Rob Bell, the Pastor’s Task of Discernment, and My Heart

I am traveling to visit our daughter and son-in-law this weekend for a baby shower and birthday celebration of my wife’s brother. I should be back online by Monday evening. In the meantime, I have posted some articles that I believe address the terrible condition of the church in our day due to the laxness of spiritual discernment compounded by the prevalence of numerous popular false teachers. Enjoy and be blessed – Mike Ratliff


By C.J. Mahaney  2/12/2008 2:25:00 PM

 

Today’s pastor is given the challenging task of discerning error that comes published in hip packaging from Christian publishers, authored by professing Christians.   

So many errors, so little time. 

In executing this responsibility, pastors must discern whether the influence of the individual and the gravity of their error necessitate research and evaluation by a pastor. Today I want to explain one particular concern and give you an inside look at how I approach this difficult task. 

Now, because this short post limits what I can say, I recommend listening to one the finest messages on this topic—Mark Dever’s message from New Attitude 2007 (“Discern Your Doctrine”).

Gilbert on Bell

Today I want to draw your attention to Greg Gilbert’s critique of Rob Bell’s NOOMA videos. Greg serves as director of theological research for the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In prioritizing what materials concern us as pastors, I believe Rob Bell’s writings, videos, and influence cannot (and should not) be ignored. I think we should carefully consider Greg Gilbert’s reviews, which demonstrate a commendable combination of humility of heart and theologically informed discernment about matters of primary importance.

Within this pastoral task of discernment, I’m reminded of four biblical priorities.

1. Protect Your People

A pastor’s role includes protecting the flock from error. This is no easy task today, especially when so many of the popular books and videos published by professing Christians who appear to have serious theological deficiencies. Yet pastors cannot simply ignore the prevalence and influence of these materials; they have the responsibility to protect those entrusted to their care. 

This discernment is especially important when the issues are of primary importance and not secondary, when—as carefully noted by Greg Gilbert—matters of the gospel are in question. 

It’s worth noting that acting to protect the flock from published teachings that depart from Scripture is handled differently than steps taken privately to confront a brother in sin (i.e. Matthew 18:15-20). Let me state clearly that I don’t assign sinful motivation to Rob Bell. Actually, I assume he is sincere. But sincerity doesn’t exempt any of us from the appropriate evaluation of what we teach.

2. Prepare Your Heart

When required to critique the writings and teachings of another, I must pay careful attention to my heart. Scripture calls us to correct those in error with gentleness, avoiding quarrelsome attitudes, showing kindness to everyone, and enduring all evil (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

Whenever it’s necessary to critique erroneous content, I find it helpful to remind myself of the mercy of God. Any insight I have learned has been learned from others, and ultimately, this discernment has been graciously revealed by God. In no way does my critique indicate intellectual or moral superiority on my part. We must critique erroneous content, but our critique must be humble and not self-righteous.

If we accurately perceive God’s mercy, this will become an occasion of thanking God for his mercy in our lives rather than an opportunity for self-righteous communication.

Whenever we take up this task of critiquing and addressing error, we must guard our hearts and pursue the task with humility and gentleness.

3. Preach Sound Doctrine

The most effective way to protect your church from error is by a steady diet of gospel-centered, sound doctrine. For this reason I don’t recommend that pastors repeatedly and consistently make public references to erroneous books or media. 

Only on a few particular occasions do I think it’s wise for a pastor to make specific reference to an individual in the context of a sermon. However, a pastor must be aware of what is popular and influential, because he will be asked these questions by church members in private conversations. So I draw a distinction between what a pastor addresses in a sermon and what he should be prepared to address in private conversation when approached by a member of his church.

You need to be prepared for these conversations, and that’s why I believe Greg Gilbert’s reviews will help prepare you for when you are asked about Rob Bell. 

4. Pray for Rob Bell

We must pray for those who are in need of correction and who teach erroneous doctrine. Even those classified as our “opponents” should be addressed kindly, out of concern for their souls, praying that God will lead them to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25). How much more care should be taken with a professing brother in Christ?

Specifically, I pray for Rob Bell in the following ways:

  • Pray that God reveals to him the content of the gospel.
  • Pray that God reveals to him the primacy of the gospel.
  • Pray that he perceives his accountability to God and responsibility for those he leads.
  • Pray that he would be humbly attentive and responsive to the critique of godly scholars.
  • Pray that he would devote himself to the study of sound doctrine by finding his way to the right books and scholars who can train him.

Prayer is an effective way to examine our motives in correcting others. When I pray for someone I find it more difficult to be self-righteous in my attitude toward him. Correction without concern for the corrected leads to self-righteousness. Correction with sincere concern for the welfare of the corrected is a display of genuine humility and love.

Conclusion

In all instances of critique, we must carefully research the details in private to avoid misrepresenting the position of the one we critique. I think you will agree that Greg Gilbert’s reviews of Rob Bell’s NOOMA videos have been carefully researched. But the reviews also display character we can learn from—a careful humility of heart and a theologically informed discernment about matters of primary importance (those related to the gospel).

46 thoughts on “Rob Bell, the Pastor’s Task of Discernment, and My Heart

  1. “Whenever it’s necessary to critique erroneous content, I find it helpful to remind myself of the mercy of God. Any insight I have learned has been learned from others, and ultimately, this discernment has been graciously revealed by God. In no way does my critique indicate intellectual or moral superiority on my part. We must critique erroneous content, but our critique must be humble and not self-righteous.”

    What a wonderful piece of correction about correction. I found it so balanced and when he mentioned praying for Rob Bell I was hooked. Thank you, Mike, this post was outstanding and I was convicted and edified together.

  2. I pray that Rob Bell continues to preach the Good News. As a pastor and teacher I have shown the NOOMA videos to numerous groups of teens and adults and have watched the Spirit convict, stir and heal a great number. I praise God for Bell and his ministry and the work for the Kingdom that Mars Hill has done and continues to do despite the efforts of some.

    grace and peace,
    Chad

  3. not saying i support bell, but i have enjoyed the nooma series. again, I do not profess to believe everything he states, but i love being stretched. i appreciate how you handled your beliefs, but I was wondering what you thought bell had so horribly wrong?

  4. frankie,

    According to scripture, the things that people teach that must be brought into the light so that people can be warned about false teachers are Jesus’ Deity, His Resurrection, and the Gospel itself. Since you say you have seen the Nooma Series then you must have seen “Bull Horn Guy.” In it Rob Bell proves that he is ashamed of the Gospel and blasts those who preach the Law and Sin as vital parts of it. That is my issue with him.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  5. Wow, “Bull Horn Guy” was one of my favorites. I thought it painted a great picture of someone not reaching the world with the love of Christ. Just yelling and badgering people into the kingdom is not how Christ did it; He reached out with love, addressed their immediate need of Him but without battering people. I would be reluctant to write someone off because of one ten minute teaching that I disagreed with. At that rate you won’t be left with anyone other than yourself. Just a thought.

  6. Matthew,

    It was not based on one 10 minute video, but on what HE said and continues to say about the Gospel. Let’s see. What did Jesus call the Pharisees Matthew? Did he not call them a brood of vipers? What about Stephen as he preached to those who were persecuting him. Was he not rough on them sir? Your understanding of the Gospel and how the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of the lost is incomplete. Sure, many will flee, but there are always those who respond to the real gospel and they are the few who find the narrow gate.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  7. How Jesus spoke to the Pharisees was very different than how He spoke to others; He was very blunt and rough on the religiously arrogant, but to the lost He reached out with love and tremendous compassion. It is dangerous to pull out one approach and say that it is the way to approach everyone when Jesus had different approaches for different groups.

  8. Matthew,

    Please try to understand this. I am not saying we need to yell and scream, etc. I am saying we must tell the truth. Not presenting the whole gospel saves no one. Also, Rob Bell doubts there is a Hell. He doubts the Virgin Birth. etc. Why would you think that not preaching Christ and Him Crucified is the way to go?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  9. Mike,

    Thanks for the reply….I have not seen Bullhorn Guy….one of the few I have not seen. I would like to check it out. Again, I do not agree with everything he says, but I do like to be stretched.

    Peace,

    Frankie

  10. Bell never says he doubts there was a virgin birth. He just asked if there wasn’t would you still believe in Christ.

    Just a thought

    Frankie

  11. Chad,

    I found your comment in the Spam queue. In any case, I think you are mistaken about the Rob Bell being anyone who could ever preach the orthodox gospel since he denies the existence of Hell and the virgin birth. He also doesn’t believe we should preach about sin and hell and judgement.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  12. Frankie,

    So that is what you mean by stretching? Well, what’s the point? He questions things that are known by genuine Christians by faith not by sight. And I ask again, what’s the point of asking something like that?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. Partly. Sometimes we put God in a box and say it has to be this way or it has to be that way. I know what I believe about God. When I hear stuff I disagree with it makes me understand why I believe it that much more. I want to study it and understand why I believe why I do. If anything, it makes my faith stronger. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that Mary was a virgin, but what if she wasn’t. Would that destroy my faith? In the Old Testament it could (not saying it should be) be translated young girl. So, if Mary was a young girl who was pregnant, instead of a virgin does that make Jesus any less the Christ?

    It is just like other facets of my faith, Calvinism…Discipleship….even those who are more traditional in their faith. I allow these things to stretch me.

    Would I listen to Rob Bell week in and week out? No, and I wouldn’t encourage any one to do that.

    We should not only preach Christ’s love, but to say someone could not come to Christ by him preaching it is wrong. We should be preaching Christ and Him crucified for our salvation. We should preach sin, hell, etc., but we should also preach God’s love, mercy and grace….you can’t have one without the other.

    Peace,

    Frankie

  14. Rob Bell being anyone who could ever preach the orthodox gospel since he denies the existence of Hell and the virgin birth. He also doesn’t believe we should preach about sin and hell and judgement.

    Mike,

    With all due respect, this could not be further from the truth. I would suggest that instead of getting your information about Bell from his critics that you study his teachings for yourself. I have been listening to his sermons for nearly 4 years now, read both his books, seen all his videos and seen him live and what you are saying is simply false.

    I don’t know how else to say it.

    peace,
    Chad

  15. As a college student, Rob Bell has played an enormous role in my effort to deepen my faith by looking beyond the typical religious verbiage and routine rituals that so easily become empty and meaningless. Bell meets people where they are without putting himself on some sort of holy spiritual pedestal–a tendency that has run rampant in the fundamentalist and SBC churches of today. He is reaching people for Christ and changing thousands of lives for the Glory of God. I have deep respect for the man and his work, and I hope more pastors will look to him as a strong model for ministry in a postmodern world.

    In Christ,
    Sam Hill

  16. Well Chad,

    If you had read the rules for commenting here then you would know that you cannot make claims like yours in debating these things without proof. I have many good friends who have studied everything Rob Bell preaches and writes and says. I read their stuff and I listen to him myself and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that for you to make that statement and mean it then you are basing your value judgment of Rob Bell on a complete misunderstanding of what the Genuine Gospel is the very strict standards God gave us for one who is one of His ministers.

    Ministers of the Gospel are called to rightly divide the word of truth, not cast doubt on it as the Word of God. I suggest that you read this.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  17. samdhill,

    Really, so you consider men like John MacArthur and John Piper to be full of religious verbiage and blah, blah, blah? Did I get that right? So only a preacher with a postmodern view is right and anyone who points out the unbiblical nature of what Rob Bell preaches and teaches is , ” just wrong.” Then you chime in with a well said to Chad who said nothing but his opinion with no proof. Did I get that right?

    I suggest you stop listening to men like Bell and get into your Bible being led by the Holy Spirit.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  18. Mike,

    You said: he denies the existence of Hell and the virgin birth.

    Rob Bell says:

    “I affirm the historic Christian faith, which includes the virgin birth and the Trinity and the inspiration of the Bible and much more. I am a part of it, and I want to pass it on to the next generation. I believe that God created everything and that Jesus is Lord and that God has plans to restore everything.”
    Velvet Elvis, Page 27

    Like I said, I suggest you get your information from the source rather than friends who have done “research.”

    peace,
    Chad

  19. Mike,

    I’m not here to get anyone worked up–but Bell is part of my spiritual testimony. Also, Chad would certainly be a more reliable source on Rob Bell’s writings or teaching than one as yourself who bases opinions of Bell on second-hand sources that are biased and often uninformed themselves.
    There is absolutely no evidence from any of his two tours, Nooma DVDs, sermons, or books to suggest that he denies the virgin birth and an existence of hell. If so, since you are stuck on evidence, please cite the quotation from which you draw this clear conclusion. Thanks.

    Also, I said nothing of Piper or MacArthur–I have read them both, and they obviously are men of God, but there is a reason why Bell has been so incredibly effective with the young generation. It is not heresy, blasphemy, diluting Gospe, etcetera–it is because he approaches faith and spirituality in a way that is truly relevant to his audience, as myself.

    If you’d like to deny his authenticity, “training,” or truth, that’s your business, but I have experienced growth from his message and I am closer to God because of it.

    In Christ,

    Sam Hill

  20. “If you had read the rules for commenting here then you would know that you cannot make claims like yours in debating these things without proof.”

    Mike, is this a rule that only applies to those you disagree with? Where is your proof that Bell “denies the virgin birth”? You have made claim after claim about Bell without the first bit of evidence and have admitted to getting your information second hand. That’s hearsay, friend.

  21. Chad and Sam

    Rob Bell is a liberal and universalist no matter how much he insinuates that he isn’t. Here is quote from Bob Dewaay’s exposition of Velvet Elvis.

    In Velvet Elvis, Bell asserts that all people are already forgiven, reconciled, without having to respond to the Gospel in the manner Jesus said in the Great Commission: “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Here is Bell’s claim: “So this reality, this reconciliation, is true for everybody.” His proof text is Colossians 1:20 which he assumes teaches universalism. But the passage includes humans, spirits and the material world. Wicked spirits will never be reconciled to God, and Christ has triumphed over them and disarmed them (Colossians 2:15). Elsewhere Paul “begs” people to be reconciled to God (2Corinthians 5:20). People who are not reconciled to God are ultimately consigned to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). But, having eschewed systematic theology, Bell’s trampoline jump does not require consideration of those passages that call into question his use of a favorite proof text.
    Bell sees that forgiveness and reconciliation are already true for all people, and the problem is that some have not accepted that particular telling of their story. He says, “The fact that we are loved and accepted and forgiven in spite of everything we have done is simply too good to be true. Our choice becomes this: We can trust his retelling of the story, or we can trust our telling of our story.” This obscures the demands of the law and the promise of the gospel. Believing a story where we are reconciled to God even if we are not Christians is not the Biblical message. We are wicked rebels who abide under God’s wrath unless we repent and believe the gospel. Never in the Book of Acts did any of the apostolic preachers proclaim, “Believe you are loved and accepted” as the terms of the gospel. They preached repentance as Christ told them to.

    So, the man you are defending does not believe in literal hell or if he does then no one will be there. Why? Everyone is forgiven. No, sorry, that is not Biblical. You can go right on saying he did not say these things, but he did.

    What does this mean? It means that Rob Bell is a heretic and if you don’t think so then you are deceived.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  22. Chad,

    Opinion is just that. You cannot argue from this stance, “I say so so there.” Nope, sorry. The Virgin Birth thing was already addressed by Frankie.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  23. Mike,
    Since you have already proven that your research is amiss with the whole virgin birth fiasco it hardly does you any good to now quote someone else who is interpreting what they think Rob Bell thinks.

    Bell is NOT a universalist. Not in the sense that all paths lead to God and all will be saved. His view is closer to the early church (first 1500 years, to be precise) and in line with an idea of atonement that has Christ as Victor (Christos Victor). In Romans 5 we read that ALL have been reconciled to God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. THEREFORE, BE reconciled. Bell is absolutely dead on: We have been reconciled to God, now, BE reconciled.

    Even Calvin recognized this and framed the heart of the gospel NOT as REPENT and you will be saved but rather, You are SAVED, THEREFORE, Repent!

    I preached a sermon not long ago titled “The Truth About You.” It can explain in fuller detail the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel – the same that Bell proclaims. You can read it here: http://chadholtz.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/the-truth-about-you/

    It is true about you as well.

    grace and peace,
    Chad

  24. Opinion is just that. You cannot argue from this stance, “I say so so there.” Nope, sorry. The Virgin Birth thing was already addressed by Frankie.

    What are you talking about, Mike? What “opinion”?

    Are you going to do the honorable thing and admit that Bell does not “deny the virgin birth” as you have claimed? Or will you continue spreading lies about a fellow brother in Christ even after being confronted with the truth in his own words?

  25. Chad,

    I was quoting another article. However, my research is not amiss and Rob Bell is a universalist in the same vein as those who preach that “All things will be fully reconciled to God in the end.” No, that is not the view of the early church. I assume you have heard of Augustine.

    You leave out the most important part of Romans 5. That peace with God is available through FAITH. Also, the WE there is Christians not all people. No thank you. I have read enough of Bell and listened to him enough to know that he is a deceiver and the Gospel he preaches is false. Why is this so? It is so because the very things you shared in your comment are not biblical.

    Here is the Biblical Gospel:

    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)

    Also, Ephesians 1 is very specific that God chose His people before the foundation of the World and then we read in Revelation that many will be cast into the lake of fire. No, there is a hell and people who think they are Christians will end up there – Matthew 7.

    If God is Sovereign, and He is, and he reconciled everyone to Himself then why is it that people still end up in Hell? The answer is that He is sovereign and all those He chose are His and none of them end up in Hell.

    No, no one is saved outside of believing God and receiving Christ as Lord and Saviour as God regenerates them so they can believe.

    This is why Rob Bell’s gospel, and yours, is heretical.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  26. Thanks Chad–well said, again.

    Perhaps time would be better spent reaching out to those in need as opposed to spending time writing cheap-shot blogs that are essentially used to bring down brothers in Christ who are working to do God’s will.

    Since when is that right or biblical? I don’t care what you say about your own narrow-minded mission to discern truth. Just because you have a particular, close-minded faith doesn’t mean you are infallible or hold a monopoly on the truth. Under any circumstance, constant judgment , self-righteousness, and negativity is counterproductive to the cause of Christ.

    In Christ,

    Sam Hill

  27. Well, Mike, I praise God that He is not you.

    grace and peace to you.

    Chad

    p.s. you really should read that sermon I linked above…it is still true about you whether you accept it or not :)

  28. Grow up Sam,

    Chad,

    Here is Rob Bell’s stupid quote:

    “What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? But what if, as you study the origin of the word ‘virgin’ you discover that the word ‘virgin’ in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word ‘virgin’ could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being ‘born of a virgin’ also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse? What if that spring were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart?…If the whole faith falls apart when we reexamine and rethink one spring, then it wasn’t that strong in the first place, was it?”

    Now, he does not come out and say that I do not believe in the Virgin Birth, but he sure makes enough leading statements here to show us that he does not. I suggest that you grow up as well and exchange your idolatry of Rob Bell for faith in jesus Christ instead.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  29. All,

    Please carefully read what Chad and Sam were trying to convey here. They were saying that there is no need to preach the Gospel. They were saying that all are already forgiven and reconciled to God. This is based on faulty exegesis by Rob Bell in an attempt to preach a form of universalism.

    Rob Bell wants to change Christianity by expanding it, making the narrow gate wide. I pray for their repentance.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  30. My point? That you’re self-righteous and that your message is counter-productive–narrow-minded, judgmental, uninformed. You label me a heretic in need of repentance? You don’t even know me. Maybe you should read your own “teaching” above–”Judge Not” eh?

    Spiritual food for a suffering church?

    This type of message is the reason why the church is suffering in the first place.

    So I’m going to follow my own advice and quit wasting my time arguing with one who holds the act of tearing down others on the top of his ministry priority list.

    I, again, agree with Chad: I thank God you’re not Him.

    God Bless,

    Sam Hill

  31. Chad and Sam despise correction. They have their own natures as their foundation. What you are saying is foolishness to them, Mike. Your words are mere folly. They are scoffers.

  32. Rob Bell seems to be a nice, intelligent, and sincere preacher who believes what he teaches. The problem with men like Bell is that they say so many things that are very difficult to resolve within orthodox Christianity that it becomes very confusing. I have listened to several of his sermons and they come across as mystical and without much plain gospel.

    I do not contest that he professes to espouse the historic and Bibilical gospel, yet when he travels in his different tours he seems never to give that gospel. I have read several reviews by his own followers who claim a person could not actually get saved because he doesn’t give the gospel at his meetings. That is baffling and I cannot agree with the “he’s attempt to reach people without scaring them off” excuse.

    When Rob was invited to the Seeds of Compassion conference he did not use the opportunity to even share the gospel even by use of his testimony. I have heard Bell say that none of the references to hell in the New Testament refer to an eternal place of punishment, but he says the lake of fire seems to teach such a place. Again, very confusing and clandestine.

    I do not doubt lives are being changed because many in this generation are seeking something new, not necessarily something true. I believe Rob Bell is a committed family man and his church does do many humantarian works, however his teachings are not centered on the redemptive Christ but more on the humanitarian Christ. I have heard him lead his congregation in breathing techniques as a method to expel the bad and breathe in the new. That seems to be mysticism as well.

    I do not hate Rob Bell but I do believe his teachings as with others are providing a bridge for later generations whose teachers will openly deny the Bibilcal gospel. I have read Rob Bell’s testimony and he comes from an evangelical background and seems to articulate a salvation experience with Christ which I cannot question. But the nature of deception is such that the writer of Hebrews says is to “slip”, little by little the truth will be first diluted, then compromised, then questioned, and finally openly denied.

    We must be vigilant and pray for men like Bell as well as be very vigilant at the areas in our own lives that have diluted truth. We must seek Christ with all our hearts and not let the majority of our Christian walk be consumed with the error of others at the expense of prayer and fasting for our own walk. It is a delicate balance about which the devil desires to take advantage.

  33. Another disturbing aspect of Rob Bell’s ministry is his willingness to allow men of extremely dangerous and heretical views to fill his pulpit. Doug Paggit is a close friend and Brian MacLaren has also preached at Mars Hill. Let us not forget that Brian MacLaren endorses a book by Marcus Borg and John Crossan entitled “The Last Week” which suggested that the body of Jesus was buried in a shallow earthen grave and most likely dug up and eaten by wild dogs. Of course they deny everything from the virgin birth to the necessity of saving faith.

    These are the type of men Bell allows to preach to his flock which even before examining his own beliefs should tell you a lot.

  34. Sam,

    The church is suffering because of men like Rob Bell leading people into heresy. You can think whatever you want about me, but I will never compromise the Gospel. You obviously did not read Judge Not! or you would know that that teaching by our Lord was dealing with hypocrisy. My statement to you and Chad to “grow up” is referring to your extremely shallow understanding of the Gospel and your blind following of Rob Bell who entices people into his false view of it by making it mysterious and mystical. I believe that if Rob Bell wants to establish a new religion then he needs to call it something other than Christianity for his version is not.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  35. “Chad and Sam despise correction. They have their own natures as their foundation. What you are saying is foolishness to them, Mike. Your words are mere folly. They are scoffers.”

    Josh, this is just nonsense. The kind of stuff people say who have nothing of value to say but insist on being right over growing in the truth.

    And Mike, that you would agree with such sentiments speaks volumes about what sort of blog this is.

    Ya’ll take care. You can carry on with your little holy huddle – I won’t be back to watch.

    grace and peace,
    Chad

  36. Wow Chad,

    You have no problem saying things about me and this ministry, but when it comes back your way then you don’t like it. Holy huddle?!?! That statement says volumes about how firmly attached to Rob Bell you really are. I’ll repeat to you what I told Sam. I will never compromise the Gospel, which you and Rob Bell do as if it is nothing. I have prayed and will continue to pray for your repentance.

    You read the rules for comments here Chad so you also know that the purpose of this blog is not to be an open forum. It is to proclaim the truth, and yes Chad it is knowable and we are commanded to both present it to all and to contend earnestly for it. That is what we are doing.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  37. Chad,

    Don’t answer the question. Just get a last word in and run away. That is very typical of scoffers. They hate you when you hold them accountable to scripture, thus indicating which side of the fence they sit on. Here Chad, since you hate the scriptures so much, and you would rather sit on the opposite side of the fence, let me read you some scripture while you recline back in your easy chair. Sit over there and call us judgmental for exposing error. I am sure that you will find a way to twist the scriptures to make God accept you based on your terms. Here…. try to ‘tweek’ these a bit and see what you can come up with. Please..do share Chad’s interpretation of the following.

    “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Galatians 5:11 (ESV)

    “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.” 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 (ESV)

    “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16 (ESV)

    If you don’t like our holy huddles, then what is your definition of a church? Do they not bear one another’s burdens when they meet opposition from the world? If you don’ t contend for holiness, you cannot please the Lord. You are trading in the narrow way, for the wide easy gate, which leads to ruin.

    In Christ,

    Josh

  38. i don’t really want to share in this debate as it seems to have become fairly mean on both sides. however, i would like to go back to the original post, the one that started this whole thing. regardless of how the writer felt about bell, his views on his teachings were given gently and lovingly. now, we can quote scripture about john and Jesus bashing pharisees all day long, but the direct instruction given to us (which has already been brought up in this forum) is to gently correct. i know we don’t necessarily agree with each other on everything (and no, i’m not saying which side i personally agree with), but can we at least try to act like we love each other? one of the expressed purposes of this forum is to proclaim the truth of the gospel. i’m assuming that means to non-christians as well as christians. if that is the case, i don’t think any non-christians reading would see very much love in the gospel that we are proclaiming with our words to each other. one of the last things that Jesus said before being crucified was “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. a little while later he prayed that we would be unified. so please, even if we don’t agree on everything now, even if we believe that we don’t agree on anything, please at least love each other. and not in a way that says “i love you but i don’t like you” or “love the sinner but hate the sin”, but love in the way that Christ loves. love in a way that loves regardless of what is deserved.

    sorry to interrupt.

    love.
    ross

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