Apprising Ministries continues to tell you the truth about an infestation of ne0-Gnostic corruption called Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), which is now pandemic within mainstream evangelicalism through its foolish embrace of the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church with its quasi-universalism in a new version of postmodern Progressive Christian theology under their spiritual circus “big tent” of empty Emergence Christianity.
For a couple of years now, in pieces like Rob Bell In A Nutshell: Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism and Through Rob Bell “The Great Enlightened Ones” Tell Us Man Has Divine Greatness as well as Shane Hipps And Rob Bell Teaching Heresy, I’ve told you that rock star EC pastor Rob Bell is heavily involved in this neo-Gnosticism. Study the fetid fruit of those who practice this spurious CSM, e.g. like Bell and the unholy EC trinity of apostates, Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, universalist Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt, and his friend Tony Jones, the progressive “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch, and invariably you will see them begin to teach the doctrine of universalism; case in point Rob Bell And Christian Universalism.
The other day in Latest On Firestorm Around Rob Bell I reminded you that numerous sources have now confirmed that there will be “a church meeting this Sun [night], March 13 in the evening to discuss the book.” It’s only for “covenant members only by invitation” and apparently people “must register and be approved to attend” this question and answer session. I’m being told “many” at Mars Hill Bible Church are seriously wondering if Rob Bell is a universalist. As I’ve said before, I actually don’t think he is; I offer that Bell’s already been leaning toward this Christian Universalism, which is also known as Universal Reconciliation/Redemption. For many of those who do believe this heresy—with its false gospel—there is a literal hell; but they dream, after each is punished temporally eventually hell will be empty.
In building the case that there is real unrest beginning to bubble up at MHBC I want to be crystal clear that there are many sincere believers there; my concern is while they are trying to follow Jesus, there seems to be something seriously going wrong within the leadership of MHBC. So I’m calling to the witness stand one of my unnamed sources from inside who is personally involved with lower level leadership there to offer their eyewitness testimony; unfortunately leadership cannot be reached so Apprising Ministries is still attempting to further corroborate their testimony elsewhere. I’m satisfied after talking with this source that I have gotten enough confirmation of what I’m told to consider them reliable. My source tells me that when Justin “Taylor blogged about Rob being a Universalist” they found they just “couldn’t believe it.”
They said that their “first reaction” was quite negative and they wanted to “label” Taylor and myself “narrow-minded conservatives (which I still believe you are)”; and they informed me they like to “laugh about your ridiculous notions with my friends.” But then something began to change. They tell me that “Shane [Hipps],” now MHBC co-teaching pastor along with his good friend Rob Bell, “said something that stuck with” them. It seems that during a leadership meeting with MHBC staff Hipps would share a ”passage from Baha’u'llah,” founder of the non-Christian cult of the Bahá’í Faith. According to this eyewitness source we’re told Hipps said that passage was part of the “inspiration for” his Wind In The Sail sermon, which you can hear and read a transcript of it in my 2009 post Shane Hipps Exposed. This gives you the general idea:
it is useful to think of God’s Will and man’s will as working in combination with one another. This relationship is easily visualized by thinking about a sail boat. The wind is like the Will of God. It moves the boat and blows in whatever direction it will. Without the wind, there is no movement at all… And of course, in this analogy, the sailor is like the mind and heart of man which decides which way to turn the rudder. All these forces work together to determine the journey of the boat, which is the soul. (Online source)
The source tells me they were fine with MHBC being sympathetic in their celebrating spiritual diversity; however, just how diverse MHBC seems to be is rather eye-opening as this apparently even includes using the “Quran” and “The Pāli Tipitaka,” which involves:
a universal, scientific method towards purifying the mind. It is the practical essence of the teachings of the Buddha, who taught Dhamma – the Universal Law of Nature. (Online source)
My source also informs me that “we’ve done a group Lectio Divina” using the Gnostic “Gospel of Thomas.” However, they say that the aforementioned sermon by Shane Hipps “struck a sour note.” Now we get to the reason I decided to share this with the wider church visible; they confirm what other sources also are telling me, in that ”there is a large (and growing) number of us” becoming disenchanted with the direction of MHBC. Much of this unrest is actually traced back to the ”arrival” of Shane Hipps, which “didn’t sit well with a large group of us.” I’m told that this group is “waiting” for the “live Q&A” this coming Sunday night. However, my source also pointed out that this “elites only” meeting is “really infuriating.” They assure me that their “(not so) little group of rebels” is planning to “show up despite our lack of invitations” and believes “hopefully will bring this thing to a head.”
If I was them I wouldn’t hold my breath that they “get some more concrete answers to our questions” because “if Rob really is a universalist,” then they’re under the impression that MHBC “would need to make some changes.” They assured me that “the only reason” they decided to contact me initially was because my article New Book May Cause Rift At Mars Hill Bible Church Of Rob Bell rang true. During an email exchange I shared the following with my eyewitness source:
I used to be into Hinduism and meditation myself years ago and have studied its fruit from many different religious perspectives for years. One thing all mystics eventually have in common is the belief in some form of universalism; I offer that this is a spiritual delusion one receives when they become “transformed,” Buddhists call it satori, enlightenment. They all describe a sensation of being “bathed in God’s love,” and “one with Him,” etc. And finally that “love” leads them to believe everyone is at-one-ment with God, whatever they may believe “God” to be.
Seriously, look at Rob’s teachings this past year or so as he tells us about studying Richard Rohr and how “the great enlightened one, the mystics” supposedly know God better, which is basically a neo-Gnosticism. I can tell you Richard Rohr is a Christian Universalist, which is what I suspect Rob is either on the way to becoming, or possibly already is. Take a look at this article from a website promoting Christian Universalism aka Universal Reconciliation/Redemption. Notice the terminology sounds orthodox, but the words are redefined; that’s where my cult training is valuable, I see through it.
Anyway, those into this view of soteriology–like Spencer Burke–do allow for a literal hell; but they say that after those who “opt out” of grace pay their punishment they’re let out of hell until eventually hell is empty and everything is reconciled to God. Generally they are panentheists who see the world as God’s body, which makes everything divine because it contains His nature. Richard Rohr just wrote about this, and I have the book he cites within this piece Creation as the Body of God. Rob’s heading along that same path as Rohr because of the mystical delusions.
Let us be in prayer for my sources, this one has graciously given me permission to share the following from their emails to me; and let’s also be praying for all those at MHBC who may now be seeing things in a new light. I can tell you that there may be some very serious problems which lie dead ahead for Mars Hill Bible Church because Rob Bell and his new book:
Just to let you know, I still think a good 90% of your Theology is wrong and in NO WAY points to a loving, good God who is restoring all things to Shalom. But you might have actually have been on to something with your last few blog entries. IF Rob is a Universalist (which I’m praying he isn’t) then you will have helped expose that. And for that I would thank you (even though I don’t want to and even though you still might be wrong).
That part about Rohr’s panentheism stuck out to me bacause a while ago, Rob had a message entitled “Everything’s Spiritual” which I loved at the time, but now I’ve listened to it in a different light. Then when I look on my bookshelf and see The Gods Aren’t Angry (Rob’s DVD), it just sticks out. I have to admit that I hadn’t even come close to thinking this way for years because Rob hasn’t ever really said anything that would make me believe he’s a Universalist, but his friends kind of have.
I still really hope Rob isn’t a Universalist, but I might be hoping against hope. It really sucks that I’m unsure about a church that I spent so much time in… This doubt that my friends, family and I all have is really tearing us up, but there are so many people verifying what you say that I really can’t argue. I can’t help but feel that we need to be a bit more vocal about our displasure with the way MHBC is going. My group and I have thought hard and prayed (and meditated ) about the next step and I think it was presented to us.
While I respect your [offer of] confidence, feel free to publish any of this since I have a sinking feeling that I’ll be looking for another church anyway (any reccomendations?). Hopefully others from MHBC will see it on your blog and be inspired to join our “rally”… I guess I have to thank you for reaching halfway across the country to affect change in MHBC. If it weren’t for ODM’s like yours, I know I wouldn’t have noticed anything.