Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mormon who loves Rob Bell's Theology?

If you have ever listened to Rob Bell you know that it is a hodge podge of misinformation, oddly quoted Bible verses, aberrant theology, a focus on culture and an lack of historical-grammatical hermetics . In his book the Velvet Elvis he denies such orthodox Christian doctrines as the Virgin Birth and attacks Salvation by Grace alone. Just those issues alone are Heretical. He is one of the new Kingdom Now proponents and allies himself with such "Emergents" as Maclaren and Pagitt. Both of which who have denied much of standard orthodox Christian doctrines.

A friend of mine and I have discussed why so many of the "Christians" who do not want to do honest witnessing, especially to Mormons love Rob Bell and the other Emergents. This is always a pretty easy discussion. Then just recently I read Jeff Fuller's article on Mormonism and Rob Bell at Reformed Evangelist, this piece begins to look at the similarities.

So what are these similarities, these are just a few of the ones I have found, it is by no means comprehensive but I would like to continue to add to it. BTW I find this extremely frightening.

Mormons and Emergents similarities
-Deny orthodox Christian Beliefs
-Ascribe to a form of relativism
-Have some agreement with Pelagianism or Universalism
-Argue against 2000 years of Christian History
-Are trying to rewrite history to suit themselves
-Have a low opinion of God's Sovereignty
-Have a low understanding of the Nature of God
-Are concerned with works as a means to usher in the kingdom

These are just a few so feel free to add to my list.

Now my friend Aaron sent me this blog post from Times and Seasons. A Mormon named Julie blogs on about how she loves Rob Bell and his theology! Lets go through this letter she wrote. My comments are in bold italics.

I Heart Rob Bell
by Julie M. Smith

I have a theological crush (not to be confused with an intellectual crush or a garden variety crush) on Rob Bell. If you haven’t heard of him, start here or here but be sure to listen to one of his sermons here. (”Both sides of the cup” is particularly good.)

I like listening to him because:

(1) He manages to successfully negotiate both Greek roots and real, personal application of scriptures in sermons that are faithful to the scriptures. He’s faithful to both the original context (and subtext) of the texts that he uses but also builds a bridge to what the text can (and should) mean today.

When she says Greek roots she must not be talking about the language because Rob does a very poor job in translating, I do not know his Koine Greek education, but hearing his sermons he does not seem to be concentrated on the actual text. I think Julie is referring to a cultural thing here. And this is a wrong understanding of how we read any text. She uses the terms "can and should". What? The text means what it means not what it potentially means? This is postmodern thinking and relativism, to use the text to justify or impose your thinking on it. This is what Rob and the Mormons do is force their presuppositions into the Bible. The Bible speaks clearly and conveys truth, not potential truth. Context, context, context.

(2) He might be hip and funny, but he’s not guilty of some of the nonsense that I’ve seen in other celebrity Christians: there’s no Christianity Lite (think Veggietales) or bizarre but popular perversions (think Prosperity Gospellers). He preaches about everything from sexual purity to gossip to care for the poor. He’s the real deal of biblical theology–no watering down, no pandering to postmodern culture.

She is definitely wrong here, yes Rob Bell tackles all the issues...even the "tough" ones but he is definitely not the "real deal" of biblical theology it is watered down and all he does is pander to the postmodern culture. I am not sure how much Julie has listened to him in fact I am sure Rob would say he does do a lot to subvert his message FOR the postmodern culture. That is why all the relativist and post moderns love him. Christian lite? Rob is a unique abstract sensationalist he is just usually doing this by going against orthodoxy or attacking other Christians.

(3) He manages to do what I think may be the single hardest feat for a gospel teacher: to convince the audience to want to mprove without making them feel that their efforts are futile. We’re probably all familiar with what it looks like when a teacher misses this mark and the audience either feels like irredeemable scum for being the only person in the room who would even think of yelling at her children or the audience is left thinking that, hey, we’re all only human and so of course we’re going to yell at the kids. But all of Bell’s sermons that I have listened to have made clear that he knew that there were people listening who were struggling with everything from addiction to despair to, well, you name it, but that all of them could and would improve their lives if they chose to follow Christ.

This statement shows Julie's hermeneutic and I think she is right on about Bell's hermeneutic they both are poor at best. The problem is where is it in scripture that God wants us to improve our lives? This is a low view of God and Scripture. God is sovereign and he will get the Glory and he wants all to come to true repentance and faith. God wants us to improve our lives by being born again. He then will then give us new desires and we will want to follow him. Julies comment here shows how so many are trying to work their way into the kingdom of God.....unfortunately Matt 7:21-23.

(4) He is also really good at emphasizing both personal morality and social justice; my impression is that many brands of Christianity over-emphasize one at the expense of the other.

While these things are important, they need to take a secondary position underneath The Gospel and true Biblical Exegesis.

(5) His sermons always make me want to be more Christlike and do a better job of following Christ.

This is concerning coming from a Mormon, because Christians have such a different view of Christ than Mormons. Is Rob Bell's understanding of Christ so skewed that Mormons who have a heretical understanding of Christ would agree with him?

I do have one concern about Rob Bell; a concern best expressed, perhaps, in an episode of King of the Hill that I have not personally technically seen but which my husband (upon whom I have much more than a crush) described to me in loving detail. Apparently Bobby had become enamored of a “skateboarding ministry.” Hank Hill pulled out a box of toys that Bobby had outgrown and expressed his concern that Jesus would end up in that box once skateboarding became passe. There will come a time when Rob Bell will fit in the cultural box of so-last-week instead of hipster. I suppose there is a risk that that will result in young people turning away from God. But I think it more likely that a new figure who meets whatever constitutes hip (or whatever they’ll call it) in 2030 will be up to the job of filling Bell’s trendy shoes. Till then, you might want to listen to some of his sermons.

I do not know where to even begin here. Rob Bell seeks to be relevant in a culture by being like the culture. He seeks to undermine the rest of Christianity by imposing a different historical interpretation of culture, tradition, even orthodoxy that is based upon super imposed ideas he brings to the table. The only thing this article shows is that right hermeneutics and adhering to the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ is so very important.


L. Curtis said...

So disturbing. This is the exact problem with much of the Church today and this man and others like him are pandering to the desires of cults such as mormonism and their drive to muddy the waters of true Biblical Christianity and make themselves appear to be part of the Body. We see this exact thing being done in our local "standing together" organization and mr. Bell is no different. Scary and sad. Makes our job on the streets all the harder.

But in the end, God will be glorified and the truth will prevail. Eyes on Him.

forv said...
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