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Fusion!

Wow. Wow. And Wow. I wonder in ANY Evangelical leader will call him on this? And he's supposed to be the next Billy Graham? What's sad as that I had a VERY similar talk on my blog some months ago with an old friend who loves Bell and to whom I quoted 1 Cor 15. It just didn't phase him. They really are off to lunch and I think if we don't start preaching the whole counsel of God's word, our churches are in serious danger. Then again, alittleleaven has proven that already!

Paul Clifford

I've got to pull the Galatians 6:1 & Matthew 18:15-20 cards. This is best taken up with Rob Bell, not on your blog. I don't know him, but just as I don't feel comfortable publicly chastising the Pope (whom I disagree with on many things) or Benny Hinn (whom I also disagree with), you shouldn't either.

BTW, Galatians was written to a specific congregation that he was a leader (and founder of). He warned them, but notice in Galatians that when he saw problems, he confronted them directly (he talks to Peter about his hypocrisy for example). Then he dealt with the people affected. Start with Rob Bell, not the Church. You've got Matthew 18 backward.

Feel free not to post this as it's directed to you and should be private unless you wish it not to be.

Paul

Chris Rosebrough

Paul,

Bell made his comments publicly and therefore his comments need to be rebuked and challenged publicly. Neither verse that you quoted dictates that false teaching be addressed privately.

In fact, Matt 18 specifically refers to when a person personally wrongs or sins against YOU. In this case, Bell has sinned first and foremost against Christ and then the church through his false Gospel.

For the sake of those who may be following him and may get caught up in his false gospel we must publicly rebuke and correct Bell's aberrant doctrine.

BTW, the Apostle Paul publicly rebuked false teachers and named names.

1Tim. 1:18   This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

2Tim 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

Greg

Check out the 9Marks blog. blog.9marks.org. We're getting people to "tweet" the gospel.

Neil King

Chris, I think you are being far too kind in saying Bell's musings are merely 'hard to understand' - it is meaningless, über-spiritual gobbledeguk. They are the words of a man who is in love with his own voice. At the risk of sounding naivé, how are people taken in by this drivel?

On a more positive note, I think this is a great blog. Thanks for all the effort and passion you pour into it, Chris.

Brian of the Hill People

Well, I could tag that 'gospel' to nearly anything if you remove the word 'chistian' from right before the word 'story'. It would tag to most religions readily enough. In fact, it could go well beyond merely formal or traditional religions. Such as alien conspiracy theorists, etc.

It is not only a non-gospel of possibly good news, the only thing in it at all that tenuously links it as being identifiable to christianity at all is that one little word 'christian'. Remove that, you have a slogan for nearly anybody.

jared

Its interesting to say that Bell's gospel is unbiblical, But the ideea that the teleology of of God's work in the world is that hen is making all things new is biblical. The Gospel is much larger than just what God has done for us by dying on the cross it is about what he is doing in the world and is going to do. Christ defeated death, the tomb is empty and because of that we have hope, we know that we can trust that christ has fogiven our sins. Your twitter version of the Gospel doesn't point to the idea that we God is doing mnore than just forgiving our sins he is transforming our lives so that we can live the way that he intended.
I would also ask if you have contacted Bell on this issue, because if you have not, then you are in the wrong, because you need to givce him a chance to understand where you are coming from and you need to understand his comments in their fully scoped context.

Steve Newell

I'm not impressed with the interviewer either. There is one question that I find highly problematic:

"You're essentially reframing the gospel—at least the gospel you inherited, the gospel we have known as the gospel in North America for the last couple hundred years."

It appears that the interviewer believes that the gospel in North America is somehow different than the Gospel of the Reformation or the Gospel of the Early Church. It could be that the interviewer is somehow implying that Americanized gospel is not the true gospel.

Steve Newell

Jared,

That is the Good News? If all we receive is the forgiveness of our sins, it not that enough? A "transformed life" is a by-product of God's grace. However, the "transformed life" of what God grants us may not line up with our expectations. St. Paul's life was transformed to where he was beaten, imprisoned, ship wracked, and died for the Gospel. St. Paul struggled with his "thorn in the flesh" but God not didn't remove that "thorn" from his life.

I cannot live as God demands, not just intended, since I am a sinner. The standard of what God demands and intends is perfection, the perfect keeping of His Law.

Neil

"It could be that the interviewer is somehow implying that Americanized gospel is not the true gospel."

It's not that the Americanized Gospel is not the true Gospel, it's just that under the pressure of Modernity it was reduces to merely assenting to a set of truth. It is that, of course, but so much more. And every chance he has Bell pushes that fact.

One interview does not a shift make. Bell's statement of faith found on his church's website is thoroughly biblical and sufficient. I have read two of his books and they are as well - as far as they go.

So instead of stoking the fires and hoisting the stake, maybe we should give a brother in Christ a little benefit of the doubt... I have a hunch his Gospel presentation in the interview was given to Christians - since that was the audience anyway.

J. K. Jones

Your approach to Bell's theology is on target.

I've psoted on some of his older work myself.

Good to have a friend out here.

Joe

Neil King,
Are you from Pa? Knew a guy by that name in college.

Neil King

Joe - No I'm a Limey from Liverpool.

Alan

so you really think you can twitter the Gospel? Less than 140 words? You are amazing. It tool the authors of the Bible a bit more than a tweet but you can do it with a coupld of statements. Robs got the balls to try to say something in a new way. Your Gospel is going nowhere. look around! Redeemed!? This world is far from redeemed. Perhaps you should listen instead of go on and on using the same words that make no sense to most of God's creation. Get outside of yourself. Travel. Meet some 'heathens' and discover God's goodness in the people God created that you have condemned. Look at the comments above. Everyone listening to you is like you. What's wrong with that picture?

Rich Schmidt

Just chiming in to make two comments:

1. Of course I agree with your summary of the gospel, as it's Paul's. He has an even shorter summary in 2 Timothy 2:8 - "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel..."

2. However, the gospel is more than that. If not, then what "gospel" was Jesus preaching? Matthew, Mark, and Luke refer to Jesus and his disciples preaching the gospel before Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. So what were they preaching? Apparently, it was the announcement of the arrival of the kingdom of God. Mark 1:15 has Jesus proclaiming, "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

And, of course, we see this arrival most clearly in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. So, of course, Paul's gospel proclamation centers around Jesus' death and resurrection. This is also why another early credal confession of the church was "Jesus is Lord." The kingdom of God has come, and Jesus Christ is Lord.

It seems to me that Bell is articulating that gospel of the kingdom.

I'll admit: I think he bungled that answer in the CT interview. I wish he'd given a twitter-length answer. In keeping with the rest of the interview, it could have been something like, "Trust Jesus. In Jesus, God is making all things new." Or something like that. :)

Douglas K. Adu-Boahen

Alan,

All men everywhere to repent and believe. No amount of good deeds will change that.

Colin

My first reaction to this is yes, Christianity has been seeing some people distort the Bible. However, remember that Christ tells us, as does Peter and Paul, that once we are saved by Christ he removes our sin from us as far as the East is from the West. Once we are saved salvation cannot be lost. However, Rob Bell has fallen into the pit that is described by C.S. Lewis. Lewis states in his book "The Screwtape Letters" that while Satan cannot remove our salvation, he can make us useless to God. Rob Bell has fallen into the useless category on much of his preaching, but Christ will never remove his loving arms from the man if he accepted Christ in his heart to begin with. Instead of attacking the man, show him compassion. Argue with him, debate him, but never reach out and attack. Christ called us to be loving and stalwart in love, mercy, and justice. Have faith that Christ can right this wrong.

Yours in Christ

Adam

140 characters, huh? That's a nice little box you've put God in.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1048315285

do you think Rob Bell is trying to follow God as best he knows how? and if not.. is it just because you believe something differently than he does.. or is it just because he doesn't say the gospel in 140 characters.. or what..?

when i listen to his podcast he sounds wholehearted to me.

when i listen to his comments on people's criticism, he honestly sounds attacked. so you must be cut to the quick or something..

i wish you get the chance to sit down with him someday.

Conner Byrd

Hmm...I'm seeing alot of criticism surface regarding Rob Bell's "gospel" as of late. I wanted to comment here because you have thoughtful words on the subject and aren't simply yelling "listen to me Rob Bell's bad!" This is also actually the first post that's made me stop and think about Bell's theology. All that to say, I'm torn here on the subject. I think the snippet of the interview here you posted does not fully embrace Bell's answers. I too was a bit put off by the lack of "Jesus" in his answers here but when I went over and read the whole article I was more satisfied.
I do think there is a difference b/w the "American Gospel" and the Gospel. It may not be at your church but there is definitely a perversion to the Gospel rampant in our country that is woven so deeply into the "American dream" that the 2 are impossible to distinguish for some people.
I also think that without seeing/hearing Bell's comment on how the Gospel cannot be twittered in 140 characters it's difficult to understand how he was truly feeling about his answer. NOW, I think as a Pastor he totally botched it! I agree. I mean seriously, as current and hip as he is you think he'd have a better answer re: the most current and hip social networking site out there (Twitter is subject to opinion.) I agree with your Tweet, and I also think that 140 characters is an awfully small place to put God.

Overall, just wanted to say, I think this is great discussion but I don't think we have the answer or the ability to bash his gospel on this. I too haven't seen anything unBiblical in their Gospel message from the church or anything else yet that I've heard from him.
I do think he's got something about violence in our culture and especially about God's restoration plan. The Gospel I got growing up was "fire insurance." That's not the Gospel at all. God is actively and purposefully advancing the kingdom NOW via creation and Christians...otherwise there'd be reason to live after you accept Christ.
I'm the first to say, I don't have it all figured out and appreciate a place to discuss. Thanks for the post.

lila

poor mr bell

Daniel

15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[c] 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Phil 1:15-18

Christ is preached every week at Mars Hill.....rejoice.....1000s have been led to a relationship with Christ under his teachings. It's not because of Bell, but God's use of Bell....rejoice

James

I would agree with Bell that the Gospel cannot be tweeted. Sure you can tweet that Christ died for our sins. But that hardly tells the full story. The Gospel is complete when the tomb was emptied but it began in Genesis 1.

Kely

the Gospel is much bigger than two tweeted sentences and if you really want to give people a picture of the Gospel, it cannot be tweeted... it can only be demonstrated through action and love.

I appreciate Rob Bell's fresh take on life and a relationship with Jesus... much more refreshing than what the evangelical church has brought over the past 50 years.

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

Kely,

How do you know the gospel is bigger than two tweeted sentences? What if you're wrong?

What if the Apostle Paul was right? What if the Gospel really is as simple as what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:1-8? The Apostle Paul was after all an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and Rob Bell isn't? Who are you going to believe and trust, the Apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit or Rob Bell a real Johnny come lately?

My money is on the Apostle Paul who said that the Gospel is:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
he was buried,
he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve,
he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive
he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

Eyawa

Rob Bell is great.

He gives a fresh, intelligent and realistic view on Christianity that many so called Christians are too blind to see.

Rob Bell is the greatest thing to happen to Christianity since Martin Luther.

Hoorah for militant mysticism. Perhaps the Christians out there who are so quick to judge Rob should reseach and understand other people and their spirituality. Once they do that then perhaps their insanity can be cured.

Until then, I wish you all Infinite Love and Gratitude

Scott

I'm not sure I can say all of this well . . . .

I do support Rob Bell. I have no doubt that he is wrong about some things, but I also have not doubt that he, like each of us, will be learning and making mistakes until the day of his death. The apostle Paul speaks of "testing the spirits". Rob Bell is one such spirit. He has good, much good about him, but he is not God. Test his words and his understandings and see if he stretches you. See if you learn from him, or at the very least, your own personal beliefs will be strengthed by the process. I personally do not find him convoluted or confusing. After 25 years in the church I find him very refreshing and full of hope. Do I like the term "militant mysticism"? No, not really. Mysticism for me is a bad thing and invokes the idea of astrology and divination, etc. Things the Bible frowns on. However, the context in which Rob uses this terminology is excellent, and I would embrace trying to explain to someone who does not know God what Rob is trying to say. That Faith in God is often not rational. It has to trust in the promises of a God we cannot see face to face. It has to trust in Godly Love, which has no modern day earthly example because it is perfect. And even when you love God and follow him and know his commands and understand the text book, 140 word or less definition of the Gospel . . . we often cannot sense the love of God and we feel lonely. To follow God, we often have to embrace the mysterious (often very close to mystic) God.

I am mostly sad by what I see here among my brothers and sisters. There is a great lack of forgiveness by the author of this article. To site a single interview as the source of your distain is negligent. And from those who support Rob, some of you are equally distainful. The public arguing that goes on among the church is the very thing that keeps people from trusting the church. We cannot love one another, so how could we possibly love people who are strangers? Perhaps this is why Jesus so vehemently stressed the need to love one another, and Paul spoke so feverishly about unity. Without love and unity we do not have a church, and God's church, His Kingdom on earth, is often the first way people experience Jesus. We are his hands and feet, salt and light, etc. Think on these things.

K Palma

I feel sorry for you - It sounds like you spend far too and much time writing and criticizing others attempts to live out their faith than doing it your self.

sarah

i think we as Christians need to stop picking apart eachother and get on with making sure we are living lives that Christ would have us live. "Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you will be judged." - straight from Jesus in Matthew 7v2. If Rob Bell is saying stuff that is in opposition to the bible, then GOD, the maker of Heaven and Earth will deal with him. I'm going to make sure I'm dealing with myself and making sure I'm loving my neighbour and feeding the orphaned and the widowed and sharing the truth of Christ through everything I do...

Carnell Chappelle

And I quote from you Mr Rosebrough

" Bell has sinned first and foremost against Christ and then the church through his false Gospel."

That's a big statement against another brother in Christ. Do you know for sure, without a doubt, that Christ isn't alive or working in Bell or his church?

I think not, and by your above quote, your not only judging Bell but the possible work by the Holy spirit through Bell and his church.

You sir need to check the plank in your own eye before writing about others.

WhitemoonG

Carnell: Say what you want about moving and shaking that might be going on in Bell and his church, or how many hundreds or thousands of times the name Jesus crosses his lips or pen (or Nooma videos),

the simple fact is that Christ never shows himself "alive and working" in anybody or anything that contradicts, muddles, or casts intentional doubt on the timeless truths clearly stated in Scripture.

Moreover, why are there so MANY verses throughout the New Testament warning and cautioning about false teachers and their false teachings, and the MASSES OF PEOPLE who will fall victim to such?

Considering that in his bestselling travesty Velvet Elvis, among other things, Bell clearly cannot as much as affirm Christ's deity, as opposed to his usual slick dancing around this and every other basic issue, copping about by saying that it, (and any other BASIC doctrine that DEFINES Christianity) doesn't really matter if it offends or makes one stumble, because, after all, there are several other spokes holding up the trampoline (in his idiotic analogy), there is EVERY REASON to not consider him a "Christian brother," but more along the lines of the ravening wolves that the Lord himself warned against. Sad, but true, and Bell has had every imaginable opportunity to affirm and clarify, yet only further dilutes, dances and convolutes, which clinches it.

When Jesus Christ affirmed his deity "before Abraham was, I am" to a skeptical hostile group, and risked immediate stoning on the spot, did he first lecture himself about getting the plank out of his eye and trying not to offend the audience by having his clear utterance too narrow and "in a box?"


By the way, in his letters to the seven churches in Revelation, the first one, Ephesus, received a SPECIFIC commendation from the Lord Himself, about something SPECIFIC they did (not some flowery soupy twaddle). What was it?

Answer: they identified and rid from their midst those who were a danger by virtue of their FALSE TEACHING!! This MATTERS to the Lord, because not doing it, out of fear of "offending" someone, or being overly worried about not "relating",

in essence displays LITTLE REGARD for the truth, as made clear in the words and teaching of Scripture, (sometimes referred to as, hmmm, ummmm, gasp! that "awful, narrow" thing, namely DOCTRINE)

And, curiously, these same Ephesians, sinners saved by grace like us all, were NOT given a lecture about removing their own plank first, etc.

It wasn't about personal failing, individual hypocritical conduct, (i.e. get your own plank out first, etc. )

but about exposing and eliminating FALSE TEACHERS AND TEACHING.

And they were SPECIFICALLY CONGRATULATED by the LORD HIMSELF for such. (NOT given some soupy, circuitous lecture about how they need to "relate better," or the church needing to know how to
"throw a better party", or how to build bridges while striving to be more like Buddha, etc.

Think about it.

Michael Murray

A friend recently told me that he was leading a small group with a nooma study so I watched Bell's video "Breathe" to learn more about Bell. The video was CLEARLY heretical as he suggested that unbelievers have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. His whole approach at arriving at the meaning of YHWH was absurd and violated numerous basic rules of interpretation. Of course false teachers in the church say a lot of good things. However it is the poisonous, erroneous things that disqualify them and do GREAT HARM to the body of Christ. The Bible contains objective truth folks. A loving and mysterious and transcendent God communicated concrete, objective truth that He expects us to "know". Read 1 John and the numerous 30-40 uses of "know". The church is Christ's precious bride whom He loves and protects. Don't defend and listen to those who want to try out new tricks and fads at her expense. That is NOT love for God or the church.

Blessings in Christ,

Mike

Dyrell Hicks

The Mars Hill site has a statement that they support traditional orthodox christian doctrine, http://www.marshill.org/believe/directions/# (the back arrow):

"Roots [Backward]
We affirm the central truths of historic orthodox Christian faith, seeing ourselves in a long line of generations taking part in the endless conversation between God and people. We believe the Bible to be the voices of many who have come before us, inspired by God to pass along their poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God. To know where we're going, we have to know where we've been."

However the wording allows the interpretation that the conversation between God and man is not complete and therefore flexible AND the inspiration was to write "their" stories, not God's! This fits the sentiment that it is Ok to reinterpret scripture, and continue writing progressive revelations from God. In this statement on their site, Bell appears to be attempting to be slick and appease those who believe in truth while allowing those who write it themselves to follow him as well.

Though I've been uneasy about Bell for some time, I never took the time to look into it, so the jury was still out for me, but after reading the interview and Bell's Church's site, the jury is in and it doesn't look good.

We have to judge- to decide who we will listen to, not to pass judgment on his soul, but on his teaching. It is not only for ourselves that we must judge this, but we must help those who may not be able to see through the muck to what he and others like him are really saying. So I thank you for the blog. For their sakes.

I'll be the first to proclaim that the church has fallen short in a million ways, but you don't need gobbledygook to be sincere, authentic, serving, compassionate in evangelism, considerate of the the poor and concerned for justice. Those things fit in quite well with orthodox doctrines.

I am sorry for Rob Bell that he is confused about the resurrection: "The Resurrection accounts are jumbled and don't really line up with each other—I really relate to that." Questioning the resurrection of Christ is not needed or helpful in telling the whole story of mankind from creation to the new earth, but it is a good way to plant doubts in peoples minds about the one thing that will allow them to enjoy that new earth.

There is definitely the smell of wolf in the sheep pen! He is likely blind to it himself, I doubt he is intentionally misleading people, but that is usually the case. My beagle used to roll in any dead animal he found and thought it was just fine, but I didn't want anywhere near it or him.

BTW. My church's youth pastor was playing Bell videos a while back, and my teenagers, even the 13 year old came home disturbed by the generalized spiritual messages and lack of the gospel of redemption in the videos. This with no prompting from me, in fact I never heard of the guy until my kids, who know and recognize truth, heard something that didn't sound right to them and told me about him.

I pray the readers of this blog have at least that much discernment as well.

J

I think we need to be careful about handing out condemnation to other people who claim to follow Christ. There's nothing in the interview you discuss which is even arguably unbiblical - the best criticism you could make is that Rob Bell isn't very succinct (agreed) or creative (a matter of opinion). There's a case to be made against other things he's said - but I think it's wise to pick your battles.

I think Rob Bell is attempting to communicate the gospel to people for whom systematic theology is more than a bit alienating. Is Paul's "tweetable gospel" true? Absolutely. But it leaves people today wanting, after generations who were largely content to repeat the gospel without thinking about what it meant.

Besides, I can think of someone else who told long-winded stories which were difficult to understand - it was Jesus, and he did it on purpose. I don't think was shooting for tweetable points of doctrine in his church. I think he was trying to get people to love and understand God and the big picture. If Rob Bell is getting people to focus on the forest less than the trees and love the Father as a result, then I'm on board with that.

Dyrell Hicks

J, you are right and I was not careful enough!

I have no problem with methods, styles, techniques, lack of skill or competence or even proper motivation as long as the truth is at the bottom of it. I rejoice that the gospel is preached.

But I owe Rob Bell and the readers an apology. I thought the truth may not be at the bottom of Rob Bell's teaching, but I did not look closely enough. I was looking further at the Mars Hill site and I found the page that has all the "good stuff" on it.

They do support orthodox doctrine! It's not really hidden either, I don't know how I missed it the first time, I was clicking everywhere, it is really strange. I doubt they just added it, anyway...

Hopefully they preach and teach it often, the little bit I've heard, including the hour long video my kids saw did not contain it, and they told me there were great opportunities in that video to put the gospel, and they kept expecting and hoping to hear it, and it never came. That along with what scared me in the interview, that it looked like he was doubting the resurrection and along with the page I quoted the first time (from their "values" page) which was quite ambiguous (and I thought that was all they published about it on their site.) All of that made it appear that he was further immersed in the emergent church than he is.

Thank God I saw this other material quickly and am able to add this. I want to help the cause of promoting the truth, I certainly want no part of disparaging someone who is doing the same, I will be more careful in researching before I say something again. We all say things that are ambiguous and unclear, we skirt the truth for various fears or reasons, I'd never judge him for that. Posting this was an honest mistake on my part, but one that deserved J's warning of caution, as I have just demonstrated we all make mistakes! We all know in part and prophesy in part.

Hopefully the gospel is in the daily life and outreach of the church, of that I have no idea, but it is on their website and I am thankful for that much.

This is from the complete theology narrative page from their site and as you can see it is quite orthodox, though maybe not as complete regarding substitution as we'd like, it is all there...

"Narrative Theology
We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative narrative communally and individually to faithfully interpret and live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God.
In the beginning God created all things good. He was and always will be in a communal relationship with himself-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God created us to be relational as well and marked us with an identity as his image bearers and a missional calling to serve, care for, and cultivate the earth. God created humans in his image to live in fellowship with him, one another, our inner self, and creation. The enemy tempted the first humans, and darkness and evil entered the story through human sin and are now a part of the world. This devastating event resulted in our relationships with God, others, ourselves, and creation being fractured and in desperate need of redeeming.
We believe God did not abandon his creation to destruction and decay; rather he promised to restore this broken world. As part of this purpose, God chose a people, Abraham and his descendants, to represent him in the world. God promised to bless them as a nation so that through them all nations would be blessed. In time they became enslaved in Egypt and cried out to God because of their oppression. God heard their cry, liberated them from their oppressor, and brought them to Sinai where he gave them an identity and a mission as his treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, a holy people. Throughout the story of Israel, God refused to give up on his people despite their frequent acts of unfaithfulness to him.
God brought his people into the Promised Land. Their state of blessing from God was intimately bound to their calling to embody the living God to other nations. They made movement toward this missional calling, yet they disobeyed and allowed foreign gods into the land, overlooked the poor, and mistreated the foreigner. The prophetic voices that emerge from the Scriptures held the calling of Israel to the mirror of how they treated the oppressed and marginalized. Through the prophets, God's heart for the poor was made known, and we believe that God cares deeply for the marginalized and oppressed among us today.
In Israel's disobedience, they became indifferent and in turn irrelevant to the purposes to which God had called them. For a time, they were sent into exile; yet a hopeful remnant was always looking ahead with longing and hope to a renewed reign of God, where peace and justice would prevail.
We believe these longings found their fulfillment in 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, proclaiming a new arrival of the kingdom of God, bringing about a new exodus, and restoring our fractured world. He and his message were rejected by many as he confronted the oppressive nature of the religious elite and the empire of Rome. Yet his path of suffering, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection has brought hope to all creation. Jesus is our only hope for bringing peace and reconciliation between God and humans. 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. The Spirit empowers us with gifts, convicts, guides, comforts, counsels, and leads us into truth through a communal life of worship and a missional expression of our faith. The church is rooted and grounded in Christ, practicing spiritual disciplines and celebrating baptism and the Lord's Supper. The church is a global and local expression of living out the way of Jesus through love, peace, sacrifice, and healing as we embody the resurrected Christ, who lives in and through us, to a broken and hurting world.
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. God will reclaim this world and rule forever. The earth's groaning will cease and God will dwell with us here in a restored creation. On that day we will beat swords into tools for cultivating the earth, the wolf will lie down with the lamb, there will be no more death, and God will wipe away all our tears. Our relationships with God, others, ourselves, and creation will be whole. All will flourish as God intends. This is what we long for. This is what we hope for. And we are giving our lives to living out that future reality now."

And BTW J, I agree, the tweetable thing did not bother me at all. It was the "relating to" skepticism about the resurrection that concerned me.

gary d.

“”The trend today is away from propositional truth: “We don’t need propositional truth. We need narrative truth and embodied truth.”” (from Mark Driscoll’s A Narrative Approach: Will it Preach?) With that in mind observe this statement from Rob Bell’s church website under the theology tab: “Since story is central to our belief about God, our words about God—our theology—exists in the form of a narrative [see below]. You won't find isolated text references or a list of specific propositions in it, because ultimately neither of those things best reflects what we believe about God. What we believe about God is at the heart of what we believe also about each other, ourselves, and creation: that ultimately everything is part of the one great story.” This statement is an isolated text referencing itself as a specific proposition that best reflects what Bell and his church believes about God, and is at the heart of what they believe about each other, themselves, and creation. Now observe Driscoll’s next sentence: “Actually, if we’re going to be multi-perspectival, we need all of it” (op. cit.). Imagine the entire universe with his word “if” written so large across it that your apprehension of the universe is fully obscured. Now let’s shift gears for a minute and let me give you 3 quotes. “"This life's dim windows of the soul Distorts the heavens from pole to pole and goads you to believe a lie When you see with, not through, the eye" (Dr. Ravi Zacharias quoting William Blake). Judging evil to be good and judging good to be evil is the moral and theological relativism we see with our eyes as we rebel against the eternally true Word who says, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." "What we suffer from...is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled on the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of man that does assert is exactly the part he ought naught to assert-himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt-the Divine Reason" (From John Piper's Book: Battling Unbelief where he quotes G.K. Chesterton on pg. 41-42). Bell ambitiously asserts “the practice of militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.” “ The Resurrection accounts are jumbled and don't really line up with each other—I really relate to that.” He is exalting doubt in God’s word, but tell us to put confidence in an “impulse within you…tiny little slivers…” “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of one’s lifestyle--is not from the Father” (1John 2:16). The Spirit’s convictions exalt trust in His breathed Word. “In Velvet Elvis, Bell asserts that all people are already forgiven, reconciled, without having to respond to the Gospel in the manner Jesus said in the Great Commission: “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Here is Bell’s claim: “So this reality, this reconciliation, is true for everybody.” Bell says “the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people…” (pg. 148 & 167 of Velvet Elvis as quoted by Dr. Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries “Heaven and Hell Come To Rob Bell“). Bell believes everyone is saved from God's wrath for their sin, regardless of what they believe. That is merciless relativism. "Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned,because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God" (John 3:18).

Josh

Not sure if this has already been said, and I realize this is somewhat old news now.

While not sympathetic for Bell's erroneous teaching, I don't believe the scorn in a lot of the Bell-related articles here is appropriate. Regardless, here is an explanation of Rob's "non-answer" as far as I understand it.

Rob Bell has recommended a Buddhist by the name of Ken Wilber in his writing. Ken teaches something called transpersonal consciousness (if I'm recalling the term correctly), which is essentially what Bell is describing. The "And the Christian story is that a tomb is empty, and a movement has actually begun that has been present in a sense all along in creation," comment is essentially taking something remotely Gospel-sounding and splicing it in with a parapsychological/New Age concept. Just my opinion.

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