And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
(Isaiah 6:8-10)

Sadly, In Times Like These Many Won’t Listen

The online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries has been documenting the growing falling away of the mainstream evangelical community; and I’ve warned you that there is a tsunami of apostasy—pushed along by 1 Peter 4:17 judgments—headed toward the church visible.

Not a few of these judgments have come through evanjellyfish’s foolish embrace of the sinfully ecumenical Emergent Church,  with the unholy 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, among its leaders.

Sadly, spiritual blindness continues to spread across the lukewarm landscape of the visible church leading to a real dearth of discernment within. Into this vacuum have come all kinds of deceptions and false prophets. One of those would certainly be the Love Wins mythology of Emerging Church iconic orator Rob Bell. With this in mind I point you to a tweet the other day from Tony Jones:

(Online source)

The link takes us to Rob Bell’s Editor Speaks Out by Jones where this professor with Fuller Theological Seminary—sad but true—wants us to know:

Mickey Maudlin, Senior VP and Managing Editor at HarperOne (and a former editor of Christianity Today) has spoken out about his satisfaction at seeing Love Wins do so well in sales — but also his “deep sadness about the book.” (Online source)

Jones continues by reminding us that “as many as six condemning books being rushed to press, the Southern Baptist Convention passing a resolution against Bell, and many evangelical leaders joining in the condemnation.” Of course, to apostates masquerading as Christians, this would be a bad thing. My comment to Jones was:

By the way, I took the liberty to include my thoughts above via screen shot here because I knew that this leader within *cough* “the conversation” would quite quickly remove them; sure enough in little more than an hour we found:

(Online source)

You see, this way it’s easier to pretend that I won’t dialogue with critics or those I write about; well, actually this only serves to show the truth about whom it is that’s not willing to converse. Just so you know, the friend I refer to is Dr. Larry Dixon, a seminary professor himself who’s written a small but in-depth book thoroughly refuting Bell’s foolish Love Wins mythology called “Farewell, Rob Bell”: A Biblical Response to Love Wins.

As Dixon tells us about his book:

The Evangelical world seems to be dividing very quickly into the pro-Bellums and the ante-Bellums, but that’s not what this book is about… Eugene Peterson, author of  The Message, provided a jacket blurb for Love Wins which says, “It isn’t easy to develop a biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ. . . . Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination — without a trace of the soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction.”

That last part of Peterson’s endorsement — “without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction” — I find very difficult to understand. As a seasoned (read “old”) theologian, I have major issues with Bell’s evangelical conviction and believe his 200-page broadside should be taken seriously. Christianity Today recently quoted Peterson as saying, “There’s very little Christ, very little Jesus, in these people who are fighting Rob Bell.”

My desire in this book is not to “fight Bell,” but to carefully evaluate the doctrine he is presenting and to respond to the charge that we Evangelicals have hijacked the Jesus story. Christian leaders have the responsibility of testing all things and holding fast to that which is good (I Thes. 5:21). There is a faith, a content of truth, which we need to understand, enjoy, and defend (Jude 3). We are commanded in I Timothy 4 to “Watch your life and doctrine closely.

Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (v. 16). Love Wins is not a work of poetry or a fictional essay, but rather is a theological treatise intended to challenge the prevailing viewpoint among Evangelical Christians. It is our duty to understand Love Wins and to respond to it charitably and biblically…

The purpose of this book is to help church leaders and serious Christians understand where Bell is coming from. Those who have not read or do not intend to read Love Wins will be asked by others about Bell and his viewpoint. This book will provide a brief, biblical response to his book.[1]

The Quiet Arrogance Of The Supposed Loving And Tolerant Ones

Did you catch the emerging arrogance of Eugene Peterson’s pronouncement; here it is below:

(Online source)

That quote comes from an interview with Peterson conducted by Timothy Dalrymple called Eugene Peterson: Would Jesus Condemn Rob Bell? over at Patheos, which is becoming a real haven for heretics. By the way, I’m not speaking of Dalrymple, whom I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with before. Here’s the fuller context of Peterson’s pontification:

(Online source)

There’s a ton wrong with Peterson’s pablum above; but let’s zero right in on this hubris: There’s very little Christ, very little Jesus, in these people who are fighting Rob Bell.” Where to start; first of all, let’s put to rest once and for all that these whom the Emerging Church look to as their spiritual guides, such as Eugene Peterson, are the humble ones. You’ve just read Peterson pronouncing definitively that people who’ve been critical of Rob Bell are actually fighting against what Jesus would be doing and are, at the very least, not Christlike.

Seriously Eugene Peterson; so you and Rob Bell are the godly ones, and men who correctly criticized Bell by defending the Gospel from his attack upon it, e.g. Al Mohler and John MacArthur, have very little Jesus in them. Buckle up now because we’re mentally off-roading again into the murky and muddy postmodern wasteland of Humpty Dumpty language. Remember, the disagreement these men have with Rob Bell, and the Lord bless them for it, has to do with the Gospel itself! If one can convert to Christ while in hell, then we’re dealing with another gospel entirely.

I covered this in more depth the other day in Supernatural Gatherings In The New Downgrade so here I’ll just remind you that in his God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins” pastor Kevin DeYoung reveals to us the gospel preached by Rob Bell:

According to Bell, salvation is realizing you’re already saved. We are all forgiven. We are all loved, equally and fully by God who has made peace with everyone… Bell is saying God has already forgiven us whether we ask for it or not, whether we repent and believe or not, whether we are born again or not…

Bell categorically rejects any notion of penal substitution. It simply does not work in his system or with his view of God… (Online source)

DeYoung is dead on target: This is not the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name, salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in the finished work on the Cross of Christ alone, which is integral to the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Yet, as I said before, Rob Bell continues right on in good stead within the evangelical community despite his preaching a different gospel. These are sad times indeed. Sadly, witness pathetic Protholic evangelical leaders so scared of their own spiritual shadows, and too timid to defend the purity of God’s Gospel, to throw that apostate out of the Lord’s church where he belongs.

Maybe Eugene Peterson picked up his delusion in a recent session of Contemplative/Centering Prayer, a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness that’s the crown jewel of the current infestation of corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, but he muses that Christ’s Church needs “to reexamine our doctrines of hell and damnation.” Nah, sorry about that; the evangelical Protestant doctrines in that regard happen to be what Jesus Himself taught, and what His infallible and inerrant Word teaches. The problem we’re running into here is largely rooted in the propaganda known as the New Perspective on Paul (NPP) and its warped view of salvation, which certainly affects the gospel those deceived by NPP teach.

In his article Have We Misunderstood Paul All Along: A Critical Look at the New Perspective on Paul Dr. Gary Gilley unveils its cult-like mentality:

The NPP proponents see themselves as the first people since the early Church Fathers who have rightly un­derstood Paul and his message. This is the case, they say, because believers in the past have used the wrong grid through which to filter the words of Paul, at least since Augustine, and especially since Martin Luther.[2]

Right; O poor dumb church, couldn’t grasp the Gospel until these guys showed up. Yet this is confirmed by Phil Johnson, executive director of the Grace to You ministry of Dr. John MacArthur; Gilley tells us that Johnson well “summarizes what is being taught by [NPP purveyor N.T.] Wright and his fol­lowers”:

“In a nutshell, they are suggest­ing that the apostle Paul has been seriously misunderstood, at least since the time of Augustine and the Pelagian controversy, but even more since the time of Luther and the Protestant Refor­mation. They claim first-century Judaism has also been misinter­preted and misconstrued by New Testament scholars for hundreds and hundreds of years, and therefore the church’s under­standing of what Paul was teach­ing in Romans and Galatians has been seriously flawed at least since the time of Augustine.” (Online source)

This is what you need to understand to know why such as these eschew talk of individual salvation and proper soteriology; Gilley will now bring to light that, along with other cardinal doctrines of the historic orthodox Christian faith, the NPP redefines the Gospel—thereby changing it into a different gospel—which is no gospel at all (cf. Galatians 1:6-9):

Of the many things wrong with [the NPP] definition of the Gospel, two are crucial. First, it transfers the focus of God’s people from the proclamation of redemption to social enhancement of the planet. For, as Wright points out, his gospel is not merely the announcement that Jesus is Lord (something true before the cross, by the way), but the rallying point from which the Church is to “bring the whole world under the lordship of Christ.”

Our mandate under the NPP is not to rescue people “from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). Rather our mandate is to rescue the planet and ultimately to crown Christ as Lord over all earthly systems and structures. God’s people are to set up the kingdom which Christ began. This is a clear “kingdom now” perspective found in postmillennialism.

That is, we are in the kingdom now and our job is to advance the kingdom to the point where Christ can declare king­ship over the earth and ultimately reign in person. For now this shakes out to be a social agenda… In order to make the NPP “work,” it becomes necessary to redefine ordeny fundamental doctrines of the faith.[3]

So, as I see it, there’s very little Christ, very little Jesus, in these people who are defending Rob Bell. 

End Notes:

[1] Larry Dixon, “Farewell, Rob Bell”: A Biblical Response to Love Wins [Columbia: Theomedian Resources, 2011], 1, 2, 3.

[2] Gary Gilley, “Have We Misunderstood Paul All Along: A Critical Look at the New Perspective on Paul ,” The Quarterly Journal, Personal Freedom Outreach, Vol. 27, No.3, July-September 2007 , 8.

[3] Ibid., 12.

See also: