Thursday, March 17, 2011

Liberal Media Use Heretic to Counter Christ

Rob Bell of the "emergent church" movement is finally being fully exposed as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and the liberal media just can't get enough of him.

For background, read Heretical Preacher Embraced by Liberal Media

-- From "'Love Wins': Pastor's book kindles firestorm over hell" by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY 3/14/11

Bell's new book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, has provoked weeks of fierce infighting among pastors, theologians and anyone else who scans the Christian blogosphere where critics rage that he's a hipster heretic.

But Richard Mouw, president of the world's largest Protestant [liberal] seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary based in Pasadena, Calif., calls Love Wins "a great book, well within the bounds of orthodox Christianity and passionate about Jesus.

In Love Wins, which arrives in stores Tuesday, Bell claims:

• Heaven and hell are choices we make and live with right now. "God gives us what we want," including the freedom to live apart from God (hell) or turn God's way (heaven).

• Death doesn't cut off the ability to repent. In his Bible, Bell sees no "infinite, eternal torment for things (people) did in their few finite years of life."

• Jesus makes salvation possible even for people who never know his name. "We have to allow for mystery," for people who "drink from the rock" of faith "without knowing who or what it was."

• Churches that don't allow for this are "misguided and toxic."

Small wonder that traditionalists call him a false teacher of a Jesus-optional Gospel, leading innocents to damnation and a traitor to the evangelical label.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Hard-hitting Rob Bell interview goes viral" by Michael Foust, Baptist Press News 3/16/11

"What you've done is you're amending the Gospel -- the Christian message -- so that it's palatable to contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of hell and heaven very difficult to stomach ... That's why you've done, isn't it?" [MSNBC reporter Martin] Bashir asks Bell at one point.

At another point, Bashir asks Bell if it is "irrelevant" for someone to follow Christ in this life if -- as Bell argues -- non-Christians will be saved anyway.

Bell's evasive answers to questions have frustrated Christian leaders. Even in the interview, he denies he is a universalist, and then proceeds to make universalistic arguments.

To read a partial transcript of the YouTube video above, CLICK HERE.

From "What Happened to Heaven and Is Gandhi There?" by John Wilson, Wall Street Journal 3/18/11

Something strange has happened in evangelical churches over the past generation. Not in every congregation, but in the main, sermons devoted to the grim prospect of hell have become rare, and even talk of heaven is muted.

. . . So is Mr. Bell one more Christian liberal describing God as a mountain you can climb any way you want? Not exactly.

. . . anyone who carefully reads "Love Wins" will see that Mr. Bell is not a universalist. As C.S. Lewis did, he suggests that God grants free will to all, including those who do not want his divine company and therefore choose damnation.

Still, the account of heaven and hell that he rejects does sound a lot like what most Christians have taught and been taught for 2,000 years . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Rob Bell and the (re)emergence of liberal theology" by R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 3/16/11

For the last 20 years or so, a movement identified as emerging or emergent Christianity has done its determined best to avoid speaking with specificity. Leading figures in the movement have offered trenchant criticisms of mainstream evangelicalism. Most pointedly, they have accused evangelical Christianity, variously, as being excessively concerned with doctrine, culturally tone-deaf, overly propositional, unnecessarily offensive, aesthetically malnourished, and basically uncool.

And yet, even as many of these [emerging/emergent] leaders insisted that they remained within the evangelical circle, it was clear that many were moving into a post-evangelical posture. There were early hints that the direction of the movement was toward theological liberalism and radical revisionism, but the predominant mode of their argument was suggestion, rather than assertion.

Rather than make a clear theological or doctrinal assertion, emerging figures generally raise questions and offer suggestive comments. Influenced by postmodern narrative theories, most within the movement lean into story rather than formal argument. Nevertheless, the general direction seemed clear enough. The leading emerging church figures appeared to be pushing Protestant liberalism -- just about a century late.

. . . Rob Bell uses his incredible power of literary skill and communication to unravel the Bible's message and to cast doubt on its teachings.

Bell clearly prefers inclusivism, the belief that Christ is saving humanity through means other than the Gospel, including other religions. But he mixes up his story along the way, appearing to argue for outright universalism on some pages, but backing off of a full affirmation. He rejects the belief that conscious faith in Christ is necessary for salvation, but he never clearly lands on a specific account of what he does believe.

. . . Yes, we have read this book before. With Love Wins, Rob Bell moves solidly within the world of Protestant liberalism. His message is a liberalism arriving late on the scene. Tragically, his message will confuse many believers as well as countless unbelievers.

To read all of the above in-depth analysis of Rob Bell's "theology," CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 5/3/13: Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson debate homosexuality & the Bible (video):