12 April 2011

John MacArthur Speaks Out Against Rob Bell

In his evening sermon on Sunday, April 3, Pastor John MacArthur took a brief detour from Mark 13:28-37 to warn against the dangerous false teachings of Rob Bell (the sermon is not yet posted on the Grace Community Church website, however if you subscribe to the pulpit podcast in iTunes, you will be able to listen to it). He did so again this past Sunday evening, and now he has spoken out again in print. The following article was posted here tonight over at the Grace to You blog:
Rob Bell: a Brother to Embrace, or a Wolf to Avoid?

If Christopher Hitchens or Deepak Chopra penned a book that scoffed at the biblical teaching on hell, we would not be surprised. So why would anyone be shocked or confused when Rob Bell writes Love Wins? Has Bell shown any more commitment to gospel truth, or any more devotion to the principle of biblical authority than Hitchens or Chopra?
Is Rob Bell truly a Christian, or is he one of those dangerous deceivers Scripture warns us about repeatedly (Acts 20:29; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Colossians 2:8; 2 Peter 2:1; etc.)?
It's a fair—and necessary—question. Christ’s famous warning about wolves in sheep’s clothing is given to us as an imperative: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). Our Lord clearly expects His true disciples to be able to spot spiritual imposters and wolves in sheep’s clothing— especially those who are purveyors of deadly false doctrines.
Rob Bell certainly fits that category. He relentlessly casts doubt on the authority and reliability of Scripture. He denies the Bible’s perspicuity, disavows its hard truths, and ridicules some of the most important features of the gospel.
Granted, Bell (who was raised in the evangelical movement and is an alumnus of Wheaton College) still insists on calling himself “evangelical.” He reiterated that claim recently in a March 14 interview with Lisa Miller, where he stated, “Do I think that I’m evangelical and orthodox to the bone? Yes.”
A careful examination of Bell’s teaching suggests, however, that his profession of faith is not credible. His claim that he is “evangelical and orthodox to the bone” is, to put it bluntly, a lie. Bell’s teaching gives no evidence of any real evangelical conviction. If “each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44), we cannot blithely embrace Rob Bell as a “brother” just because he says he wants to be accepted as an evangelical.

If, as Jesus said, His sheep hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27), then we ought to look with the utmost suspicion on anyone who doubts and denies as much of Jesus’ teaching as Rob Bell does, and yet claims to be a follower of Christ.Scripture is crystal-clear about this: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3-4).
Historic evangelicalism has always affirmed the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture, while declaring (as Jesus and the apostles did) that the only way of salvation for fallen humanity is through the atoning work of Christ, and the only instrument of justification is faith in Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the gospel.
Rob Bell believes none of those things. His skepticism about so many key biblical truths, his penchant for sowing doubt in his hearers, and his obvious contempt for the principles of divine justice as taught in Scripture all give evidence that he is precisely the kind of unbelieving false teacher Scripture warns us about.
Continue reading this article here.
These are strong words! And yet, these words of Dr. MacArthur--that Rob Bell is not a Christian as demonstrated by his bad fruit, and that he is indeed a liar for claiming to be "evangelical and orthodox to the bone," are exactly the type of words that many of us have been waiting to hear from Christian leaders. I'm glad to see MacArthur speak out so boldly on this subject, and I am anxious to read the upcoming posts this week at the Grace to You blog.

This Rob Bell controversy is no small matter. For years, Bell has had incredible influence over the younger church crowd in Emergent churches and, even more scarily, in the youth groups of evangelical churches. And now he is dangerous because he is confusing Christians by his claims of orthodoxy and his contradicting false teachings on Hell and ultimately on soteriology. But, in the words of John MacArthur, "It's only confusing if you think he [Bell] is a Christian." Stay tuned, this saga is far from over.

Rob Bell's Universalism
More Thoughts on Rob Bell's Thoughts on Hell
Obligatory Rob Bell Update




  2. OK, this is almost a year later but here it is anyhow

    I did a search for MacArthur – Rob Bell and came up with many YouTube snippets of a MacArthur sermon in which he talks about Rob Bell. None of them gave any linking info to the source. This drives me crazy; it took me 10-15 minutes of searching to find your post. You thankfully gave the date since the sermon hadn’t yet been posted on the GTY website. I easily found it on the GTY website by searching the date.

    Here is the whole enchilada :)


    The Final Generation, Part 2
    Mark 13:28-37 April 03, 2011 Sermon # 41-70

    The Rob Bell comments begin at 26:50 minutes into the video message. (the audio message might have different timing)


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