by mystics that there is an element in the soul akin to the Ultimate, a divine spark…a holy spirit within. In this way, to find God is to find one’s true self… Fifth, mysticism has as its zenith the experience of union with the Ultimate… The mystic seeks to pass out of all that is merely phenomenal, out of all lower forms of reality, to become Being itself’.4

    We can see from this description of mysticism, first, that God is reduced to a pantheistic ‘dimension of existence’ beyond the normal senses, although this is sometimes called ‘God’ for convenience; second, that there is an element of this divinity, a divine spark, a ‘holy spirit within’ all people (a foundational error); third, that it is possible to tap into this ‘inwardly’ so that one is absorbed into it, and can even become that ‘Ultimate Being’ oneself; fourth, the relegation of this present life to a ‘lower form of reality’, something ‘merely phenomenal’. Finally, there is the idolatrous and even blasphemous assertion that ‘to find God is to find one’s true self’.
    There is very much more we could say, as there are as many definitions as there are people to make them. What we find is that the operation of mysticism, wherever it occurs, involves the utilisation of certain practices in order to bring about an altered state of consciousness so that a person can not only personally experience the Divine presence — however that may be perceived — but actually become unified with the Divine Essence, usually in a stupendous ecstatic experience.
    And so we find that what mysticism is all about — as it has manifested throughout the world over the centuries, whether it is Eastern mysticism or so called Christian mysticism — can be reduced to two heads: 1) The seeking out of a direct experience of God, without any mediator; 2) The setting up of the individual’s subjective experience as the sole arbiter of religious truth.
    And the manifestation of these twin-tenets of mysticism in the Christian scene has been diverse: ranging from one extreme in the passive navel-gazing of the Quietists, to the opposite extreme in the enthusiastic fanaticism of the Holy Spirit Movements which have dogged orthodoxy throughout the Gospel Age. (The so-called ‘Toronto Blessing’, for example, is a classic manifestation of manipulated mysticism, as we shall come to appreciate).
    These twin-tenets of mysticism have always played a vital part in the religions of the world. Some world religions are primarily mystical, e.g., Hinduism and Buddhism. Whereas other religions are primarily formalist but have their mystical wings, such as the Sufism of Islam and the Kabbalism of post-AD.70 Judaism. How Roman Catholicism came to be involved in mysticism is a complex story, with a number of seemingly disparate influences.

    Now read Rob Bells book (Velvet Elvis page 021) Rob Bell is saying that when you live the way of Jesus you notice something DEEPER going on. Bell says, that living the way of Jesus is the best way to live because it is rooted in profound truths about how the WORLD is. You find yourself living in tune with reality. You are more and more in sync with how the UNIVERSE is at its deepest levels. Bell then says, Jesus’ intention was and is to call people to live in tune with reality. Bell then says that God is the ultimate reality. What Rob Bell is doing here is equating God with the world, with the universe. Rob Bell is saying that God is the universe. Rob Bell goes on to say that Jesus is not the exclusive way to God, He is just the “best” way to the “DEPTH” of reality. Rob Bells god is a pantheistic god. His god is not God at all, and his jesus is some other jesus who resides in every single human being as a Divine spark ( see Bells new book Sex God pg. 019) Rob Bell says, …..”something of God has been placed in them. We reflect what God is like and who God is. A DIVINE SPARK resides in every single human being.” Rob Bell is a false teacher teaching anti Christ, humanistic, new age teaching. It looks like truth, it smells like truth, but it is a counterfeit. THIS is the truth, Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

  • http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ Diane

    Seeds of Compassion event videos watch it and read what a little leaven has to say.
    http://www.alittleleaven.com/2008/04/rob-bells-comme.html

  • http://chrismarlow.wordpress.com/ chrismarlow

    Diane,

    Not sure how to respond. It’s more of the same. Not trying to be a jerk. But you take so much out of context. If Jesus told you Rob was OK, would you also try and prove Jesus wrong. Life is too short to stress about this for months on end.

    Do us all a favor and relax. Or at least bring new information. I wonder how you will feel when you and Rob hang in heaven-forever. :)

  • http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ Diane

    Chris,
    So you believe that God is the universe? And you believe there are more ways to God than through Jesus? Jesus is the “best way” though , right? You also believe that all humans have God in them and it’s called a divine spark? You also believe all religions pray to the same God? These are things Rob Bell believes. These beliefs are true to you?
    Oh ya, and heaven is a state you live your life here on earth it’s not something after this life. That’s what Rob Bell teaches.
    I am doing you a favor I’m telling you the truth.
    Jesus has told me through his word the bible that Rob Bell’s teaching is not ok. I’m not stressing I’m just giving you information.

  • http://www.kylelent.com/ kyle

    Diane, I might suggest that you ask God for humility. There have been many people on this post who are not attempting to reconcile wrong theology with the Bible as you might suggest, but who have been humbly able to accept the fact that we might not be able to explain everything, especially when it comes to quickly condemning another person that we have not met. Your choice in that case has been to accuse those people of believing it, an odd manifestation of regress argument. Chris’ last response to you was simply: “Relax, we’re all on the same side here”. He said nothing of God being the universe or other such nonsense; you jumped to some incredibly illogical conclusions about him that frankly made me laugh.

    Chris is the associate pastor at my church. He does not believe there is another way to heaven outside of Jesus, he does not believe all religions pray to the same God, etc. You see what has happened here, right? You worked yourself up over this and ascribed these ideas to Chris and others when they never made those claims at all; humility, Diane, allows you to listen to others respectfully because you are aware that you don’t have it all figured out. Christ called out the Pharisees because their inability to converse and treat others with love goes against His entire teaching.

    Rob Bell does not believe in other ways to get to God. To quote from the core beliefs of his church (from their website): “Jesus is our only hope for bringing peace and reconciliation between God and humans. Through Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into right relationship with God.” It’s a dangerous thing to claim he teaches something else Diane: that is called gossip, even if “evidence” of his heresy comes from another source (or anything that is not from Rob Bell himself).

    I’d also like to say something about reading a “non-Christian” work and claiming that study of it is inherently heretical. I’m assuming you don’t find Paul heretical, seeing as how you quote his books often on your blog, correct? What, then, do we make of the fact that he quotes pagan authors when speaking to the Areopagus in Acts 17:22-34? Paul quotes both Epimenides and Aratus in this passage, neither of whom are Christ-followers. Wait a minute, that means Paul has been reading pagan authors? Surely not! No Christian should be studying such nonsense, right? Yet he is not only reading it, but he actually quotes it as truth in our New Testament? He does. He is applying a new truth to the original, secular works. The point, Diane, is that one can read ANY non-Christian literature without becoming a secularist or mystic, or whatever word you might choose. To assume that simply reading a book is the same thing as inherently agreeing with whatever the author might say is called circular logic, and it is a silly claim. Any English or debate teacher would tell you that circular arguments are not a valid form of intellectual discussion. I am interested to know your take on Paul’s speech in Acts 17?

  • Craig

    Diane,

    You may be well-intentioned, and I will give you the benefit of the doubt on that. Please give me the quote, in exact words, where Rob Bell said that there are other ways to heaven than through Jesus. I have never seen it, and you have never provided it. Don’t give me a link to something or tell me what someone else said. Give me the exact quotes and when they were said by Rob Bell. Otherwise, you are the one speaking falsely against your brother, something the Bible tells you not to do. That is a command — Do not bear false witness against your neighbor! (Exodus 20:16, Exodus 23:1; Proverbs 19:5; Matthew 19:18; Luke 3:14).

    Diane, as for God being the universe, I do not think that Rob Bell is a pantheist. Colossians 1:17 tells us that everything in the universe is held together in Christ. We believe that God is omnipresent, thus He is throughout all of the universe. The Bible tells us that in Him we live and breathe and have our being. In that sense, God is throughout the universe. Clearly though, God is also distinct from creation. These are hard concepts and, unless I hear direct falsehoods, I am charitable with others in their comments.

    Diane, we do need to be on the lookout for false teachers. But, as the saying goes: if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then its a duck. As you said in your email above, “It looks like truth, it smells like truth.” In my opoinion, if it looks like truth and smells like truth, then it’s truth! Quit trying so hard to find falsehood. You will see whatever you want to see, and there is nothing we can do to stop you from that. I just hope that, in other parts of your life, you are using your energies to actually love people and share God’s love with them, not just criticize others.

  • Pingback: Mark Driscoll & Rob Bell « Simply Missional

  • http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ Diane

    Rob Bell denies FAITH in Jesus as the only way to salvation (not that Jesus himself is not a way to salvation). I left out the word FAITH. I am sorry about that. I am also sorry about my attitude. I am not perfect in my attitude and emotions but that does not mean that what Rob Bell is teaching is biblical.

    A person named Pat on November 29th posted on this blog explaining what Rob Bell teaches in his “The gods aren’t angry” tour. It’s called Christian Universalism. It is the belief that because of Jesus’ death on the cross (as a payment for all the sins of the world) that all people are saved. People don’t have to have faith in Jesus or even know of Jesus. Jesus saved everyone by what He did and reconciled all things to God.

    My Husband keeps telling me to stick to one topic when I talk about Rob Bell. But that is so hard to do because he is spreading so many wrong teachings. I’ll stick to this one topic because it is an important one. People are saved through FAITH in Jesus. Yes, Jesus died for ALL but we must hear of Him and place our faith in Him to be saved. These are the places where Rob Bell teaches Christian Universalism in his book Velvet Elvis. For example, he says on page 21 – “Jesus at one point claimed to be ‘the way, the truth, and the life'”. He states about this verse that “Jesus was not making claims about one religion being better than all the other religions.” Do you see how Rob Bell shifts the topic to religion rather than the exclusivity about salvation that Christ was claiming in John 14:6? On page 146 he says, “This reality (forgiveness and reconciliation) isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something (having faith). It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making.” What Rob Bell is teaching is that we are ALREADY saved we just need to realize it. Here are some scriptures that clearly show that the teaching that all men are already saved is false:

    John 3:16-18
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because He has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

    Romans 1:16-17
    I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

    Acts 16:30-31
    He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”

    Ephesians 2:8-9
    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

    Do you see? Living Jesus’ way does not save a person. A person must have faith, they must believe in Jesus. Living the way of Jesus by doing good works does not save us. But, so that no man can boast, God has made it so that we aren’t saved by what we do or how we live. But rather, we are saved by our faith in God the Son, Jesus.

  • Craig

    Actually, Diane, the teaching is that Christ died for all, but only those who “trust” Jesus will have salvation. That is exactly what Rob Bell’s church’s doctrinal statement says – only those who trust Jesus will be reconciled to God. That is an orthodox teaching for may Christians, except for Calvinists who believe in limited atonement.

    It is interesting that you had to insert in parentheses what you “think” Rob Bell means in Velvet Elvis (when you inserted “having faith”) and that you had to reference something someone else said (Pat), rather than give exact quotes from Rob Bell. Even if you think what Rob is teaching is heresy, you are still not handling yourself in a proper manner by making statements about him that are not true.

    His statement that there is nothing we do to make our salvation true could just as easily be construed as there are no “works” we can do to get salvation.

    You choose to interpret Rob’s statement in a way that is not clearly mentioned in the paragraph. I am a judge (by profession) and the statements you are making about him would not hold up in court as being supported based upon what you have provided about him so far. You have not provided any solid evidence to back up your harsh and slanderous comments about Rob Bell. Until you can back up your statements with hard facts (without your interpretations built into them), you should be more charitable. I do not agree with everything Rob Bell teaches, but I am tired of people attacking him without a justified basis.

    I imagine you will see whatever you want to see and will not be persuaded by reality. But, if anybody else is reading this, my hope is that they will learn from this discussion and come away realizing how much more we need to be charitable with one another.

    Peace of Christ to all!

  • http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ Diane

    The Diabolical System Of Diaprax

    Diaprax is a word coined by Dean Gotcher, founder of the Institute for Authority Research. Dean has traveled the United States and given over 1,000 live presentations to Christians explaining this wicked technique that is surreptitiously destroying our families, our government, and even our Christian churches.

    After reading and digesting 600+ social psychology books, Mr. Gotcher joined the word dialectic and the word praxis to create the term DIAPRAX. Dialectic is a philosophical term that describes the use of dialogue to resolve conflict between opposing ideas or opinions. The word Praxis simply means “to practice.” Therefore, Diaprax is the practice of the dialectic.

    These terms are derived from the ungodly 18th century philosophical model that is known as the Hegelian Dialectic. Named after the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Hegel (although considerably refined since its inception in Hegel’s era), this world view has now completely enveloped the world.

    In its simplest form, the Diaprax system is a process whereby the entire world will eventually dialog until they reach a consensus. The 3 part formula consists of 3 essential components: Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis. Simply put, a “thesis” is combined with the opposing view, the “anti-thesis,” and the result is called the “synthesis.”

    In the Bible we see Satan cause the fall of man through the use of Diaprax (the practice of the dialectic). Eve tells the Serpent that God has commanded that of the tree in the midst of the garden, that they “shall not eat of” it. That is the thesis. Then Satan offers an opposing opinion (the antithesis) that flies in the face of the Word of God, telling Eve about the benefits of eating the forbidden fruit. Eve joins the two views and comes up with the synthesis – the fruit is “good food,” “pleasant to the eye” and will “make one wise.” Through Adam and Eve’s reasoning, God’s eternal truth was reasoned away, and the curse of death replaced the gift of eternal life.

    No Christian can follow the Lord of the Bible, and partake of Diaprax. You cannot serve two masters, and the practicing of the Dialectic is an insidious process that now permeates all forms of society – including the “management” practices of the corporate Christian church.

    In the same manner that Diaprax was used to “facilitate” the fall of man, it is today “facilitating” the complete destruction of our country. The American family has moved from Patriarchic (the Biblical model of the family) to the more Diaprax-oriented Matriarchic. The end result may be referred to as Heresyarchic. The synthesis of the Patriarchal and the Matriarchal is Heresy-archical. Satan tempted (diapraxed) Eve who compromised the fact based instructions of God the sake of relationship – the then nascent dialog with the Serpent.

    Obviously, men are also susceptible to the same approach, for Adam willfully disobeyed God for the sake of the relationship with Eve – who had already eaten of the fruit. When reduced to a simple philosophical paradigm, God’s Word is absolute and is true. This is the Thesis.

    As various doctrinal approaches to Christianity vie for pre-eminence, while posing as interpretive systems, they ultimately put forward the Antithesis. As Christians seek to maintain their relationships with churches, family, friends, government, etc. (see Mark 13:12) slowly erode (sacrifice) their previously firm stance on the pure fact of God’s word in order to preserve the relationship. Thus, each person is eventually processed and a Synthesis is reached.

    Virtually all organizational structures are presently moving in the spirit of Diaprax. Every city council, county board of commissioners, courthouse, church board of Elders, and corporate enterprise is deeply enmeshed in the process.

    In this fashion, previously Protestant organizations that were staunchly anti-Papist are now embracing the heresy of Rome. Previously conservative Christian groups are slowly allowing women to become pastors, homosexuals to be married in the church, and firm doctrines such as the Virgin birth to be liberally “spiritualized.” Bibles (such as the NIV) are being translated via a system known as “dynamic equivalency” which is built on the process of the Diaprax – a translational dialogue to consensus.

    On the political front, the once great American Republic is Diapraxing itself into a totalitarian police state, and falling in line with the One-World United Nations government that the Scriptures declare will arise in the last days. After “dialoguing to consensus” on the subject of security versus personal freedom, the public has moved from the absolute guarantee of The Bill Of Rights (the thesis) and forfeited personal freedoms (the synthesis) because the compromise is necessary in order for the government to “protect” us – the threat to our security being the antithesis.

    The consensus (the result of the social Diaprax) has concluded that “peace and safety” is more important than individual freedoms.

    The process works in literally thousands of environments and is now running at full speed. Interestingly enough, the American Peoples Encyclopedia states that the Diaprax “can come to rest only at the apex of a hierarchial system.” Its early 20th century fruits were Communism and Fascism. This is the mechanism for the ultimate hierarchic system which the Bible tells us will be ruled by the globalist elite with their inevitable Antichrist (the synthesis) at the top of the political pyramid that is presently being constructed.

    Sadly, most mainstream Christian churches are allowing the Diapraxing of their values as codified in the Ten Commandments – the Thesis. The Antithesis is Government sanctioned Abortion, Homosexuality, Pornography, Divorce, and many other non-Christian behaviors. Because the incorporated state-sanctioned churches are required by law to respond in a certain fashion to these sins in order to maintain their 501(c)(3) non-profit status, the churches have compromised the truth of God’s word in order to preserve the relationship with the government.

    The inevitable Synthesis is a powerless church that has “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit… .” (Revelation 18:3)

    Once again, a simple example of the Diaprax process in the Christian church works like this: Homosexuality is a sin (God’s truth). This is the Thesis, the truth of God. Man reasons that Jesus loves everyone, therefore we should love everyone. This is the Antithesis. Thus, the Synthesis is that the church accepts (or simply tolerates) the sin because it loves the sinner.

    For Christians, all SIN is the inevitable result of practicing Diaprax. The conscience deals in truth in absolute black and white – thou shalt not, right or wrong, yes or no. Man’s “ego” deals in the gray zone of feelings and emotions – the desires of man’s lustful heart – could be, should, wannabe, etc. So we compromise God’s truth with our reasoning, and we sin. Unless you have “the mind of Christ,” the end result for all humanity is a reprobate mind that has brought the organized Christian church and the freedom loving people of America to the point where they are now embracing the diabolical system of The Antichrist and his False Prophet – the Diaprax.

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” – Isaiah 55:8

    Doug Hudson & James Lloyd

    Copyright © 2002 Christian Media Network

  • http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ Diane

    Thought you might like this video from youtube.

  • http://iamapoem.blogspot.com/ Diane

    Let’s get back to the faith they had…….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNq8yMxSARQ

  • Craig

    Wow, Diane, you have revealed a lot about yourself by your postings. As it relates to you, I think that nothing further will be gained by you on this posting board. And, with all due respect to you, I seriously doubt that anybody else stands much to gain from your input either.

    Just so you know to whom you are addressing, I became a Christian when I was 18. I have followed Jesus for 20 years now. I have had the privilege of sharing Christ with many people and seeing many people trust Him as their savior. I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that Jesus is the only way to salvation. I am far from a heretic, and I have taken seriously the command to go into all the world, having been on two mission trips to China and going back again this year. Through those trips I have seen many people become believers and be baptized, and the love of God spread.

    I say all this simply to let you know that you are battling the wrong people, Diane. While you should be battling Satan and taking God’s LOVE to a dying world, you are busy fighting other believers. Please come to your senses and stop, and get out there and start loving the lost, rather than fighting your brothers and sisters.

    Again, I say: Peace of Christ to all!

  • http://www.simplymissional.com Chris Marlow

    First of all I wanted to say thanks to all of you for taking time to read and comment.

    That being said…I think we’ve reached a point where this conversation is no longer productive.

    Therefore I’m going to close the comments on this post.

    Once again…Thanks.

  • http://volunteermanager.wordpress.com Greg the Explorer

    Dianne said

    If you didn't know, New Agers are now called New Spirituality and the teach that God is "in" everything and "in" everyone. That we just need to realize "who" we really are. That we are all connected, we are all one. Does this sound familiar to anyone who has read Rob Bells books?

    It is also what John Donne, the great philosopher,poet and Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London taught in the 17th century

    No man is an island13, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory14 were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee

    Not so 'new age' at all then is it?

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