The sad fact is that mainstream evangelicalism embraced the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church—with its  its “big tent” Progressive Christianity aka Emergence Christianity—and e.g. began using warped and toxic teachings of EC leaders like Emerging Church rock star pastor Rob Bell, and has been poisoning its own young.

So Apprising Ministries has been giving you peeks at its bleak future of division and compromise of God’s Word; and for nearly six years now, in articles like Is Rob Bell Evangelical? and Rob Bell Is Definitely Not Like Jesus, I’ve been warning you that Bell’s doctrine is not at all in line with the historic orthodox Christian faith.  Take for example his use of The Virgin Birth of Christ as a “spring” which could simply be removed with no effect upon the Christian faith.

You may recall in his book Velvet Elvis (VE) Bell mused that even if someone found “definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry” the Christian faith would not be affected. This should have been your first clue that, while he is most certainly a very engaging communicator, he really has not got a grasp of the critical nature of this cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith.

Obviously, if Mary was not found to be with child from the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 1:18), but rather became pregnant by a mere human man, then Jesus would no longer be the only Son from the Father (monogenes para Patros, cf. John 1:14); nor would He be — God; the only God (Theon monogenes theos, cf. John 1:18). And if Jesus of Nazareth is not fully God and fully Man by means of Mary having conceived a child from the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 1:20) then we only have a human man with a sinful human nature just the same as everyone else.

Not only that, but Jesus wouldn’t have been able to die for the sins of anyone else because another Jesus (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:4) would only have been a human sinner himself. In addition to all of 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.

A couple of years ago in Rob Bell And Christian Universalism I talked about this issue—sometimes referred to as Universal Reconciliation—that many Christian Universalists do believe in a literal Hell as you can see in the AM article Spencer Burke: I’m A Universalist Who Believes In Hell. The key point for you to keep in mind right now would be what the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology enlightens us to here: “A universalist believes that the efficiency of the Atonement in not limited and therefore extends to all.”[1]

In other words in CU/UR we’re not far from what those involved with New Age spirituality would call: At-one-ment; and pretty much what Rob Bell himself wrote in VE some five years ago:

So this is 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.” All things, everywhere. This reality then isn’t something we make come 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.[2]

This brings me to Rob Bell Teaching Universalism where I brought to your attention the video below where Rob Bell is plugging his new book Love Wins. Those under the spell of Bell can’t/won’t see the universalism inherent in what he says in this video; however, let’s consider that Zondervan isn’t publishing this book, HarperCollins is. They tell us that Bell “argues that the church’s traditional understanding of heaven and hell is actually not taught by the Bible.”[3]

Silly us; O, whatever did the church do until Rob Bell and this emerging neo-liberal cult of neo-Gnostics showed up to teach us what the Bible really says. That aside, I happen to pretty much agree with what Tevix Wax brings out in his post Rob Bell and the Judgmentless “Gospel”: Holy Love Wins:

The promo video is classic Bell: provocative, edgy, designed to start discussion. Until the book comes out, I don’t think we can accurately label Rob a “universalist.” Based on Rob’s tendency to ask edgy questions and then pull back, I expect that somewhere in the book, Rob will affirm that people who don’t want to be part of God’s kingdom won’t be forced to. In the end, Rob will land somewhere between optimistic inclusivism (most everyone will be saved) and universalism (all will be saved). (Online source)

Like I’ve said before, this is a type of Christian Universalism ala Spencer Burke where everyone is already reconciled to God but may “opt out” of grace if they so wish; however, the key question was asked by Chris Rosebrough: Did God Send Rob Bell to Correct Jesus’ False Teaching RE: Hell & the Afterlife? In closing this, for now, here’s a transcription of the audio to assist your evaluation of the postmodern deconstructing questions that Bell who, in my view is most prominent among The New Downgrade And Its Apostles Of Unbelief, is asking:

Several years ago we had an art show at our church and people brought in all kinds of sculptures, and paintings, and we put them on display. And there was this one piece that had a quote from Gandhi in it; and lots of people found this piece compeling. They’d stop and sort of stare at it, and take it in, and reflect on it—but not everybody found it that compelling. Somewhere in the course of the art show somebody attached a hand-written note to the piece, and on the note they had written: “Reality Check—He’s In Hell.”

Gandhi’s in hell? He is? And someone knows this, for sure; and felt the need to let the rest of us know? Will only a few, select, people make it to heaven? And will billions and billions of people burn forever in hell? And, if that’s the case, how do you become one of the few? Is it what you believe; or what you say, or what you do, or who you know—or something that happens in your heart? Or do you need to be initiated, or baptized, or take a class, or converted, or being born again—how does one become one of these few?

And then there is the question behind the questions, the real question: What is God like? Because millions and millions of people were taught that the primary message—the center of the Gospel of Jesus—is that God is going to send you to hell, unless you believe in Jesus. And so, what gets, subtlely, sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. But what kind of God is that; that we would need to be rescued from this God? How could that God ever be good; how could that God ever be trusted? And how could that ever be good news.

This is why lots of people want nothing to do with the Christian faith. They see it as an endless list of absurdities and inconsistencies; and they say: “Why would I ever want to be part of that?” See, what we believe about heaven and hell is incredibly important because it exposes what we believe about Who God is, and what God is like. What you discover in the Bible is so surprising, unexpected, and beautiful, that whatever we’ve been told or taught, the good news is actually better than that; better than we could ever imagine.

The good news is, that love wins. (:06-2:34)


End notes:

[1] Walter A. Elwell, Ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2001], 1232.

[2] Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], 146, emphasis mine.

[3], accessed 2/28/11. 

See also: