Monday, March 3, 2008

More Rob Bell heresy

It should not surprise me at how many are being taken in by the rank heresy of Rob Bell but it does. Bell supports Buddhist and New Age Anti-Christs and is coming dangerously close to jumping on board with the Word-Faith heretics as well. His newest video introduces us to the New-Age blasphemy that we are co-creators with God and also implies that Jesus was not God. Here is a post from Apprising Ministries I want to reproduce in full so readers who do not like to follow links can read the whole story. If you are one who has read and been emotionally lifted by Velvet Elvis please read this.:

"Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in My anger, ‘'They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet His work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere He has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” (Hebrews 4:3-4)

Rob Bell’s Growing Mystical Mythology Of Man

Below follows a partial transcription of “Open,” which is the latest Nooma video by Rob Bell of the emerging church. In his effort to please people, it sure seems to me that Bell has now so far over-emphasized the humanity of Christ that he has all but lost His Deity in the process.

Those familiar with liberal theology can also tell you it would teach virtually the same thing as Bell does below; right down to the idea that “Jesus took very seriously the creation poem Genesis that the Bible begins with.”

In “Open” Rob Bells tells us:

Now to understand why Jesus prays like this, we have to understand that Jesus took very seriously the creation poem Genesis that the Bible begins with. And in this creation poem God creates, but God creates things that are capable of creating more, and so God creates trees but then gives trees the ability to create more. God creates animals and plants and fish but then empowers them to create more. And then God creates people, and gives them the ability to create more.

So everything in creation is essentially unfinished, God leaves the world unfinished, and invites people to take part in the ongoing creation of the world. Now, when you create, you always run the risk that what you’ve created, won’t turn out how you wanted it to, it may go a different direction, it may not be everything you intended it to be. It may veer off course, and it may break your heart.

And so, this creative energy, this divine creative energy that brought everything into existence it takes great risk in creating, but at the same time it works in a very specific way. It brings order out of chaos, so the Genesis creation poem says that it was wild and waste, chaos and void, and out of this God began the endless process of bringing design and order and beauty. So when Jesus prays, He’s tapping into this divine creative energy that made everything.

And so prayer, for Jesus, it was not this passive, acceptance of well, I guess this is just how its gonna be, and it wasn’t this active kind of rebellion against I’ll dictate the future for Jesus prayer was being open to the God who’s at work here and now, but to be open to the creative working of God in the world here and now you have to be honest , so when Jesus is saying things like is there any way for this cup to be taken so I don’t have to drink it He’s being brutally honest with God, God I don’t really want to go through this.

Like it says in the book of Psalms chapter 13 where the writer says God, how long will, will you forget me forever, how long will you hide your face from me? Jesus came from a long tradition of people who saw prayer as brutal honesty with God. Some people think that half of the psalms were laments, people grieving and outpouring their anguish in times of great suffering and torment, people shaking their fist at God, challenging God, doubting with God, wrestling with God, questioning God.

Apprising Ministries wants you to know how critical it is to note that there’s a whole lot more going on here than Jesus taking the creation poem “seriously.” You see, Christ Jesus of Nazareth is our Creator Himself in human flesh, and as such, the Master is the One about Whom this historical account of the creation is poetically—and literally—speaking of:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth... In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3)

For our purposes here in this particular piece we will zero in on the idea that mankind is essentially co-creators with God, which Bell ends up advancing when he says:

everything in creation is essentially unfinished, God leaves the world unfinished, and invites people to take part in the ongoing creation of the world.

But make no mistake; the Jesus of the Bible is God. You are not God, and you cannot participate in creation in the sense used of our Lord. And in our text above we have already seen from the Bible that — His — Christ’s i.e. God’s — work — in creation — was finished since the creation of the world so He doesn’t need you to.

Harnessing “Creative Energy” To Create

It’s also interesting that Bell’s mythical man-centered musings about this so-called “creative energy” above is also very close to that of Word Faith cult leader Kenneth Copeland:

Words create pictures, and pictures in your mind create words. And then the words come back out your mouth....And when that spiritual force comes out it is going to give substance to the image that’s on the inside of you. Aw, that’s that visualization stuff! Aw, that’s that New Age! No, New Age is trying to do this; and they’d get somewhat results out of it because this is spiritual law, brother. (Believer’s Voice of Victory (television program), TBN, 28 March 1991.) (Online source)

And speaking of New Age, I’m afraid it gets even worse for those following Rob Bell. In her piece Rob Bell Video: We Are Co-Creators With God over at Slice of Laodicea Ingrid Schlueter brings out a couple of other very important points:

Rob Bell begins his video with the same emotional storytelling that his other emerging peers like to use. While there are still tears on the face of his readers, he inserts something heretical and wraps it all up with some devotional idea that nobody would argue with.

We participate with God in the creation of the world? This is rank heresy that abounds in New Age teachings. The idea that we are co-creators with God is a key tenant of New Age belief. We are all co-creators with God, they say. God needs us to carry his creation forward. (Online source)

That the teachings of Rob Bell and others in the Emergent Church would eventually begin to mirror those of New Age teachers really shouldn’t come as any surprise considering the voluminous amount of false teachers they personally read, quote from, and then recommend to their Emergent disciples.

Take for example Marcus Borg, the heretical Christ-hating member of the spiritually bankrupt Jesus Seminar, whose book The Heart of Christianity Bell enthusiastically recommends in Velvet Elvis (VE) [endnotes 1; 57]. And then there’s Ken Wilbur, who is on record telling us he’s:

a longtime practicing Buddhist, and many of the key ideas in my approach are Buddhist or Buddhist inspired. First and foremost, Nagarjuna and Madhyamika philosophy: pure Emptiness and primordial purity is the “central philosophy” of my approach as well.
(Online source)

And yet right in his book VE itself Rob Bell heartily recommends the unbelieving Wilber to teach us his pagan view concerning “divine” creativity:

For a mind-blowing introduction to emergence theory and divine creativity, set aside three months and read Ken Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything. (192, endnote 143)

Well, no wonder Bell is revealing he knows so little idea about the creation of the universe. Because the sad truth is, if one reads enough of these kinds of fools with their vacuous mystic meandering speculations about how they wish God, or “pure Emptiness,” might be then you’re bound to see your own teachings becoming corrupted. And sadly, such is the case of Rob Bell.

As far as the creation, as we close this for now, we turn to Dr. Henry Morris, author of the classic devotional commentary The Genesis Record and the founder of the Institute for Creation Research. In his article The Finished Works of Creation Morris, known by many as “the father of the modern creation-science movement”, says of our opening Scripture text above:

Here is a strong New Testament confirmation of the Genesis record of a creation completed in the past-thus not continuing in the present as theistic evolutionists have to assume. Whatever processes God may have used during the six days of creation, they are no longer in operation for “the heavens and the earth were finished, . . . on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made. . . . And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).

The record in Genesis could not be more clear and specific, but the fact that it is in Genesis tends to demean it in the minds of many scientists and theologians. So they prefer to believe in a continuing evolution and long ages in the past. But the writer of Hebrews once again confirms the fact of a completed creation: “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10).

The writer is not trying to defend the completed creation as such, but merely assuming it as a commonly acknowledged truth.
(Online source)"


James said...

I would actually have to strongly disagree with you on this post. I just finished watching the video in its entirety, and I can’t draw the same conclusion without going off to some far extreme interpretation. Others can watch part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Rob is not talking about man being equal with God or even a “co-creator,” perhaps a better word to define what Rob is describing is Creator Microcosm. We, being made in the image of God, have many of His characteristics. He created us to be mini-creators. Rob states (even from those quotes) that God did not create the Earth with buildings, he did not create the Earth with music or the arts, but instead allows us to be mini-creators. God gives the supplies, thus it is impossible to deem man as a “co-creator.” I can’t pull from this text or the videos that Rob is trying to say that we worked with God in creating everything.

One of the other things that I saw noted is that some may have a problem with Rob “humanizing” Jesus. But I would argue that this is one of the wonders of God. He somehow, is personal, yet Holy. Somehow, we cannot physically be in God’s presence, but we can be in the physical presence of Jesus. Somehow, we would die if we saw His glory, but we can boldly approach the throne. He is omnipotent, and sovereign, and yet is personable. Jesus is both deity and human. Without acknowledging the humanization of God through Jesus, one is missing a major element of Jesus Christ Himself.

One part of the video that I perhaps had trouble with was,

“God’s desire is that the divine energy that made the world would flow between us and in the process draw us closer together. Prayer is tapping into the same energy that formed the universe. That’s why people say they can feel prayer, it’s because we can. Praying connects us to the people and things we are praying for. Prayer enlarges our perspective. Praying gives us a bigger heart. Praying makes us feel things. Praying changes thing, but prayer changes us. Praying makes us better people.”

I’m not comfortable with this, but I’m not saying he’s 100% wrong. We can see the effects of prayer, and we can even feel when people are praying for us (even when we don’t know that people are specifically praying for us). But I’m not comfortable with the thought that there’s this force that connects us all and prayer is tapping into that. This kinda reminds me of Star Wars, and I think that if that statement is to be made, it should be supported with scripture.

Never the less, it is entirely possible that I’m just uncomfortable with his wording, but this isn’t a strong enough case for me to feel comfortable with causing division and tearing down someone’s reputation. This is one of the reasons why the world doesn’t see Christ in the church. The world sees hate, division, and Christians just tearing down one another. I would just be careful to not speak to quickly.

Ingrid Schlueter said...

You have no problem with Rob Bell recommending that readers of Velvet Elvis take three months and read a book by Ken Wilber? How in Holy Scripture can you defend such a thing? Wilber is an occultic New Ager who is teaching the doctrines of demons, yet Bell directs people to read his work! Here's a link to Wilber's interview with the Buddhist Shambala Sun.

Here's what Rob Bell says to do in his book Velvet Elvis:

"For a mind-blowing introduction to emergence theory and divine creativity, set aside three months and read Ken Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything." (Velvet Elvis, 192, endnote 143)

I have reached a point of singular intolerance for those who continually justify the heresy of Rob Bell. Bell comes right out and says that there is a spark of the divine in every single human being. Scripture tells us we are by nature, "Children of wrath!" Somebody's lying here and it isn't God's Word!

Celebrity idolatry is the number one reason that evangelicals insist on justifying the blatant error of Rob Bell. God has given many over to this blindness because they have rejected the authority of God's Word, like Rob Bell who calls the Scriptures a "human product" not a product of "Divine fiat". (Christianity Today, 11-1-04) When we reject God's Word as the standard and follow after these publishing celebrities, we embrace an idol. The enemy of souls has always worked through idolatry and our age is no different.

James said...

I appreciate the quote from Rob in arguing. However, it is unfair for me to judge him based on one sentence without seeing the context. Is there a way that you can quote a good section before that quote, and maybe a little after? I don't have a copy of the book.

nachobel said...


You can download the book Velvet Elvis from the link here

In terms of the phrase he quoted - it's literally just an endnote. It's referenced passage goes

"To look at God's restoration plans in greater depth, we need to go back to how God creates the world and what he thinks about it. The Bible starts with God making the ground and the seas and calling them "good". God makes land that produces vegetation and it is "good". Over and over the word good is used to describe how God perceives what he has made. It is all "good".

Notice what God does with his "good" creation. "Then God said, 'Let the _land_ produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.' And it was so." The next verse is significant: "The _land_ produced vegetation." (143) Notice that it doesn't say, "God produced vegetation." God empowers the land to do something. He gives it the capacity to produce trees and shrubs and plants and bushes that produce fruit and seeds. God empowers creation to make more."

The 143 is where the endnote is referenced. Nothing strange here except perhaps the emphasis being placed on certain words in the text, though I'd say that's how we're supposed to read scripture, mining it for deeper truths.

The book he recommends is full of neo-pagan mumbo jumbo. So I'm not sure what the deal is...I've not read all of it, but I've read enough to know it's stranger than things I'm familiar with at least.

Hope this helps!

ABrutalKind said...

Umm... it seems that James just refuted any argument you had with Rob Bell's statements and all you have left is the one sentence where he advises people to read a book. Nearly you entire post is worthless. You shouldn't have created a false argument but rather just used the only one that you can defend against. Well not that you can really defend it because that would be suggesting that we shouldn't read any books that aren't the Bible or written about the Bible. And that is just a stupid argument from someone who probably believes that there is a sacred secular divide. Attention Jesus did not believe in a divide that is why he hung with the poor, leprous, and sinful and not with the hypocritical religious leaders of his day. Rob Bell is doing more for Christianity then Jerry Falwell, Pat Roberts, Rick Warren, and Fred Phelps. Why don't you stop making up heresies for Rob Bell and address the heresy that comes from the lips of some of the previously mentioned people. Unless of course you think that God hates gays, sweden and ireland along with many other things. Get your facts straight before you write things and remove yourself from the box you confine your narrow point of view to.

John Smith said...

Praise God for the living and true Word!

John 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you nay: but rather DIVISION.

Be rooted in God's Word and NOT man's.(Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

Psalms 138:2 ...for thou has magnified thy word above thy name


Mitch said...

I want to sincerely thank you for the last paragraph in your first comment. There is so much truth to that. WE ARE THE BODY. Regardless if someone is right or wrong, it is not about us. We may disagree on certain topics, but we should rejoice that we have each other in this world. We as Christ followers should make each other stronger. Jesus' message was and is love. I love you guys! Encourage and build each other up.

123 123 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hey moderator - sorry for the off topic post, but I hope this message get your attention because this is an interesting debate on the teachings of Rob Bell. I don't have enough to time to weigh in now, but wanted to alert you to the spam post at the end of the discussion site. It really needs removed because it has a link to an escort site and it really degrades the content of the site.

I have a blog on Blogger, too and I have to watch out for these spammers.

Anonymous said...

If God can give grace to my screwed up theology, can't I give grace to someone else's?

Alan said...

God does not give grace to your "screwed up theology." he gives grace to you in spite of your screwed up theology. This does not mean we should not try and correct the screwed up part by the way.

Justin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin said...

You guys are reading way, way too much into Rob Bell’s teachings and nitpicking to the ends of the earth to find something wrong with him. Yet in Acts Jesus is reported as saying to Saul, “Why are you kicking against the goads?” A quote from Greek mythology reportedly stated by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who said he wouldn’t appear to anybody after his ascension, whom Paul never met and experiences as a light and noise saying, “I’m Jesus.” So this bright noise in no way proves it’s Jesus, goes against Jesus’ own warnings to his disciples and promise to not appear until the end, and quotes a Greek myth to a Pharisee known for persecuting and killing Christians who then goes on to interpret the entirety of God’s word shedding light onto Jesus, the light. You read about that and kind of just accept it like you found an extra twenty in your pocket, yet Rob Bell disturbs you. That doesn’t concern you, or that Paul’s name literally is the exact same Hebrew word for “Sheol” or hell? No questions about that? That doesn’t keep you up at night or cause you to question or send emails to your pastor? Yet Rob Bell tells you to be nicer to people and breathe, and think about God, and you think you’re being secretly force-fed Eastern Mysticism. Really?

That’s absurd. Further the term “creative energy” is not mystical, he’s summing up the notion that the momentum of life and building on the earth, which God commanded us to do explicitly. The idea that creation is unfinished in a broader sense is true whether you guys like it or not. There are children being born today who weren’t there yesterday, and new buildings, new technologies, new ideas, new lots of things. Sorry but these things weren’t existent with Adam and he didn’t drive a Ford. God finished His work in creation and told us to be fruitful and multiply, to subdue the earth and actually do things. He told us to work six days and rest one day emulating Him, who did that while creating. Further his comment on tapping into the experience is not some wild Eastern idea, he’s telling us in layman’s terms that we can, by praying to the guy in charge, perhaps take part in what’s going on all around us (and that it’s happening all around us isn’t mystical or a secret either). I think the problem that the opponents of Rob Bell have is that they don’t give people any credit whatsoever and think that when Rob Bell says to read a book written by an unbeliever that they’re just going to become atheists and abort their children.

I think Rob Bell assumes that his congregation is at least competent and is seeking God, not Buddha. I think he also understands that fools will be fools and God seeking people don’t need a lullaby philosophy full of Christian political correctness. We can hear words like sex without going mad with lust, we can hear about history without becoming atheists, and we can hear with Rabbinical scholars thought without dumping Christ and becoming Jews. I think it’s good that Rob Bell treats people like they are more than three hairs away from being monkeys and I think that’s why so many listen to him. I think he has a general respect for people and what they are capable of, through Jesus Christ particularly, rather than assuming they’re all just looking for an excuse to be evil. I do sense that he is a far cry from the religious snobbery and hateful disregard of the modern Christian church, and I think that’s what’s threatening the Bible beaters. I think he’s taking away your sword by making the case that people need Jesus and not dogma. Notice that he presents Jesus as something he believes in, he tells the stories like testimonies and tells you about history rather than calling names, labeling sinners, spewing venom or claiming to have himself found the ultimate truth. He’s nonsectarian and is catching people with love, truth and acceptance whilst others are looking for flies to lure with honey.

Anonymous said...

I just learned of the new book by Mr. Bell, Love Wins. I will probably read it, although (true confession) I found each of his earlier books a tough slog. He seems to be a gifted preacher but a less gifted writer. But one thing his controversial ministry calls to mind is the ministry of the early disciples in Acts and how the Pharisees kept wanting to stop them from preaching Christ. Then one wise man stood up and said "if this (their ministry) is not from God, it will come to an end by itself. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop it and will only end up fighting against God." It is too soon to call the end results of Mr. Bell's ministry. He might be just an historic footnote in a few short years, with people now part of his empire shaking their heads and wondering what all the noise was about. Or, conversely, he might just change the direction of the church for the better. All I'm saying is, if you believe he preaches heresy, don't fret about it or attack him. Pray to Jesus for a pure heart before tackling the subject in print, and if you still feel the same way, call up Mr. Bell and talk it over with him personally, rather than airing your opinions over the internet. Things aren't always what they appear in the media. And if he really is a heretic, God knows just the way to discipline him, the way that would be most effective for his soul.

Alan said...

I appreciate your warning to be temperate but it is not up to me to bring Mr. Bell's false teaching to his attention, it is his elders responsibility and it appears they are not doing their job. Mr. Bell's comments are in the public arena, especially his new seemingly universalist teaching. He has produced a video on youtube promoting his new teaching, I have not commented on that yet but doing so publicly is entirely warranted. When I, or John Piper or Justin Smith or anyone comments publicly on something Mr. Bell has said publicly it is to warn those who may be influenced by his public teaching. This is not a Matthew 18 issue.

bob said...

Hello all.
I simply want to say that the Bible gave us clear warning about men and women such as these. Anyone who believes what Rob Bell says is guilty of not knowing scripture. The Bible calls this the blind leading the blind. I don't know how soon the end is, but it is a biblical fact that the number of false teachers will grow and grow and be believed until Jesus returns and takes the sheep home.

Nathan said...

Rob Bell's heart is for the Kingdom. It seems that his opponents' hearts are more for being right and argument. I hope that one day, we'll be able to chase the mystery of God with hope for new understanding instead of justification for what we think we already have figured out.
The waters of the Kingdom are much deeper and wider than we can even fathom.

Alan said...

I don't know why you think you can speak to the state of Mr. Bell's heart, I can not. I can speak to what he has said and it is of great concern.

"But the gate is narrow and the way difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Mt. 7:14

Where is this "wide and deep" found in scripture?

M. P. said...

I'm with Ingrid. I think there are too many sunshine Christians - you know, those Christians who are only Christians when the sun is shining? When the tough times come, and it begins to rain or snow, you can no longer find them. I have no use for them.

Bell speaks in coded and couched language that can easily be interpreted one way or another. This allows him to act like a conservative evangelical, all the while holding onto Biblical world-views that are antithetical to that.