By now you’ve no doubt heard that the Christian corner of the internet blew up over the weekend over Rob Bell’s upcoming book, Love Wins, a galley of which has been resting untouched on my desk for several weeks. If you’re just now tuning in, my friend Sarah Bailey at Christianity Today has the best roundup of what went down in what order. Basically, a post by Justin Taylor, who we’ve criticized before in these pages, announced that Bell is a universalist and started a chain-reaction of high-profile “new Calvinist” pastors (John Piper, Josh Harris) denouncing Bell on Twitter before they’d read the book.

But as much as I find Taylor’s tendency to instantly punish theological diversity obnoxious, I don’t think he’s the most important part of this story. The theology behind him, much of it written by John Piper, is the real story.

I realize Piper would be the first to tell you he’s a sinner and that he’s not perfect. But I can’t help noticing that his reaction to these bubbling web controversies often seems to be arrogance—a rather unfortunate pattern considering how voluminously the man has written and preached on humility, and how dogmatically the people in his denomination believe in self-effacement. (He even went on sabbatical from public ministry last year to examine “pride” in his life, among other things.) Still, the rigid certainty in Piper’s theological interpretations, and the interpretations of his close followers, seems to given him license for bizarre overstatement and snarky dismissal of those who disagree. His first reaction to a rumor on the internet that Rob Bell is a universalist is, “Farewell, Rob Bell.” “Public nudity is a form of God’s judgment,” he wrote in January. “Encouraging it or enjoying it is a form of hate.” Two weeks later, he praised Kevin DeYoung, a younger New Calvinist writer, for denouncing the “inclusivity” in C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. “Kevin DeYoung is more reliable than C.S. Lewis,” Piper tweeted. Back in 2009, Piper baldly stated that a tornado that hit a Lutheran church during a vote on admitting gay clergy was a sign from God of his displeasure.

If you’ve ever been in a Sovereign Grace church, the denomination most closely aligned with Piper’s teaching, you may have seen the manifestation of this absolutism couched in humility. You would likely have noticed humility is mentioned from the pulpit virtually every Sunday, and an palpable air of self-examination hangs over the congregation inside and outside the sanctuary.

I believe this attempt to nourish humility is genuine, but it’s also a farce. Because if you believe in the “authority of Scripture” the way these people do, and the rightness of their own leaders and teachers the way these people do, how can you really be very humble toward people who believe differently? And when this rightness trickles down into a rigid system of how people should live and relate to one another, as I’ve seen it do, how can you even be humble toward your own friends in your own church? Thus the Sovereign Grace obsession with humility often feels empty and absurd, as if people are trying to convince themselves they have something to be humble about when they don’t really believe they do. In the real world, their theology drives the displays we see regularly on the internet: quick denouncement of any thought that diverges from the Way God Interprets the Bible As Revealed to John Piper Et Al. If that’s not fundamentalism, I don’t know what is.

I really have heard it all from these people when it comes to their assurance of the authority of scripture, but they can’t escape the reality that there are many things, including hell, on which the Bible is thoroughly inconclusive. As Jason Boyett explained today, you can’t draw any clear idea about hell from scripture without exegetical gymnastics. And on issues like this, you’d think people as deeply committed to self-examination and humility as Piper and Company ostensibly are would give other Christians some room for error. Especially, especially when those Christians are—like, God help us, all Christians should be—hoping people don’t have to burn in an eternal fire.

Tagged with:
 
About The Author

David Sessions

David Sessions is the founding editor of Patrol, and is currently a doctoral student in modern European history at Boston College. His writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Jacobin, Slate and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter here.

113 Responses to What the Rob Bell Controversy Says About John Piper

  1. Foolish Sage says:

    A correction: John Piper is a minister in the Baptist General Conference. Sovereign Grace churches are a separate micro-denomination with close ties theologically to Piper, but not organizationally. Sovereign Grace was founded by C. J. Mahaney, and is now headed by Josh Harris.

  2. […] responses of John Piper et al are hardly surprising given their modus operandi.  Perhaps they could learn a thing or two from these […]

  3. Apprisingministries says:

    “you can’t draw any clear idea about hell from scripture”

    Nice myth.

    Bell’s been teaching a quasi-uiversalism ala the “opt out” myth of Christian Universalist Spencer Burke for years now: http://tiny.cc/9tdbx

    • Chris Early says:

      Just checked out the link. Breathtaking! Is there anyone the AM folks don’t think is going to fry (other than themselves)?

  4. Jeremy says:

    The response to your accusation sure to follow from the neo-Calvinist crowd (from one who use to be in that crowd):
    “What we need is humble theology—theology which submits itself to the truth of God’s Word. ‘Liberal’ theology [insert Rob Bell’s ‘universalism’]—theology which does not view Scripture as finally trustworthy and authoritative—is not humble before the Word. Churches which are tentative and decry dogmatism may sound humble, but it is not truly humble to do anything other than to submit to God’s Word.
    Christian humility is to simply accept whatever God has revealed in His Word. Humility is following God’s Word wherever it goes, as far as it goes, neither going beyond it nor stopping short of it. The humility we want in our churches is to read the Bible and believe it—everything God has said, dogmatically, and humbly! It is not humble to be hesitant where God has been clear and plain”

    Mark Dever – T4G April 2006 – quoted by Justin Taylor’s “An Emerging Church Primer”

  5. Andrew M says:

    If I have to choose among teachers, “by their fruits shall you know them” will be my watch-word. That, and “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control”.

  6. JMJ says:

    There’s much about this “christian blogosphere explosion” that causes great concern. In no particular order:

    1. It is disturbing that these two men (Piper & Bell) have such fan bases that foam at the mouth defending their heros. This is a major problem in christendom today, especially its evangelical wing: the tendency to put teachers/leaders on pedestels.

    2. Alternatively, it is distubing that there has arisen “anti-fanbases” of popular Christian teachers, especially Piper & Bell. Unfortunately, I count Patrol (I’m a relative newbie Patrol reader so I still haven’t figured out your complete roster of writers yet–so apologies in bunching all of you together); among the anti-fanbases of Piper, and most “orthodox” evangelicals among the “anti-Bell” crowd. Why can’t we discuss ideas, books and doctrines of these (and other men) issue by issue?

    3. I know many of the writers on Patrol and others have trouble accepting the doctrine of verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture, but please do not label this as calvinist doctrine or as a neo calvinist doctrine. If you haven’t, and this is my own misunderstanding, I apologize. Many other conservative, orthodox Christians also accept this doctrine.

    4. The repeated use of phrases like “these people” is disturbing to say the least.

    5. We throw out words like “judge” way too often, without context. It is a word that means too much in the english language. While I am not a Justin Taylor fanboy, I don’t blame him from filtering the pre-release video for the book through the filter of the Bible. He may have gone overboard by tossing out the word “universalis(t/m)”, but as a student of the Bible, he should judge (there’s that word again) everything by the objective standard he has. This comes back to the doctrine of the authority of scripture. Whether you accept it or not, all who do should filter everything through this lens. The ad hominem universalist additoin to the Biblical critique is too much.

    That’s all for now…more as I think about it more.

  7. Joe P Carter says:

    ***you can’t draw any clear idea about hell from scripture without exegetical gymnastics. ***

    Um, yeah, you can. Why do you think Christians have been clear on the doctrine of hell for over 2,000 years?

    I used to think that the post-evangelical crowd was just rebellious. Now I’m starting to think that they don’t even have a clue what they are rebelling against.

    • Bill says:

      How true. The best “clear idea about hell” that I draw from Scripture is that it’s bad and we should not want to go there or want anyone else to go there.

    • Jobu2100 says:

      Joe, you tend to pull out the “Christians have been clear on [topic] for 2,000 years” card a lot, but you don’t point to a specific passage. It’s kind of bugging me as a guy from a Bible-thumping sola scriptura reformed background. “because the the Church says it, it must be true” was an attitude I was always taught to guard against. That being said, can you support your retort with some references for us? I’ve been through the Bible and I was surprised how little mention there was of hell, or heaven for that matter. I think it’s difficult to draw a clear idea about either place.

    • Waldo says:

      And the church was pacifist for 200 hundred years before succumbing to an accommodation with the state. Both Augustine and Aquinas approved of abortion in limited circumstances. Yet, the certainty that Christians must kill people after they’re born but not before–there’s a timeless truth. the 2000 years canard just doesn’t help.

    • Tyler Brainerd says:

      Even though there has never been a long period of agreement on the matter? I seem to remember a good many centuries where Purgatory was the mainline belief, so obviously there isn’t 2000 years of consensus.

    • RA Murphy says:

      Joe P Carter:
      The Evangelical crowd has gotten really good at treating the Bible as a systematic theology text, as though each and every issue was laid out for our simple reading pleasure. As someone who doesn’t believe in Hell (independent from any teaching) based on the Bible, I now find it incredible that so many do. For a group that believes it is just by complete and total grace that they are not suffering the fate they believe the rest of the world will, I would expect a little more humility and perhaps even shock at such truly remarkable “luck”. Being “chosen” creates an attitude of elitism.

      Regardless, I don’t know why disagreement is seen rebellion…

  8. Ryan says:

    Can you help me see how this blog post is any different than those of the people you are writing against? As far as I know, you haven’t talked to John Piper or Justin Taylor, but just read a couple blog posts and Twitter updates. From this you call ministries into question and pronounce men to be hypocrites.

    If the new reformed crowd is arrogantly dogmatic, this post sounds arrogantly pluralistic. I’m not saying pluralism is bad, but the way you have defended it here at Patrol seems to leave no room for anyone to confidently believe in any truth. How does a post like this help us to see the controversy in light of the Gospel? The Gospel calls us to grace, and to think the best of other people. You call us to this kindness often, and yet you don’t seem to practice it yourself.

    I meant the “seem” in the last sentence. You consistently criticize conservative Christians for being over critical of others. I want to hear how you justify that. I’m probably seeing it really differently than you, so help me see your side.

    It should also be noted that Justin Taylor posted an updated on his blog post, in which he backed off on some of his original points, and made it clear that we have to wait to read the book before any final analysis. Also, Tim Challies, one of those “new reformers”, also wrote a blog post today concerned about how fast we jump to judge. But his article truly is gracious, to Bell and to the Christian right blogosphere. You failed in this regard.

    • Christin says:

      These were my thoughts as well.

      And, we need to be following God, not men. Men are imperfect. Piper himself knows He’s a sinner and is imperfect and maybe even regrets that tweet (but chooses not to hide behind it by deleting it). Who can know the hearts of men, but God?

      If we are following God and Truth, we will win every single time. But everybody can’t be right (including me)…so tread carefully. 🙂

      • RA Murphy says:

        “If we are following God and Truth, we will win every single time.”
        Yes, that’s true. But our way for learning and understanding what phrases like “Truth” and “following God” means is generally received through indoctrination into a theological discipline.

        Conservative Christians ARE very judgmental and critical. They are very inclusive. That goes without saying. The difference between this article and the reaction by Piper is tremendous. Piper wrote Bell off as a heretic for disagreeing with his theology. Period. This article is about the arrogance of certainty that is at the core of Conservative Orthodoxy. The author is pointing out that there is a lack of humility in their arguments. How this is similar to someone being written off so quickly is beyond me…

  9. Janelle Espo says:

    i love being a pseudo-calvinist, and loving the truth. being a lover and protector of the truth is not arrogance. acting in accordance to what the bible says is humility. i have read a lot of rob bell, and he does not take scripture seriously. i think one of the biggest problems of christianity, today, besides petty divisions over minor issues, is lack of adherence to major issues.

    • Timothy says:

      Just because Rob Bell does not interpret Scriptures as you do or interpret its role as you do doesn’t mean he takes it seriously. As someone who’s read all of his books, I think he takes it very seriously. It’s clearly fundamental for who he is and what he believes. We need to stop accusing people of not taking the Bible seriously just because they don’t agree with us.

      • Randyhelm says:

        “Just because Rob Bell does not interpret Scriptures as you do or interpret its role as you do doesn’t mean he takes it seriously.”

        It also means his interpretation just may not be wrong…

        • RA Murphy says:

          Yep. He might be completely right and the supposed “Orthodoxy” might be wrong. And it is THAT position that is missing in the supposed humility of “Orthodoxy”.

          I think the Reformed group should reexamine their namesake. The Reformation was a movement that questioned 1,000 years+ of Christian Orthodoxy. Are we seeing a new reformation come about, but this time with Piper playing the part of Augustine? 🙂

          ““History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” – Karl Marx

  10. I do not understand why so many people think they have a peerless understanding of the truth, yet lack the patience (a spiritual gift) to actually read Bell’s book all the way through. Instead choosing to attack a long time favorite target, whipping out the, “false teacher,” crap they’re so fond of. Adherence to dogmatic beliefs, not grounded in historical-critical understanding of scripture is not humility. Making a claim to humility essentially displays that you are not. Humility is a quality which others see in you, not something you trumpet before people.

    The key does not lie in claiming scripture has authority, even Bell claims this. The key lies in claiming that your interpretation is not only the correct interpretation, but that when you disagree with someone else you label them as heretics for not reading scripture exactly as you do. This is a dangerous form of arrogance and has little to do with scriptural humility. As a follower of the Messiah it is not an attitude I can abide, and I will have nothing to do with churches that espouse such theological and intellectual arrogance.

    Jesus clearly railed against the religious establishment for being more more concerned with what is wrong, instead of being concerned with what is good.

    • Joshua Keel says:

      “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…”

      Yeah, that arrogant “false teacher” crap again.

      • That verse (2 Peter 2:1) can be applied, just as successfully, to John Piper et al as it has been to Rob Bell. Simply because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean they’re false teachers. So far as I’ve seen, Rob Bell has not refuted Christ’s death or resurrection (despite what many believe about Velvet Elvis) which firmly puts him within orthodox Christian bounds, and therefore worthy of the respect not to proclaim him a false teacher. Therefore we must debate the merits of his doctrines on equal ground with our own. To cut off the debate without even inviting a response—on a book NO ONE HAS EVEN READ—is utterly ridiculous. Why am I even wasting my time…

        (Also, when you see hell mentioned later in that letter the Greek is “Tartarus.” Is God sending people to the place located below the Greek mythological underworld? Because that’s the literal take-away.)

        • Joshua Keel says:

          I agree with you, Nathan. I just think you were too eager to dismiss criticism of Bell as “false teacher” crap, that’s all. I have no particular beef with Bell, and I certainly think it’s a horrible idea to skewer a man based on what he said in a book that hasn’t yet been published.

          Regarding Tartarus, Peter is speaking of angels, not humans. And I think the idea is that it’s a place of punishment. It seems to me that Peter was simply using a mythological place to explain something that isn’t easily explained. Anyway, the angels are being held there until “judgment”. That doesn’t sound all nice and happy. Sounds like the worst is yet to come. Don’t you think?

          • Ah, I see. Forgive my rashness in replying. As far as false teaching is concerned I can’t help but think of the use of the false teacher line as simply a cheap parlor trick in theological debate. It’s quite akin to the use of calling people Nazis and communists in modern, US political discourse. Overall it doesn’t aid anyone, it simply takes the focus from genuine debate to name calling.

  11. Laura says:

    Hebrews 2:14
    Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

    I believe that on the last day, all evil is destroyed along with Satan as the final judgment. Then God, in SOVEREIGN GRACE, recreates ALL. I’m a 5 point Calvinist WITHIN TIME. However, what Calvinists MISS is that ALL MANKIND WAS IN ADAM IN CHRIST when Adam was created in perfection as a son of God. THEREFORE, ALL MANKIND is predestined to be born of the Holy Spirit through Christ.

    Eternal torment is extremely poor theology — in my view. So, I appreciate John Piper — however, his eschatology is not the end of the discussion of biblical truth. (The words for time related to punishment are incorrectly translated — but sound systematic theology reveals God’s Sovereign counsel in His plan to destroy all sin and evil and flesh and all of the first creation on the last day — then restore and recreate all anew through Christ. It may be a “paradigm shift” for Calvinists — but I made it. Once a serious theological student sees that the words for TIME related to PUNISHMENT are NOT A LITERAL TRANSLATION — but rather AN INTERPRETATION — the game is OPEN to look to systematic theology to see the whole counsel of God — and see destruction and recreation of all on the last day. It’s a LEGITIMATE REFORMED POSITION, John Piper.

    God bless

    • Timothy says:

      And the vast majority of Christians aren’t reformed. What bothers me is when people treat people who aren’t reformed as if they aren’t even Christians. (I’m not reformed, and yes I’ve been treated that way.)

      Of course, as someone who doesn’t consider myself ‘reformed’ I can make the opposite mistake – deeming everyone who is reformed “not Christian.”

      It seems if we took personal matters into consideration when we debated theology we’d be more civil. I can’t look at a friend, no matter how different we view a certain issue, and tell them something that, without being so blunt, basically says “you’re going to hell.” But we do it to people we don’t know all the time.

      • Joshua Keel says:

        I agree with you, Timothy. If we had to hold these kinds of conversations face to face, we’d be a lot more civil and understand of each other, I’d wager. In fact, I deeply regret the fact that Patrol readers are a scattered community and not the community in my living room.

      • Laura says:

        @Timothy, you know there truly are those who have only their own human will, their own human intellect to “understand” Jesus, their own human righteousness in trying to do works — and no, they are not saved. They have only human ability which can never truly will to love God, nor understand God, nor be made righteous before God. So, among those who “say” they are Arminiast are those who are not born again and have only their own humanity like this man: Matthew 7: 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

        The scripture does warn against self-will and presumption: 2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

        The matter of how we are saved is a serious matter and we must take seriously, in my opinion, the need to rightly divide God’s Word.

        I know there are many Christians who do not understand how they were saved. Yet, it is a concern whereby one wonders if they have truly received living grace when men reject the grace of God and instead trust in their own human ability… as if they don’t understand that salvation is a spiritual work of regeneration and resurrection from the dead and wholly supernatural — and instead seek to turn Christianity into “just another religion” that people “decide to subscribe to”. Christianity is not a religious system of beliefs and works like others having no power of life in it. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.

        I think we need to do these kind of “deep dives” into the Bible. I believe it is beneficial to seriously question and go to the Word to see how we are saved and the extent of the power of the cross: how the saving power of the cross is applied by grace through faith to us. I prefer to go to the Bible — and not debate where it’s just two people trying to force their own wills upon one another. Yes, that is unfruitful for people to try to be the Holy Spirit and “force each other” to agree by their own human power if that is what is meant by “debate”. It is good to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to all saints — but we must not, in my estimation, “cross the line of the Spirit” and try to force agreement. God bless you, Timothy.

    • DC says:

      Interesting post, but I don’t understand the statement: “ALL MANKIND WAS IN ADAM IN CHRIST when Adam was created in perfection as a son of God” and so the rest of your ideas are difficult to apprehend.

      Romans 5: 15 – 17 indicates that the trespass and the free gift are not alike; in other words, there is a distinction. These verses say that the results of Adam’s trespass (ie death/ condemnation) are very different from the free gift by the grace of Jesus Christ (ie justification/ righteousness/ reigning in life). Therefore, to be “IN ADAM” is one thing, but to be in “IN CHRIST” is quite different. If you agree that it is possible to establish this clear distinction from these verses, the whys and wherefores of who is in each group, how we come to belong to each group, etc. is the next step in the discussion. The odd conjoining of “IN ADAM IN CHRIST when Adam was created… ” doesn’t allow for the discussion to develop properly. Maybe I haven’t understood the context of Romans 5: 15 – 17 properly or there are other texts elsewhere which help me get a better handle on what you wrote?

      Thanks,

      DC

      • Laura says:

        DC,

        Luke 3:38 shows us that in original creation in perfection, Adam was a son of God. As a son of God — Adam was in Christ. There is “no way” to be a “son of God” outside of Jesus Christ — outside of being in Christ. To be a son of God, all of scripture reveals, we are in Christ. So, Adam in original creation before the fall from grace was in a state of entire sanctification and was a son of God in Christ.

        Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

        The Reformed position is correct in that all mankind fell in Adam. Yet, that is not the beginning. In the beginning, Adam was a son of God in Christ. You see, the Reformers, it appears, make a theological “error of omission” in failing to look beyond the fall to the state of Adam prior to the fall. They “start” at the point of the fall — and their doctrine is wholly and entirely sound in my view from the point at which they begin.

        Yet, they did not begin “in the beginning”. You see, all mankind who fell in Adam fell “from” somewhere. They fell from their position in Adam in Christ. They did not fall “according to the Spirit”. They fell “according to the flesh of Adam”. In other words, God did not change. All that were in Christ in spirit and in truth — held their position. Predestination can only “be” “in Christ”.

        I will keep this brief and attempt to begin the discussion by asking the Reformers to recognize that since all mankind fell in Adam — all mankind was in Adam when Adam fell (according to the flesh) — yet, therefore, all mankind was in Adam in Christ according to the Spirit in Adam in an entirely sanctified state prior to the fall.

        All mankind was literally in Adam in his original creation — and this is how all mankind fell in Adam. It was not merely “federal headship” — it was that we were literally in Adam and would be born through Adam as exemplified below:

        Hebrews 7:9And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

        10For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

        I think it is human nature to look at flesh rather than Jesus Christ. And, so, I think it is the natural tendency of Christians to begin looking at “time” and “the history of mankind” from the point of fall in flesh. But that is not truly “in the beginning”. Nor is it the full truth of predestination in Christ.

        Prior to the fall, to be in Adam in Christ was to be in Christ. Then Adam, as the federal head of all mankind and in whose loins all mankind was, fell. It is only from the point of time in the fall when separation and death came through sin that the “difference” came into being between being “in Adam” or “in Christ”. Yes, now today of course, we are either in Adam or in Christ. This has been true ever since the fall when Adam fell from his sonship and was no longer in Christ as the first father of all mankind. But originally in original creation when Adam was a son of God — to be in Adam was to be in Christ also for Adam was in Christ in original creation as a son of God.

        So, I think we need to expand our view to look to Jesus and to see all mankind in Adam in Christ in Adam’s original creation as a son of God in entire sanctification prior to his fall from grace — and then continue to build our theology not leaving out that truth.

        Then we will understand that all mankind is inherently predestinated in Christ to be born of the Spirit. Yet, not all receive that grace in this life — rather only the elect do as the Reformed teaching rightly teaches. But we will understand then and be prepared to see “how and why” when God destroys all sin, flesh, evil and all the first creation — why inherently all are recreated anew — for this is God’s Sovereign plan from before the foundation of the world in Sovereign Predestination through Christ.

        I would take great issue with anyone who stated that my position was not orthodox nor Reformed theology. I am a 5 point Calvinist within time. However, I am looking beyond the fall of Adam to see Adam in Christ with all mankind in Adam in Christ at the time of Adam’s creation in original entire sanctification in the Spirit. Then, I am looking to the last day — holding firmly to all Reformed theology within time and the 5 points of Calvinism.

        I love John Piper and appreciate his ministry — but I would take great exception to John Piper saying I am not a Reformed believer because I believe that all mankind was in Adam in Christ in original creation and thus in predestination to being born of God through Christ — and that we will see that fruition on the last day.

        God bless.

        • jcc says:

          Laura
          Thanks for the comments, but I need to help out a bit with your understanding of “Adam in Christ.” Paul is very clear in 1 Cor. 15 45ff that there was an inherent difference between Adam and Christ. Adam did not exist in a completely sanctified state. He existed in a perfect created state because he was made by God. He was however, earthy and from the earth. At best he was a living soul. Only Jesus is the heavenly man, spiritual and a living-giving spirit. Adam possessed no ability to pass on to anyone his spiritual nature. This could only be accomplished by God. This is why God put the tree of life in the middle of the garden. If Adam had taken of the tree of life he then would have taken the very nature of God within himself, something God has intended from the very beginning (or eternity past). While I agree that we were all in Adam (ref. Heb.) in the same way Levi was in Abraham, I do not agree that that means we existed before in a perfect sanctified state. I don’t believe there is a principle of continuity here as you have stated that before since we were in Adam before the fall we were therefore in Christ. This is where our misunderstanding of sin comes in as well. We think the problem is all about sin and it is not. Sin did happen, but God’s purpose to put His nature in us was part of His purpose and design BEFORE sin ever happened. Sin just illustrates the problem and creates an issue that God had already made remedy for in the death of Jesus – the lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Well that is enough for now. Hopefully some food for thought. Bless you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This whole scenario seriously saddens me. If this is what Christianity has become..a pack of starving wolves ready to devour anyone who disagrees, then I’m out. Regardless of what Rob expresses in regards to his own personal faith, to treat him with less love as they would their “own” is a total disregard for those precious scriptures they claim to hold in such high regard. Jesus came to express His love. He said people would know you follow Christ by how you love one another. I don’t see a whole lot of love in these guys. I don’t know Rob personally, but I do believe in a person’s freedom to question and dig deep. And it’s getting rather annoying to see the term universalist tossed around as if it’s evil. A person can believe in universal salvation and love Christ. It doesn’t make them “less than” in the sight of God. It simply makes them hopeful.

    • Joshua Keel says:

      I see your point sisterlisa, and believe me, I would love to believe in universal salvation. On the basis of what I see in the Scriptures, though, I can’t believe that’s what God is actually telling us. I hope I’m wrong.

      I certainly believe in a person’s freedom to question and dig deep, as you say. I guess my problem comes when someone in authority, a pastor, someone who writes books, someone like Rob Bell, could potentially be leading people astray by proclaiming a truth that isn’t true. Even a hopeful truth could be damaging. I’m not saying Rob Bell is leading people astray (I haven’t read his book yet), but I am saying if someone were to lead someone else astray, that ain’t good. Jesus said that kind of person should have a millstone hung around his neck and he should be thrown into the sea. Pretty harsh words. Just something to consider.

    • erin says:

      sisterlisa – i’m with you…this whole situation is sad and a poor reflection on the Jesus that everyone claims to love/follow. Where’s the love? My first response to reading all this hub-bub was, “Christians can be so mean towards each other.” If this is what it means to be “a Christian” then i’m out too. Maybe we should shut our f-ing computers down and go feed a hungry person, listen to someone who’s hurting, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned….i don’t know, just a thought.

    • Senraku says:

      That’s all it takes for you to be out?

  13. […] David Sessions: I really have heard it all from these people when it comes to their assurance of the authority of […]

  14. Chris says:

    This idea of universalism and works salvation is nothing new to the church. In fact, Paul had to deal with this very issue soon after the founding of the churches in Galatia. And this is exactly what Paul’s letter to the Galatians is all about. Paul didn’t mix words or get into a long dialogue with these teachers who propagated false doctrine and a false gospel.

    Galatians 1:6-9 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

    Rob Bell’s own words in his promotional video are more than enough to expose what’s in his book. I don’t need to read the whole book to figure out that he’s promoting an ancient heresy…when i can see it blatantly on his promotional video. His ideas are really nothing new…the only thing new is the technology which allows these false teachings to be heard on such a larger scale. Christians be aware of what you read and what you hear…compare it all to Scripture. To be able to compare what people are teaching with Scripture, you need to know Scripture….be a diligent student of it. It’s easy to plug in a NOOMA video and get a good feeling from it….but it takes dedication and diligence to be a student of the Bible.

    • Mike says:

      “This very issue.” Right… because Rob Bell is insisting that we all be circumcised before we can follow Jesus. If you’re going to claim the higher ground of understanding Scripture, at least show that you can grasp the context.

      Whether or not there is a hell, and what it is like, aside, we do the Gospel a disservice if we treat hell as integral to it. Instead of “good news” the Gospel becomes “bad news, but here’s the antidote!”

      • Brian Metz says:

        You said, “Whether or not there is a hell, and what it is like, aside, we do the Gospel a disservice if we treat hell as integral to it. Instead of “good news” the Gospel becomes “bad news, but here’s the antidote!” ”

        Wouldn’t the opposite of Bad News be “Good News”, thus making eternal punishment aka Hell integral to it? Just asking.

        Also, good call on the circumcision deal. Which is what Paul was addressing in Galatians.

        • Mike says:

          “Wouldn’t the opposite of Bad News be “Good News”, thus making eternal punishment aka Hell integral to it? Just asking.”

          Yes and no.

          Let’s imagine you know nothing about climate change. (This example should work, whether you consider climate change plausible or not.) Somebody knocks on your door and tells you that your car and the way you heat your house are messing with the atmosphere in a way that will cause global temperatures to rise, leading to droughts, floods, hurricanes, and all manner of mayhem. They then shift gears and say, “but let me tell you the GOOD NEWS about reducing your carbon footprint!…” If you were already aware of climate change, but felt helpless about it, perhaps this might sound great. But if you were previously unaware, this would really sound like bad news – disastrous things are predicted if you don’t change your previously complacent life.

          Back to the Gospel. There are very few people who believe they are hell-bound. Even among those who do think there is a hell, the vast majority don’t see that as their destination. For the few that do, the message about life by God’s Spirit and forgiveness as a way out of hell would be readily received as good news. But for just about everyone else, it’s not as easily grasped as good. “Hey, you’re now telling me I have a problem, one I wasn’t aware of before. Now you’re saying something’s got to change, when I thought I had it good.” (Side note: It seems distinctly unKingdom-like to chase people into the Kingdom of God through fear. What quality of believer are we discipling if they are only in it to save their own hide?)

          On the other hand, most people are aware of how human nature breaks down relationships, causes war, wrecks beauty, and leaves our own souls dissatisfied. How now matter how hard we try, we just can’t get things right. You can talk with most people about these struggles, and they’re not going to disagree with you – it’s bad, but it’s not news. They’ve known it all along. So when you talk about Jesus, about dying to self and new life in Christ, about walking by the Spirit, about how God is reconciling all things to himself and all people to each other, suddenly, your conversation is very much good news! Your friend is more likely to want to deal with the sin in their life, not because they’ve been scared or pressured into it, but because the life God gives sounds so much better and so much bigger that what they had previously imagined.

    • Yes, you do need to read the whole book. Without doing so you’re basically falling for the oldest publishing advertising scheme out there: create a controversy and watch the book fly off shelves. Further more I don’t see how that Galatians quote does a damn thing to refute anything you think Rob Bell is saying. It says nothing without context. Galatians has everything to do with Mosiac law and nothing to do with universalism.

      Here’s what I wrote earlier:
      The key does not lie in claiming scripture has authority, even Bell claims this. The key lies in claiming that your interpretation is not only the correct interpretation, but that when you disagree with someone else you label them as heretics for not reading scripture exactly as you do. This is a dangerous form of arrogance and has little to do with scriptural humility.

  15. B.D.Kuchera says:

    i unsubscribed from piper’s twitter because it was oozing pride. It was unsetteling. Talk about Jesus more than hell, ease. He’s the point. -B.D.Kuchera

  16. […] David Sessions has a great piece called “What the Rob Bell Controversy Says About John Piper.” Julie Clawson also wrote about a recent experience related to the Rob Bell controversy, and shares […]

  17. graceshaker says:

    genuine…farce?

  18. Eric Sun says:

    Here’s what I felt led to write – without knowing about this controversy – last night. Perhaps there’s some application in this instance…?

    *****

    To the person that is attacking me for believing a certain thing about God:

    Now, I don’t get what it is you’re doing right there…. That’s what’s called an ad hominem attack, where you attack the person making the argument, rather than the argument itself. So, instead of taking seriously the argument that a person is making, an ad hominem attack seeks to destroy the arguer rather than the argument.

    And, I just don’t get how that helps anyone, really. Let’s assume that you’re “right” and I’m “wrong”: how does your vitriolic response help me come to realize in grace that I’ve cocked it up and need to change my mind and attitude and submit to you and your position? More likely, if I’m so far off base and haven’t really dealt with my sinfulness, I might go harder towards the “wrong” way just out of stubbornness. I can’t see how you, as a sibling in Christ, would want that for me, would want me to stay away from the Truth longer than I necessarily need to. Because, that type of vitriolic response would probably do that…. How does that help me, who is not as far along on the journey as you? As close to God as you?

    Now, let’s assume I’m “right”. And, “right” is such a poor choice of words, I think. I rather look at it as “another valuable facet of the mystery of God”. Wouldn’t it be neat to at least consider how my perspective about things adds to the richness of God, expands our understanding of God?

    Quick aside:
    Now, I’m not talking about some fundamental things, here: If someone said, “Jesus is not fully God and fully Man”, I’d have some issues with that, since that’s already been agreed by the whole church at one of the first five ecumenical councils. That would be something that would raise a red flag about a person bringing that point up for discussion again. Athanasius and the relevant councils dealt with Arianism from a theological point of view within the whole Body of Christ a long time ago, so anyone saying that Jesus Christ is only an amazing created being rather than God the Son Who pre-existed as God before the Incarnation– like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons – I would have a beef with. You do have to draw the line in the sand somewhere.

    I just don’t know if this is one of those fundamental things that we need to draw a line in the sand….

    What I’m having difficulty with right now is that people have so quickly demonized my position and me…. I mean, how does that create a place where serious discussion & reflection as the Body of Christ can happen, if a part of the Body of Christ is summarily declared “not a part of the Body of Christ” simply because one part doesn’t like what another part said? Now, if the Body got together and really turned things over and eventually said that I was wrong and needed to recant, then that would be a serious consideration. That’s what happened to Arius vis Athanasius regarding the Person and Work of Christ. But, I don’t know if that’s already happened with regards to my position, and me really.

    And, by “Body” I mean a large representative sample of the Body of Christ in the World today, and not a gathering of people who think, act and look like me or the person attacking me. Since the eschaton has every tribe and nation gathered to worship the Lamb, that’s the type of Council I’m thinking of, since so many people have heard the call of God….

    I think it would be great if we could realize a gathering of people under the pretense that we are One in Christ and give this issue some serious, rigorous theological consideration.

    What say you?

  19. Matthew Eric Baker says:

    More on Bell and Piper and Love Wins at http://www.theomag.com/2011/03/bell-gets-rung-early/

  20. Steve240 says:

    You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com
    http://www.sgmrefuge.com

    They tell another side. Hope this helps.

  21. Jim Jacobson says:

    I think Bell got exactly what he wanted… hype. Whether or not he is a Universalist, we shall see, but he asks a lot of leading questions in the video released. He comes off as smug, like he knows the answers. Yawn. Another Rob Bell book I won’t have to read.

  22. AC980 says:

    The major problem with universalism is that it tells people that even if they don’t repent they won’t perish when Jesus said that “unless you repent you will all likewise perish”. Jesus said, “if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” but universalism says, “even if you do not believe that Jesus is He, you will NOT die in your sins”. The Bible says, “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” but universalism says, “he who does not believe the Son shall see life”. Jesus said “he who does not believe will be condemned” but universalism says “he who does not believe will be saved”.

  23. aside from the everything else what does this sort of response from the neo reformed crew say to those outside the church about the unity of the body of christ.

    • AC980 says:

      Hi Peter. I think the same kind of question could be asked about the Apostle Paul’s condemnation of the Judaizers, or the Apostle John’s condemnation of those professing believers who denied that Jesus came in the flesh (he called them antichrist), or the Apostle Peter’s condemnation of false Christian teachers in 2 Peter 2. Right? All those condemantions surely said something to those outside the church in their day.

  24. @Ac980
    Its chalk and cheese, both sides in this argument have something to offer and i honestly believe they are sincere in their respective faiths, however the neo reformed crew are causing division in the church again with their claim that only they have the true doctrine, how does that impact in what is essentially a post christian world? It says to those outside the church that none of us can agree on anything so why bother pursuing a faith that spends more time attacking each other than presenting the living Christ.
    The biblical models you offer denied various aspects of Christ’s deity which is something neither of our protagonists today do. (I have also noticed silence from Bell so far, that speaks volumes to me of who is leaning on Christ and who is leaning on their own understanding ,just to clarify piper and crew are leaning on their own self righteousness). As I said its chalk and cheese unless of course you are claiming that Bell isn’t a follower of Jesus, to that I would say remember what Jesus said about splinters and planks.

  25. AC980 says:

    All I’m saying is that Rob Bell (like those denied various aspects of Christ’s deity and the Judaizers who basically taught Jesus + something = salvation) is flirting with damnable teaching. Why do I say it’s damnable? Because, again, Jesus said “Unless you repent you will perish” but universalism says “even if you don’t repent you won’t perish”. Someone who hears this and concludes “Good, I’m going to heaven no matter what” and therefore doesn’t repent, will, according to Jesus, “perish”. Essentially what universalism says is that who deny various aspects of Jesus deity will be saved contradicting clear biblical teaching (eg the examples already mentioned). Do you know what I mean? Now, does Rob Bell teach and believe those who deny Jesus deity will be saved? I don’t know. But those the book description and video suggest that he does? Certainly. And does the book description and video implicitly mock the biblical teaching as foolish, arrogant, and ignorant? Certainly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not exactly. I have studied many denominations from all the most common ones to the less popular ones and universalism doesn’t exactly teach that. And keep in mind that the label of universalism has it’s many flavors like Baptists have. Not all their followers agree on every detail. Whereas a denomination like the Catholic church is firm on their doctrines and very specific about them. Various Baptist denominations vary on many issues. Universalist groups vary as well. I don’t know Rob Bell’s personal creed but I doubt he is holding to any firm formula for his beliefs other than love. I get the impression that he is open to being wrong and humble to keep studying. Perhaps this is why he resists labels. He’s on a journey and by faith he may not know where that will take him in his studies from one day to the next. Our Christian life isn’t summed up in a 6 week discipleship course to perfection. No one can have their theology right even by a 4 year seminary degree. Let people have room to breathe on their journey. That’s what grace does. Legalism throws up a wall of defense out of fear and insecurity. The power of God has no walls.

    • Mike says:

      I don’t think what Bell says necessitates him being universalist – I think it’s more plausible that he’s an annihilationist or a conditionalist. What makes you think “perish” necessarily means go to hell? “Perish” could mean to die, to be destroyed, to decay, etc.

    • Amitai says:

      I, for one, am pleased that Rob seems to have embraced the “heresy” his peers seem afraid of. We need more heretics in this world, more lovers instead of theologians. I’ve met Rob; had tea with him. I don’t know him personally in the same fashion as his inner circle or even his congregations, but I have respect for him, so much so that, judging him by his creative and intellectual output in recent years, I would take one Rob Bell for a hundred some-such “theologically” high-minded, self-congratulatory holy fellows. Who specifically? Doesn’t really matter; they’re interchangeable. I in no way worship, or even entirely agree with Rob. But I respect his significant contribution to a healthier, saner expression of Christianity dominated by a resurgence of the cold mathematics of reform theology.

  26. Mason says:

    To quote my friend on the issue, “Rob Bell is either unable to communicate clearly, unwilling to communicate clearly, or a universalist. None of these options elicit my sympathy.”

    The honest truth is that the prima facie reading of Bell’s video is that he’s a universalist. If, in the book, he edges back from going as far as he does in the video that would be great, but he remains responsible for the information in the video.

    • Mike says:

      So, you’re saying the only alternative to eternal conscious hell is universalism? Perhaps Bell’s video and the publisher blurb suggest he doesn’t believe in eternal punishment, but they don’t necessarily point to universalism. My guess is that Rob Bell is going to argue for some flavour of annihilationism or conditional immortality. That would be consistent with the writings of N.T. Wright, one of Bell’s influences.

  27. AC980 says:

    The Holy Spirit through Paul told the Judaizers that preaching another gospel would damn them, unless they repented.

    Universalism tells the Judaizers that nothing will damn them, that ultimately, even if they preach another Gospel their whole lives, they’re going to Heaven.

    Now, which one of those ways of dealing with error is divisive? And which one of those ways is loving? I think the answer to both of those questions is the Holy Spirit’s way. The Holy Spirit’s way is both divisive and loving (and holy, and righteous, and good, and wise, etc).

    All I’m saying is that “IF” Rob Bell is saying that everyone* will ultimately go to heaven then he is teaching damnable heresy.

    *”everyone” includes those who deny Jesus’ deity and His death and resurrection, those who refuse to repent and believe in Christ, those who worship false gods, those who teach that Jesus did not come in the flesh, those who teach that people must be circumcised in order to be saved, etc

  28. @AC980
    I would suggest you read the book before judging the man. This type of behaviour by the neo reformed set is pharisaical to say the least.
    As for the Judaizers, arent we all a little bit guilty of Jesus+ something = salvation, whether it be adherence to a particular doctrine or church?
    I am not a universalist by any stretch of the imagination, but what if Jesus seriously meant that the father wishes none to perish, what if in act of undeserved grace G-d does send everyone to heaven, what then. Or does your G-d only fit into the boundaries you allow. You still havent answered my original question though, about the impact this sort of argument has on those outside the church. So far the feedback I am getting is along the lines of if we cant agree on anything and attack each other why should non christians waste their time with the church.
    You also forget Bell isn’t really talking to us he is talking to those outside the church that old son is called evangelism At the end of the day good on Bell, I trust that he knows what he is doing and is leaning on Jesus rather than his own understanding. His silence also speaks volumes to me about him leaning on Jesus, those who only have their own understanding always seek to justify their righteousness through slander and denigration.

    • Ed says:

      I have read much of Bell’s literature and understand his views.
      In fact, I wrote a dissertation on the hermeneutical foundations of the emergent church. Your “what if” is about as meaningful as saying “what if” there were no sinners. It is a useless and wasteful condition of baseless speculation. What is Jesus really didn’t rise from the dead? Hmmm…then what. Well, we know then what…our faith is in vain. But how? Why? Our understanding of God is bound to the revelation of Him we see in Scripture. God chose to limit how much of Himself He revealed to us. What Scripture says God is, He is. What Scripture says God is not, He is not. What Scripture says God did, He did. What Scripture says God will do, He will most certaintly do. Outside of Scripture we know very little about God. Every human has limited a limited capacity to know God. Your view that limits about and on the God who is reveals at best a novice level understanding of theology and philosophy. My advice to you is repent and believe the Scriptures, for they are they that testify of the true God and unless you believe the Scripture, you will certainly die in your sin.

  29. It’s not easy being John Piper. He has to have a take ready on every single issue at just a moment’s notice. It’s in his job description.

  30. […] Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.” People from all over the Christian world have weighed in. Today I watched the promo video Bell made for the book. […]

  31. […] example, a recent post by David Sessions (a self-proclaimed non-evangelical commentator) regarding this situation has only one small […]

  32. […] angle to take on this is drawn along conservative/liberal lines. The post looks at Sessions’ piece here at Patrol as an example of the liberal side, but fails to acknowledge that we hardly ever […]

  33. Logan says:

    Piper may have spoken out harshly and too quickly, I give you that. But to say that this is a sign of not being humble is false. The humility that is being taught from the pulpit of evangelical churches is not an act towards people. It is a condition of the heart and a matter of completely denying yourself before God. The truth of scripture is just that – truth. it cannot be put any other way. In fact, scripture says that it will be offensive to many.

    Again, don’t make the mistake of getting humility and tolerance mixed up. Humility is a characteristic, not so much an act. You can boldly profess the truth of scripture without violating humility.

  34. […] What the Rob Bell Controversy Says About John Piper – Patrol Mag […]

  35. […] he actually read the book, which is more than what his accusers can say (as a side note, check out this Patrol article on what the whole thing says about John Piper’s character). As suggested by Scott McKnight, […]

  36. TJ says:

    Unless I am greatly mistaken, you seem to find some sort of paradox in the image of an individual or congregation that fervently seeks growth in humility and values self-effacement holding to a rigid interpretation of scripture and readily labeling as ‘heresy’ anything that departs from what they understand to be true doctrine. That’s pretty silly. It reminded me of what G.K. Chesterton had to say about pride in the third chapter of Orthodoxy.

    “But what we suffer from to-day is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert–himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt–the Divine Reason.”

    “At any street corner we may meet a man who utters the frantic and blasphemous statement that he may be wrong. Every day one comes across somebody who says that of course his view may not be the right one. Of course his view must be the right one, or it is not his view.”

  37. Ed says:

    Wow! I cannot get over the number of agnostic post-modernists who are so certain that certainty is a sign of extreme arrogance that they cannot recognize it in their own system. What is the major assumption that these blogs never attempt to prove? That certainty is bad or impossible and uncertainty is a virtue and the greatest sign of humility. Of this fact, they seem to be quite certain about. If this is true, Jesus was not very humble. He seemed certain about everything He spoke of. Jesus, the prophets, the apostles, or great theologians throughout church history did not operate with such philosophical presuppositions.They were men of great convictions that ran deep into the soul! No one has ever been martyred for squimishly putting forth a weak, watered down opinion that they fully admit “this is just my interpretation.” People who write like this author writes end up turning the gun on themselves and squeezing the trigger. While a simplistic approach to interpreting Scriptures should be avoided at all costs and is not at all commendable, the idea that certainty about God’s truth is something that is impossible to attain and therefore all dogmatism should be dispensed to the ash-heap of modernism isn’t the cure it claims to be. What is funny is that the disciples of uncertainty will be so certain that I am wrong that they will open their mouths to contradict me and in so doing, will prove me right. Thanks in advance for supporting my argument.

  38. Karl says:

    I so glad I found this site for great unbiased articles that don’t have have any particular political slant. It has well written pieces with titles like Why Conservative Evangelicals Are Wrong and Why Marx Was Right. This website is a breath of fresh air.

  39. You might be a conservative neo-Calvinist evangelical if … Every time someone threatens your presumed monopoly on evangelical identity by questioning your convictions you respond in an instant media frenzy of self-defense (or aggressive offense) and premature denunciation or rebuttal.

  40. […] Bell was criticized before his book was even out, many decided to say that the criticism revealed more about the critics than about Bell’s book. They were upset that people would slam Rob Bell as a person. They […]

  41. RA Murphy says:

    FANTASTIC article! I could not agree more. I had the same though when I first read about Piper’s quick dismissal of Bell. Though I would use slightly stronger words: there is something wholly unholy and completely arrogant about theological absolutism.

    Thanks again. I’ll be reading up on your other articles now.

  42. beth says:

    I find it interesting that with all the responses on here, David hasn’t taken time to defend any of his writing, despite really great points and questions. Do I smell arrogance? Or is it just cowardice…?

  43. […] Farewell, Reformed Christianity. Share this:EmailFacebookShareDiggRedditStumbleUpon […]

  44. RA Murphy says:

    Just finished a blog entry inspired by this controversy. “The Danger of Tradition: Will Christianity Enter a New Reformation Period?” http://ow.ly/5sj0o
    Would love to hear your thoughts!

  45. Mark Bloomer says:

    A very nice and well written article in response to John Piper’s reaction to Rob Bell!! I have witnessed, personally, the damage that the neo-Calvinist movement has had on individuals. The neo-Calvinists profess humility, but inside they are very arrogant and divisive souls.

  46. Thomas says:

    Sovereign grace ministries is cult like and you should all drink the cool aid. Legalistic bs ever present, abounding in your congregations. You breed so that your children can grow up and breed together. Out of all the people I grew up with not one of them married out of the SG stranglehold. SG reminds me of the Catholic church, and if we had witches today, you would be the ones holding the torch.

  47. […] example, a recent post by David Sessions (a self-proclaimed non-evangelical commentator) regarding this situation has only one small […]

  48. […] example, a recent post by David Sessions (a self-proclaimed non-evangelical commentator) regarding this situation has only one small […]

  49. Bernon says:

    To all of you arrogant ones saying Rob Bells False then read this:
    1. Bell has a degree in Masters in Divinity: in which you say his teachings are not accurate? Have you looked upon his videos and teachings on how he emphasize great studies upon delivering his preaching? No then shame in you.
    2. He clearly points out that He’s not a Universalist, you all just probably say it because of the things you hear and haven’t even read his book at ALL.. Shame.
    3. Bells not a critique like the rest of you all. I believed in the same old traditional past down to generation from someone who invented it revelation of salvation. After some lifetime I heard of Bell and his preachings then came his book. I saw the beauty of God. Period.

    Bells right on what he said in an interview:

    “To be honest with you, I am passionate about all the people out there who want to know Jesus, they want to know God, and they are sick of a system that is hung up on a bunch of things that have nothing to do with the love of God,” said a visibly emotional Bell. “They say, ‘If that is how you act, why would I ever want to know your Jesus. You are not even kind at a basic human level, let alone to people who are apparently on your team, so to speak. You crucify them. That’s what you do? Why would I want what you have?’

    Is it hard to feed our pride and ego just by saying that he has a point? Think about it. And for those who say that he’s preaching is not from the bible look up on #1. He’s not some guy who just learn a few bibliography techniques and then go and clatter out words. He’s well educated on the Hebrew, Greek and Biblical manuscript..

    God Bless us all.. Save yourself the trouble of nit doing research.. I love you all..

  50. […] Rob Bell,” indicating Bell’s departure from orthodoxy. Tellingly, Piper received quite a bit of criticism from mainstream Evangelicals for this. With this fresh round of Bell liberalism, however, there seems to be fewer “oh […]

  51. Sage says:

    I love how people denounce absolutism while promoting it. That’s adorbs.

Leave a Reply

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.