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).
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.
Let me know your thoughts on this!
Go On To Part 2
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