by Mike Ratliff
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is not an “add-in” to our faith that is editable and open to interpretation to the point that each person can have and hold his or her own version. No, the Gospel is simple, clear, and concise. It is clearly defined for us in the Word of God. However, the Emergent movement has as one of its main tenets that nothing about Christianity can be defined to a fine focus at all. They demand looseness and flexibility. However, as Ken Silva, Chris Rosebrough, and the rest of the CRN team have been saying from the beginning, the Emergent movement is nothing more than repackaged liberalism. Oh, it may have some new “twists,” but it still exists to deconstruct the Gospel in such a way so as to make it null and void. One of the major culprits behind this is Rob Bell. I suggest that you follow this link to Apprising Ministries and then listen to the podcast from Chris Rosebrough detailing a sermon by Mr. Bell. If you love the Lord and the facts of the Gospel–the creator of the Universe went to the Cross to pay the price for your sins, to redeem you, and make you part of God’s family, et cetera–drive you to you knees in eternal gratitude then Mr. Bell’s sermon, which Chris plays on his radio show, should cause some righteous indignation to rise in your spirit.
My brethren, Jesus Christ did not endure the Cross and become sin in order to redeem the world for good work and making it a better place, full of justice for all. No, those things are not for the temporal. They are for the time of the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom. In the mean time what should Christians be doing? They are to make disciples from all nations and do the good works such as Christ did. We do not do these good works in order to make the world a better place, but to point people to the Saviour. The gospel of Rob Bell eschews the eternal for the temporal as the focus of Christ’s ministry. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the whole context of our Lord’s teaching are eternally focused and make it clear that those saved by Him are no longer citizens of this temporal world, but are citizens of Heaven and await the consummation of their union with Him.
What the Lord Jesus endured prior to and during His crucifixion was horrible. That was the physical, but what we must never forget is that during that time on the Cross, He bore all the sins of all those would ever believe the Gospel, becoming sin and enduring God’s full judgment against them on their behalf. When He proclaimed from the Cross, “It is finished!” or τετελεσται, (John 19:30), He was proclaiming that payment for those sins and been paid in full. Oh Christian, thank Him! If you are in Christ then He is in You and He can be there because your heart has been made Holy by the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5).
Think now what He endured to accomplish this.
If there be one place where our Lord Jesus most fully becomes the joy and comfort of His people, it is where He plunged deepest into the depths of woe. Come hither, gracious souls, and behold the Man in the garden of Gethsemane; behold His heart so brimming with love that He cannot hold it in-so full of sorrow that it must find a vent. Behold the bloody sweat as it distils from every pore of His body, and falls upon the ground. Behold the Man as they drive the nails into His hands and feet. Look up, repenting sinners, and see the sorrowful image of your suffering Lord. Mark Him, as the ruby drops stand on the thorn-crown, and adorn with priceless gems the diadem of the King of Misery. Behold the Man when all His bones are out of joint, and He is poured out like water and brought into the dust of death; God hath forsaken Him, and hell compasseth Him about. Behold and see, was there ever sorrow like unto His sorrow that is done unto Him? All ye that pass by draw near and look upon this spectacle of grief, unique, unparalleled, a wonder to men and angels, a prodigy unmatched. Behold the Emperor of Woe who had no equal or rival in His agonies! Gaze upon Him, ye mourners, for if there be not consolation in a crucified Christ there is no joy in earth or heaven. If in the ransom price of His blood there be not hope, ye harps of heaven, there is no joy in you, and the right hand of God shall know no pleasures for evermore. We have only to sit more continually at the cross foot to be less troubled with our doubts and woes. We have but to see His sorrows, and our sorrows we shall be ashamed to mention; we have but to gaze into His wounds and heal our own. If we would live aright it must be by the contemplation of His death; if we would rise to dignity, it must be by considering His humiliation and His sorrow. – C.H. Spurgeon
Now, when Rob Bell preaches his non-gospel we must go back and reflect on what our Lord endured to purchase His people, what He did to buy them with His blood. Then, we must point out to all who will hear that any “gospel” that proclaims something different about Him, His mission, and our faith is false and the one teaching it should be confronted and rebuked. I doubt if anyone at Mars Hill Bible Church of Grand Rapids, MI really cares what I think or say, but I exhort all reading this to make this a vital part of your prayers. Pray that Rob Bell will either repent of what he is teaching or that he will be shown to the Church for what he really is.
Soli Deo Gloria!