Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rob Bell Takes Off His Sheep Suit - And John Piper Bids Him "Farewell"

If it walks like a universalist, and talks like a universalist, then it's probably Rob Bell:

LOVE WINS. - Available March 15th from Rob Bell on Vimeo.

Rob Bell is an enemy of the true biblical Gospel and if that is not apparent in this video then may I recommend a book called Romans written by a guy called Paul.

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? I speak in a human way. By no means! For then how could God judge the world? (Romans 3:5-6)

And it might help if Bell took the time to read all the verses in John chapter three and not just verse sixteen.

Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3 and for the record the word "cannot" is actually translated "no chance" in the original Greek)

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:17-18)

So the note concerning Ghandi, while perhaps inappropriate, is not based upon some guy who wants to assert his omniscience Rob! It's based upon an elementary understanding of the clear teaching of the Bible. You know - the Bible - that big old book that you spend most of your time perverting and confusing it's plain meaning! Ghandi, as a professing Hindu, is almost certainly in hell. This is not because I think so but because the Bible tells me so (the "almost certainly" disclaimer is in the genuine hope that Ghandi repented of his sin and put his trust in Jesus Christ prior to his death, in which case God would have saved him). And Rob, are you biblically incompetent or deliberately deceiving people? Which one is it? What do you do with verses like Romans 5:9 which directly refute what you assert in this video:

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 9:5)

When we deny an attribute of God, such as His wrath, we are breaking the second commandment (idolatry) by making a god in our own image. In this video, Bell just cannot conceal his utter disdain for the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement, and for those who defend it. I certainly didn't feel the love from "Mr Love Wins" in this video. Can you feel the love tonight?

This is the video that was the cause of the entire internet melting down a couple of weeks ago (in case you didn't notice). Partly because Bell is becoming more and more overt in his long established heretical views, and also in part because of John Piper's legendary tweet in response to this video which simply said "farewell Rob Bell". It is quite right that John Piper and the Gospel Coalition have put Bell outside of the camp, but I still have to ask the question why did it take so long? The contrast between the Gospel Piper preaches and the gospel Bell invented could not be more stark. Piper says "God is the Gospel" whereas Bell says that "you are the gospel". More than five years ago Bell wrote these words in his book Velvet Elvis in a sneaky affirmation of his universalism:

So this reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling ‘all things, in heaven and on earth, to God. This reality then isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making.” (Velvet Elvis p146)

What is staggering is how much of a sacred cow Rob Bell has become, and the number of professing Christians (and also unbelievers - which is telling) who are willing to relentlessly defend Bell (hence melting down the entire internet in their flurry of protest). Guys, how hard is this? I know that in his latest video (shown above) Bell does his usual schtick of asking provocative questions and never answering them. I also know that Bell has made an art form out of pretending to be a Christian for many years now. He trades on the evangelical world's willingness to always give the benefit of the doubt to vague, obscure, and foggy theology. But Bell's obvious disdain and resentment for the historic orthodox Christian faith, coupled with his continual propensity to cloud crystal clear doctrines of first importance is despicable to say the least.

This has been the MO within the emergent movement from the very beginning. Have leaders like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, and Tony Jones grown more and more heretical over the last decade or has it been a planned gradual release of false teaching to an evangelical landscape as it gradually grows more tolerant. These guys are all non-Christian theological liberals who have held their views for a long time but had a vested interest in concealing much of their heresy until the modern evangelical climate was deemed ready to receive each incremental attack on the historic Christian faith. Tony Jones obviously didn't get that memo because by 2008 he had already run out of things to deny.

And now Bell is spending more and more time without his sheep suit on. If you meet Rob Bell, please share the Gospel with him. Like Ghandi, he also needs to repent of his sins and trust in Jesus Christ to save him from the wrath to come.


Jonathan said...

I have been waiting to see if you were going to comment on this. I couldn't agree more.

Randy said...

I too am amazed at the whole "sacred cow" thing. It seems nobody is willing to call out anybody by name on issues like this. That's why I love you, man. It is our job to name names and point out error. What would the Apostle Paul do? What did he do? He pointed out those specifically in error. We must do the same. How many Christian bookstores will put "Love Wins" on the first shelf you see walking in their door?

Anonymous said...

First of all you haven't read the book, so your judgment is premature. Second, He hasn't said anything in this video, he is just asking questions... and from that you're drawing your conclusions. Not defending him, just saying maybe read the book first so you you're not making ignorant statements.

Anonymous said...

To put it bluntly Rob Bell gives me the creeps, whenever I hear his drivel I feel anxious.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous One need not read this book to discover Bell's heresies. This particular belief of his is not new and therefore there is no speculation.

Rob Bell has stated his universalist beliefs in many other books, sermons, and videos.

This book just happens to be the first time he's devoted an entire written work to the subject. For me this is just the icing on the cake of reasons why Bell needs to be considered anathema and cast out until such time as he publicly repudiates his beliefs and repents before the Lord.

Tim Challies has read the book and his review which came out today confirms what we all knew already. Rob Bell is a universalist heretic.

bill said...

Hey J, can you please give me a quote of Rob Bell saying Universalism is the way God has set things up, or that he endorses or believes in universalism? I honestly havent read all of his stuff, but it is obvious that you have. I mean any non heresy policeman who watches this video sees he is asking questions, not stating that Universalism is a fact or that he believes it. I believe its your duty if you are going to call him a heretic is to atleast show some true teachings or quotes. This is for J, no one else. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Tim Challies is Reformed therefore obviously everything is slanted. Its all assumptions and deciding what Rob Bell is saying. I have never seen more blanket statements with no depth in my life. Debates anywhere else of this matter(as in the approach and logic) would be laughed at. Here however, is a haven for slanted, incredibly shallow, and arrogant statements. I appreciate that Cameron usually uses scripture when he debates (though he interprets scriptures from who his view of God as we all do, but we have to understand that.) However, you cannot ignorantly begin conversations like these with the idea that yours or my means of interpretation are greater than anothers. Please quit the blanket statements that imply everyone include God agrees with you.

Heath The Blogless said...


I think you need to read Cams post again, I think it is a fair and reasonable critique of the "Video".
Your statement that he is just asking questions, does not hold much water as the way the questions are expressed in the video are very pointed and they imply a great deal about what he thinks. A question is not always looking for an answer but sometimes to make a point in itself.

At the very least this video is dangerous and worst heretical, and Rob Bell will have to answer to God for any person that has been lead astray by what he leaves out of his presentations, not just what he puts in them.

Heath The Blogless said...

Thanks to Tim Chalis for his review. Here is an excerpt from the book.

A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear. (ibid)

Cameron Buettel said...

Bill, the quote is in the article. Here it is again

So this reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling ‘all things, in heaven and on earth, to God. This reality then isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making.” (Velvet Elvis p146)

Everyone already reconciled to God is universalism. And Bell wrote that more than 5 years ago. Why is this so difficult? Of course Bell doesn't say "hey everybody I'm a universalist!" False teachers sneak in (Jude 1:4) but what Bell states in the above quote is that everybody is already reconciled to God and there is a name for that - universalism!

Anonymous said...

Hey Heath, thanks for your comment. I believe that its important to see that Rob Bells is ultimately and more importantly displaying that his view of God and His character are vastly different than what many of the reformed background believe.(Its not that he is advocating Universalism, but rather of who God is.... and I believe thats where most people are getting off track in the first place. As far as Rob Bell leading people astray and his repentance on the matter?? Rob Bell advocates the bringing the gospel to poor, and unreached more than basically any other leading author/speaker that there is today. He doesnt continually preach take up your cross daily, deny yourself.. ect... he preaches that as an action and a mandate for those who are followers of Jesus Christ, to go to the poor, the hungry, the lost. And those views and concerns that he raises are undeniable. I feel like there have been very hurtful and judgmental things said about Rob Bell. All this when Rob has an undeniable record of advocating for the outcast, the lonely, and the poor.... Just as Jesus Christ did. We are not all going to have the same theology. I dont consider Rob Bell as some great theologian of our time. I dont get my theology from him. I do however see the love of Jesus displayed through many of the same ideas that Rob Bell speaks of and believe he raises issues like these(which are the heart of the Kingdom of God) Hope that made some since, and that open ears will hear this and not completely shut off just because my Opinion, is different from most others Opinion on the blog.

bill said...

Obviously Rob Bell would say, "our Choice is to live in the new reality", would be the accepting of Christ. Christ bridged the gap to us being reconciled through His death, our acceptance of that completes the reconciliation. There have definitely been more "difficult" things to articulate......

Rob Bell uses a different vocabulary and thought process than you.

He doesnt say, "Pray the prayer of salvation", he says"live in this new reality". I like the second actually.

Peter Khosla said...

It's funny, it seems as though it's all a matter of interpretation. Cameron reads the quote from p 146 very differently than I do. I found that to be a very powerful turn of phrase, "It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making." I thought Rob was expounding the gospel, it's all been done, there's nothing we can do, no works will save us if you will, Jesus has paid it all. "This reality then isn't something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true."

It is not so surprising that we disagree on interpretations of scripture, when we can't even read Velvet Elvis and walk away with the same interpretation.

In Matthew (ch7 & ch25) we see a picture of what seems to be judgment day. And on that day, it seems there are a few surprises. Notably, some people who are expecting eternal life don't get it, and others are surprised because they do inherit the Kingdom since they clothed the naked, and fed the hungry. So is it possible that someone, a jew, or a hindu born BC might follow the law written on their hearts, and end up in Heaven?

Cameron Buettel said...

Peter, your comments give me huge concern for you. You use your tragic postmodern approach in interpreting both Rob Bell's writings and Matthew 25 and 7. Bell teaches that everyone is reconciled to God - only one way to interpret that - universalism period.

Jesus, in Matthew 25, makes it very clear that there are people who will be damned which makes Bell's view heretical. And Jesus never describes hell as a reality of your own making He describes at as a tangible reality of God's own making.

Peter, you don't create reality by interpreting things differently. I bet when you drive you stop on the red lights and go on the green. And when you buy a big Mac you don't practice your own creative interprearion on the Maccas menu. You pay what it says and you get what it says.

Matthew 25 is clearly about true and false converts - they all profess Christ as Lord. The sheep are saved by grace through faith and their works are the Fruit of that. The works of the goats are the outward evidence of an unconverted heart. Also, anyone who is not trusting in Jesus will be damned because they will not have a righteous substitute on the day of judgment. That goes for Old and New Testament Christians. Read Hebrews 11. All of our good works are filthy rags, what must God think of our sin - you don't even want to go there.

God is kind and He made His word understandable. When emergents like Bell cloud issues that are patently clear in Scripture they are doing a damnable deceiving work. Please don't become a colaborer with them.

gandalf said...

Hi Cameron,

why not take on the issue that Bell often uses historical "facts" of his own choosing to prove his interpretation of biblical texts. Since historical events can often be falsified/verified it's possible to prove erroneous and deceptive teaching by exposing his flawed historic arguments.
Because two things can be proved when the historic argument is false:

1. The interpretation of the biblical text based on an alleged similarity to historic events/customs is also to be questioned and must be reconsidered.
2. The credibility of the teacher giving that historic argument suffers both in the eyes of believers and unbelievers (not that defeating a false teacher in such a way is part of the great commission, but an apologist may see it as a part of his calling)

Bell gave a sermon at Willow Creek where he heavily and loosely makes comparisons between Rev. 3+4 and romam imperial customs. He mixes correct and incorrect elements loosely together which the historically illiterate contemporaries will not be able to discern.

Cameron Buettel said...

Bill, you said:

"He doesnt say, "Pray the prayer of salvation", he says"live in this new reality". I like the second actually."

I like neither. Praying a prayer won't save you and neither will a choice to live in some new "reality".

It is God alone Who saves. And He saves only those who repent of their sin and trust in His Son Alone. All praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ Who propitiated God's wrath against His people that God could pardon sinners, impute Christ's righteousness to them, demonstrate His great love, and not compromise His righteousness. This is the beautiful and glorious core of the Gospel and it is the part that Rob Bell absolutely hates. I don't even know why he would call his message "love wins".

Anonymous said...

If these are all just "questions" by Rob Bell, why do we have to wait and get the answers after we pay Bell for his book?

At best, Bell is just playing on people to buy a book. At worst, he is spouting rhetorical questions that indicate he is a Christo-universalist.


rickybobby said...

Cameron, It seems that living in a new reality is the essence of what it means to live in relationship with Jesus, as reality can be defined as how things actually are, not as they are thought or seem to be. In reality we are people who have turned away from God and are in desperate need of Jesus and his grace. I've read Rob Bell's books because I want to know what he's said rather than walk about in ignorance on the subject. I haven't heard or seen him refute the necessity of the grace of Christ for a person to be right with God. Perhaps you have found something? Because to say that Rob Bell hates the Gospel is hardly logical, and those sorts of words sound very judgmental and dangerous if you don't have adequate grounds for them. Further this statement seems to be based off of frustration or perhaps a pridefulness that makes you believe your theological tilt is inerrant? Perhaps we could say that Rob Bell simply does't agree with you rather than he hates the gospel? I don't agree with your theology, but I don't think you hate the gospel. I don't agree with a universalists theology either, but I don't think universalists hate the gospel, as any logical universalist(Barth, Lewis) would agree that salvation comes through Christ alone, though they interpret it differently. I'm not trying to say these theological differences aren't substantial, I'm just wondering if you think that God has grace for people who realize their great need for redemption through Jesus Christ, though they may have different theologies? Yes, even theologies that aren't exactly like yours. If you do let's save the stone casting. If not, I hope you can tell me why? As far as Rob Bell's video goes he is asking questions, and yes everyone has a slant, but I want to see what the book says before I determine what that slant actually is. If nothing else I can at least identify with someone who is asking tough questions about what God is like, though we may come to different conclusions.

Anonymous said...

May I respectfully invite you to read and reflect upon Jesus' own words: "For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged."
Your post is judgemental and harsh in tone and content. I hope and pray that you will find that "Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, and Tony Jones ... all non-Christian theological liberals" exhibit a more gentle, kinder, patient, joyful, peaceful and loving attitude towards their critics.
There's a world out there in great pain, turmoil, suffering and sin and personally I think God must be heartbroken that we spend so much time and energy squabbling instead of loving and serving and changing our world for Jesus, one story at a time.

Anonymous said...


This blog is literally the most ignorant, critical, and judgmental one out there. Im sorry you just figured this out. If you are not a reformed calvinist then your views and opinions do not matter or count. Cameron spends an unbelievable amount of time crying heresy against everyone. You can try being civil, loving, and intelligent on here and it just gets shot back in your face. There is literally no use of offering your opinion on here. It is sad.
Im sure i probably wont even get this posted, if I do, I can assure you i will receive a good ole conservative tongue lashing. Its just important however for the majority of users of this blog to know that they completely alienate views that dont match theirs. Very sad.

theology.does.matter said...

When all is said and done the only thing that matters is what the Bible says. Most people who call themselves Christians, when cornered don't believe the Bible is true. The Bible says that there is a Hell and it is eternal. Your opinion, anything other than that is wood, hay and stuble

Keith said...

Judging another of their sin is different from recognizing dangerous non-biblical teachings that are being stamped as biblical or Christ like. Satan himself would question the actions of God's judgement of this world because he also rebels against the word. God owes Rob Bell no explanation for the choices He has made with the judgment of His creation. You can call a wrong interpretation just another interpretation but it's still wrong. To completely remove the condition of belief in Jesus Christ for salvation from the Gospel is not only misinterpretation, it is a direct lie and an abomination of God's word. Works and the law saved no one. And yes many will not make it to heaven and few will, God's word is already clear on that point... All of Rob's questions have been answered, he just doesn't like the answers God gives so he makes up his own. Mr. Bell is hardly the first man to distort the truth of the Gospel and I'm sure he won't be the last.

Barbara Thayer said...

Cameron....well said. I so appreciate men of God standing up and clearly pointing out the heretical nature of what some in the emergent church are doing. WE cannot pick and choose what we like about the Bible. It is the Word of God...inspired, infallible, and truthful. We either accept it or reject it. We cannot pick it to pieces as I believe Rob Bell does. I agree with Pastor John Piper...."farewell Rob Bell." Thank you for being direct and supporting what the Bible clearly tells us.

Sandy Riker said... quickly we all deem ourselves the judges of men's hearts...God's word said that our hearts are wicked beyond comprehension..who can know it? Are we so good and so holy and so sure about ourselves that we have become the judges of others hearts? Could Ted Bundy really have repented? Could the thief on the cross? Could anyone cry out to God from their heart unbeknownst to us? Could God possibly meet them where they are at? Yes John 3:16 is clear and so are a whole lot of other verses about loving your neighbor and about living a life that is holy and pleasing to God...and the measuring stick for living that life is Jesus...and our righteousness, including self righteousness is like filthy rags and yes there are verses about stone throwing...have you ever really studied the Bible? Have you ever really looked at the history of it? The history of religion? I believe the Bible to be God's word and yet I am not ignorant enough to think I have it all figured out...far, far from it...God does not fit into my box, nor does He fit into yours. There are many who have various interpretations of the Bible and many who believe it literally - all who defend "their" interpretation- and when the world looks at us and sees how we treat each other- they run...thankfully God chases after us- Check yourself before you condemn others and deem yourself the protectors of all that is "right" when I look in the mirror- I see a sinner saved by grace- and what a sinner- but what brought me to Him is His infinite mercy and love - that is what I hope to share with the "world".

Cameron Buettel said...

Sandy, part of loving people is warning about false teachers. Have you ever read Romans 16:17, or Galatians 1:8-9, or Ephesians 5:11, or Titus 1:9 . . .

How is the Bible authoritative in your life if you think average people cannot understand it rightly? Though there are difficult passages in the Bible, God has no problem explaining Himself when it comes to the Gospel. Scripture is clear and church history is consistent when it comes to the Gospel. My personal interpretation does not even come into this.

And please tell me where I condemned Rob Bell and judged his heart. Where did I say that I know his intentions and motives?

I offered a biblical critique based upon factual information and quotes. It would have been nice if you could have extended me the same courtesy.

Karen Lee said...


I just happened on your blog as I have been doing some research on Rob Bell for myself. I confess that I used to LOVE Rob Bell videos. They made me cry. (Yes, I am a woman)

My father tried to warn me about Rob Bell, and Rick Warren, and about how the emergent church was creeping up everywhere. I thought he was a bit over the top. Maybe a bit "fanatical." And yes, even judgemental...

Now I am ashamed of my own guilability, my own sort of pride in thinking I would be "discerning" or aware through some special "spiritual sensor" that something was wrong. Looking back, there were things that sort of snagged my attention as maybe being off. I ignored them, focusing on what I thought was the "main point" of his video.

Now, I rewatched his "Breathe" video and I am blown away at the stuff I never even questioned. How could I have been so blind? Now I read over the comments some others have left you, and I understand where some of them are coming from, because I have been there. I pray that God will protect them and open up their eyes. Only the Holy Spirit can do this for us, but I am glad to see that you, Cameron, are contending for the faith. May the Holy Spirit use the truth you proclaim to bring others back to the safe door of the sheepfold, which is Jesus Christ.

And I would like to encourage you, do not grow weary while doing good! You will reap a harvest, in due season. I am sure it gets discouraging, being called judgemental, being thought crazy or hateful. You know Jesus said we'd share with Him in by being called "the children of Satan."

Aren't you glad that Jesus said He'd be with us EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE!!! I feel more and more thankful for this every day.

Last of all, I will pray for you that God will always keep you humble (not that I'm saying you are proud, but rather that it is a danger for any "public" figure) 2 Tim. 2:24-26)

Amen, my brother!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations guys! You all follow the gospel of Constantine. Well done. The church is now a reflection of Constantine more than anything else. Don't believe me? Read some unbiased history. Constantine took over and the church changed from a community of Christ like disciples who loved one another to an imperial organization based on individual soul salvation and the confession of creeds, etc. with no change in a person's heart. The loving, gracious, merciful God of Israel was replaced with an angry greek/roman pagan deity. Church theory was developed by men who had no understanding or appreciation for the context of the gospels. Text without context is pretext.

What did it actually mean for a first century sage to teach the things he did? What did terms like "good eye, bad eye, and single eye" mean to a 1st century Jewish sage? Do you know? I didn't for a very long time. What did the concept of Kingdom of Heaven mean in the 1st century? This is what Jesus taught about the most.

Also Cameron, when you read the book of Romans through the eyes of Roman law that was based on retribution and punishment, you reach a very different conclusion than if you read it through the eyes of a 1st century sage named Paul. What did he really mean? What are the mysterious "works of the law" Paul talks about in Galatians? It was a very specific concept in that time, one that almost no Christians even understand.

Before I would be so quick to jump down someone else's throat and call them a "heretic," I would ask myself if I really feel I understand the gospel...I thought I did for a long time, and then I went to Israel, and had my eyes opened wide to how little I knew.....