14 April 2011

Is Rob Bell "Evangelical and Orthodox to the Bone?" Hardly.

Tonight, John MacArthur posted what is his second in a series of posts about Rob Bell and the false teaching contained in his latest book, Love Wins. Coincidentally, I had the opportunity this evening to hear Rob Bell speak in person. Oh my. Can you say "gobbledygook?" Lucky for Bell, the audience was incredibly friendly to his teaching, so he didn't come up against any opposition. No, I didn't stand up and call him a heretic (although the thought crossed my mind). I was too busy videotaping the evening to engage in the "conversation," although you can most likely hear some of my side comments on the video! Anyway, more on that later.

For now, I wanted to pass along MacArthur's latest blog post, which can be found here at the Grace to You blog:
Rob Bell: "Evangelical and Orthodox to the Bone?" Hardly. 
Rob Bell is reminiscent of the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10:17-27. He has a warped view of goodness. He talks as if his own standard of good is the norm, and Bell even suggests that God is not good if He sends people to hell.

Jesus’ reply to the young inquirer ("No one is good except God alone"—v. 18) says God himself alone is the standard of true good, not any creature—certainly not a fallen creature.

The Young Ruler was not saved, nor can any person be who thinks his or her own preferences determine what is truly good. That kind of arrogance reflects a damning egotism.

Rob BellIn his books, sermons, and videos, Rob Bell has consistently promoted views that are antithetical to biblical Christianity and hostile to historic evangelical principles.
For example, although he claims to “affirm the historic Christian faith, which includes the virgin birth and the Trinity and the inspiration of the Bible” (Velvet Elvis, 26), Bell is clearly more interested in casting doubt on the fundamental truths of biblical Christianity than he is in defending them.
Consider what else Bell says on that very same page of Velvet Elvis:
What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births?

But what if, as you study the origin of the word ‘virgin’ you discover that the word ‘virgin’ in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word ‘virgin’ could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being ‘born of a virgin’ also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse?
Bell compares the Christian faith to a large trampoline, with its cardinal doctrines (truths evangelicals have historically deemed essential) functioning like the springs that support the jumping platform. The individual springs aren’t absolutely essential, Bell says—including the virgin birth:
What if that spring [the virgin birth] were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart? . . . If the whole faith falls apart when we reexamine and rethink one spring, then it wasn’t that strong in the first place, was it?” (26-27)
So on the one hand, in a single sentence, he professes to affirm the virgin birth. On the other hand (and on the very same page), he spends multiple paragraphs calling the truthfulness andimportance of that doctrine into question.
That is Bell’s modus operandi. He labels himself an evangelical while simultaneously undermining the foundational tenets of evangelical conviction.
In light of this, Love Wins should not have been a surprise to anyone. The book is consistent with several things Bell has been teaching for some time.
Continue reading here

John MacArthur Speaks Out Against Rob Bell
Obligatory Rob Bell Update


  1. I remember my first exposure to Rob Bell a few years ago. When his Nooma videos were becoming popular, one of my friends brought them into our Bible study, and Rob Bell essentially (I don't remember his exact words) claimed that the ground Moses was on when he saw the burning bush was holy in and of itself (and not necessarily because God was there).

    My roommate (I was at school) told me afterward that my temple vein was literally bulging (because I was so angry at Bell).

    Never been surprised about Rob Bell's heresy since.

  2. Hi malachi1990,

    I also have never been surprised by Bell's heresy. I don't think he ever struck me as orthodox, even when I was obliviously sitting in a seeker-driven church! What is so shocking (and frustrating) with this latest debacle is the response of Christians. It seems everyone is just now realizing that there's something "off" about Bell (to say the least!) and that there's so much confusion over the questions Bell has supposedly raised. As regards this, I like the words of John MacArthur: "It's only confusing if you think he's a Christian." Bingo.


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