Rob Bell is Mainline Protestant Posing as an Evangelical

by Mike Ratliff

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV)

The last couple of days at work I have been blessed with a lot of heads down work that I can do while listening to my iPod. During that time I have listened to probably six episodes of Dr. James White’s The Dividing Line via podcast. Today I finished The Dividing Line from March 15, 2011 before I got too busy to listen to any more. In any case, if you have access to the internet and can subscribe to Podcasts either via iTunes or My Yahoo then I suggest that you go here and subscribe. Find the broadcast for March 15, 2011 and when you get in your player go to the 34:50 minute mark and you will hear Dr. White begin discussing Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins

For the next half hour or so Dr. White plays sections of a live interview done by a Jewish host of Rob Bell who answers questions about his book and his theology. Dr. White interjects comments throughout and it is utterly amazing how revealing that interview is. I totally agree with Dr. White’s analysis as well. All emergent theology, such as it is, no matter what form, is nothing more than repackaged Mainline Protestant Liberalism. This is the same truth denying, Bible denying, Deity of Christ denying, et cetera liberalism that decimated all of the Mainline Protestant denominations beginning in the early 20th Century so that what we have now are just empty shells of churches and denominations that stand for nothing and no one really cares. It is this liberal theology that Rob Bell has repackaged and made cool that he is attempting to sell as Orthodox and Evangelical.

The person interviewing Rob Bell in the recording is not a Christian as I stated above. She is Jewish, but at the 58:58 mark of the broadcast she asks something that seals it. She nails Rob Bell. She asks, “Aren’t you just a Mainline Protestant posing as an Evangelical?” Rob Bell laughs and says, “Yes, I suppose that is true.” He then tries to dance around this by stating that he is also Orthodox, but his view of Orthodoxy is very wide and can accommodate many views. Right…

As my friend Ken Silva has stated many times, these people are masters of Humpty Dumpty language. They attempt to get away with using language like Silly Putty. Orthodoxy to them is whatever you want it to mean. However, to Dr. James White and to most of you I am sure that is not the case. It isn’t with me either. Look at the passage I placed at the top of this post. It leaves no wiggle room. There is no room for Rob Bell to dance around that. Orthodoxy is that which agrees the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness. When Rob Bell teaches things that are totally opposite of that, as he continually does, painting a picture of our Lord and the Father and the Holy Spirit that unbiblical then we must not only call Rob Bell a heretic, but make sure that the rest of the Body Christ knows about it.

As I listened to Rob Bell dance around those questions in the interview I couldn’t help but think of that video of Rick Warren I wrote about the other day in which he stated that the “Mature” Christian always seeks to find the beauty in others and seeks to build bridges with others, not walls. I could see him inviting Rob Bell to do that dance right there on stage at Saddleback. However, I wonder if there is room for both of their egos on that stage at the same time.

Soli Deo Gloria!

17 thoughts on “Rob Bell is Mainline Protestant Posing as an Evangelical

  1. The more I hear Bell talk/write, the more I am convinced that he has a passionate hatred for the God of the Bible. His theology is far too deliberate and thought out to be simply misguided, and when he discusses many orthodox positions he can’t help but mock and express disgust. Correct me if I am wrong on this, but that is what I see…


  2. Amen Mike!
    They are wolves in sheep clothing, and there are so many itchy-earred people out there that are hanging on their every word. We are to test everything and hold fast to what is good,most folks don’t.
    Test the Spirits
    1 John 4:1–6
    4 Beloved, tdo not believe every spirit, but utest the spirits to see whether they are from God, for vmany wfalse prophets xhave gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: yevery spirit that confesses that zJesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit athat does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and bnow is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for che who is in you is greater than dhe who is in the world. 5 eThey are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and fthe world listens to them. 6 We are from God. gWhoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know hthe Spirit of truth and ithe spirit of error.


  3. And according to Ken’s post, when pressed, Bell professes to believe in everything he has aggressively sought to dismantle. Not only is he an heretic, but he is also a liar. This comes to mind:

    “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
    Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

    Bell notonly speaks lies about God’s Word, but he speaks lies about his own lies.


  4. Amen Cristina, Rob Bell is all into knocking down those distinctives that you just erected. Actually, God erected them and that makes Bell and those like Him guilty of a far greater offense. Let us pray for God to use these revelations of the truth to open hearts and draw some of those in darkness out that deception into the light of His truth unto eternal salvation.


  5. Rick, that’s right, and that’s why listening to him gives me a headache. 🙂 After all of this, it will be interesting to see who is still willing to “build and maintain bridges” to him. The spiritual bankruptcy of Protestant liberalism is as empty and unfulfilling as the Sahara desert. Only those fanatical supporters of Bell and those like him will remain onboard now. Those seeking the truth and are even the least bit intellectually honest must reject Rob Bell and his supporters as fakes.


  6. The pathway of deceit is a slippery. winding slope downward, always down, down deeper and deeper into the tangled forest of doubt and occult. Shiver. That’s why the Lord told us to make straight, level pathways for our feet. Truth and honesty without deceit.

    Two egos on one stage? chuckle. As long as they are stroking each other’s feathers….it is possible….


  7. I agree with Churchill. One does not have to have a dour angry face to show hatred. Bell and his “teaching” history clearly show perverted doctrine and false teaching, and a hatred of the God who has revealed himself.

    Rather than the Bell “Love Wimps”, I prefer the love truly revealed from a bloody cross and an empty tomb. Thanks Mike, and thanks Ken.


  8. Today I thought I would look up a bit on Gnosticism and how it relates to Rob Bell’s wishy washy unorthodoxy. What I connected with was that dark and slippery pathway that I was talking about above …a deceptive pathway into uncharted territory.

    I did not go far down the path, because I tripped onto a patch of quicksand almost immediately. On the site I was on, there was a tampering with original sin. The author called the garden of Eden experience a myth and then proceeded to malign the Creator for a flaw in his creation. What’s the big deal, some may say…it’s only the OT…Genesis. Why talk about original sin?

    Well, take away Genesis, take away original sin and you take away any chance for Truth. If you tamper with original sin, then where is the merit in Christ’s remedy when it is now God’s catastrophic error? The foundation is altered. Any basis for Truth is gone.

    Darkness deeped as the author looked for a different cause of the problem of human suffering and the malignancy of human hatred and, as a consequence, its effect and solution became different as well. I began to see similarities between Rob Bell’s tactical and managerial errors and those of Gnostics. And I saw some of the reasons why philosophical gaps could now be closed between, say, Christians, Bhuddists and Eastern Mystics.

    How significant to mess with the Genesis account of what God says about original sin. It literally changes the whole paradigm. No wonder Rob can talk about concepts, conversations and contrivance…he has made it a process of sensibilities and sensitivities, vague references and veiled rebukes. He works in the realm of chance and opinion and renounces dogmas and doctrines. The end is off because the beginning is off.

    And that’s as far down the research path of Gnosticism I travelled in this session…if you begin with a myth, you will end with a mythical viewpoint, if you begin with an obsure, deceptive lie; you will end with a doubtful, directionless, pointless, problematic, shapeless, jello type remedy that rolls and slides and refuses to be pinned down.

    Conversely, if you begin with absolute belief, in an absolute Truth; if you have a concrete problem(original sin) with a viable, God initiated solution,(the cross) then you will end with a dependable, structured concrete, immovable point of Truth and in this case a Person. He will move you from the beginning to a positive, concise end, as God’s immutable name indicates…
    I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.


  9. Please can we rescue and reclaim the honourable word ‘Protestant’?… I kind of object to sharing the
    description with Rob Bell and his ilk. Selfish of me,
    I know, but I do.
    Daniel Oliver.


  10. Pingback: 1 Peter 3:15 Refers To Testimonies Not Apologetics! « Jesus Christ Is Lord

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