Rob Bell is at it again with his new book

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Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
This is why it's so important to have a Confession of faith. A Confession removes ambiguity from words and makes a person put all their cards on the table when it comes to what they believe. They can't hide behind made-up terms and they cannot mince words. Calvin touches on this in Book 1, Chapter 13, section 4 of The Institutes. Here is a snippet:

Such novelty (if novelty it should be called) becomes most requisite, when the truth is to be maintained against calumniators who evade it by quibbling. Of this, we of the present day have too much experience in being constantly called upon to attack the enemies of pure and sound doctrine. These slippery snakes escape by their swift and tortuous windings, if not strenuously pursued, and when caught, firmly held. Thus the early Christians, when harassed with the disputes which heresies produced, were forced to declare their sentiments in terms most scrupulously exact in order that no indirect subterfuges might remain to ungodly men, to whom ambiguity of expression was a kind of hiding-place.
 

Oecolampadius

Puritan Board Sophomore
New York Times article on Rob Bell

It appears that the author of this article was given an advance copy of Bell's book and the following is what he says about the book:

As the controversy exploded last week, HarperOne moved up to March 15 the publication date of Mr. Bell’s book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

Judging from an advance copy, the 200-page book is unlikely to assuage Mr. Bell’s critics. In an elliptical style, he throws out probing questions about traditional biblical interpretations, mixing real-life stories with scripture.

Much of the book is a sometimes obscure discussion of the meaning of heaven and hell that tears away at the standard ideas. In his version, heaven is something that begins here on earth, in a life of goodness, and hell seems more a condition than an eternal fate — “the very real consequences we experience when we reject all the good and true and beautiful life that God has for us.”

While sliding close to what critics consider the heresy of “universalism” — that all humans will eventually be saved — he never uses the term.
 

torstar

Puritan Board Sophomore
Now the book has been freely publicized into the NY Times and onto Good Morning America.

Do the blogerazzi, even the good ones, get a cut of Rob's royalties for all of this work?

Oh, and give a read to the 200 comments on the NYT from the article. Oh, there are some angry folk out there with no sympathy for even Rob's questions....
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Wow, those comments are something else. I read 75 and was already choking on the 'god? - pshaw' attitude. You notice how liberals are never liberal?
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
I found his views as presented on YouTube & Good Morning America to be identical to the Mormon beliefs and am waiting for him to promote Baptism for the Dead next. :rolleyes:
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
One MSM source described the controversy this way:

Excerpts from Rob Bell's Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate
of Every Person Who Has Ever Lived

"A staggering number of people have been taught that a few select 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. It's been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. 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."

"At the center of the Christian tradition since the first church has been the insistence that history is not tragic, hell is not forever, and love, in the end, wins."

"When people say they're tired of hearing about "sin" and "judgment: and "condemnation," it's often because those have been confused for them with the nature of God. God has no desire to inflict pain or agony on anyone."

"For some, the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame, and slander others who don't articulate matters of faith as they do."

"None of us have cornered the market on Jesus, and none of us ever will."
In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY, Bell jokes: "I am not aware that labels are the highest form of goodness and truth." He rebuffs critics who say he presents a Jesus-optional Christianity: "Jesus spoke of the renewal of all things. He said, 'I have sheep who are not of this flock.' Through him, extraordinary things are happening in the world. If saying that gets you banned from the E-club, so be it."

Bell's view is "that God is love, that he sent Jesus to show us that love, that love demands freedom. So making definitive judgments about other people's destiny is not interesting to me. The heart of God is to rescue everyone from everything we need to be rescued from."

It's a mercy that Bell doesn't read his press or social networks.

Justin Taylor of the Gospel Coalition, a network of traditionalist scholars and pastors, says Bell's views are "dangerous and contrary to the word of God. ... If Bell doesn't believe in eternal punishment, then he doesn't think sin is an offense against a holy God."

It was Taylor's critique last month, based on reading a few chapters, that triggered explosive arguments radiating from Christian sites to CNN. Now that he has read all 200 pages, Taylor is even more convinced of Bell's errors. "Whether you like it or not, the Bible presents true teaching and warns against false teachers, even those who look like great people," says Taylor, digging at Bell's highly stylized videos circulating online and among churches coast to coast."

But Richard Mouw, president of the world's largest Protestant seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary based in Pasadena, Calif., calls Love Wins "a great book, well within the bounds of orthodox Christianity and passionate about Jesus.

The real hellacious fight, says Mouw, a friend of Bell, a Fuller graduate, is between "generous orthodoxy and stingy orthodoxy. There are stingy people who just want to consign many others to hell and only a few to heaven and take delight in the idea. But Rob Bell allows for a lot of mystery in how Jesus reaches people."
Last week my youngest was home from Grand Rapids. As to Ivan's question about how popular he is, my daughter said that her classmates at a Christian college were all pretty much dividing themselves over Rob Bell. A "bunch" of them were siding with Piper ("farewell Bell") and Driscoll in slamming the book as heresy. Another "bunch" (Rob Bell acolytes) seemed to defend him with a ferocity reserved only for things emergent. Wouldn't it be sweet if the inerrancy of Scripture could generate as much energy as the defense of Rob Bell?

My take? Bell is an "artiste" who appeals to artsy-fartsy types. In an environment of so much Calvinism gone to seed up there in the CRC "holy land," he has seemed a breath of fresh air in a world of too much chosen frozen stale orthodoxy more rationalistic than Christian.

Bell's shtick seems to be a retail commercialized version of what he heard in seminary. Even in my day when Bell was in first grade, some of my Presbyterian seminary profs belittled Francis Schaeffer, Carl Henry, and other evangelical icons. What was not treated with an "on the one hand . . . but on the other hand" paralysis of analysis was subjected to a "has God really said?" kind of reflexive questioning.

Most of Bell's critics say that he specializes in asking questions . . . endless numbers of largely unanswered questions. They prove him to be "open minded," "cool," "relevant," and "trendy." Indeed, asking questions seems to be preferred to answering them. "Mystery," fuzziness, uncertainty, and a professional stance of perpetual doubt all add to the "emergent" ethos.

A pastor friend of mine (actually an inlaw to one of my own kids) has been to Grand Rapids to a Bell conference. Here is his take:

It's easy to throw out questions that have no answers. Children do that to their parents all day long. So I guess I think that Bell's style is rather childish in a world that is so screwed up (without a clue most of the time) that we need to spell out the truth the way the old-timers did--Edwards, Wesley (opposite poles), Carl Henry--even John Stott, Colson. These are guys that put forward answers, not puzzles, to a truth-starved world.

We are very close to the Great Apostasy as it is, and God's people need a clear trumpet sound, not a whimper from a piccolo.
There you have it: Dr. Mouw calls it a "great book" and my son's father-in-law dubs it a "whimper from a piccolo." I'm pretty sure that the truth is somewhere in between those two! ;)

Following the request from a daughter-in-law to read it and offer perspective, I purchased the Kindle version of the book and hope to read it tonight.
 

Michael

Puritan Board Senior
Martin Bashir picks Rob Bell apart: "You are amending the Gospel, the Christian message, so that it's palatable for contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of hell and heaven very difficult to stomach."

[video=youtube;Vg-qgmJ7nzA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg-qgmJ7nzA[/video]
 

Moireach

Puritan Board Freshman
Complete heretic. It's worrying seeing so many of America's Christians being misled by idiots. What about Mark Driscoll is he any better?
 

torstar

Puritan Board Sophomore
With all due respect, I know this is a Reformed board and Rob Bell certainly does not fall under that but I think it is very close to a ninth commandment violation to be speaking ill of a book that we have not read. We are going off the assumptions and thoughts put forth in a blog whose author has not read the book either. If he does say that he is universalist in his book then we can discuss the implications from their. If you have not read the book you have no right to be making definitive statements about what he says in it.

Life is way too short to read that book.

I wouldn't insult the term "universalist" by calling the total rubbish he spouted to Bashir universalist.
 

Moireach

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for that. He seems to be much better.
I only asked because I was surprised to hear this guy was a founder of Mars Hill church which I've heard a lot of people talking about (particularly Driscoll).
Strange to have such differing views within one church (though Bell's not there anymore I don't think..?).
 

ryanhamre

Puritan Board Freshman
I only asked because I was surprised to hear this guy was a founder of Mars Hill church which I've heard a lot of people talking about (particularly Driscoll).
Strange to have such differing views within one church (though Bell's not there anymore I don't think..?).
Not the same church, no affiliation.

I almost don't believe they use the same Holy book...
 

torstar

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for that. He seems to be much better.
I only asked because I was surprised to hear this guy was a founder of Mars Hill church which I've heard a lot of people talking about (particularly Driscoll).
Strange to have such differing views within one church (though Bell's not there anymore I don't think..?).

Driscoll abandoned those he started out with in the movement.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Driscoll is uncompromising in his repudiation of Bell's positions. His YouTube on the Virgin birth criticizes both the Jesus Seminar and a certain young pastor who wrote a book . . . (without using Bell's name). The Bell acolytes screamed like stuck pigs in response, rightly reading Driscoll as criticizing their guy.

Both Piper and Driscoll have been sharply critical of the new Bell 200 pg. question mark.

I honestly think that Bell has a hard time understanding what all of the fuss is about regarding his books, writings, and sermons. Because he attended a seminary that exalted in the asking of "questions," particularly very hard ones, he seems to see his shtick as benign. "Sheesh. I was just asking questions," one can almost hear him say. His devotees are fiercely defensive of him, echoing the pained reaction: "Why do so many negative people have to slander and defame a man of God? He does soooo much good."

When the president of your seminary is a philosopher who is a professional question asker by training (no slam intended), when the ethos of your school is to reach out to previously marginalized and under-represented groups that had been ignored or castigated by many fundamentalists and evangelicals, when your professors pay unusual attention to bending over backwards being "fair" to all sides and all views (e.g., Mormons, Muslims, atheists, and secularists generally), it is not surprising that a bright young entrepreneur would "emerge" who markets that ethos as his stock in trade.
 
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Theoretical

Puritan Board Professor
I don't know Bell and McLaren's hearts, but I must wonder of their sencerity. Do men like these truly believe in the drivel they produce that diminishes the attributes of God and twists scripture to fit their theology? Or are they aware of the many weak minded professing christians today, and thus come up with this heresy to make lots of money. I guess we'll never know this side of eternity.
I think most who fall into liberal errors are sincere. Obviously some are more predatory, but quite a few others are sincere in their motives for teaching these doctrines. The problem is that they believe they have to save Christianity from itself. As they see it, Christianity is being discredited and unbelief and global suffering are going uncountered, so Christianity "must change or die" (title of a Spong book).
 
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