Circa 2000 evangelical churches began using warped and toxic teachings of leaders in the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka theEmerging Church—with its “big tent” Progressive Christianity aka Emergence Christianity—such as former EC rock star pastor Rob Bell.
So for years now they’ve been poisoning their own young, and have advanced Bell’s mythology right into the very heart of the church visible. Another indication of widespread apostasy is that people like Rob Bell are actually considered as evangelical. Before he left Mars Hill Bible Church to become a TV producer I asked the key question: Is Rob Bell Evangelical?
A couple of years ago, even before he wrote his new book Love Wins and did the controversial promo video, which you can see in Transcript Of Love Wins Video Of Rob Bell, I laid out for you where Bell’s personal practice of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism would eventually lead him, as it does all stripes of so-called Christian mystics: Rob Bell And Christian Universalism.
As I’ve said before, I don’t think he is a universalist; however, I offer that Bell’s already been leaning toward this Christian Universalism, which is also known as Universal Reconciliation/Redemption, for many years now. For 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.
You need to understand that with postmodern mystics like Rob Bell we are entering deeply into the world of Humpty Dumpty Language, where words often appear to take shape without any real fixed meaning because such as these use evangelical language and then bend and reshape this Christian terminology to fit whatever audience they’re speaking to.
With this in mind then, let me now point you to today’s report New documentary explores views of hell, questions idea of eternal torment by Travis Loller of the Associated Press. Loller begins with the question: “How can a loving God send people, even bad people, to a place of eternal torment?” A classic question to be sure. He continues:
A new documentary struggles with questions of punishment and redemption and how culture affects and shapes Christian beliefs about God and the Bible.
Coming in the wake of controversy over Rob Bell’s 2011 hell-questioning book “Love Wins,” which put hell on the cover of Time magazine, and treading some of the same ground, filmmaker Kevin Miller believes the debate about the nature of hell is not academic.
In an interview after a Nashville screening of “Hellbound?” Miller said he believes our ideas about hell have a real-world effect on the way we live our lives and the way we relate to others. (source)
Miller’s right. However, the critical issue is: Should questions of punishment and redemption and culture shape Christian beliefs about God and the Bible? Answer: No. The Christian conforms his beliefs to God’s Word, period. Loller then references the mythology of Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren:
Perhaps popular theologian Brian McLaren best expresses that thought in the movie when he says, “If I believe that a small percentage of human beings were created to enjoy bliss eternally and another group of beings were created to experience eternal conscious torment, then I look at human beings differently than if I say, ‘Every human being was made in the image of God. Every human being is beloved by God. God is at work to save every human being.’” (source)
McLaren’s man-centered musing is the epitome of 1 John 4:5 — They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. This sappy sentimentality is shattered by Jesus Himself when He explains people who don’t believe in Him are already doomed to hell:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
While I’m certainly no fan of Mark Driscoll, he is correct in what Loller quotes him as saying in the AP report under discussion:
McLaren’s position is contrasted with that of Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll, who explains that, in his view, “God created the world and people chose to rebel against him. And God came and died to save some of them from the death they deserve.” (source)
Finally, Travis Loller tells us a bit more about filmmaker Kevin Miller and his movie which opens this Friday in New York City:
Miller is from Canada, but his religious upbringing probably would be more common for an American. He calls himself a recovering fundamentalist, although he said has great respect for the “ladies who put their heart and soul” into teaching him about the Bible.
He grew up in the mainline United Church of Canada but joined the Mennonite church as teenager. He went to a Mennonite Bible college and spent some time in an interdenominational seminary. He attended several nondenominational evangelical churches before becoming an Anglican.
Miller said he considers himself a sophisticated reader of the Bible but never gave much thought to hell before he edited a book on the subject several years ago. The controversy surrounding Bell’s “Love Wins” helped him frame the debate for the movie and some of the interview subjects are Bell’s most significant critics and supporters. Miller says his film is primarily aimed at a religious audience.
“A growing number of people are increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of a God who calls us to love our enemies but who will one day vanquish his enemies to hell,” he said in an interview. “People sense the contradiction but think that the only way to resolve it is to leave Christianity.” (source)