Saturday, May 25, 2013

Church Creeds And Rob Bell's Lies

On September 11 3001 A.D., a team of archaeologists began an excavation on Manhattan Island. They were surprised to uncover a legal document, from precisely 1000 years earlier, that classified colliding an aircraft with a building as an act of terror. The scientific team examining this artifact are certain that this answers the ancient mystery of where all laws banning aircraft from flying into buildings originates from. Based on this information they were able to deduce that, prior to September 11 2001, the practice of crashing planes into buildings was widely accepted and practiced by the general public. Scientists are still working on potential theories as to what caused the residents of Manhattan to go through such a dramatic shift in public opinion.

Clearly, the previous paragraph is a work of fiction - but what follows is not. In 2005, Rob Bell wrote a book called Velvet Elvis. It was in this book that Bell's historical research concluded the following about the Christian doctrine of the Triune God:

This three-in-oneness understanding of God emerged in the several hundred years after Jesus’ resurrection… But over time this belief [the Trinity], this understanding, this doctrine, has become central to how followers of Jesus have understood who God is. It is a spring, and people jumped for thousands of years without it. It was added later. We can take it out and examine it. Discuss it, probe it, question it. It flexes, and it stretches.[1]

It is readily apparent that Bell is making the exact same erroneous assumption that the archaeologists in 3001 A.D. are making. Bell's referral to the Nicene Creed as the first recorded instance of Trinitarian dogma assumes that it marks the first recorded instance of Trinitarian belief. But if Bell was a true student of Church history, he would know that Creeds are an affirmation of what Christians at that time already believed. Creeds were always necessitated by false teaching that attacked the very doctrines they were designed to defend. In the same way that the horrific acts of terror perpetrated on 9-11 clearly violated the unwritten morality of the citizens of Manhattan, so too the Arian attacks on Christ's divinity in the fourth Century A.D. clearly violated the unwritten convictions of the citizens of Christ's Church. Anti-terror laws and Church Creeds are both retrospective - a reaction to new assaults with ancient truth.

Throughout church history, creeds have always been necessitated due to the heresies that have arisen at that time. These creeds do not introduce new doctrine formulated by the church leaders of that time, but rather affirm what most Christians had always believed prior to the creed being written, and repudiate the contemporary heresies that brought these truths under threat.

This also helps to explain why creeds have become more and more detailed over the course of church history. Each new heresy demands a new rebuttal to create a clear line of distinction between Christian orthodoxy and false teaching. It logically follows then that The Apostles Creed, being the earliest church creed (its earliest form appeared around the middle of the second century AD), is relatively short and does not cover every essential doctrine we might see posted in a typical evangelical faith statement of the 21st century.

The best possible construction I can put on Rob Bell’s “research” is that he is an unbeliever who has no clue what he is doing (if that is not the case then he has been engaging in deliberate deception) and has been tragically let down by church leaders who failed to retrospectively react to his clear statements of unbelief. Unfortunately, it took several more heretical books before the wider evangelical community responded appropriately to Bell's perversions of history and theology.

Even in the most recent of times, the rise of new heresies has demanded that genuine defenders of Christian truth expand upon their already detailed doctrinal confessions. Together for the Gospel is a band of Christian pastors[2] who came together in 2006 in order to make a robust defense of the Christian gospel that they perceived to be under ominous threat. This prompted these men to draft a doctrinal statement of affirmations and denials. Article II reveals their own retrospective expansion of essential Christian doctrine:

We affirm that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture extends to the entire Bible, and therefore that the Bible is our final authority for all doctrine and practice. We deny that any portion of the Bible is to be used in an effort to deny the truthfulness or trustworthiness of any other portion. We further deny any effort to identify a canon within the canon or, for example, to set the words of Jesus against the writings of Paul. (emphasis mine).[3]

This statement may seem bizarre on face value, but entirely legitimate and necessary when one recognizes the precision with which it responds to postmodern attacks on biblical authority. The 21st Century gospel preacher is also faced with the same necessity in expounding the biblical gospel. Firstly, he is burdened with the necessity of precisely proclaiming it:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9 emphasis mine).

The apostle Paul did this for us in his first letter to the church in Corinth:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 emphasis mine).

Secondly, the rise of newly seductive and deceptive heresies demands that the preacher unpack and explain many of Paul’s terms within his simple definition of the gospel message. We need to biblically define Who Christ is in contrast with the false christs of cults. We need to define sin in terms of God’s Law because many are ignorant of what it is and the extent of its offence. We need to explain why Christ died. We need to explain the propitiatory transaction that took place during Christ’s death for sinners. We need to explain the personal consequences of having this perfect atoning sacrifice or not having it. We need to explain the response this truth demands of the sinner. These are all issues that are fair game for the subjective assault of postmodern idolaters. The faithful preacher must preach the gospel Paul proclaimed all the while insulating it from the fog of reinvention.[4]

This is a gospel that cannot be lived out. Its effects are certainly worked out in the sanctification of believers as salt and light in a fallen world, but the modern cliché to "live the gospel" is just plain ridiculous. How do you live the resurrection? How do you live the crucifixion? How do you live the fulfillment of God's law? The Gospel is a message about someone Who has lived a unique life that nobody can replicate. That is why we must testify. It is why Paul asks the question “how are they to hear?” (Rom 10:14). The oxymoronic statement "preach the gospel, if necessary use words" is like saying "wash always if necessary use water".

Rick Warren says that: "deeds not creeds will be the next reformation".[5] He is suggesting that we have the right doctrine but we are not living it. Wrong!!! The real problem is that he has the wrong doctrine and he is living it.

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:21-24).

[1] Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005), 22.
[2] The keynote speakers at their initial conference were Mark Dever, J. Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, R. Albert Mohler, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul. Certainly not lightweight theologians by anyone’s estimation.
[3] This entire statement of affirmations and denials can be viewed at
[4] I have thoroughly addressed this issue in my blog series “The Anatomy of the Gospel”
[5] This statement can be viewed at


Mark said...

"I'm right, you're wrong." - Cameron Buettel. Yawn.

Cameron Buettel said...

If you're going to quote me Mark you should at least have the decency to to use something that I actually said.

Kevin Carr said...

Good article Cameron --- When I review what was defined as “False Teaching” in the New Testament I find things like denying the resurrection, legalism (circumcision and food), and the inclusiveness of false gods amongst many others heresies. Rob Bell falls comfortably within this realm. He is not poking around the edge of heresy, but has embraced it whole heartedly. As Christians we must accept the fact that there is a thing called “False Teachers”. We must define what that means. We also must agree upon an unmovable standard otherwise nothing would be false and all things would be true. For those called to be Christian Pastors the obvious standard should be the Word of God and not societal norms. Yet in Rob’s most recent interview with Andrew Wilson on Premier Christian Radio, Rob clearly says that it is societal norms that are driving his theology.

This is no different than 2000 years ago when there was pressure to practice Jewish legalism and proclaiming that Jesus never arose from the dead (Gnosticism) because He was spirit. This emergence that Rob Bell and others are participating in is having the opposite effect from the Reformation and there will be many casualties as this movement proceeds.

Kevin Carr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Cameron off topic perhaps you can raise this issue over at the master college?

Not sure if the revised NKJV still have Dr Macarthur old position.

Anonymous said...

there are two identical jesus Christ revelation 17:8. this is the 3 1/2 time period where the beast's identity is revealed to the Christians and catholics. revelation 17:8,15:2 and revelation 7:9,14

my testimony is from the true living God.

the antichrist is the spirit of this world, the prince the power of the air. Revelation 16:13-14, Ephesians 2:2, Daniel 8:5, Revelation 13:18, 2 thessalonians 2:9-10.

millions of believers both Christians and catholics are being deceived by men preaching another gospel, another jesus Acts 20:26-30, Matthew 24:24. Satan is impersonating Christ to deceive men to prepare for revelation 19:19-20, revelation 16:14 and revelation 13:7-8, 16-18, Daniel 8:12-the word host means ministers. psalms 103:21.

I am a witness to seeing ministers of the Vatican, churches, networks, organizations, etc. around the world following the identical jesus Christ which is the beast.

WE are that generation that Christ saw at the mount of temptation where satan is impersonating Christ to millions of people 2 Thessalonian 2:9 deceiving men and planting and building churches, beautiful sites to make congregation for worship and for spiritual warfare against the King of kings and Lord of lords. WE are that generation according to matthew chapter 24 when Christ told his disciples!

2 Corinthians 11: 13-15! Satan is mindful of the things of man not of God. Isaiah 14:12-14, Luke 4:31-34- making buildings, people playing instruments with man's hands and singing for worship, etc. revelation 18:22-23

must watch and hear video on youtube titled, "Christ testimony of the churches -around the world." there are two identical Jesus Christ revelation 17:8.

most of revelation is happening in the spirit world. that's why Jesus said it would be like the days of Noah and Lot. the abomination of desolation is happening in the spirit realm inside all these man made buildings set up for worship. the Christians and catholics, etc are not aware of what's happening to them and around them in these places, (churches -any four wall building representing God to gather believers of Christ). these churches around the world are all connected to "The Great City" Revelation 11, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt and Mystery of iniquity. Church leaders around the world are searching of the earthly signs. this will not happen until the very last day and hour. God will not allow man to destroy the earth with nuclear bombs. read matthew 3:12 and Revelation 20:9. God sends his son to the earth with the fire behind him consuming all his enemies which are left from the resurrection of the dead and those that are alive. the body of Christ is gathered as the son of man appears at last sound of shofar, he is coming while the wheat are gathered and the tares are left as the chaff and earth is consumed by the fire of God.

The true outpouring of the Holy Spirit of truth happens before the 5th shofar and 5th vial is poured. Revelation 7:3-4,13-14 Revelation 9:4! Joel 2:28-29-this happens in the homes of God's people and their family members (read Isaiah 26:20-21)! the people of God flee all man made churches, anything of the identical jesus christ movement. then Joel 2:30 which shows the aftermath of the sixth and fifth shofar sounds and fifth and sixth vial poured. then Joel 2:31-32 happens...

what all revivals, signs and wonders happening in these churches, huge ministries around the world is revelation 16:14 and revelation 19:19-20, 2 thessalonians 2:9-10
this message is not a joke. this is not a game. I am telling the truth! God's people must come out of the identical jesus Christ movement NOW and seek God in prayer without ceasing and seek God's forgiveness and be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ!

Anonymous said...

Cameron what do you have to say about this?

Torben Sondergaard

John macarthur: Strange fire

Steve Finnell said...


The majority of denominations use their creed books as the authority in the church for faith and practice. If the final authority is the creed book(catechism), then what purpose would the Bible serve. The Bible is relegated to a secondary reference book.

If the creed book is the authority. Why read the Bible? Why even own a Bible? There are some who say, we do not have a creed book, we a have statement of faith. Statement of faith is just a euphemistic way of saying creed book.

If denominations claim to use the Bible as their rule for faith and practice, then there would is no need for a man-made creed book.

Acts 17:10-11 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 There were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

The Berean's did not search the man-made creed books written by the scribes and elders, to substantiate the truth. The searched the Scriptures.

Acts 17:2-3 Then Paul, as his custom was, went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ."

Paul did not use man-made creed books to teach about Jesus Christ. He reasoned from the Scriptures.

The Pharisees and scribes liked to teach from the man-made creed books of the elders. (Mark 7:1-13....3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders....... 13 "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.")

The Pharisees used man-made creed books as their final authority.

If denominations are using man-made creed books as there final authority for faith and practice, are they not making the word of God of no effect through their tradition?

(Scripture: NKJV) YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Bing search>>>steve finnell a christian view

Soldier of Kurios said...

Cam, it's clear. Bell is a false teacher!! Shame on him

Steve Meikle said...

But we the Orthodox DO have the right doctrine but are not living it, not when we are arrogant and quarrelsome.

But of course Bell and Warren make a false dichotomy, Deeds not Creeds, when it should be Deeds AND Creeds.

However our example, for centuries has been Creeds not Deeds, which makes hypocrites of us.

But then I have always taken seriously the charge that the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of US

Put it this way: when sound doctrine is accompanied by hypocrisy (ie a simply lack of love will do), men will reject the sound doctrine rather than repent of the hypocrisy. they do this as being rebels against God they are looking for any excuse they can seize upon.

But they do it because of their clear insight into who and what we are. We gave them the ammunition. And for this God will hold US responsible. Our creeds may be true but if that is all we have they are dead letter and worthless.

The unbelievers are blind. But if we say we see our sin is all the more culpable and deep, just as that of the Pharisees was, who also claimed to see and who also had the most orthodox doctrine at that time

Steve Meikle said...

Although creeds have their uses (I reject the NIcene Creed not because of what it says but because of its slight taint of Platonic thought with which it tried to express the truth) yet they can be dangerous.

If a person devoutly repeats his creed every Sunday he will think he believes what it says. But will he then be open to conviction of sin as to unbelief? unbelief is a matter of the heart, not the head alone. Many people who think they believed because they assent to the creeds may be in for a shock as they were never led by the Spirit to acknowledge their deep and creed repressed unbelief to repent of it.

For when the creed is recited out of legalism and formalism it is hypocrisy.

Thus IMO creed usually do not produce faith they conceal unbelief

Steve Meikle said...

I am disappointed, very disappointed in fact, that you call Francis of Assisi's comment "preach the gospel, use words when necessary," an oxymoron. Moreover your analogy in rebuking it is false

Though I regard the man as a religious nut this was one of the wisest things he ever said

What he meant was that we are to show by our lives that we have something worth saying. And then and only then when have we demonstrated that we have words that are worth anything, not just an excuse for ego indulgence, then are our words effective.

After all the Bible said be slow to speak and quick to listen. the typical preacher and religious fanatic is not this. And scripture also says that the kingdom is not words but power. And St Paul also rebukes endless talkers and people who quarrel over words. (Incidentally what kind of words would Christians quarrel about? think about it)

we protestants overdo words as they are all we have. But when that is the case they are but dead letter, unlived and therefore unbelieved by us; and we are hypocrites

and over 35 years I have seen this repeatedly.

when I am spiritual enough to live the gospel then I will be wise enough to use words ONLY when necessary. And they will in fact be used. "St" Francis was not denying this, if you care to reread his dictum. But they are not first and foremost