You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors.” (Proverbs 5:12-13)
Rob’s New Emerging Postliberal Religion Of Tepid Trampolinianity
Evangelist Rob Bell recently talked about his new book on faith and sexuality,… Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality [which] is Bell’s second book and will be released in March 2007…by Zondervan…
The founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., one of the fastest growing megachurches in the nation, took part in an interview with Premier.tv, in which he also spoke of the risks of megachurches and evangelism in America…
The megachurch pastor drew fire from some evangelicals and fundamentalists last year for his first book with Zondervan, titled Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, particularly for comments regarding the virgin birth of Jesus and the concept of the Trinity. (Online source)
The context concerning what Rob Bell had been discussing in his first book Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith (VE) was his supposedly superior Emergent Church understanding of Christianity as opposed the proper historic orthodox Christian faith. In his excellent review of VE Greg Gilbert gives us a classic example of Bell’s skewed spiritual view:
take Bell’s reconception of the idea of doctrine. Bell argues that the doctrines of Christianity should be thought of as the “springs” that hold up the trampoline on which we jump and live in Christ. The springs are not the main point; they merely facilitate the greater goal of “us finding our lives in God” (25).
Now that analogy has some truth to it. But it’s also more dangerous than it might first appear. Conceiving of Christian doctrines as springs allows Bell to say that getting the doctrines right is not really that important. If you don’t like one or two of the springs, you can just take them out of the trampoline and keep on jumping. (Online source)
So in Bell’s pedantic postmodern repaint [read: reinterpretation] of the Christian faith he says the springs of a trampoline, which bend and stretch, are much to be preferred over that stinky and stodgy ol’ Biblical Reformed faith that is as rigid and unbending as bricks. But you see in his refined, quiet, and quite polished arrogance Rob Bell mockingly refers to this type of Christianity as “brickianity.” And then as an example of how his new—and not so improved— brand of “trampolinianity” would work he uses the Virgin Birth of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Following is what the Emerging Church megapastor specifically says concerning this non-negotiable cardinal doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ:
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?
What if that spring were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart? (026,027)
The Virgin Birth Is Absolutely Crucial To The Genuine Christian Faith
Then Bell provides a glaring example of his shallow and superficial understanding of the deep truths of the faith (see—1 Timothy 3:9) when he goes on to say, “But if the whole faith fails apart when we reexamine it and rethink one spring, then it wasn’t that strong in the first place, was it? (ibid) But as Dick Van Dale brought out in his own review of VE called ” :
In other words, Bell advocates a faith that can embrace heterodoxy. This faith can “go on jumping” even if it were shown that Jesus was born of Larry and the gospel writers knowingly “threw in” myth…
[But t]he issue of orthodoxy, however, is not simply what one personally chooses to believe concerning Christ, but what he considers is necessary to believe concerning Christ. The church has historically understood the creeds to be a summary of what is necessary to believe in order to be an orthodox Christian.
The Apostles and Nicene creeds both clearly profess that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit as a necessary component of true faith. A literal, virgin birth, as a necessary doctrine, is not simply a hang-up of modernistic evangelicalism. It has been a part of the universal church’s profession throughout the ages. By failing to insist on a literal virgin birth as part of what it is necessary to believe, Bell has taken the well-traveled road of liberalism. (Online source)
Let me briefly show you what is at stake concerning this issue of the Virgin Birth of Christ. First, our Creator God had to come into this cursed creation because of our blatant sin and rebellion to provide the way of salvation for His Own. So yeah Rob, the true Christian will exhibit righteous indignation at you even suggesting that the Virgin Birth of Christ Jesus of Nazareth — the only Son from the Father (monogenes para Patros [John 1:14]) and God; the only God (Theon monogenes theos [John 1:18])—try a little Greek for a change there Rob—is simply able to be dismissed in your feeble attempt to illustrate your heavily anthropocentric semi-pelagian theology.
You see, the absolute truth is that the text of the Bible is fully inspired in all of its parts e.g. right down to the very tenses of the Greek verbs God the Holy Spirit would move upon His chosen vessels to use. The New Testament wasn’t written in Hebrew, so while “Rabbi” Rob apparently wows those who really don’t know any better, the fact is that the Greek does clearly reveal the crucial Christian doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Christ. And if Jesus of Nazareth is not fully God and fully Man by means of Mary being found to be with child from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18, Greek) then we only have a human man with a sinful human nature just the same as everyone else.
And not only that, but Jesus wouldn’t have been able to die for the sins of anyone else because Rob’s another Jesus (see—2 Corinthians 11:4) would only have been a human sinner himself. In addition to this a human man could not possibly die for the sins for another because by definition sin is committed against God; so only God Himself could die for the forgiveness of tresspasses having been committed against Him. Take away the Virgin Birth so that we no longer have Christ as the monogenes para Patros being Theon monogenes theos and we end up with simply a mere mortal man with his own sin nature who could never have saved anybody. So you tell me, how could a real pastor-teacher actually sent by our Lord ever even think of demeaning Christ Jesus in such a way…answer: He couldn’t.
Emerging Postevangelical False Prophets In Postmodern Playpens
But this is the whole problem with men like Rob Bell speaking from the viewpoint of the world while trying to teach spiritual truths in this postliberal cult of the Emergent Church. There in their postmodern playpens these deceivers are largely fulfilling the words of the Apostle Peter:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3, NASB)
You want an example of what the true picture of Christian spirituality is like in this world so hostile to God? Try taking a long walk on an overcast and frosty December morning when it’s twenty degrees with a thirty mile an hour wind blowing straight into your face. In short order this will give you a fairly good indication of just how much Satan hates the Spirit of Christ within you and what it will be like for you all the rest of your days in your “journey” through this sin-cursed creation here in this life.
Of course if you were instead to take the broad road of religious deception e.g. with Brian McLaren or Richard Foster or Rick Warren—whichever part of doctrines of demons they might happen to be teaching for the Ecumenical Church of Deceit—why the Devil will simply put his hand on your shoulder and whisper in your ear, “Nice job.” But know this, just like any real child of God, for as long as my Lord and Master chooses to sustain me I will always hate with a pure hatred (see–Psalm 139:21) that which hates Jesus, my gracious Savior. And what is more genuine believers will also war against it tooth and nail until we can fight no more—no matter what; to the end.
As far as I’m concerned I think it’s well past time for people to face the fact that Rob Bell is apostatizing at best. And further he gives me the distinct impression that he’s essentially a frustrated performer who, in actual Christian substance, has become little more than a Joel Osteen for the pouty postmodern set. And the real Jesus says come away from Emerging Hollow Men like these because:
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:13-14)