Rob Bell in his usual cry-baby style is trying to paint himself as some kind of martyr. A victim worthy of a major chapter in "Foxe's Book Of Emergents With Hurt Feelings". Attacking core tenets of the historic orthodox Christian faith really isn't that big a deal as far as Bell is concerned and he professes great surprise at the firestorm he has generated. “I never set out to be controversial,” Bell told CNN. “I don’t think it’s a goal that God honors. I don’t think it’s a noble goal". Hey Rob, "Controversy" and "heresy" may both end in the letter "y" but that doesn't mean they have the same meaning.
Bell went on to say in his usual postmodern fog, “What’s interesting to me is what’s true. And what’s interesting to me is what’s inspiring. And what’s interesting to me is where’s the life? Where’s the inspiration? That’s what I’m interested in. If that happens to stir things up, that was never my intent, but I’ll accept that.”
I can't help but think that when this thing runs it's full course Bell will experience far more serious repercussions than "stirring things up". He might as well enjoy his fifteen minutes of fame because he is destined to become just another name in the long line of Church history's hall of heretics.
Whichever way you slice it, its safe to say that John Macarthur is not a postmodernist! And he is speaking with crystal clear clarity on an issue that demands it. Over at the blog on the Grace To You website Macarthur wrote several posts concerning Rob Bell and I thought it worthwhile to quote from one of them:
Just how serious is Rob Bell’s heresy? It is not merely that he rejects what Jesus taught about hell; Bell rejects the God of Scripture. He deplores the idea of divine vengeance against sin (Romans 12:9). He cannot stand the plain meaning of texts like Hebrews 12:29: “Our God is a consuming fire.” He has no place in his thinking for the biblical description of Christ’s fiery return with armies of angels: “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). Bell's whole message is a flat contradiction of Jesus' words in Luke 12:5: "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!"
Bell will have none of that. He therefore tries to eliminate the authority and clarity of Scripture so that he can reinvent a god who is more to his liking. It is the sin of all sins; the sin of the serpent. Like Eve’s tempter, Bell is subtly but undeniably fomenting rebellion against the true God. He suggests that he is better—nicer, more kindly, more tolerant, more lenient—than the God who has revealed Himself in Scripture. He therefore sets aside God’s revealed Word and makes his own musings the inviolable standard.
In effect he wants to assume the role of God for himself. That is not a minor evil; it is epic. It is the original sin of Lucifer.
Rob Bell has been sowing doubt, confusion, and error in the church for years. His theological trajectory has been clear for at least a decade. The stance he takes in Love Wins is the predictable fruit of many other compromises and concessions to worldly opinion that were already well established in Bell’s teaching.
In fact, the most surprising thing about Love Wins is not the position Rob Bell takes, but the fact that so many people seem genuinely caught off guard and unaccountably confused by it. The record of Bell’s own words makes it clear that this latest book of his is little more than a distillation of things he has been saying all along. He abandoned Jesus’ teaching years ago in favor of a different religion—one more in keeping with his personal preferences. He is pointing people toward the broad way that leads to destruction.
The sad reality is that if Rob Bell does not confess the truth in this life, one day he will realize how wrong his understanding of hell really is. His view of hell will be painfully altered forever when he receives the more severe punishment reserved for those who with a Bible in their hands mock God and trample the blood of Christ underfoot (Hebrews 10:29; cf. 2 Peter 2:21).
My earnest prayer is for Rob Bell’s repentance. But I am even more deeply and urgently concerned for the many untaught and undiscerning people who are being led astray by his toxic teaching (Jude 22-23). It is time for faithful shepherds to speak up and warn the flock of the deadly peril posed by false teaching such as this.
It is also time for the people of God to proclaim the gospel more clearly and more carefully than ever, including the difficult parts of the message. For too long evangelicals have been prone to omit the full truth about sin, righteousness, and judgment—falling back instead on dumbed-down, dampened, defanged versions of the message. In all candor, that is one of the main reasons there is so much confusion over Rob Bell’s book among evangelicals today. We have a sacred duty to preach what Jesus preached in the manner He preached it—without toning it down or adjusting it to make it more suitable to secular culture.
Weekend A La Carte (5/25)
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