Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rob Bell's Unbiblical Views

Here is an article, PART ONE and PART TWO pointing out many of the unorthodox doctrinal views held by postmodern "preacher" Rob Bell.

THIS ARTICLE will also give you a heavy dose of the screwy teachings of Rob Bell.

Here are some quotes from Bell:

On scripture:

"The Bible is a collection of stories that teach us about what it looks like when God is at work through actual people. The Bible has the authority it does only because it contains stories about people interacting with the God who has all authority"
-Velvet Elvis, p.65

"...it wasn't until the 300s that what we know as the sixty-six books of the Bible were actually agreed upon as the ‘Bible'. This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that "Scripture alone" is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true. In reaction to abuses by the church, a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only need the authority of the Bible. But the problem is that we got the Bible from the church voting on what the Bible even is. So when I affirm the Bible as God's word, in the same breath I have to affirm that when those people voted, God was somehow present, guiding them to do what they did. When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true. In affirming the Bible as inspired, I also have to affirm the Spirit who I believe was inspiring those people to choose those books."
-Velvet Elvis, p.68


[The Bible is a] “human product...rather than the product of divine fiat"
- Emergent Mystique, Christianity Today


On heaven and hell:

""When people use the word hell, what do they mean? They mean a place, an event, a situation absent of how God desires things to be. Famine, debt, oppression, loneliness, despair, death, slaughter--they are all hell on earth. Jesus' desire for his followers is that they live in such a way that they bring heaven to earth. What's disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about Hell here and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth."
- Velvet Elvis, p.148

"Heaven is full of forgiven people. Hell is full of forgiven people. Heaven is full of people God loves, whom Jesus died for. Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for. The difference is how we choose to live, which story we choose to live in, which version of reality we trust. Ours or God's."
- Velvet Elvis, p.146


On the Fall:

"I can't find one place in the teachings of Jesus, or the Bible for that matter, where we are to identify ourselves first and foremost as sinners. Now this doesn't mean we don't sin; that's obvious. In the book of James it's written like this: 'We all stumble in many ways.' Once again, the greatest truth of the story of Adam and Eve isn't that it happened, but that it happens."
- Velvet Elvis, p. 139


On "Ultimate Reality":

"I don't follow Jesus because I think Christianity is the best religion. I follow Jesus because he leads me into ultimate reality. He teaches me to live in tune with how reality is. When Jesus said, 'No one comes to the Father except through me', he was saying that his way, his words, his life is our connection to how things truly are at the deepest levels of existence. For Jesus then, the point of religion is to help us connect with ultimate reality, God."
- Velvet Elvis p. 83


On the Nature of the Atonement:

“So this reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling ‘all things, in heaven and on earth, to God. This reality then isn’t something we make true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making."
- Velvet Elvis p. 146


On the Virgin Birth:

"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?"
-Velvet Elvis, p. 26


On Faith:

“Who does Peter lose faith in? Not Jesus; he is doing fine. Peter loses faith in himself. Peter loses faith that he can do what his rabbi is doing. If the rabbi calls you to be his disciple, then he believes that you can actually be like him. As we read the stories of Jesus’ life with his talmidim, his disciples, what do we find frustrates him to no end? When his disciples lose faith in themselves..... Notice how many places in the accounts of Jesus’ life he gets frustrated with his disciples. Because they are incapable? No, because of how capable they are. He sees what they could be and could do, and when they fall short it provokes him to no end. It isn’t their failure that’s the problem, it’s their greatness. They don’t realize what they are capable of....God has an amazingly high view of people. God believes that people are capable of amazing things. I’ve been told I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I’m learning is that Jesus believes in me....God has faith in me.”
-Velvet Elvis, pp. 133-134



For further reading on Rob Bell and his unbiblical positions CLICK HERE…

122 Comments:

Blogger DennisS said...

Interesting. Parts One and Two are written by someone in another suburb of Grand Rapids. That explains why every detail is declared to be anathema.

Generally, when a person does a review of a book (Velvet Elvis), they at least mention one thing they agree with. Are we to take it that the book has nothing of orthodox Christianity? I visited Mars Hill twice, and though I've not read the book (nor will I take the time to), I'm guessing there are some thought-provoking portions of the book.

Okay, in regard to doctrine, in regard to the quotes:

On Scripture:

The point is the working of the Holy Spirit. It is the working of the Holy Spirit that Rob Bell points to, saying that this is where the inspiriation of the Bible comes from. This same Holy Spirit was moving among those who determined the Canon of Scripture. This same Holy Spirit is moving in the Church today. Thus, those who say we only need the Bible, seem to be denying the working of the Holy Spirit. I know you disagree with this, but it seems to me that it is simply semantics.

In regard to Hell:

I don't agree with Rob Bell's understanding of the situation of those in Hell. They are not forgiven, and they experience the wrath of God. I'm glad that Rob does accept that Hell does indeed exist. He is not an anihilationist.

I do find his teaching to be of some value for thinking about "what we will choose this day". Shall we choose to live into what God wills & desires, or shall we rebel against God and live into fleshly desires. I don't agree with the doctrine, but I do anticipate that the argument will be effective in getting some to choose faith in Christ.

On the Fall:

I'm not sure of the context of the quote. On its face, I agree with the quote - our primary identification is not "sinner", but "beloved of God".

On Ultimate Reality:

I think the point here is to consider the result, the ends, of religion - not to lift up a particular religion. I'm not seeking the best religion, but I am seeking the Way, the Truth, and the Life. What does Jesus mean when he says He has other sheep, not of this fold?

On the nature of Atonement:

I can't agree with Rob on this, though he is being consistent with his view on Hell - incorrectly stating that we live into a reality of our own making.

On the Virgin Birth:

I've looked at the passage from Isaiah as well. I don't teach that Mary may not have been a virgin in the way we understand it. If she wasn't a virgin in the way we understand it, then it is still possible to understand it as the term was understood in the culture of that time. This is not saying the Joseph is a liar, or that the Bible isn't absolutely true in what is being transmitted. I'm saying that we have to leave room for the possibility, and not make this an issue on which faith is tried and then abandoned.

In this I understand Rob to be suggesting that our faith is in Jesus, not our understanding of the details surrounding his death.

On Faith:

That's a very creative and interesting thought, that "God has faith in me." It has some merit, because if God didn't have faith in creation, then He would have no reason to keep it going.

According to the articles, Rob isn't Trinitarian because he doesn't specifically say "Father, Son, & Holy Spirit" in a single sentence. But from the quotes, it looks to me that he is indeed Trinitarian. The objection, that a couple of OT people knew about it, is not convincing that Hebrew people would have had a trinitarian understanding.

It seems to me that the articles were argumentative, rather than clearly laying out orthodox Christianity. Has this author lost members to Mars Hill?

I happen to like the analogy of a spring and brick - at least what I've seen of it. But if Rob is using the spring to throw bricks at others then that is something else. We don't grasp all of our theology - especially not all at once. And our theology does need to be tested.

Maybe a different analogy is in order. How about an airplane?

If an airplane were built to be rigid, it would not be able to withstand turbulence, and the many "cycles" of landings and takeoffs.

But if an airplane is built with flexibility in its framework, with wings which droop a few feet at the tips when on the ground, and rise several feet while experiencing lift, and are flexible enough and strong enough to withstand turbulence - then that airplane will last.

So it is with our theology. Is our theology flexible enough to withstand the cycles of Bible reading? I've had various thoughts upon reading the Bible, and have tried to look at it based on one particular text taken out of context. Yet I was able to see that this was wrong, as I read further and realized my new thought wasn't orthodox doctrine.

Some have taken a doctrine and gone too far - for instance, the way JW's understand the prologue of John - not accepting the correction of how Greek syntax works - but denying it to the bitter end, and building a religion around error.

Scribes and Pharisees didn't like the challenge to their teachings, and they fought Jesus all the way.

Defending our faith is one thing, but defending our God is another. Teaching doctrine is one thing, but defending religion is another.

I would much rather spend my time in studying the Word, than in studying what someone else has said about the Word. And I think that probably lines up with what Rob was saying about the trampoline.

This attention on Rob seems a bit like the DaVinci Code. All the public outcry caused free publicity, and sent people out to check it out. I don't think our attention should be focused upon the pronouncements of Rob Bell.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the biggest problems with Rob Bell is that he is careless with biblical concepts. He handles them in a loose way with a license to manipulate and a rethinking kind of hermeneutics. He deconstructs the traditional/orthodox explanations of scriptural teachings and repackages them, sort of, in his own post modern way. Why is this necessary? It's not!

This is dangerous because for many doctrines in scripture it has taken hundreds of years of hard work to explain and convey by a great number of godly spiritual giants whose shoulders we stand on. The likes of which Bell couldn't hold a candle to. But in one or two books this guy, in cavalier fashion, tampers with foundational essential truths just so he can sell books and be a star. This leads to countless roads of logical conclusions that end up in error and heresy.

But Bell never owns up to this. He is ambiguous just enough so that he can irresponsibly back out of any thing he says if necessary. Jesus NEVER taught this way. He was always clear and direct. Rob Bell, (to borrow from Vance Havner) is and EXPERT AT THE ART OF ALMOST SAYING SOMETHING.

The sad thing is, that many church leaders and young christians think this guy should be admired and emulated and is a solid source of biblical teaching. They are deadly wrong! Let me say again: Bell's teachings lead to countless roads of logical conclusions that end up in error and heresy.
-KCO

2:10 PM  
Blogger J. K. Jones said...

Thanks for your post. I question much of Bell's teaching myself, but am most bothered by his perspective on what the Bible is primarily about.

Rob says, “…this is why the Bible loses its power for so many communities. They fall into the trap of thinking that the Bible is just about things that happened a long time ago. / But the Bible is about today. / These stories are our stories. They are alive and active and teaching us about our lives in our world, today.” This perspective impacts salvation, our right standing before God. Let me clarify.

Jesus was clear in saying that the entire Bible was about Him (Luke 24:25-26). The intent is for us to know certain facts about things that have happened in the past and their bearing on us today. You see, our salvation; our right standing before God and everything else that goes with it; was earned for us in the past. Earned by Christ. Accomplished 2,000 years ago on a hill outside Jerusalem. We add nothing to this work. We through our faith are credited with what Christ did, and He is credited with our sin to suffer for (2 Cor. 5:21). If the Bible is not primarily about what happened in the past, then it is not about what Christ did for us in the past. If the Bible is about our here and now, it is not about those things which earn our salvation.

I'll keep reading your blog!

J. K.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Rob Bell means when he says that hell is full of forgiven people whom Jesus died to save, he means that redemption is offered to everyone... and that people suffer hell because they do not accept the love God through Christ's redemption of the world. God forgave ALL of mankind- not just CHRISTIANS... whether we choose to accept that forgiveness determines whether we will live in communion with God or not.

3:14 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Kenny...I commend you for your concern for the truth to be preserved. I applaud you for the passion. However, I think you to be reckless in quoting sections of a book to prove a point without providing the entire context of the quotes posted to your blog. Be careful that you consider the entire context of a paragraph before posting one to make it an effective defense of your distaste for Rob Bell.

I personally have not absorbed the passages you quote in the same manner you present them. I suppose it's because I know the context in which they were written because I consider the context. Your posts come across as giving no consideration for the context, but only to enhance your predisposed position.

Either way, always be willing to ask God in the reading of the Word and of authors..."What are you teaching me through this?" You may find that authors you don't even agree with will present some material that will enhance your walk with Christ. And consider this, what ministry do you have by bashing a follower of Jesus? Will this bring people to faith? will this encourage believers to walk closer with God? I suggest not. It creates division, bickering. What is the argument we must stand for? It's God truth in his Word. it is Jesus crucified, risen. It's salvation by grace, through faith, so none of us can boast.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a strong belief of mine that the churches responsibility is to stay united on the essentials; (i.e. the deity of Christ, the authority of the Word, etc.)and allow for differing opinions on the "non-salvation issues". People are going to have different views than you; it's our responsibility in the way of Jesus to forgive them and allow them to discover the Truth for themselves.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just because I'm a Christian and I'm trying to articulate a Christian worldview doesn't mean I've got it nailed. I'm contributing to the discussion. God has spoken, the rest is commentary, right?"

Did you happen to stumble across that quote on your excursion through "proving Rob Bell wrong"?

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to misinterpret Rob Bell! Lol. Sorry for the sarcasm, but my frustration is that many people only show part of what Rob says, they never seem to like to show what he ACTUALLY meant.

A lot of people don't realize, but Rob likes to play devil's advocate. Not because he agrees, but because how else will he get you to question things? No, not to make you question your faith, but to make you comfortable in asking questions. I learned A LOT about why I believe what I do by going through the series of tough questions he asks in Velvet Elvis. Ultimately, you come out of that book understanding so much more of your beliefs than when you went into it.

Why are Christians so uncomfortable with questions these days? God doesn't need you to defend Him, He's quite capable. Perhaps we Christians need to be more comfortable with asking God questions. Moses did. Job did. The disciples did. Mary and Martha did. Even Jesus did.

There is nothing wrong with questioning, in fact, asking questions is a reflection of a person's DESIRE to know more; and that's exactly Rob Bell's point.

God bless you all! :)

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Rpeter said...

Thanks for misquoting Bell, especially on the Virgin Birth issue. Have you read Velvet Elvis for yourself? If you had, you would have noticed that on the very next page Rob Bell affirms the virgin birth. You entirely missed the point of his writing. Writing is meant to be a little bit poetic and thought provoking, you know. It's not meant to be a scientific textbook.

As for the other quotes, saw nothing wrong with them. Perhaps you're misunderstanding the man because of a different understanding of how to communicate ideas?

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Cam said...

After reading Velvet Elvis and Sex God, i've come to the conclusion that i absolutely love Rob Bell. i do not worship him, nor do i think that everyone should listen to him and believe what he says, but i do think that he offers this generation an amazing view of Jesus that definitely distinguishes him from other modern writers. Is anyone completely right in what they preach? anyone can pick away at someone's book and show how they are "wrong," just like that one guy did in an earlier posting by "proving" that Rob Bell is unbiblical by quoting "half" of all his quotes and making a brave judgement with out reading his book (and for that matter, not wanting to). Look, i think that there are too many people that get all butt hurt over people that get famous, preaching something that may not be their own views of how they see the scripture to be written. The real question to bring about criticism in someones writing should be if they are writing about Jesus Christ as the son of god, the savior, and the hero of mankind. if you can read Rob Bell's book and say that he does not believe this, then we might have a problem, but don't just judge his book w/out reading it. you may disagree with the way he goes about saying that Jesus is the son of God, the savior, and hero of mankind, but does that really matter if people are being saved? i can't stand most christian music. it's soo cheesy and honestly, turns me off more than it does direct me to God. i feel that i have to apologize for some of the music that is considered to be "of God," when i hear it. that said, i can't say that i hate it or think that it is wrong because people do come to Christ through it. Jesus is shown as the son of God, savior, and hero through the music and people are saved. although i dislike it myslef, it is still good and should be continued. So should Rob Bell.

7:16 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Wow. Anyone who is still defending Rob Bell after those quotes truly does not trust in, nor know the Jesus of the bible. They trust in Rob Bell, and not God's Word. It is a slap in the face to God by saying that His Word is sufficient and it's okay to question what God SAYS. What He says goes... end of story. It's okay to question presumed followers of Jesus (ie: Rob Bell), but not God's Word. It's okay to question God's Word so because you want to understand it, but once you truly come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, you will not question what God says in His Word any longer. The Emergents brainwash people into thinking that doubt is a good thing.

9:45 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

One more thing I wanted to add. People who refuse to see Rob Bell as unorthodox and unChristian, are worshippers of Rob Bell, whether they admit to it or not.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, so I really don't understand what all this hype about Rob Bell is about. I pretty much agree with everything he says, and I agree with the Bible at the same time (it's sad that you are going to close your mind as soon as you read that).

I don't see what's "unbiblical" about the first quote. Obviously the Bible is a collection of stories showing God's work in people. It was written by many many different people. That's what makes it so beautiful compared to other "holy books". I think what he's saying is that God is the ultimate authority, not the Bible. The Bible is a guide that shows us God's heart, and shows us what we need to do. Also, when Paul says that all scripture is "God-breathed" he is only referring to the Torah. (However, I do believe the NT is also because Paul was controlled by the Holy Spirit, but it's something to think about)

The second quote...well...that's historical. Also, Have you never been prompted by the Spirit to do something that isn't specifically in the Bible? Like, "Pray specifically for Bob today". That isn't in the Bible, but it doesn't go against it either. So, yeah, we shouldn't ONLY rely on the Bible for prompting and guidance. But I don't think we should only rely of feelings either. Bell isn't at all saying we don't need the Bible!

If I only followed the rules in the Bible without listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, it becomes religion instead of loving God.

I think that when he talks of "creating our own realities", he is talking about us denying the reality that we are in need of a savior. Obviously if we create our own "reality" that we don't need a savior, we are not going to be saved. That is not unbiblical at all!

And the quote from the video about Peter, yeah, that's taken way out of context. Show the whole video to people, then you have something to talk about.

And of course we aren't supposed to identify ourselves as "sinners"!! We are new creations because of Christ! And it's an awesome thing!

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this is really impressive. I just love it when people take quotes out of context, post them, and then pick them apart. This is wonderful. After having read hisbooks several times, all I can say is that perhaps others should do the same. If the only part of his books you have read are posted on this site, stop commenting and wasting everyones time with your uninformed opinions.

4:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to read the trampoline springs analogy.

4:17 AM  
Blogger Mr. Director said...

I HAVE read the whole book, and it is page after page after page of Scripture distorted beyond rational meaning, a scoffing at doctrine (which the Bible warns will happen in the last days), and hypocrisy as the author first lambasts those who quote the Bible to support their position and then he spends the rest of the book doing that very thing.

When one looks at what Bell presents, one has to wonder if the man even knows what Salvation, Redemption, and Justification mean. In short, there is significant doubt whether the man is saved at all. His teachings very much fall in line with the false teachers that the epistle of Jude warns of.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Layne said...

Scoffing and valid questioning are completely different actions and attitudes.

Beyond that, most of what I would say here has already been said.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think its very false to say that one who accepts rob bell's teachings does not in fact accept the bible and God and Jesus. That you cannot believe in something without question.

The point of what Rob Bell says that we should look to ALL meanings of what God is saying in the Bible and just because someone in power offers one view, doesnt mean you shouldnt dig deeper.

Its not about questioning God, but in fact finding answers to what has been lost in translation.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous christina said...

okay, so i'd just like to start off with how great i think it is that so many of you are so concerned about finding and discovering the Truth.

But I honestly don't understand the point of these blogs. We take so much of our time pointing fingers at others, judging what others say. Don't get me wrong,I think it's important to discuss with others our views of different issues, but I think we're spending too much time blaming others. Rob Bell does make a lot of good points and I'm sorry for whoever wrote this, but these quotes have been taken way out of context.

Rob Bell says several times in Velvet Elvis and other books/videos that this is simply his interpretation. He doesn't want you to believe everything he says or writes, he just wants you to swallow and interpret different ideas. It's just like how we have to swallow bits of the Bible and see how they fit into our lives.

It's so easy to judge others. But what we really need to be doing is juding ourselves. If you don't agree with what Rob Bell says, then that's fine by me. What's important is that we're trying to find God in all aspects of our lives. God wants us all to have open minds, and yeah, He wants us to stand up for what we believe. However, it's important to not point fingers and say that "God is not working in his/her life", which I'm sure a lot of us do. Who we are to say that this person is wrong or right? Isn't that God's job, not ours?

2:06 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

Please remember that Rob Bell desires to reach Postmoderns. In order to understand some of the things he says you have to keep this in mind. Postmoderns think in an entirely different way, and therefore have to be reached in an entirely different way.
Also, I have read many things by Rob Bell, and many of these quotes are taken out of context. If you will read his entire work, you will understand better what he is trying to convey.
For those who say that he is changing Biblical truth, please reassess.
He is not changing Biblical truth, but is simply is shedding a different light on it in order that today's culture may better understand. And isn't that what King James did? And Martin Luther. Please consider that what we know about the Bible today isn't the exact same thing as was written years ago.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Bell is unorthodox. May I cautiously remind you that Jesus was unorthodox? When we place a higher value on the traditions/ traditionally accepted views than we do on the truth, we lean from relationship with God to emphasizing a religion. We have our shelves of pre-packaged ideas. They were handed to us from our religious authorities/leaders, and most of us cataloged them and stacked them on the shelves of our minds and hearts without opening them. As far as I have seen, Bell invited us to open them, and to hold them up to God... to make sure we understand why we believe what we do is because it is what God has revealed, and not what we have been told by other people... regardless of who those people are. Bell takes us back to God constantly. And frankly, it isn't about him. It's about God.

In Acts 5:34-39, a similar situation occurred...

"Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

I'm not suggesting we should say nothing when the scripture is mixed.... Paul wrote his letter to the colossians because of people attempting to dilute the message of the gospel. And if Bell started to take the focus off of God or mix truth with lies, or claim to have more authority than God, I would stop considering what he has to say, and I would warn my brothers and sisters. But for now, I think we need to listen to what he says the same way we are to listen to what anyone else says... listen, and test it. Be like the Bereans.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a comment earlier - "What He says goes...end of story" and "The emergents brainwash people into thinking that doubt is a good thing".

We are not lemmings. We are people who have free will and the ability to think for ourselves. Everyone questions and doubts, it's how we learn. There is a saying "A man that does not think for himself, does not think at all".

Rob Bell is questioning, but he is not questioning so that he can disprove anything, he is doing it so that he better understands WHY we hold the beliefs that we do. He is not questioning God's authority, but trying to understand a bit better what His teachings mean for us today.

We all have the right to say and think what we want, and Rob Bell doesn't claim he is right, he doesn't claim he's got it nailed, he's just contributing to the discussion, a bit like we are to this post.

10:41 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

To anonymous who wrote:

"Perhaps Bell is unorthodox. May I cautiously remind you that Jesus was unorthodox?"

Usually I don't respond to many people, but since you said to be like the Bereans, and also your comment about Jesus being unorthodox, I felt that I must respond.

I agree, we MUST be like the Bereans, but I must clarify that I HAVE studied and tested Rob Bell's teachings for almost 2 years now. And every day I am more horrified with what he teaches. He teaches that God is not angry with us ("us", meaning the human race and unregenerate people as a whole... "us", as in apart from Jesus Christ), when the bible clearly teaches that God is angry with the wicked every day.

But that's not what bothers me the most... what bothers me the most out of all of Rob Bell's terrible teachings is that he teaches that we need to trust in ourselves (see the NOOMA video "Dust"). While I have to get to work and I don't have time to explain just how wrong that is, what I can say is that it is the complete antithesis to the gospel! Adam and Eve trusted in themselves, and that's what cast the entire human race into condemnation! We must DENY ourselves and trust in Jesus Christ! And no, I'm not "twisting" what Rob Bell is teaching. His teachings as a whole are faulty too because he has a faulty view on original sin. Once that view goes, the gospel is gone. For more explanation on this, see my website with a conversation between me and Nate Dawson from Rob Bell's Mars Hill Bible Church: http://threehappypenguins.googlepages.com/emailconvo

Lastly, it is quite dangerous to think that Jesus was unorthodox. He was actually QUITE orthodox. It was the Pharisees that were unorthodox, teaching their ideas rather than what scripture reveals. But you must understand that Rob Bell can do what he is doing because he teaches the postmodern idea that we can't really understand what scripture teaches. He denies the doctrine of perspecuity. In essence, what he teaches is that "I KNOW that we CAN'T KNOW what scripture teaches." (Check out a very early article on Christianitytoday.com on Rob and Kristen Bell and what they think about the bible. It's in there somewhere.

Rob Bell refuses to conform to scripture by simply stating that we don't know what scripture means. That is his underlying argument. Even Jesus WAS orthodox and clearly taught that you CAN know what scripture says (why in the world would God not make what he says CLEAR?!), and on top of that, he also said that you can study scripture by the method of deduction too, which further leaves us without excuse (check out when Jesus proves the resurrection to the Saducees by only quoting from the Pentateuch... the Saducees denied the rest of the Torah).

Anyways... I really wanted to warn you about thinking that Jesus was unorthodox. I used to think this way... I used to think that Jesus was some cool hippy rebel dude who would not conform to the norm of society... I discovered that my entire thinking was in error. Jesus conformed to scripture, and rebuked the Pharisees for twisting what it says (because scripture is CLEAR!).

2:15 PM  
Anonymous SarahBeck said...

I don't understand what is to be disagreeed with. Rob Bell mentions time and time again in Velvet Elvis to not just take him at his word, but study things out for yourself (did we happen to read this part?). He also says that he questions people that say, "I don't believe anything but the Bible," because so much of the Bible is up to interpretation (see the debates about the gifts of the spirit, how to baptize, the rapture, one saved always saved, and all of the millions of doctrinal debates there are).
Many of the things that you're crying heracy about were put in there to be thought prevoking, something sorely lacking in the church as a whole. Thank God that someone is finally taking the time to communicate to my generation (20-30 somethings) on our level.

6:13 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

SarahBeck,

Do you even know what the essentials of Christianity are? Substitutionary atonement is the heart and soul of Christianity. Rob Bell isn't just asking us to question things such as the meaning and mode of baptism, eternal security, etc. He is asking us to question the gospel itself. He is redefining what the gospel is. Have you not read what the Apostle Paul said to the Galatians?

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed... O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?"

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the reason why Churches are not growing, the youth is becoming distant from the church and even the christian them selfs are questions what's true. Selfish thinkings have taken over our world because every one believes that their idelology is correct. I've listen to Rob Bell stuff and it's great and I love how he can convey a message. Some of his stuff might not be accurate for some people, but there is no reason to throw the stones. Reading these threads make me sick. When one man tries to do GOOD in the world we are quick to judge. Maybe instead of creating a website to disprove someone teaching, we should be winning people for christ. Rob Bell must be doing something right because look at those who are feeling threaten.

5:12 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Anonymous,

Winning people to Christ? Which Jesus? Rob Bell's Jesus? The Mormon Jesus? The Jehovah's Witness' Jesus? Or the Jesus of the bible? You see, proper doctrine is everything. If one does not believe in the correct God (the God of the bible), one cannot be saved. How often do you read your bible anonymous? Do you not read the warnings that says to test everything that teachers say to see if it is in accordance to God's word? Rob Bell is winning young people over to a false Christ and a false Christianity.

The church is not growing because modern "Christianity" is anemic. Preachers water down the gospel, and kids sit in Sunday school under a watered down gospel (which is no gospel at all), and by the time they hit 18, they're gone (or sooner). If God didn't save me (I'm 22), I would have fallen for Rob Bell, hook, line, and sinker. As a fleshly pagan, Rob Bell appeals to my intellect with thought provoking questions and an openness that I could never dream of. As a regenerated Christian, Rob Bell is a heretic who denies the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ who bore the wrath of God for my sins.

You are basing your presuppositions on that there is no absolute truth. I used to subscribe to something called "epistomological fallacy," when I was a pagan teenager and it too made me sick when someone would say that they are right, and others are wrong. But when you understand the substitutionary atonement and that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ, then you will understand that there is an absolute truth, and that those who go against this absolute truth are absolutely wrong.

We do not feel threatened. We are simply doing as the bible commands... to expose false teachers and urge others to trust God's infallible, inerrant Word (the bible). In fact, God uses false teachers in order to separate true believers from false believers. God's truth will reign, despite false teachers like Rob Bell. So we are not threatened, nor worried at all. Rob Bell has nothing new under the sun. He has the same heresies which were fought hundreds of years ago. Jesus Christ will reign for eternity!

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

dear threehappypenguins,

i must agree with anonymous and sarah beck... rob bell is just a guy trying to get people to think for themselves as opposed to just swallowing everything they've been told their whole life... he says over and over that he is just giving his opinion on certain topics and that it's important to always keep an open mind... it's absurd to say that he is a heretic or to say he is winning people to "rob bell's Jesus." the body is supposed to be about building each other up and all you do is tear him down.... Jesus was all about love and you are treating the fellow bloggers on this site with total disrespect... asking snidely if they have heard of certain doctrines you agree with or read the Bible... Jesus was about unity and you are only tearing people down.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Joe,

You need to grow up. You sound like a child.

Just about everyone of the epistles in the New Testament dealt with defending the true gospel and protecting the church from doctrinal error and false teachings, with which Rob Bell is ladened.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Joe,

You need to grow up. You sound like a child.

Just about everyone of the epistles in the New Testament dealt with defending the true gospel and protecting the church from doctrinal error and false teachings, with which Rob Bell is ladened.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

well if tearing people down, name-calling and general hatred of other people is growing up to you guys, then I guess I would prefer to stay a child.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Richie said...

"It isn’t their failure that’s the problem, it’s their greatness. They don’t realize what they are capable of....God has an amazingly high view of people. God believes that people are capable of amazing things. I’ve been told I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I’m learning is that Jesus believes in me....God has faith in me."--Rob Bell, VE

"What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

"None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God." Rom. 3:9-11 (ESV)

"The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good, not even one." Psalm 14:1-3 (ESV)

It is our failure that is the problem--we have no greatness from the perspective of a righteous and Holy God. Our very, very best is like filthy rags to Him. Why did Jesus Christ come? To show us a better way? Certainly, He did do that, but that was not His primary purpose. He came to glorify God, to seek and save the lost.
I would encourage everyone to really study The Word of God. Do not rely on what I say, what Rob Bell says, or what any man or woman says. God has revealed His redemptive plan through Jesus Christ in His Word. We should not treat the Bible so flippantly, but instead should humbly approach it as it is: The progressive revelation of Jesus Christ. In an effort to be relevant to today's culture, too often teachers subtly (but surely) shift the focus from the Glory of God to the glory of man. I have read Velvet Elvis, and I can state that truth mixed with untruth does not result in a more relevant, more friendly, and more tolerant truth. Diluted truth is no longer truth. This is not about Rob Bell. This is about earnestly contending for the faith which was entrusted to us (again, read Jude).
God has spoken. Either you believe His Word to be inerrant, infallible and authoritative, or you do not. There is no middle ground, for if there were compromise in part, what is there to prevent compromise in the whole? On the other hand, maybe we really don't realize just how much potential we have, or the amazing things we are capable of. Seems like we've heard something along these lines before (Genesis 3?)--now how did that turn out...?

7:47 PM  
Blogger Ezekiel James said...

I think Richie summed it up.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Eamon said...

I find every bit of Rob Bell's teachings biblical. But I guess we're just supposed to accept that Christian Orthodoxy has it down pat and that there's no need to question it. After all, Jesus never did that right?

Of course he did. Where do you think we would be if it weren't for people like Martin Luther, Erasmus, John Calvin, or others who questioned the legitimacy of church teachings?

We need to listen to God, and to scripture, and to reason just as much as tradition.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

laughable slam on bell. HISTORIC ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY. wake up silly blogger

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have taken the time to read and reflect on much of Rob Bell's work. I have to say that God has worked through it, provoking thought that I wouldn't have had on my own. Occasionally shocking me out of my complacent faith and making think about things that I took for granted.

It is important to read everything with a critical eye. And remember EVERYONE IS HUMAN. That means that NO ONE has got it all right except Jesus. Not a one of us. If you've found a theologian that you agree copmletely and totally with, you are lying to yourself.

Rob is human and he knows that. He does not claim to have all the answers, but is exploring them as his context has led him.

My primary problem doing things like what this blog has done is my same problem with "proof texting". It could be my education and my background, but to pull quotes out of context and make grand, sweeping conclusions about anyone or anything without first understanding who wrote it, why they wrote it and who it was intended for.

Do you understand more about Paul knowing the context in which he wrote a certain epistle? How about who it was written to? What about their condition at the time? What about the fact that we are only getting one side of the conversation, we haven't heard what they sent to Paul, what questions they had.

Can we take truth from scripture without knowing all of this? Certainly. But we cannot understand totally. To take the scripture as LITERAL word of God and then REFUSE to ask question, be afraid of digging deeper takes away a beauty of the Christian faith.

God is big enough for your questions. There is nothing we can ask that he hasn't heard already. In fact, he loves our questions b/c it shows a desire to know more about him. I have to believe that God delights in his people taking that kind of interest in him.

Am I saying that Rob is totally right? No. But he's not completely wrong either. However, we get unsettled whenever someone stirs the pot, don't we? Jesus did it. Augustine did it. Luther, Calvin, Wesley, all did it.

Why does the Bible have to have happened OR happen? Why can't it be both? To say that it's a "heresy" to say the Bible happens now b/c those stories are our stories is absurd. Does that mean there is nothing for someone who is suffering to gain from the book of Job? That Paul's frustration concerning knowing what is good but being unable to do it is unrelatable? Of course not.

Certainly the Bible can and does provide a historical narrative. But it is not JUST that. To label it as such does not do it justice.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's funny how we decide to pick apart someones book like this. I've read velvet elvis, and sex God, and I thing both were good books. Rob Bell may not have everything right, but then again, no one does. The only book that we can turn to, without having any reservations about it's content, is the Bible. We need to take what we can from those other books that we read, standing always firm in our faith, so that if there is a false or questionable teaching in it, we will not be swayed. My friend who is a pastor often reads blasphemous books just to wonder what the person was thinking. The thing that he does before he goes into something like that is he prays. The Holy Spirit will help us in filtering out the portions that are untrue, we don't need a blogger to do that for us. maybe all we need to remember is "pray before reading".

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Gandhi once said something to the effect of "I love your Jesus but I hate your Christians." Why would I want to be part of a "faith" that is so hurtful and judgmental of its own members? If this site represents part of the "body" of Christ, then I am sad to say that I want no part of it. I'll take my chances on my own and that God is as good as he says he is.

8:10 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Mr. anonymous who used the Ghandi quote:

You need only to look to the Word of God to see who is telling the truth. I am sad to say that Rob Bell does not understand the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Do you want to know who the REAL Jesus is? Simply look to God's Word:

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53)

You see, Jesus Christ died for his church; his bride. He died for His people's SINS. But only those that are truly part of it will be saved (See Matthew ch. 7).

Rob Bell, however, does not believe that Jesus died for anybody sin's at all. He believes that "God does not, nor has God ever required blood sacrifices." He believes that "Jesus did not come to die for our sins. Jesus came, lived a life instituting a new way of living in relationship with God and others, and was killed because his message was a threat (economic and otherwise) to the institution built around temple sacrifice." http://e-merginginindiana.blogspot.com/2007/11/letter-to-rob-bell.html (http://thinkerup.blogspot.com/2007/03/rob-bells-unbiblical-views.html http://amazinggreycity.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/a-critique-of-rob-bells-the-gods-are-not-angry/

You see, we as Christians, who know the gospel, must call out this heresy. God says that the soul that sins shall die (see Ezekiel 18), and that there is no remission (forgiveness) of sins without the shedding of blood (see Leviticus 17:11 & Hebrews 9:22). God's Word also warns us that there are other false gospels (see Galatians 1).

I know the gospel by which I have been saved. I love the church of Jesus Christ. The people who defend such heresy are the dissenters. They don't want to believe that they have wicked hearts (see Jeremiah 17:9) that need to be replaced/cleansed (see Ezekiel 36). They want to believe that God will overlook our sins. But God is just, and he is the judge of all the world, and will judge every thought, word, and deed (Romans 2). As Jesus said in Acts 1:15... Repent! And believe the gospel (the TRUE gospel, that is!)

Friend, you need only to look to the word of God, plead with the Lord to open your blind eyes (see 2 Cor. 4), and he will show you in his word the true gospel, and those that truly love our Lord will be abundantly clear.

Rob Bell? He loves a different Jesus than what God has clearly revealed in His Word.

2:19 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Sorry, I gave the wrong link. I meant to give http://e-merginginindiana.blogspot.com/2007/11/conversations-with-rob-bell.html instead of http://thinkerup.blogspot.com/2007/03/rob-bells-unbiblical-views.html

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

threeangrypenguins-

I am a little unsure of what your purpose or intentions are on this blog. As an outsider it would seem your desire is prove that you are right at any cost. While your orthodoxy is debatable (everyone's is up for discussion and refinement) your orthopraxy seems well . . . . much like those of the pharisees and religious leaders?

In Luke 4 Jesus returns to his home town and it would seem proclaims his intentions or purposes when he reads the scroll from Isaiah saying:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim the captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come." (Luke 4:18-19)

Of all the passages that Christ could have read, I find it interested that this is the one he chose. There is no mention of blood or sacrifices but rather Good News, freedom, healing, freedom from oppressors (the religious?), and the Lord's favor. It would seem that there is a lot of restoring going on and no mention of blood and sacrifices to do so.

So while I'm in no place and have no desire to argue substitutionary atonement and its role in the Christian faith, maybe it's a smaller part in the greater purposes of Christ's life? Grace seems to be such a vital part of the Christian faith and it seems you give very little to Rob and others who think differently than you.

11:12 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

I know the gospel by which I have been saved. Scripture so clearly teaches that the poor are poor in spirit, the blind are spiritually blind, and the the oppressor is sin.

I do not wish to "prove" that I am "right," I wish for God to be glorified by the true gospel being proclaimed. I desire to make it abundantly clear what the true gospel is, and to call out what a false gospel is.

To compare me with the pharisees and religious leaders that taught that the way to salvation is by keeping the law is to accuse me of something that I thoroughly disagree with.

Jesus also speaks again of why he came. He came to seek and save that which is lost. Luke 19:10

You mention Jesus reading Isaiah... did you not read Isaiah 53? Jesus also fulfilled that as well. Who else is Isaiah 53 speaking of?

You have no idea what Rob Bell is accusing God of. He may not even realize it, but he is accusing God of being unjust.

"He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD" (Proverbs 17:15).

That is just one of numerous passages that make it abundantly clear that God cannot forgive those that are guilty. Sounds strange so far? Let me continue.

"The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty," (Numbers 14:18)

Now... if Rob Bell is correct, then there is a very clear contradiction in the bible. It is saying that God forgives the wicked, but he will not forgive the wicked. How in the world does that makes sense?

It is SO CLEAR (which by people not seeing this shows that we are born spiritually blind). Jesus became the sinner's substitute by taking the punishment for the sinner's sins, and then giving the sinner His own righteousness so that God the Father can declare (a legal declaration) the sinner justified in His sight. Do you not see?

I DESIRE for Rob Bell to see the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Is that not grace? How unloving of me to not say anything at all about God's gospel being perverted. How unloving of me to not say anything and at the same time, all those that trust in this false gospel are heading to hell. Is that not grace?

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Threeangrypenguins-

I must say I am thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed that I attempted any kind of dialogue with you. Conversations with Christians like yourself always end up in the same unfruitful place with you having "won" the conversation having proved your "right" beliefs. I read a response by Rob Bell to those who criticize him and he said:

"When people say that the authority of Scripture or the centrality of Jesus is in question, actually it's their social, economic and political system that has been built in the name of Jesus that's being threatened," Bell says. "Generally lurking below some of the more venomous, vitriolic criticism is somebody who's created a facade that's not working...But I love everybody and you're next!" he says, giggling. "That's how I respond to criticism."

At the end of the day, if I am forced to choose your brand of Christianity, to be "right," I think I'll pass. While Rob Bell certainly does not have it all figured out, I think he is on the right journey challenging others into life change and transformation in the model of Jesus.

So, add me to your list of "lost" souls along with the tens and tens of thousands of others who believe that "love wins" and that "believe that we can recover from anything . . . . that God can put anything – anyone – back together. I have to believe that the God Jesus invites us to trust is as good as he says he is. Loving. Forgiving. Merciful. Full of grace. And I have to believe that God does not run out of balloons." -Rob Bell “Sex God”

Loving. Forgiving. Merciful. Full of Grace. That's the kind of God I want to trust. I am grateful for Rob Bell and others who's teachings and challenges help point us toward that kind of God.

4:08 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

You say "love wins."

Besides the fact that the statement is incredibly ambiguous and based on feelings rather than the true meaning (that love is sacrificial), I must say...

Jehovah wins. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. He will destroy all idols, including yours.

The true Jesus invites you to repent. That includes forsaking your idol. The true God Jehovah is loving and merciful, but instead you reject Him and shape a God in your mind in which you can bring your sins before... one that you are more comfortable with.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If God is love (1 John 4:8) and God "wins" in the end, then love does win because God is love.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so tired of people in the church today standing up for all of these emergent church leaders. They all...at least most...do the same thing. And that is water down the gospel to make us feel better about ourselves. I have read Rob's books and followed his teachings. For a while I really liked everything he taught...until I started reading and studying the Word for myself. It was then that I realized that the church today is facing a huge problem in that so many pastors are trying to have a "Christian worldview". These two words couldn't be more opposite. We are to apart from the world. These pastors are using the Word to make people feel comfortable with the world around them and with themselves. Well guess what...it's not for making you feel all happy and warm inside. It is sharper than a two edged sword and is used for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. I am so sick of the church becoming soft and just going and participating in ministry because it makes them feel good. Everyday the church seems to slip further away from God's intended purpose for us and it's people like Rob Bell that are bringing it that direction. But I hold fast to my faith in the future hope that Christ will prevail.

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can clearly see what a huge part of the problem with all of this is...put aside Rob Bell for a moment. There seem to be two things going on in this blog
1. People who say that a false gospel is being preached in churches today.
2. People who believe that that same gospel is correct.

The problem I see is that the second group of people always seems to say God is a "loving, kind, gentle, etc" God. And yes He is all of these things and I am SOOO grateful for that. But there problem is what they are leaving out. God is also a jealous, vengeful, and wrathful God. Our sin DID require a blood sacrifice! THAT IS WHAT JESUS CAME HERE FOR!!!

Left to our own devices, we would choose sin over Christ EVERY time. This problem with the gospel being watered down is exactly what Paul was dealing with in Galatians. There were people saying that you still had to have parts of the old testament law AND the gospel of Christ. Well Paul said, NO! It is only by grace through the blood of Christ that we are saved.

Everyone that is saying that this is tearing down the church because of all the bickering needs to look at what they are doing...the same thing they are condemning! The scripture is used for "rebuking and correcting". That is what is going on when people are using scripture to try and say that there is a serious issue within the church. The scripture is useful for such a time as this...when we need people to see what is really going on in the church today and see that it does not align with scripture.

This whole blog is just evidence that church is being divided by false doctrines being preached (by people like Rob Bell in my opinion). And this is exactly what Paul so adamantly warns against.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it rather humorous how threatened and uptight Christians get about Rob. They seem to think he teaches a gospel that is "watered down" yet in reality the lens he understands scripture through is far deeper and more challenging than anything being taught by those that have a "right" understanding of the gospel. It seems the Apostle Paul is often used to try and disprove Rob but we so often forget that Paul was despised, jailed, stoned, and left for dead because of his understanding of scripture and what he wrote. I don't think many would argue Paul taught a "watered down" gospel because what he taught was far too radical for the religious of his day, much like the teachings of Rob are far to radical for the religious of our day. Paul made people uncomfortable because he challenged everything that was familiar and safe. Hmmm, sounds like that is what Rob does as well. Those that dislike Rob are never worried that he will mislead the "lost" and those in need of a Savior but rather that he might mislead saved, safe, and comfortable Christians into a radical life that follows that of the life of Christ.

2:50 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

I've been observing something rather interesting, and I am going to challenge all of you who defend Rob Bell to someting (the first person I will challenge is the anonymous person who left the last comment before mine).

Many of you defenders of Rob Bell keeping repeating the same thing. You say that the early Christians were persecuted for their 'interpretation of scripture' and Rob Bell is persecuted for his 'interpretation of scripture', therefore Rob Bell is just like the early Christians and he is simply challenging the status quo of our day.

So my challenge is:

What is the gospel? I want you to explain to me what the gospel is, why Jesus died, and what that has to do with us.

The reason being is because none of you have defined what the gospel that the early Christians believed is, and what the gospel that Rob Bell believes is.

So I repeat my challenge again:

What is the gospel? Why did Jesus die, and what does that have to do with us?

Now take the gospel that you believe, and compare it to what Rob Bell teaches (is it the same or different?), and compare it to what scripture teaches (is it the same or different)?

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Threeangrypenguins-

I presume that you think that you have the "right" answer that you will enlighten me with after giving the "wrong" answer to your challenge.

I'd suggest that you read:
http://www.theopedia.com/Gospel
to gain some perspective on the numerous interpretations or aspects of the "gospel" or "Good News."

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must agree with one of the other people that left an opioion. I do not worship Rob Bell, but I do agree with much of what he says. The quotes you use are partials and do not fairly portray the information. In all honesty you should stop tearing down this man and his ministry, or try and make a better case because your "information" is obiviously biased.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if u end up together with rob bell in heaven what wud you say to him ...YOU are WRong ?
in 1 cor 13...all the childish things will pass away ...not even arguments on who is wrong or right...

11:45 PM  
Blogger UnknownAjax said...

This blog has been really interesting to read. I've just recently started researching Rob Bell and trying to scrutinize his comments in light of the Bible.

It seems to me that Rob consistently emphasizes incredibly important aspects of God's character, His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness, but leaves out or at least glosses over the sinfulness of man, and the resulting judgement and condemnation that would await us if God's love wasn't, in fact, so amazing! Rob seems to delight in saying that God is "bigger", He's "more", etc, but in concentrating on God's compassion, benevolence and love, leaves out vital aspects of God's character.

In Rob's bullhorn clip, he points out, rightly, that Jesus said (in John 12:47) that He "did not come to the judge the world but to save the world." As is Rob's habit, however, he stops short of the part coming directly afterwards, verse 48: "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." Rob's teaching of God, it appears to me, is one of love, love and more love, but this does not PRECLUDE God's holiness, justice and righteous wrath! The God of the Old Testament, who killed practically all living creatures with a flood, destroyed the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, commanded the Israelites to slaughter their enemies, is the same God of today. Hebrews 13:8 says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." In John 10:30, Jesus says "I and My Father are one", in John 14:9 He states that "he who has seen Me has seen the Father" and Heb 1:3 calls Jesus "the express image of God's person". I challenge you to read Revelation 19, especially verses 11-16, and see if it affects your view of Jesus. It was a pretty sobering and awe-inspiring passage for me.

As Todd Friel points out, Jesus indeed came to save the world, but the next time He comes it will be to judge it! Deuteronomy 32:35 states that "Vengeance is Mine" - that is, the Lord's. It continues in verses 41 and 42: "I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me. I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the heads of the leaders of the enemy." Sounds pretty bloodthirsty? I can see myself offending some people, but hey, it's in the Bible... This definitely isn't just an Old Testament teaching, either. Both Romans (12:19) and Hebrews (10:30) pick up on vengeance belonging to God. Hebrews has it: "'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay', says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.'" It continues in verse 31: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

I would contend that God IS bigger, far bigger than the God that Rob is "painting" Him to be. Please do correct me if I'm wrong - I'd love to be! - but I haven't yet heard Rob speak on God's wrath, fierceness, righteous anger, judgement and the like. Yet this is a fundamental part of biblical doctrine. The passages I've quoted are just the tip of the iceberg. Methinks it may be symptomatic of wider teaching in the church today, which teaches God's love as excluding these more fearsome elements, rather than including them!

PS. Good job threehappypenguins. I've found Mark Sohmer's review of Velvet Elvis to be very fair-minded and helpful.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

three happy penguins,

you tear people down. that's not biblical. you justify it but that's what you're doing. you make Christians look like simple-minded, stubborn jerks. thanks for nothing

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I will be careful to base Rob Bell's teaching on the quotes you posted here. It can be taken out of context...

The same way you can grab any Bible verse out of context and make it sound horrible!

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to echo what has already been said: Rob does a great job at playing the devil's advocate. He does so in hopes that you will learn to question what you have been taught all along and to look deeper when reading God's word. The Bible is a historical book filled with parables and teachings of prophets, scholars, theologians, rabbis, and even the Son of God- the Ultimate Rabbi. A lot that we take today and hold onto as the basis for our Christianity was originally used just as a story for a specific group of people in a specific time in history.

We as the Church have never done a great job at looking at the historical context of scripture (ie Saul's name was never changed to Paul; rather Saul was the Hebrew translation of his name while Paul was the Greek translation; Acts 13:9 says "9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said..." how many times have you heard a message based on the premise that Saul was changed to Paul? it never happened. rather, his Greek name started getting used because he began doing work in areas that wee heavily Greek-populated).

All of this to say, the quotes pulled from Velvet Elvis were taken completely out of context, just as scripture is often taken out of context. Please be careful when calling out a spiritual leader. There is the whole "whoever is sinless cast the first stone" idea from the Bible. So, although he may have some faults in his teaching, who doesn't? We all sin and fall short of God's glory and we all mislead others in some form or another. Just take caution using such harsh words and don't announce someone a heretic before you first call yourself mistaken as well.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Thank you very much for your blog. I've read velvet elvis and the quotes aren't out of context. they do sum up Rob's theology, and it is a slippery theology that tries to avoid being pinned down.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's funny that none of the quotes from the book were finished. Having read Velvet Elvis and Sex God, they are both wonderfully written, and anyone of strong faith would know that they are only meant to make you think and stand stronger in your faith.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Drago said...

I read all the comments and am really worried about what is going with many of us in today's time. People here are claiming not to believe everything they are taught, but at the same time they fall for Rob's ability to spin webs with his words that will leave you tangled. Most of the people here who support Rob Bell (not everyone) seem like they don't know what their core beliefs about Christianity and what Christ did are. When you don't have solid, foundational beliefs to your faith, your faith will simply be based on pure emotions.

At first glance, Reading Rob Bell's stuff, I'll admit, really makes me feel good inside, and that's mainly because it's designed to play on our emotions -- such as, close-minded churhes, previous bad experience with the church, and a Christianity where we can be totally complacent and ok with who we are and where we are right now in our walk. If you take emotions out of the picture and conceretely analyze all of Rob's claims, without fallacies, and with evidence, you can see that much of what he is saying contradicts itself and is not based off of sound logical reasoning, but once again, emotions. Rob has GREAT INTENTIONS with what he is doing, and is just trying to reach people, but he does not realize the problems with his thinking.

Now listen, don't get me wrong. IT IS OK TO AGREE TO DISAGREE. Romans 14:1 says not to waste time arguing over disputable manners. But there are many parts of the faith which ARE NOT DISPUTBALE and through logical reasoning, Christian thelogians and apologetics time and time again have come to the same conclusion. There indisputable matters are what the core beliefs of Biblical christianity depend on.

As I said, it's fine to agree to disagree, especially if one has spent much time figuring out what he believes and WHY he believes it. Sadly, most of Rob Bell's supporters on this blog have come to conclusions based on EMOTIONAL thinking, rather than sound reasoning. I'm not sure you guys even know what you believe down at the core.

If you do, then why don't you accept threehappypenguins' challenge and state:

What is the gospel? Why did Jesus die, and what does that have to do with us?

Then maybe, our conversations can get constructive and we can all get something out of all this, instead of being left with pointless bickering.

PS
thinker up, the link to reformation21.org doesn't work =)

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty funny(or sad, you choose) that so many of these comments on here are based on "I think what Rob means is..."

2:52 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

It's pretty funny (or sad, you choose) that those challenged on here to give their definition of what the gospel is still haven't done so.

What?... Are you... scared?

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Rob Bell supporters say they believe in Jesus, do they know what Jesus (The Jesus of the Bible)has done for us? I don't see one supporter of Bell say that Jesus died for our sins because we (mankind) are sinful by nature and are redeemed by his blood shed for sins. Through Jesus, we are able to be accepted by God. Yes, we are saved by the grace and love of God through Jesus Christ, but must first accept this gift and repent of our sins, or be judged for rejecting what the true Jesus of the Bible did for mankind.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

things of note in this blog:
sarcasm, ungracious speech, unlove for lost persons, name-calling, favoritism, pride. not fruits of the spirit. there is no speaking the truth in love. what i see is speaking out of a spirit of contention, and whether it is true or not, it is not spoken from a HOLY spirit, but rather from a spirit that does not have in mind the things of God but the things of man (i.e. being "right," versus being loving.)

"If the Rob Bell supporters say they believe in Jesus, do they know what Jesus (The Jesus of the Bible)has done for us? I don't see one supporter of Bell say that Jesus died for our sins because we (mankind) are sinful by nature and are redeemed by his blood shed for sins."

contrast with bell's quote (above) "on atonement..."
"when Jesus died on the cross he was reconciling ‘all things, in heaven and on earth, to God."

so what's the problem? it all seems pretty orthodox to me. to be reconciled, one must first be fallen. i agree with the first commenter. this is all about semantics. and aren't we warned in scriptures about "arguments over words"?

jesus said "do not resist an evil man." so even IF rob bell is evil, it is not the follower of christ's job to "fight" him, verbally. to do so would be evidence of a weak faith that fights a fleshly battle rather than a spiritual battle. satan uses contention with other humans to achieve HIS goals, for example: dissention, sarcasm, name-calling (look in matthew 5, jesus equates this with murder).

if you believe rob bell to be a heretic, than pray for truth to be revealed. if we believe that our God is the most powerful force in the universe, if we really believe that, than we can believe that prayer is more powerful than an internet-based-smear campaign that only serves to confirm the non-believer's belief that christians are all at eachother's throats. jesus loves unity; he fights for truth.

and if the composer of this blog is so ardent about "sola scriptura" he/she must also take a look at the parts where it talks about the proper protocol in expressing a grievance with a brother/sister in christ. there are loving ways to do things, and there are other ways, which are the ways of the Enemy. the way of christ is good, but it is also narrow, so if we want to follow him, we must be careful to not get sucked into unloving speech.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said to my reply:

jesus said "do not resist an evil man." so even IF rob bell is evil, it is not the follower of christ's job to "fight" him, verbally. to do so would be evidence of a weak faith that fights a fleshly battle rather than a spiritual battle. satan uses contention with other humans to achieve HIS goals, for example: dissention, sarcasm, name-calling (look in matthew 5, jesus equates this with murder).

You have taken Matthew 5 out of context just like I see Rob Bell and his supports do. Christians that oppose Rob Bell do not do so out of anger, but out of standing for the faith in Jesus Christ. Acts 17 tells Christians to examine the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so (as any word spoken by Rob Bell and his like should be examined).

2 Timothy 4:2 says: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

I think fellow Christians in this blog are giving instruction and with patience giving warning about Rob Bell and his apostasy.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Diesel said...

First of all, while the Bible does call us to rebuke false teachings, there is a manner in which to do it. Sarcasm, arrogance and slander are by no means the way. I agree that many of the posts supporting Rob Bell's theology are very easy to shoot down, but that does not diminish the theology itself. There is a fundamental misunderstanding that occurs when many people read or listen to Rob Bell. I think it is due, to a large degree, to the fact that he does not use traditional Christian "jargon". And God bless him for that. Jargon, more often than not in my experience, stands in the way of understanding the very concepts it tries to explain. It sometimes takes someone rephrasing those same ideas in a fresh way, before they really sink in.

Now, to answer a couple of things posted previously. Penguin asked for a definition of Gospel from a supporter of Rob Bell. Well, I personally believe Mr. Bell when he says he was called by God to "teach this book [the Bible]". I also find his insights into the culture at the time the scriptures were written to be a means with which to gain a richer understanding of those scriptures. I guess that qualifies me as a Rob Bell supporter, though I by no means subscribe to 100% of what he teaches. The gospel, aka "good news" is this: God came into the world in the form of a man, Jesus. Jesus was crucified, and more importantly, raised Himself from the grave. The reason He died was to be the final sacrifice for the sins of man, to reconcile man to God. That's the good news. Great news, really! The Gift has been given, we only need accept it. This is precisely what Bell teaches.

Penguin said
Rob Bell, however, does not believe that Jesus died for anybody sin's at all. He believes that "God does not, nor has God ever required blood sacrifices."

Please tell me where you got that quote. When did Bell ever say those words? I submit that you cannot answer, because he did not say it. You need to be very careful with your use of quotation marks. Be clear who it is you are quoting. What he actually said, after quoting Hebrews 10:4 " 4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins," is that the blood was never for God. God doesn't need the blood of animals offered by men to appease His anger. The blood was for the sinner, not God. The blood of animals has now power to wash away the sins of men. Christ's death is the only blood sacrifice that truly has any cleansing power, and that "once for all".

Penguin also said:
He believes that "Jesus did not come to die for our sins. Jesus came, lived a life instituting a new way of living in relationship with God and others, and was killed because his message was a threat (economic and otherwise) to the institution built around temple sacrifice.

Again with the quotes. Where does Bell say that Jesus did not come to take away our sins? By the way, Jesus did teach us how to live in relationship with God and others, and he was killed because He threatened the system. Obviously God knew Jesus would have to die, and it was indeed a part of His plan to use that death to reconcile the world to Himself, but the fact remains that the Jewish leaders sought Jesus death because He undermined their way of life, their livelihoods and their credibility as Godly men.

The basics, the "gospel", is the only thing that truly matters. The rest will be debated until eternity. It is vanity to quarrel over the issues that will not ultimately determine our salvation. Talk about, yes. Fight over, no.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Ronda said...

The problem with sites such as this is they are too closely likened to the all too prevalent media quotations of personalities in the public eye- So often quotes tell PART of the story, and it is left up to the perception of the "reporter" to give their take on the content based on their distorted worldview. You could follow almost anyone around and isolate their words (in part-such as quotes provide) and portray them as unbiblical heretics. The true measure of the Christian is the life lived for Christ in totality. Frankly you could take Abraham, Isaac, Joseph and many of the other fathers of the faith (moms as well), and deem them heretics living lives inconsistent with God's plan. Humans are flawed.... and I would certainly hope that no one starts a blog-spot on your life as seen through an outside window. I do not call myself a Rob Bell fan, per say- and yet I can see the fruits of his work revealing the one who is perfect- our Savior.... and I have even seen in Africa where his materials are being used, and God is receiving the glory, not Rob Bell. I am sure you can pick apart my words...certainly. But I challenge you to create a blog-space that reaches the masses for Christ instead of this kind of empty criticism.

7:24 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Diesel,

Thanks for your response. Didn't you visit the link that I posted to back up the quotes? I would be careful in being quick to judge. What I mean is, you stated "I submit that you cannot answer, because he did not say it." However, I will post the links again, with a quick explanation.

This first link is a letter to Rob Bell from an emerging pastor (who also does denies substitutionary atonement) regarding "The gods aren't angry tour". Please read the entirety for context: http://e-merginginindiana.blogspot.com/2007/11/letter-to-rob-bell.html

The second link is Rob Bell's response to this pastor. Please also read both the response, as well as the letters back to Rob Bell: http://e-merginginindiana.blogspot.com/2007/11/conversations-with-rob-bell.html

You are correct in saying that the blood sacrifices of animals does not take away sins... in it of themselves, that is. But the question is, does God require blood (at all) and is he angry? Rob Bell would say no. The bible is clear that God is angry at sinners, and requires THEIR blood. The bible is also clear that God COMMANDED the blood sacrifices of animals, but did this as a picture of his promise to come (Jesus, the LAMB of God). It was NEVER the Old Testament sacrifices that had the power to forgive sin. The saints of the Old Testament were saved by trusting in Christ promised (pictured in the sacrifices), and we are saved by trusting in Christ given.

Rob Bell would teach that God is not angry at sinners at all, and does not require a blood propitiation.

If you don't believe me that Rob Bell believes this, I highly suggest emailing him for yourself and ask him yourself.

As for the gospel, I was wondering if you could clarify. You said "The reason He died was to be the final sacrifice for the sins of man, to reconcile man to God."

So what I mean is; what exactly happened while Jesus was on the cross? In what way did he pay for our sins? In what way was he the "sacrifice for our sins"?

Lastly, I highly recommend giving this article a read. It is a critique of Rob Bell's "The gods aren't angry tour". The author states: "He did not come out and say 'I am a universalist', or 'I deny substitionary atonement', but his message communicated essentially these ideas." http://amazinggreycity.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/a-critique-of-rob-bells-the-gods-are-not-angry/

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Diesel said...

Penguin, as a matter of fact, I did follow the links you posted, and just revisited them now. The point I was making is that you were quoting the author of the blog and passing it off as Rob Bell quotes, when in fact they were the blogger's paraphrasing of what he understood Rob to be saying. Also, I'm not entirely convinced of the blog's credibility. I mean, I could start a blog and post what I claim to be email correspondence with the Dali Llama, but that wouldn't necessarily mean it was authentic. However, even if it is legit, my point still stands that you were not quoting the words of Rob Bell, hence, the quotation marks were inappropriate. As for the critique of The Gods aren't Angry, the author of that review seems to have the same habit you do, which is to say, putting quotation marks around things that are not actual quotes, but paraphrases. I have seen The Gods Aren't Angry, and I think you have to read pretty heavily into the things that were not said to come to the conclusions the "Rabbi" comes to in his review. As if, by not saying something, Bell is by default clearly saying something else. I don't agree with the Universalist claims made. In fact, in Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell says that, although Jesus did in fact die for the sins of ALL humanity (which I believe He did, since I am not a staunch Calvinist), God's gift must be accepted. It has already been given to us, we just have to take it.

As I said in my previous post, I do not subscribe to 100% of Rob Bell's theology, nor do I the theology of John Wesley, John Calvin, or John Piper for that matter. My real problem with all the "Rob Bell is a heretic!" talk, is that it mostly comes from people unfamiliar with his theology (outside of other people reviewing/criticizing it), and I have yet to see or hear heresy from his teaching. Certainly not based on a scriptural understanding of the word. I mean, the Roman Catholic church called Martin Luther a heretic, and where would Western Christianity be without him, or someone like him? We'd be listening to Mass and reading scripture only in Latin. We would be praying to Mary, which, to me is nothing short of idolatry. We would think the Pope is infallible, which he is not. We would wrongly believe that in order for our sins to be forgiven, we need an earthly priest to tell us so (but of course, not until we said our "Hail Mary's" and "Our Fathers").

Whether Bell's theology is predominantly right or wrong is debatable. Calling him a heretic, however, is not justified. First, let me quote from the website of Mars Hill Bible Church, of which Rob Bell is the founding pastor.

"...Jesus the Messiah, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, mysteriously God having become flesh. Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted and set captives free...Through Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into right relationship with God. God is now reconciling us to each other, ourselves, and creation. The Spirit of God affirms as children of God all those who trust Jesus...We believe the day is coming when Jesus will return to judge the world, bringing an end to injustice and restoring all things to God's original intent."

Sounds doctrinally solid to me. They may not have used words like repentance and substitutionary, however, to me they are implied by the phrase "trust Jesus". Trusting Jesus means believing what He says to be true, and living our lives that way. But how do we know if someone has the Holy Spirit in them? How can we discern the teachings of a false prophet?

1 John 2:5, 6, 10
5But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did...10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.

Surely, central to Rob's theology is loving people in the manner that Jesus loved people.

1 John 2:18, 20, 22, 23
18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour...20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth...22Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 3:10, 16-24
10This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. 16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

1 John 4:1, 2
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God...

1 John 4:7-18
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

John goes on, and on like this. So, we will know whether someone is of God based on how they love? Sounds similar to something Jesus said.

Matthew 7:15-23
15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

So who is truly the heretic? Is it Rob Bell, who (I hope you'll forgive the cliche) practices what he preaches? Or is it the thousands of "Orthodox" pastors in this country whose lives in no way reflect the Word they claim to teach? If false prophets are to be known for bad fruit, how does that apply to the ministry of Rob Bell and Mars Hill? Is it the fact that he donates the proceeds from his speaking tours to dig wells in places where there is a shortage of drinkable water? Is that bad fruit? Is it that he is giving people who had previously given up on Christianity (in large part because of the hypocrisy of so-called Christians) a reason to reexamine the Gospel and Christ as their Lord? Is that the bad fruit Jesus is speaking of? I doubt that very much.

While eulogizing his friend, George Whitefield (friends despite their having divergent views on certain issues, most notably predestination of the saints), John Wesley said, "There are many doctrines of a less essential nature ... In these we may think and let think; we may 'agree to disagree.' But, meantime, let us hold fast the essentials..." I propose that the essentials are that God came to earth in the flesh-and-blood form of Jesus, Christ died and rose to make restitution for the sins of fallen man, and commanded us to love God and one another. Everything else is debatable. What can I say? I take Paul literally when he says in Romans 10:9-10: "9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Rob Bell certainly confesses with his mouth that "Jesus is Lord." As for the state of his heart, only God knows, but if we will know a person's standing with God based on their fruit, It would seem to me people would do well to point their fingers at themselves before pointing at people like Rob Bell. I don't need anonymous, hostile voices on a blog to affirm what I hold to be truth. I have God's Word before me, and His Spirit within me, and I can trust in that to keep me in the light, and to keep the light in me.

God bless

6:08 PM  
Blogger Jacob said...

I'm wondering why you pulled these quotes straight from theopedia.com

If you read the book, i would think that you would take the time to pull some quotes out for yourself and analyze them.

10:32 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Diesel,

Again, I urge you, contact Rob Bell for yourself. I don't have time to respond to everything you wrote, but I must point out that Mr. Bell believes in a different Jesus and a different gospel:

"6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."
(Galatians 1:6-9)

"3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!"
(2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

All I am saying is to prove me wrong. Your statement that you took off of Mars Hill Bible Church's website says NOTHING about Jesus dying for sins:

"Through Jesus we have been forgiven and brought into right relationship with God."

That perhaps is the CLOSEST thing to what you're hoping Mr. Bell believes. But you must understand that Liberation Theology (which is what Mars Hill Bible Church teaches) is simply the Social Gospel under a new veil. They believe that the gospel is helping people, and they DO NOT believe that the gospel is God the Father punishing Jesus Christ on the cross for sins (and I'm not talking about the non-essential belief of Universal Atonement vs. Limited/Particular Atonement... Rob Bell and others like-minded believe neither one).

So again... PLEASE try to contact Rob Bell, and straight up ask him if he believes that God the Father punished God the Son. Only then will you know what is at the heart of Mr. Bell's teachings. Without that foundation, it's all rubbish.

~Sarah

P.S. - Here is an interesting conversation I had with Nate Dawson from Mars Hill Bible Church: http://threehappypenguins.googlepages.com/emailconvo

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ThreeAngryPenguins, it will be quite humorous when one day you shriek, "what's he doing here!" and we all have a good laugh.

11:45 PM  
OpenID mikekillam said...

Here's what happens when you take things out of context. At the very least, here is when you don't include things that make what he is trying to say make sense. Let me take your words at the beginning of this article, ignore some words in the middle, beginning, and end, and see what happens.
"Unorthodox doctrine=postmodern=screwy teachings"
Nobody is claiming that Rob Bell sticks to popular beliefs.
Do you realize how completely radical Christ was when he came around. He approached the Jews, the BIGGEST thing going at the time, and was like "Hey, this is how we're going to run things from now on."
Take his quote here on not being able to only use the Bible to affirm the Bible's authority. What he is saying is that you can't just assume the Bible is fact. You have to first accept the Spirit that made these words fact. Now, when you post bits and pieces from his writings, you get confusion and misquoted passages."
You can do the same with every major work of literature. Misquoting leads to doom...don't do it.

You don't have to like Rob Bell. You can stick to your orthodoxy and not think outside the box. Your allowed to do and think whatever you want. I suggest actually reading and watching. Watch "Everything is Spiritual" and read Sex God and watch some Nooma videos.

Or don't. That's up to you. But he does have some REALLY great ideas if you take the time to understand what he's trying to say.

6:20 PM  
Blogger BanditTor said...

There are a lot of things I would like to say to this, but I'm afraid they won't do much good. I'm actually pretty frustrated, because I did a Google search for quotes by Rob Bell, and the first link was to this blog, bashing his character and accusing him of heresy.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and not of Bell or Spurgeon or Lewis or Graham or any other famous Theologeon. But I appreciate all of them for their contributions. I read their works because, by doing so, I learn a different perspective of the Christian faith, and it helps my own faith to grow. Rob Bell's works have helped to grow my faith, in that he causes me to question his words and, by extension, my own beliefs. This is why I must ask you not to take a man's words out of context. If you disagree with what someone says, then do so and move on. You will never have to read anything else by him. No one will force you to. I certainly will not. But do not attack someone's character and, worse, attack the validity of someone's faith because he has a different opinion than you do, especially when it comes to the vast range of possibilities of thought that come from the words of our God.
The Christian faith has acquired a strong stigma of bigotry during the last couple thousand years, a stigma I wish we could manage to shake off. Please do not add to it. Love your neighbor as yourself. Or should that be considered heresy as well?

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhh!

*head explodes*

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Cherri said...

Unfortunately this article is a perfect example of one of the biggest errors with evangelical Christianity. We tend to proof-text the bible and pull verses out of scripture to prove our "right" beliefs instead of reading God's word in context. The author has done this with Bell's work too. These verses are taken out of context of Bell's writings. I have read or watched about 85% of Bell's published work. This is a man who clearly loves Jesus. But instutionalized Christianity has become more about being righteous and right than about being Jesus to a hurting world. It's so sad.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i absolutely love rob bell. and more importantly i love god. you are taking his literature out of context, and honestly people like you saden me.

1:18 AM  
Blogger PC said...

The reason we have so many different denominations today is because we ALL interpret and experience God differently.
I love God.
I love Jesus.
I love the fact that God uses Rob Bell to draw me closer to Him and makes me seek His heart more.

Ask yourself: Does Rob's comments on the Bible (which he states should be tested by everyone who reads it) lead more people TO or AWAY from God/Jesus/Holy Spirit.

I for one will never be so stupid as to try and force my relationship with God upon anyone else, because just as everyone on Earth have different relationships with their spouses, so we all have different relationships with God.

Thank you Rob for taking the time to write what God puts in your heart.

I wish I could give everyone who reads this a hug.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Under the heading "On the Virgin Birth" you failed to post the part where Rob Bell also professes to believe that Jesus was truly born of a virgin. Misrepresenting or not fully representing the arguments of those whom you oppose is the first sign that you have an agenda that reflects your interests more than objectivity, reality, and truth. One sign of a great teacher is accurate representation of his/her detractors.

-J

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At first I was truly bothered by many of the posts on this blog. I heard hatred and I heard bitterness. And that makes my heart hurt. But then I decided to hear only a loud resounding gong and a clanging cymbal in my mind each time I read a post that was attacking Rob Bell, or another post, rather than seeking the truth in love and pointing out the falsehood in love. And now I feel a lot better.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem with any of Rob Bell's quotes here. I am generally considered to be very rigid in my Christian faith according to my Christian peers--but I don't see how he is violating scripture.

Jesus is the ultimate reality and when you do not choose him you are accepting an alternate reality that will lead one away from God and his eternal rewards.

We as a church do focus too much attention on the afterlife and not enough on the current life. There are human sould who need help today not condemnation.

As for the virgin birth, I think he is saying that even if theoretically someone was able to truly disprove the virgin birth,it would not change the authority or accuracy of Jesus Christ. Which is true.

So...I think people are twisting his intentions and misquoting what he is really trying to say.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so interesting to me how people can easily judge a person. Rob Bell may not appeal to everybody, but the simple fact is that the way he teaches might reach just one more person who didn't know the love of God. It takes all kinds of different styles of teaching to reach different kinds of people. Someone here referred to his style of teaching as 'watering down the gospel'. He wasn't trying to take away it's importance, he was doing his best to sift through the fluff and get down to the message, the true meaning, what the simple message is. In the end, Rob Bell is speaking these things because he has a great belief, and who are we to judge him for what he believes? As Christians, it is our duty to support each other in our Christian journeys. Jesus was a radical, he didn't sit and judge others, he got people to think in new ways and inspired them. If Rob Bell can get Jesus' ideas out there and reach more people, good for him. Be a good Christian, don't judge, and support your brothers and sisters in their faith.

9:51 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

To the anonymous comment before mine:

Jesus didn't judge people? Have you even read Matthew, Mark, Luke & John? Is English your first language? Do you know what the word "judge" means? Perhaps the Emergent Church somehow changed the word "judge" to something like "fluffy" or "ice-cream" or "jello" or "pie" or something like that.

Also, about 800 comments ago I asked if SOMEONE (an adamant Rob Bell supporter) could PLEASE define what this "message" of Jesus is (ie, the gospel).

You said "He wasn't trying to take away it's importance, he was doing his best to sift through the fluff and get down to the message, the true meaning, what the simple message is."

Once again, this is the two hundred millionth comment that says that Rob Bell is trying to communicate some mysterious unknown message to people that nobody is able to define.

It's like everybody keeps avoiding the question "what is the gospel?"

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Threeangrypenguins, do you even know what the gospel is? It seems you avoid your own question as well. Why don't you go ahead and define it for us?

If the gospel is supposed to be "good news" then your blog seems to be filled with bad news and negativity. How is that at all building up God's Kingdom?

Why are you so scared of Rob Bell?

7:02 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Mr. Anonymous,

If you have read my previous posts, you would know that I have already stated what the gospel is. But, just for you, I will state it again.

If you've read the bible, you will know that it is full of bad news. The bad news is that we, being in Adam (check out Romans 5) sinned against God and as the human race were cursed to an eternity in hell. God is just, and angry toward sinners, so his wrath poured out on his son Jesus Christ instead of on sinners (check out Isaiah 53). Jesus paid the penalty (in his life's blood) that sinners would otherwise pay in hell for eternity. He did what we could not.

He takes the punishment for our sins, and we receive his righteousness. And he rose from the dead (bodily resurrection) and ascended to heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

According to Rob Bell, God is not an angry God, and He does not require a sacrifice. Rob Bell denies the need for a propitiation.

Mr. Anonymous,

What is your definition of the gospel? I'm still waiting for someone (a Rob Bell supporter) to answer my question.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read all of Rob Bell's books, seen him live in his "Drop's Like Stars" tour, and honestly, the person who posted this is afraid of their uptight worldview being smashed into pieces. God doesn't have all of these uptight rules that we make out of this religion thing. Religiosity, I believe is exactly what God did not have in mind. It is uncreative, impersonal, cold, and for the person who makes God out to be something he is not. Why don't you let God be who is.. instead of tearing other people down to boost your own self-righteousness. God is about love and beauty and all of the good things life has to offer. He came to bring us the best life possible, and Rob Bell is one person who definitely sees that and tells everyone of the good news that Christ gave us. Maybe you should read a little more in context before you try to post something else... because

2:04 PM  
Blogger kennyo said...

To the author of the comment above, before you reach your conclusions about what God is like, I would advise you to spend more time reading the Bible and much less time reading Rob Bell. You may begin to realize just how wrong you are in your position.

-Kenny Oliver (author of Thinkerup)

12:42 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

To the author of the comment above Kenny's.

If your god is about love, then wouldn't it be loving to have the common courtesy to answer my question? I asked the question, it was avoided, and the question was asked back to me. I had the courtesy to answer it. If the gospel is so important, and if I have it wrong, then wouldn't it be loving to define what the gospel is? Or are you not able?

Please, tell me what the gospel is (with scripture references, of course).

Or do you not love me enough to tell me? Do you really hate me so much that you want to hide it from me?

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kenny-

Might I suggest the same to you as well? If any reader of the Scriptures is truly honest, one cannot help be see that there is INCREDIBLE diversity in the texts. Yes, God seems to be angry in the OT. Yet, we also see compassion at the same time. Then, in the NT we see another side of God through Jesus. Each of the Gospel accounts is written for different audience, from a different perspective, and with a separate agenda to give us a fuller picture (which is still lacking) of who God is.

There is even diversity in what the Gospel is. My personal favorite is Luke 4:18-19 (which T"H"P should note, Jesus is quoting from Isaiah as well). This is just one example of MANY where there is diversity in the Scriptures.

A wise man once said, instead of spending so much time worrying about who is right, maybe we should ask who is living rightly?

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three happy penguins,

Firstly, I’d like to thank you for posting your blog, giving us a chance to hear your opinion on Rob Bell. It seems over all that your point is that we should test Rob Bell’s words against scripture. I totally agree and it seems that everyone who has commented on this blog does also.

Now a suggestion? This blog seems to have turned into an argument, which is no longer useful, having served its purpose to warn us and instead now seems to be about division. Let’s now trust that God (who is bigger than any idea and more powerful than any thing and more gracious than any one) can take what is good and true from both this blog and from Rob Bell’s preaching and use it for his glory.

Also, thank you to Diesel whose wise and gracious replies encourage me to 1, trust in a God who redeems me and loves me and 2, go and extend what I have received from God to those around me.

10:43 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

There is much that I could respond to, but Jesus warned about that in Matthew 7:6.

So all I want to say is...

Ummm... my question still wasn't answered?

12:46 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

I re-read what Diesel said, and he DID give a definition of the gospel. However, for some reason some Rob Bell supporters think that Bell believes in a propitiatory sacrifice when in fact he does not. If Jesus did not satisfy God's wrath, then His people are still in their sins and will meet His wrath on Judgment Day.

Let me clarify: What Bell believes IS the gospel IS NOT. It is a RESULT of the gospel. If helping poor people (etc) is the gospel, then it is a works righteous system.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reviewing the portions of his writing you have had problems with, some of which were greatly taken out of context, I still don't disagree with them. They might challence you but they probably need to.

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Virgin Mary quote, when taken in context, in no way denies the virgin birth. Rob Bell's valid point is that when a certain spring of doctrine is questioned, like the way the world was created or the virgin birth, we should remember that God is bigger than all that and sometimes we just have to believe to understand. Now I don't think that they example of the virgin birth was the best choice for an illustration he could have used but the point remains intact.
You should be more careful to provide the whole context of your quotes.
Rob Bell, while I don't agree with everything he teaches, loves God and he teaches what he believes and whether you feel the same way or not on a given topic doesn't make him a "false teacher". He is very thought provoking and a fantastic preacher.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Justin and Aimee said...

I think its like this:

There are people who believe they can fully know and understand God and the bible completely, and there are people who believe there is much more to be said about mystery and awe. We have a brain for the logical things, but where logic cannot go is into the mysteries of God.

Rob Bell is just someone who refuses to put God in a box and thinks its good for people to think for themselves and test what you read and hear. I believe all of the basic tenets of Christianity and don't really find any problems with what Rob Bell says in Velvet Elvis.

I do have a problem with argumentative and contentious Christians though, most of which are probably Calvinists, and are likely the majority of people commenting here with negative things to say.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To threeangrypenguins, I previously stated what I believe the Gospel or the Good News to be. However, due to the selective nature of the comments that are allowed to be posted on this blog, my response was not allowed.

Luke 4:18-19 is a beautiful picture of the Gospel as Jesus describes it himself in Luke's Gospel account:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see,that the oppressed will be set free, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

Nowhere does Jesus mention death, wrath, or anger in this. I believe Jesus had the proper perspective about what his life meant, knowing that death was part of it. However, I think he also knew that the greater importance was the way he lived and what he taught such as the greatest and second greatest commandments. That is why we are called followers of Jesus, because we follow in his life example.

I think the death of Christ is important to our faith, without a doubt. I believe that Rob Bell believes that as well.

I think that the proper way of looking at Scripture is through the lens of Jesus Christ. The example we clearly see is love above all else. This love was shared through life and also led him to death on a cross.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Threeangrypenguins-

I was reading one of of your way earlier above comments about Scripture being clear and just had to laugh a little. It is quite obvious that Scripture is NOT nearly as clear as we would like it. That is why Protestant Christians are divided between Calvinism and Arminianism and that there are countless denominations and schisms within the Church. This is all due to the fact that Scripture is in fact NOT clear.

Interpretation of Scripture is necessary and it must be good interpretation at that. I would guess you that you have not cut off your hand or foot or gouged out your eye because your sin (Matthew 18:7-9). But wait, Scripture is VERY clear there, is it not? Or, maybe it requires some interpretation and to understand that Scripture is filled with things like hyperbole that are used to make a strong point.

It's often said that Paul is a wonderful pastor but a poor systematic theologian. For instance Paul writes In Philippians 2:12-13: ". . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Paul can't even make up his mind from verse to the next what the working out of Salvation looks like.

The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is used today because Scripture is in fact as not as clear as we would like it. We appeal to Scripture first and above all else but when it is not clear (which is often the case) we then look to the Great Tradition of the Church. When the Great Tradition isn't clear (which it often isn't) we then look to Reason. From there we then move to Experience. It is through this process we try to best understand the many, many elements of our faith the universal church has struggle with for years and years.

At the end of the day, it's not about who is right but who is living rightly. I will choose the life of Christ and his teachings like the Sermon on the Plain, as it is found in Luke. It is also called the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. See Matt 5:1 and Luke 6:17. So which one was it? Not so clear huh? May you be blessed in working out your faith in the midst of the tension, struggle, and the things that are unclear as you pursue the life of Jesus.

9:37 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

To the anonymous person that has decided to address me as "threeangrypenguins". Well, I don't think there is much more to say. You and I believe in two completely different gospels. I see Jesus as a propitiatory sacrifice (more than just an example). You simply see him as an example to live by, and that's it's unfortunate that this example was simply "martyred". I could point out all kinds of scriptures, but it wouldn't matter since you don't believe in "Tota Scriptura".

Good luck on Judgment Day. You only have yourself to offer. After all, you're following Jesus' example which makes you acceptable to God, right?

Kindest regards,
~Sarah

2:43 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

To the anonymous person making comments about scripture not being clear:

Are you Roman Catholic? From studying church history, it sure sounds like it. The Roman Catholics deny the Doctrine of Perspicuity. According to them, Scripture is not clear, which is why they claim that to be saved it's a combination of faith plus works. But scripture isn't clear about the faith alone thing... or is it?

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest you read the comment again on if Scripture is clear or not. If you have it all figured out, why don't you do the world a favor and explain the whole Calvinism and Arminianism debate since Scripture is so clear. Or, go ahead and take a stab at Paul's waffling from one verse to the next. Or, how the Gospel writers can't get the story straight if it is the Sermon on the Mount or the Sermon on the Plain. I could go on and on but why don't you just start there.

7:39 AM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

To the last anonymous comment.

Your problem isn't about the clarity of scripture. Yours is lack of belief in the scriptures.

The denial that Jesus is a sacrificial substitute for sinners is very different than the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. I have a lot of godly Arminian brothers and sisters whom I believe are wrong, but I still know are trusting in the one true gospel.

2:42 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

It is also quite apparent that clarity is not the problem. The real problem is the hard, sinful human heart.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume you include yourself in that statement as well. We all have hardened sinful hearts but thankful Jesus rescues us from that, if we choose his way.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I no longer believe in any of it. You all have nothing better to do than to judge others based on what you believe to be the truth. The truth is, YOU don't know the truth. And either do I. Loving people is so hard for Christians. I find that fascinating.

10:25 PM  
Blogger little foot said...

I feel it is good that people are aware and debating about questionable teaching, because it does say in 2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV) "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." Three years ago as a new Christian, I watched NOOMA videos without a second thought. Now, after years of meditation on scripture, prayer and godly counsel, I'm pretty blown away by what I never questioned. I remembered NOOMA as being wholesome entertainment. But I recently saw a clip of an episode and now I'm not so sure. I think sticking to the scripture and waiting on God is much better than entertainment and questionable biblical teachings. Rob Bells books and videos are entertaining (and possibly dangerous to those not earnestly seeking Jesus because they may be further mislead about their own salvation), but God's Word is life.

7:59 PM  
Blogger kennyo said...

Thanks Little Foot. Your comments really encouraged me. Remember to believe God's Word as it is, as a trusting child would do.

("receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." -James 1:21)

God bless you.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Remember to believe God's Word as it is, as a trusting child would do." That is a childish statement kennyo! Anyone with the any level of biblical training knows that translations are the flawed interpretations of translators who work for publishing companies who have agendas etc. So by God's word as it is are you talking about the original Hebrew or Aramaic? Or how about the Greek Septuagint? Or what about the error prone KJV translation? I could go on and on. Instead of relying on our own subjective opinions we need to look at the Great Tradition and what Christian communities are saying about God's word. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a great place to start to begin asking the right questions.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Pastor Matt said...

Some Follow-up Thoughts:

The Theology of Rob Bell: Making Good Evil and Evil Good?

http://www.pastormattrichard.com/2011/02/theology-of-rob-bell-making-evil-good.html

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is easy to quote him out of context. I really don't see the problem with these quotes. Why do you waste time judging other people- doesn't the bible say that that is God's job. If it bothers you rather start praying for Rob Bell and stop breaking down and critizing fellow believers. That is the downfall of christianity - we will rather search for fault in our brothers than correct THEM in love. "They will know that you are My disciples by your love for one another."

4:02 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

To the last anonymous comment: "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. 'Purge the evil person from among you.'" (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

Also, I would check out some of stuff about his latest book "Love Wins."

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the beginning of your blog you mention how this article points out unorthodox doctrinal views and how it will give me a heavy dose of the screwy teachings of Rob Bell. But you just list quotes from Bell's books (mainly Velvet Elvis) and don't bother giving me your point of view or explain why you find them unorthodox or screwy. Furthermore you take them out of their context.
I don't think this is a fair approach/review as you run the risk of coming across like anti-christians who try to criticise or disprove the Bible by quoting a single verse or paragraph of the Bible without mentioning the context.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THP, if you read 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 in context of the chapter this is talking about those who are sexually immoral, greedy, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards or swindlers within the church and how the church should react. It has nothing to do with those that might have a different but orthodox opinion.

11:03 PM  
Blogger J.Novia said...

I agree with all the statements. On hell, ALL are forgiven, because the lamb was slain and forgiveness is pardoning...but if you STAY IN sin, grace doesn't abound and you are lost. By their lifestyle, those in hell throw away the forgiveness that is available to all

The part about the virgin birth I see as the musing of a man who asks a lot of questions and who is musing aloud. The problem is that he is in the spotlight and everything he says 'can be used against him' - but he never refuted the virgin birth.

I see he has a different approach to seeing things, but I do not see him as a heretic that should be slandered

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said:

"As for the virgin birth, I think he is saying that even if theoretically someone was able to truly disprove the virgin birth,it would not change the authority or accuracy of Jesus Christ. Which is true."

UH, No. I do not have a horse in this race but it seems that this poster does not get it. If Jesus was not born of a virgin it casts doubt on whether or not he is divine. There should be no doubt. Some people here say that Bell indeed believes this, it sounds like this poster needs more Bible and maybe momre Bell.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Diesel said...

I don't know if Three Happy Penguins is still around or not, but I just wanted to say...you were mostly right. Rob Bell has more and more begun to show his true colors (or else he has simply become more and more deceived over the years). After re-reading my previous posts (has it been over two years already?, I still stand by much of what I said. However, I gave up long ago trying to defend Mr. Bell. I can certainly no longer recommend him to other people. I do pray for him, though. I believe his heart is in the right place. But, alas, he is deceived. Anyway, I just wanted to drop a line here, in case you still drop by from time to time.

Keep fighting the good fight, but remember to season your words with grace. God bless!

3:45 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Hi Diesel,

Yeah, I can't believe time flies that fast!

My biggest problem with Mr. Bell is that he diminishes the need for a penal substitutionary sacrifice. I'm wondering when you say that "his heart is in the right place" if you mean instead that "he has good intentions." The two are very different. Rob Bell seems sincere with good intentions. He's just... sincerely wrong.

Anyways, I love the gospel, therefore anything that threatens God's wonderful news of forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ (and how it was done), I get a little bit zealous in the defending of the gospel!

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THP-

I am continually amazed at how limited and narrow-minded your view of Scripture is. There is INCREDIBLE diversity throughout Scripture. There are MULTIPLE views of the atonement found in Scripture and penal substitution is just one of several views that are supported by Scripture and have been believed throughout Christian history. Other views are Christus Victor, Satisfaction, Subjective, and Moral Government views of the atonement. Is only one true? Is there some truth in all of them? You should really preface your comments by saying Rob is wrong in your opinion. Just because you disagree with him does not mean that he is wrong. Sure, Bell has some errors in his theology but who doesn't?

10:09 PM  
Blogger kennyo said...

No, I disagree with you. Rob Bell IS wrong. The only true and exclusive version of God's salvation is penal substitution through Jesus Christ.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prove to me that penal substitution is the "only true and exclusive version of God's salvation." If this is the ONLY view then that is a problem because it would seem that multiple views are supported by Scripture. How do you reconcile that?

9:50 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Before even getting into scripture, how on earth do you support the logic that multiple (contradicting) views can all be correct?

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the Gospels contradicting or do the four Gospels together paint a full picture of the life of Jesus? All of the views mentioned above are found in Scripture. I don't think they contradict one another but each one helps describe what was accomplished on the cross. You are the one that says they contradict so you are the one that has to reconcile that, not me.

11:43 PM  
Blogger threehappypenguins said...

Okay, let's go with that line of thinking for a moment. If all the views are mentioned in scripture (and are non-contradicting), aren't we required to believe all the views then? You admit that the penal substitution view is found in scripture. Would it not be a denial of scripture to deny that view as well? Or are you saying that we're allowed to cherry pick and believe whichever (and however many) we wish?

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not denying penal substitution is found in Scripture. I think it is found in Scripture, along with the other views. I think each one tells us about the unique qualities of Christ's death on the cross. I think that you can say you believe more strongly or prefer one explanation of Christ's death than another. They are all metaphors trying to describe just how monumental Christ's death was. We all read Scripture with a certain bent and through a certain lens. If we are honest, we all cherry pick passages. I think that is inevitable but what we need to do is be honest about that. If your issue is with Rob Bell, he does not deny penal substitution either. See chapter five of his latest book "Love Wins." Granted, it may not be his preferred explanation of Christ's death on the cross but he does not deny it.

7:50 PM  

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