Monday, May 17, 2010

More Correspondance Concerning Rob Bell (Part 1)

My Rob Bell Exposed video on youtube is still causing quite a stir. If only the hordes of Rob Bell groupies were as zealous about defending the Gospel as they are about defending Rob Bell. I regularly get slanderous and hateful mail from emergents who are outraged that I would expose their heretical guru as a fraud to Christianity. But sometimes I get polite e-mails from people expressing concern for my "Rob Bell Exposed" video which convey a genuine concern for truth. I am only too happy to respond to these mails. Today I am posting an example as I thought it might be helpful to the many readers who have expressed their frustration at unsuccessfully pleading with their church leaders to stop playing Rob Bell's videos (of which several are heretical). What follows is a recent letter I received. I have inserted my responses in bold type (for the record, my response was very well received).

Hey Cameron,

This is in reference to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wSAEezBc3s

I can understand where you are coming from in this video. But I think you misinterpreted Rob Bell.

I think when Rob talked about how Peter did not have faith in himself as opposed to not enough faith in God, he was really trying to say: It wasn't that Peter did not have faith that Jesus had the power, cause He obviously did since He was still floating. It was that Peter did not have faith that He could do what God wanted Him to do.

Rob Bell explicitly teaches at the end of the video that God has faith in man just like we should have faith in Him. I know why Bell didn't quote a Scripture to support this idea - because there isn't any. Furthermore faith is defined in Heb 11:1 as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. Faith requires things both unseen and unknown. God is omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (all seeing). Faith cannot be a part of God's character and nature. He is the object of faith. The Gospel is all about faith ALONE in Christ ALONE. Bell redefines God in doing this - which is actually breaking the second commandment.

I think by comparing "faith in God" vs "faith in himself" he really meant to say "faith in the power of God" vs "faith in the power of God to do stuff in Him". He just worded it very poorly.

I actually listened to Bell's sermon "Covered in the Dust of Your Rabbi" which is a much expanded version of Dust. Bell makes himself even more clear in the sermon and I took great care to understand him rightly. Furthermore, when it comes to the Gospel, the Christian minister must take great care to be explicitly clear on fundamental truths. Bell is constantly foggy. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).

I identified with this because I used to struggle really bad with porn and masturbation. I didn't doubt that God was all-powerful, but I did doubt that I would escape my addiction. I thought "I'm human, there's no way I can live purely like God in this way." What I was missing is that, even though I'm human, I can live like God because of His grace, power and Holy Spirit. I'll never be God, but I can be Christ-like.

You are actually agreeing with me here and disagreeing with Bell. We must be born again (John 3). We need the heart of stone removed and replaced with a heart of flesh by the Holy Spirit so that we can walk in obedience by His power (Eze 36:25-27). We need to be a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). Bell says none of this here. He says that God believed in the disciples because He left the great Commission in their hands. Bell never mentioned the upper room and the necessary indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This was a MAJOR focus of my presentation and Bell said nothing about the role of the Holy Spirit in 10 plus minutes. That is just plain disgraceful distortion of conversion and the Gospel and the depravity of man.

Eventually, after being addicted for around 8-9 years, I finally realized that I COULD stop! And I have stopped through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit!

Exactly - not because God believes in you but because you confessed your need for Him!

Now another thing: My friend saw the Everything is Spiritual movie, and this lead her to believe in God and ultimately become a Christian (believing Jesus is Lord, lived, died and rose in the flesh. She also has repented of her sins). So Rob Bell's message was influential in her life. Even if Rob Bell did give a false message in this video, that does not mean he is not Christian, all his messages are wrong or that he is not your brother.

Rob Bell is actually a universalist so this story surprises me. If your friend repented of her sins - she never heard that from Rob Bell. He never preaches it which makes sense for a universalist. Bell articulates his universalist views in both Velvet Elvis and his third book. If your friend became a Christian all glory to God - it was inspite of Rob Bell's heretical gospel, not because of it. I document many of Bell's heresies on my blog and please also check out this scholarly review of Velvet Elvis which outlines much of Bell's heresies and false teaching: http://www.sohmer.net/Velvet_Elvis.pdf

Now if he is your brother, and you slander his name and all his teaching the way you do, this is bad! It's one thing to watch his
movie, sit down with some friends and discuss something amiss amongst yourselves. It's another to try to discredit his whole reputation based on this one mistake. Did not Paul make mistakes in speaking too harshly?

If he preaches a false gospel then he is not a brother. Paul pronounces damnation on all who preach false gospels (Gal 1:8-9) and instructs us to "Mark them" (Romans 16:17) and expose the works of darkness (Eph 5:11). So you have to decide if I am telling the truth not whether I should be exposing him.

I would say that if you really had a problem with his message, that you sit down with Rob face to face and confront him about it. Maybe you'll show him he is wrong, or maybe he will say "oh! yeah! I think I wasn't clear on what i was trying to say in that sentence" This is how the church should be rebuked and built up. When we publicly oppose one another behind each other's back without confronting one another first, we tear down each other.

How do you know I didn't try to speak with Rob Bell about this? I can show you my correspondence with them if you like and their cut and paste response that most people get who try to approach them about this. Think about it - it is publicly marketed material that warrants a public response. So it wasn't a Matthew 18 situation anyway. Plus this was a biblical critique of the content of Bell's teaching - not slanderous character assassination. Find one personal comment I made against his motivation or personal conduct? I would contend that Bell's Bullhorn Guy video is a damaging caricature of the many faithful open air preachers out there who suffer enough ridicule as it is. Who is taking Bell to task over that. Bell didn't approach any open air preachers before marketing that video - and he still won't talk to the many who have tried to air their grievances.


Say someone becomes a genuine Christian through a message by Rob Bell. Then they hear from you that Rob Bell is a sham. What if they say "oh, so all the stuff I learned about God from Rob is false? He's just a liar?" This could turn them away, when they infact might have had an accurate description of God that came from Rob.

Find me one orthodox Gospel presentation by Rob Bell in audio/video/written form. I have been challenging people from his church to present one for the last two years. Nothing has been forthcoming. Here is Bell's attempt to "tweet" the Gospel:

I would say that history is headed somewhere. The thousands of little ways in which you are tempted to believe that hope might actually be a legitimate response to the insanity of the world actually can be trusted. And the Christian story is that a tomb is empty, and a movement has actually begun that has been present in a sense all along in creation. And all those times when your cynicism was at odds with an impulse within you that said that this little thing might be about something bigger—those tiny little slivers may in fact be connected to something really, really big.

Now please tell me how someone can come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by virtue of that? Please tell me you can recognize that that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Shepherd's feed the sheep and protect them from wolves. My video was fulfilling a shepherd's duty.


Also, if Rob Bell says Jesus is Lord and Jesus lived, died and rose in the flesh by the power of God, would you say he has the Holy Spirit? Another thing to think about.

Rob Bell says many things that sound orthodox but then redefines their meaning. You would be shocked to read what Bell says about the Trinity in Velvet Elvis. Rob Bell's Jesus is not necessarily the only way! Please read the book review I linked earlier and/or my blog (search for "Rob Bell") to biblically consider my contentions.
Sincerely
Cameron


Let me know your thoughts on this!

(Name witheld)

Go On To Part 2

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Way to go Cameron standing up for the truth. Rob bell is indeed an enemy of the Gospel if you look at all the evidences. He is friends with Brian Mclaren and New age leaders.

Rick Frueh said...

Conspicuouly absent from almost all of Bell's teachings is the cross. In fact, I have heard some of his followers say that the resurrection is more important than the cross. That in itself reveals a profound misunderstanding of the gospel and the eternal relationship between the cross and the resurrection.

Bell teaches a form of new age Christianity while attempting to imply he believes in orthodox truth by continuing to be creatively vague and suggesting he is communicating Biblical truth through more effective post modern verbiage.

Bell does not believe the simple gospel or he would teach it at least sometimes.

Matthias said...

Cameron my church is promoting a Rob Bell seminar and workshop that he is apparently holding here in Melbourne in June. My church uses his NUMA videos and ihave been vocal in stating that people are pointing the inconsistencies in Bell's theology. THEN i find out that a book by Brian Mclaren is being promoted as part of a Bible study. My reading is that mclaren's theology is also suspect

Cameron Buettel said...

Matthias, the emergent movement is almost dead in America. I suspect that is why many of their gurus are now travelling abroad where deluded pastors think that this is the latest in cutting edge theology. If your "church" is using their stuff you need to politely point out that both McLaren and Bell are dangerous false teachers who poison young minds. Back it up (I'm sure you'll find plenty of documentation on this blog) and then if it falls on deaf ears I would be running for the door as fast as I could and find myself a a biblical church.

Matthias said...

Thanks for the advice Cameron mate,I am looking around as is also a friend from our Church Bible Study Group. He has preached and healed in the Phillipines ,and can attest to the power of God in casting out evil spirits. But we are becomming disillusioned ,not with the teaching which is still good, but with other things. for example i last had a pastoral visit 2 years ago. It would be nice as my wife is not a Christian,and I would value the spiritual support-which incidentally comes from my Bible Study group.

sam said...

Cameron,
thanks for what you do here. Email me and I can point you to a booklet written for the purpose of explaining his theology to people in the pews.
Sam Hendrickson

Cameron Buettel said...

Hi Sam, I don't have your e-mail but you can e-mail me at talkingdonkeys@hotmail.com.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Cheers
Christian, iwspo.net

newtaste said...

Cameron, i have actually never heard of Rob Bell until seeing your blog. I noticed through an acquaintance on Facebook that Bell has a seminar in Sydney on 21 June. At $106.30, it is rather expensive for six hours. I am not going, and it doesn't interest me at all.

Have a made the right choice?

Cameron Buettel said...

Newtaste, I am shocked! $106? Are you for real???

kevinborst said...

Cameron. I have to tell you that your blog concerns me a lot. Jesus is all about LOVE man.

Love God, Love People, Tell The Story.

Most of your posts are mostly just ideas that are building up walls between the Church. That concerns me. You know just as I do that Bible clearly talks about desiring Unity among the body of Christ.

Is this post (and many others) really bringing unity? or separating the body of Christ?

Love is the most important thing we know.

isabel said...

Hello Cameron,

My name is Isabel I´m a sister from Portugal. So i´m sorry for my poor english. I know rob bell only from mars hill site and nooma videos.
I´m NOT a fan or fallower of his because only Christ is my inspiration, but I´m affraid I agree with what kevinborst posted earlier.

If you don´t agree with his theology shouldn´t you work it out with HIM, exort HIM, with love?

I see a lot of talking of other preachers in internet, is this the love and unity the bible teaches us? Is this how the world will see that we are one with Christ?

What are we using our pulpits for now a days? to speak of the word of God, to gain souls for Christ or to talk of others? James 4:11-12


Do you Know his ministry? Is there a moving of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God? Do people go at the feet of the Lord?
Does he preach another Jesus?

Is he theologicly wrong? From history we Know what happens when people started to be more concerned with theological matters and less with spreading the gospel and the love that God poored in our hearts.

Are those who are lost ready for meat, or do they need to be nourished with milk first?

1 Corinthians

Are YOU ready to throw the first stone?

Christ in the center of everything.

Peace and grace

ian said...

If I may be so bold, I'd like to answer some of these questions, as I've seen many of the answers in this blog already.

If you don´t agree with his theology shouldn´t you work it out with HIM, exort HIM, with love?
Cameron has already tried that, and just got Mars Hill's standard reply along the lines of "he's too busy".

I see a lot of talking of other preachers in internet, is this the love and unity the bible teaches us? Is this how the world will see that we are one with Christ?
The key here is one with Christ. As Christians we should be very concerned that we are not associated with those who are clearly not of Christ, but who claim they are.

What are we using our pulpits for now a days? to speak of the word of God, to gain souls for Christ or to talk of others? James 4:11-12
2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Our pulpits should be for all of that, even if for no other reason than preaching All Scripture.

Do you Know his ministry? Is there a moving of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God? Do people go at the feet of the Lord? Does he preach another Jesus?
Yes, Cameron is very familiar with the ministry and teaching of Rob Bell. No, I can see no moving of the Holy Spirit or the presence of God in Rob Bell's ministry. No, people are not encouraged to move in humility and repentance to the feet of Christ, because repentance is not something that Rob Bell preaches. Yes, Rob Bell preaches another Jesus, a universalist Jesus who redeemed all people to God, not just those who repent.

Is he theologicly wrong? From history we Know what happens when people started to be more concerned with theological matters and less with spreading the gospel and the love that God poored in our hearts.
Yes, Rob Bell is theologically wrong. We know from history what happened when Paul got concerned with theological matters - he wrote much of the Bible, while spreading the gospel with the love that God had poured in his heart. We most definitely should be concerned with theological matters.

Are those who are lost ready for meat, or do they need to be nourished with milk first?
The milk should of course be milk not poison.

Are YOU ready to throw the first stone?
Why is pointing out false teaching throwing stones? Was Paul throwing stones when he corrected false teachers in his letters? Clearly not, and he of all people should know about that sort of thing. Why is Cameron doing anything other than exactly what he should as a servant of God?

Cameron, thank you for your mini-sermon refuting Dust, which I've only recently found. It's a breath of fresh air to have such a clear and biblical refutation.

ian said...

If I may be so bold, I'd like to answer some of these questions, as I've seen many of the answers in this blog already.

If you don´t agree with his theology shouldn´t you work it out with HIM, exort HIM, with love?
Cameron has already tried that, and just got Mars Hill's standard reply along the lines of "he's too busy".

I see a lot of talking of other preachers in internet, is this the love and unity the bible teaches us? Is this how the world will see that we are one with Christ?
The key here is one with Christ. As Christians we should be very concerned that we are not associated with those who are clearly not of Christ, but who claim they are.

What are we using our pulpits for now a days? to speak of the word of God, to gain souls for Christ or to talk of others? James 4:11-12
2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Our pulpits should be for all of that, even if for no other reason than preaching All Scripture.

Do you Know his ministry? Is there a moving of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God? Do people go at the feet of the Lord? Does he preach another Jesus?
Yes, Cameron is very familiar with the ministry and teaching of Rob Bell. No, I can see no moving of the Holy Spirit or the presence of God in Rob Bell's ministry. No, people are not encouraged to move in humility and repentance to the feet of Christ, because repentance is not something that Rob Bell preaches. Yes, Rob Bell preaches another Jesus, a universalist Jesus who redeemed all people to God, not just those who repent.

Is he theologicly wrong? From history we Know what happens when people started to be more concerned with theological matters and less with spreading the gospel and the love that God poored in our hearts.
Yes, Rob Bell is theologically wrong. We know from history what happened when Paul got concerned with theological matters - he wrote much of the Bible, while spreading the gospel with the love that God had poured in his heart. We most definitely should be concerned with theological matters.

Are those who are lost ready for meat, or do they need to be nourished with milk first?
The milk should of course be milk not poison.

Are YOU ready to throw the first stone?
Why is pointing out false teaching throwing stones? Was Paul throwing stones when he corrected false teachers in his letters? Clearly not, and he of all people should know about that sort of thing. Why is Cameron doing anything other than exactly what he should as a servant of God?

Cameron, thank you for your mini-sermon refuting Dust, which I've only recently found. It's a breath of fresh air to have such a clear and biblical refutation.

ian said...

Is he theologicly wrong? From history we Know what happens when people started to be more concerned with theological matters and less with spreading the gospel and the love that God poored in our hearts.
Yes, Rob Bell is theologically wrong. We know from history what happened when Paul got concerned with theological matters - he wrote much of the Bible, while spreading the gospel with the love that God had poured in his heart. We most definitely should be concerned with theological matters.

Are those who are lost ready for meat, or do they need to be nourished with milk first?
The milk should of course be milk not poison.

Are YOU ready to throw the first stone?
Why is pointing out false teaching throwing stones? Was Paul throwing stones when he corrected false teachers in his letters? Clearly not, and he of all people should know about that sort of thing. Why is Cameron doing anything other than exactly what he should as a servant of God?

Cameron, thank you for your mini-sermon refuting Dust, which I've only recently found. It's a breath of fresh air to have such a clear and biblical refutation.

ian said...

If I may be so bold, I'd like to answer some of these questions, as I've seen many of the answers in this blog already.

If you don´t agree with his theology shouldn´t you work it out with HIM, exort HIM, with love?
Cameron has already tried that, and just got Mars Hill's standard reply along the lines of "he's too busy".

I see a lot of talking of other preachers in internet, is this the love and unity the bible teaches us? Is this how the world will see that we are one with Christ?
The key here is one with Christ. As Christians we should be very concerned that we are not associated with those who are clearly not of Christ, but who claim they are.

What are we using our pulpits for now a days? to speak of the word of God, to gain souls for Christ or to talk of others? James 4:11-12
2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Our pulpits should be for all of that, even if for no other reason than preaching All Scripture.

Do you Know his ministry? Is there a moving of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God? Do people go at the feet of the Lord? Does he preach another Jesus?
Yes, Cameron is very familiar with the ministry and teaching of Rob Bell. No, I can see no moving of the Holy Spirit or the presence of God in Rob Bell's ministry. No, people are not encouraged to move in humility and repentance to the feet of Christ, because repentance is not something that Rob Bell preaches. Yes, Rob Bell preaches another Jesus, a universalist Jesus who redeemed all people to God, not just those who repent.

ian said...

If I may be so bold, I'd like to answer some of these questions, as I've seen many of the answers in this blog already.

If you don´t agree with his theology shouldn´t you work it out with HIM, exort HIM, with love?
Cameron has already tried that, and just got Mars Hill's standard reply along the lines of "he's too busy".

I see a lot of talking of other preachers in internet, is this the love and unity the bible teaches us? Is this how the world will see that we are one with Christ?
The key here is one with Christ. As Christians we should be very concerned that we are not associated with those who are clearly not of Christ, but who claim they are.

What are we using our pulpits for now a days? to speak of the word of God, to gain souls for Christ or to talk of others? James 4:11-12
2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Our pulpits should be for all of that, even if for no other reason than preaching All Scripture.

Do you Know his ministry? Is there a moving of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God? Do people go at the feet of the Lord? Does he preach another Jesus?
Yes, Cameron is very familiar with the ministry and teaching of Rob Bell. No, I can see no moving of the Holy Spirit or the presence of God in Rob Bell's ministry. No, people are not encouraged to move in humility and repentance to the feet of Christ, because repentance is not something that Rob Bell preaches. Yes, Rob Bell preaches another Jesus, a universalist Jesus who redeemed all people to God, not just those who repent.

Is he theologicly wrong? From history we Know what happens when people started to be more concerned with theological matters and less with spreading the gospel and the love that God poored in our hearts.
Yes, Rob Bell is theologically wrong. We know from history what happened when Paul got concerned with theological matters - he wrote much of the Bible, while spreading the gospel with the love that God had poured in his heart. We most definitely should be concerned with theological matters.

Are those who are lost ready for meat, or do they need to be nourished with milk first?
The milk should of course be milk not poison.

Are YOU ready to throw the first stone?
Why is pointing out false teaching throwing stones? Was Paul throwing stones when he corrected false teachers in his letters? Clearly not, and he of all people should know about that sort of thing. Why is Cameron doing anything other than exactly what he should as a servant of God?

Cameron, thank you for your mini-sermon refuting Dust, which I've only recently found. It's a breath of fresh air to have such a clear and biblical refutation.

ian said...

My sincere apologies - I kept getting an error message saying it was too big, so I split it in two and that seemed to work. It looks like my other attempts worked also.

Anonymous said...

I really like your post. Will continue reading your blog. :)