If you live under a rock and haven't already seen this then you need to go back to this earlier post which contains Martin Bashir's sensational interview of Rob Bell. Bashir is famous for exclusive media interviews with famous people including Lady Diana and Michael Jackson. It seems that Bell showed up for the interview expecting a secular interviewer who would not venture into the realm of biblical exegesis and church history. Bashir was like a dog on a bone when it came to Bell's distorted retelling of history and selective use of Scripture. It was a long time coming and it is a shame that this didn't happen a long time ago by a theological heavyweight. Bell was left looking like a little boy waiting outside the headmaster's office.
Of interest to many after the interview was whether Bashir is a Christian, and what was the story behind such a provocative interview. Paul Edwards of "The Paul Edwards Show" interviewed Bashir and found out whether or not he is a committed Christian and if the blog rumors are true that he attends Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. For those of you who are curious about the story behind the interview, and what makes Martin Bashir tick, you will find this to be a fascinating interview.
In this first segment Martin Bashir points out Rob Bell's disgraceful handling of history, Scripture, and the beliefs of Martin Luther. I was already aware of Bell's Luther quote and how reprehensible it is. Gene Edward Veith, a Lutheran, had this to say on the subject on his Cranach blog:
The evangelical blogosphere is all abuzz over a new book entitled Love Wins by the influential evangelical pastor and author Rob Bell, in which he argues for universalism, the notion that God will save everyone, whether or not they have faith in Christ. I had assumed that this debate did not concern us Lutherans, since we have our theology thoroughly worked out and this is just not an issue in our circles. But now I learn that Bell enlisted Martin Luther in his cause, quoting a letter from 1522 in which he said that no one could doubt that God could save someone after death.
Now Luther, in his long and tumultuous and developing career, said all kinds of things, including things that were flat out wrong. They mean nothing for Lutheran theology, which is defined by the confessional statements collected in the Book of Concord. But Westminster Theological Seminary Professor Carl Trueman dug out what Luther actually said (in bold with Bell’s quotation in CAPITALS):
If God were to save anyone without faith, he would be acting contrary to his own words and would give himself the lie; yes, he would deny himself. And that is impossible for, as St. Paul declares, God cannot deny himself [II Tim. 2:13]. It is as impossible for God to save without faith as it is impossible for divine truth to lie. That is clear, obvious, and easily understood, no matter how reluctant the old wineskin is to hold this wine–yes, is unable to hold and contain it.
It would be quite a different question whether God can impart faith to some in the hour of death or after death so that these people could be saved through faith. WHO WOULD DOUBT GOD’S ABILITY TO DO THAT? No one, however, can prove that he does do this. For all that we read is that he has already raised people from the dead and thus granted them faith. But whether he gives faith or not, it is impossible for anyone to be saved without faith. Otherwise every sermon, the gospel, and faith would be vain, false, and deceptive, since the entire gospel makes faith necessary. (Works, 43, ed. and trans. G. Wienke and H. T. Lehmann [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1968], 53-54; WA 10.ii, 324.25-325.11)
Talk about taking something out of context! Bell takes a sentence out of Luther while ignoring what he says about it! And ignoring Luther’s conclusion, that, yes, faith in Christ is necessary for salvation.
Bell's despicable actions in using the great reformer to support his heresy should give us a clear picture of the lofty heights Rob Bell has achieved as a theological clown. The rest of the interview between Paul Edwards and Martin Bashir can be heard below in the following three audios where Bashir reveals the truth about his own convictions:
The living Word
3 minutes ago