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!