Rob Bell Revealed

from the archive…

Rob Bell

False prophets don’t speak heresy. Not at first anyway. They build trust before leading unsuspecting people into error.

Rob Bell has used his Nooma videos to become a household name and to get access to evangelical churches that would normally shield the flock from liberal humanistic theology.

Last night Peter, Jonathen and I listened to God Wants to Save Christians Part III which you can listen to from his website (Week 400). That is, Peter and I listed to it. Jonathan left in disgust after about 15 minutes.

In his sermon Rob Bell describes how hell doesn’t exist as a place of eternal torment. He makes his case by cunningly playing with Greek words in ways I will specifically address in a later post.

Rob Bell insinuates that:

  • Hell is here on earth and for those who suffer social injustice and loneliness.
  • Hell doesn’t exist as a place of eternal torment.
  • Jesus went into a drunken rant about the Pharisees.
  • We are not to warn the lost about eternity.

Both Jonathan and Peter after hearing the sermon separately asked if Bell’s conclusions meant that there was no heaven either. I don’t think Bell believes this but does it matter? If you don’t tell people to repent from their sins how can they hope to enter heaven? Oh wait, Bell doesn’t believe you should use words like “repent.”

Throughout his sermon Rob Bell condemns hypocrisy and implies that we are not to judge. But, does this not make him an intellectual hypocrite because saying that it is wrong to judge is itself a judgment!

If he said, “You should only judge bible believing evangelical Christians” at least he would be intellectually honest.

I played a Nooma video in Lifegroup last semester. I liked Bell back then. I am not saying everything Bell says is false or that we can’t learn from him. After all, I am trying to copy his cool hair. That said,

I advise extreme caution regarding his teachings !

Overall, there is nothing new about Rob Bell. He has just repackaged mainline liberal humanism into a post modern bite sized format. Don’t become overly concerned but don’t think he is an evangelical either.

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the author of Courtship in Crisis, the former head of PracticalCourtship.com, and co-founder of the Austin Rhetoric Club, a homeschool speech and debate club in Austin, Texas. He is a professional speaker and CEO of Author Media. He sits on the board of directors for several nonprofits, including the Texas Alliance for Life.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

19 thoughts on “Rob Bell Revealed

  1. I tried to listen to God Wants to Save Christians Part III, but your link took me to GoDaddy.com. After some time of searching here I could not find this sermon, his website or “week 400.” Perhaps Rob Bell took down this sermon off of his website.

  2. Not that you care but…

    Your opening Rob Bell line could be said about you…couldn’t it?

    I would advise being careful about throwing stones at other peoples beliefs. You wouldn't want to come across as a hypocrite would you? Your article didn’t sound very Christian to me. More like Roman if anything. Keep in mind I have no idea who Rob Bell is or you are for that matter. Just an outside observer.

    The funny thing to me is you are all of what…23?…but you seem to have the answers. It’s truly amazing that time and time again it's the youth that always know it all. When you and people like yourself accept that in reality, in the big picture, you/we know nothing…then and only then will you start to learn something. Only then are you ready to intake information, critically evaluate it, and not just regurgitate other people’s antiquated and archaic beliefs. (Not singling you out specifically, I mean people in general)

    I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to believe in something, what I am saying is that you are propagating as much conjecture as the next guy or group…aren’t you? You don’t know what is true and what isn’t. You can’t, it’s impossible. No one can prove anything. So why would you cast a stone when you are doing the same thing Rob Bell is, or Tom Cruise or reverend Wright for that matter? (All in your own direction of course) It’s all just your or your group’s spin on what you THINK is true. Yet you warn of heresy? Heresy to who and what? By religious definitions, every one of us is a heretic to someone else with different beliefs. What makes your brand of bread the correct one?

    My real question to you and people like you is; what qualifies a 23 year old guy like yourself to be an expert on this subject? Enough to warn others of heresy that is? Maybe I am the one who is off here. So tell me why I would listen to the opinions of someone a few years out of High School on such a massive concept as religion. Are you a worldy guy? Can I ask if you have lived all over and studied all of the religions of the world? OK, skip that…have you at least studied all of the religions of the world from home? Do you know the histories of them all? I know your answer. So my next question is, then why would you think you are qualified? Do you see my point?

    Bro, believe what you like. I’m all for it. It’s better to have people put their attention to something sudo positive than committing crimes for example, but why don’t you take a page out of the good book and not cast the first stone. Everyone’s house is made of glass.

    Here is a bible quote for you;

    “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.”

    In no means is this meant to be an attack or antagonistic. I got nothing but love. Merely one man’s opinion, just like yours. If you took it the wrong way, read it again in a softer tone as that’s how it was written.

    Take care and good luck on your journey

  3. Judge Not, in all seriousness is that not what you are doing? 🙂 The fact is that we all judge each other (I am judging that you are judging). What the scripture specifically says is "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement" (John 7:24) As believers of the Scripture, when we see someone who is telling/preaching something in the name of God that doesn't agree with the Scripture, that teaching is false. We have both the right and the responsibility to warn others against those teachers. I personally have not looked into Rob Bells ministry, yet, but I will. And I do this because I know this young man personally, and I know that he would not have posted this uninformed or flippantly. Another Scripture says, (1 Timothy 4:12) "Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity". He is an example to other young people to challenge their teachers by the Scriptures, no matter their age. I will definately look into Rob Bell and make sure that he is totally in agreement with the Scripture before I accept what I read in his books or support his ministry.

  4. Very interesting post. I am a Youth / Family Pastor in Grand Rapids, around the corner from Rob Bell. I may try to listen to that sermon soon.

    I have not seen any of the Nooma stuff but I have read Velvet Elvis. I, too, get a "red flag" vibe occaisionally when I read his stuff.

    btw – I read from your Twitter's that you are a WordPress guy? I am using Joomla for my techy blog, but I am wanting to go back to wordpress for blogging reasons.

  5. @JudgeNot Did you read past the first line? You don't seem to take issue with what I have to say as much as that you don't think that I have the authority to say it. You say that is is impossible to know the truth. That is an interesting thought. How do you know it to be true? Your premise that truth is unfindable is internally inconstant. The knowablity of truth is self evident.

    You assume that I am untraveled and unstudied. How traveled and studied do I need to be before I will have authority to speak? I have visited most continents and had lengthy discussions with the adherents of most religions. But these are not the basis of my authority. The Bible is.

    Do I fully understand the Bible? No I do not. But just because I cannot hold the whole ocean in my hand does not mean that my hand cannot hold water. Just because I do not know all truth does not mean I do not know any truth. If I am wrong please let me know where I am wrong. Perhaps through reason and dialogue I will see my error.

    @John I used to use Joomla and switched back to WordPress myself. After version 2.5 I felt that WordPress was a much stronger platform for both blogging and static pages. There are some great themes over at iThemes.com and RevolutionTwo.com that show you some of what WordPress can do.

  6. The author of this article is biblically addressing Rob Bell's teaching of a false gospel. This is not "casting a stone" as some may see it.

    If you say, "Judge not lest you be judged" make sure you don't use this incorrectly. Suppose you have children – possibly you do – and you want to find a baby sitter. Would you leave your children in the care of total stranger without inquiring of their values. Would you let the stranger watch your child if they are a child molester because you don't want to "judge."

    If you don't use sound judgement than you are a fool… Yes, that's a judgement!

    The Bible warns against false prophets and Jesus even exorts the church in Ephesus in the following way: Revelation 2:6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

    Jesus also chastens the chuch in Pergamum in the following way: Revelation 2:14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

    When Christ taught not to judge he wasn't throwing a blanket over all judgement. You must read the verse in the context it was written. Read Luke 6:37-42 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%

    If I point my finger at you and speak of your sin with the motivation of trying elevate myself than I am judgemental fool.

    John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

    If I show you that you have sinned against God and my intent is to explain that you stand condemned already than I am doing what God loves – showing you, in love, that you are in need of a savior because you can't save yourself and the grace and mercy offered to you by God through Christ Jesus. He died a bloody, horrible death. He took the death scentance that you and I deserve, so that you can do what you were created to do – have a relationship with God if you are willing to turn from living a sinful life, trust in the life that Christ gave on the cross, and die to yourself and live for Him.

    • What about Bullhorn Kyle?

      I’ve seen it. I watched it in a small group and everyone loved it with the exception of me and another guy. Bullhorn, through the script and director, paints a picture of a very angry guy that goes out open air preaching. Does this happen? Sure. But, is the films intent to distort open air preaching as being what angry, leagalistic evangelist do? Yes it is. Just because a video “connects” with people we shouldn’t assume that it is glorifying to God. Jesus, told us that if they hated him then they would hate us. If something is so appealing to the world around us it should send up a red flag to look and see how it matches up with the Word.

  7. Thomas, thanks for bravely calling attention to false doctrine. Scripture is very clear we must diligently protect Christ's people and His church from false and deceptive teaching. See Galatians 1:6-10, 1 Timothy 1:3. Keep checking everything you hear against the truth of God's Word.

  8. Jesus Christ crucified, for you and for me, the ultimate Gift from the ultimate Giver, the ultimate demonstration of unfailing Love to a people that deserved anything but, the only response is thank you Jesus please help me to live all of my life for You, and then God will fill you with the Fruit of His Gift, His very Spirit, Who will comfort you, direct you, and guide you into all Truth. This is Real, ask God today, be filled today, and know that God will remind you of reading this on the last day. Eternal life is a free gift, and He wants more than anything to give it to (your name here). Don’t reject His Love, He won’t force Himself on you, but He is everything you are searching for. There is a hell, but Jesus paid the price for you, so will you reject Him and choose eternity away from Him that is a conscious state of death, or will you experience the freedom and joy that were purchased for you with the blood of His Son Jesus Christ? You can’t earn it, its not based on your behavior, its based on the attitude of your heart. Just recieve His Love today! May God give you the grace to accept.

    adressed to everyone, God is good.

  9. Thanks for writing this blog and sharing it with the world. I would like to know how to go for reading your rss blog. Please let me know if possible.

    regards

  10. interesting. ALL of you, including pastor guy that wrote this post (with good intention) are the reason the church is divided. People believe different things, and thats a problem with those that dont believe the same. The bible says that the greatest commandment is to love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, mind, and soul. AND to love your neighbor like a brother. GOOD JOB. Because most of you sound like a prick to me. And “Judge Not”, what about you? Do you have all the answers? You don’t. So let this man speak, just as you can speak. I personally like and respect Rob Bell BUT, I dont agree with everything he says, matter of fact, he’s kind of crazy. But I think he means well, and has a heart for God. He’s learning just like us.

  11. Its always evident that those that don't know the Scriptures, nor take any time to actually study them rely on 2 misquoted verses to defend their laziness to know the Word of God, those 2 verses are about loving others and not judging. You know when the Steven spoke the Word of the Lord, those that fell upon him stopped their ears. You can be all touchy feely all you want but when it comes down to it, its not what I or you say but what the Word of the Lord says about it, hence I can see why someone would want to down play the Scriptures and even down play the cannonization of the Scriptures. Perhaps a little less time in front of the TV, Facebook or whatever and a little more time in the Word and the early church fathers you would have a better ideal of what is at stake in stead of some non-sense that hell is here on this earth, universalism and all this post-modern pyscho bable. bah!

  12. I am only saying this because I hope you will find it constructive, but this kind of blog, and especially this kind of post is why the thread by which I am still attached the Christianity is almost completely frayed.

    Rob Bell’s book makes more sense to me than my entire upbringing in an Evangelical household, conservative church and homeschooling environment. Maybe this is because I am a liberal on most things, but I think you should be careful not to come across as bigoted, and that you should not say what Rob Bell is insinuating when you’re just going to generalize. Because I know for a fact that he’s not saying that we need to not warn people about hell. He’s saying that that is of utmost importance! To warn them about the hells that they’re living in so that people can live in harmony with the ultimate reality which is grace, truth and peace. The things that characterize the Trinity.

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