God’s Word Is Our Authority, Not C.S. Lewis or Rob Bell

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Ps. 118:8

A contributing writer to Holiness Today has made several serious errors in a recent Holiness Today blog article entitled “God’s Sovereignty.”  It is a commentary  on Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins.  In his opening words, the author says this:

 “For some reason, even the announcement [regarding Bell’s book] ignited some pretty extreme reactions—all the way from some manner of agreement to downright rejection not only of the book, but of Bell himself.  I’ve been wondering why these reactions are so strong. Reading the book reveals that there is actually not that much new contained there.”

Yes, there is actually not that much new in the book.  The Bible says that “there is nothing new under the sun”.  It’s all the same kind of stuff from the very beginning, and in Rob Bell’s case, there is nothing new.  It is the same kind of deception that he has fostered upon so many undiscerning pastors and laypeople alike, and I’m afraid the writer is either undiscerning, or he agrees with Bell’s fuzzy gospel, or he has not read enough of Rob Bell to find out what he is all about.  In any case, regardless of the reason, this is his first serious error.  He has failed to recognize Rob Bell as one of those teachers described in 2 Timothy 4:3:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires”

Rob Bell is clearly one who teaches a form of the gospel that is not the true gospel, and it is a serious mistake to give him a pass in a magazine whose purpose, I assume, is to teach biblical truth to many Nazarenes around the world.  Bell teaches a “twisted gospel”, and he asks questions in such a way, that folks are left in a state of confusion as to whether he even knows the answer.  Is that the calling of a pastor, to ask confusing questions and then walk away, letting everyone else decide for themselves what the answer is, based on their feeling or reasoning, when the answer can be found in scripture?  Why not point people to the answers in scripture?

The second error the writer makes, along with the third, relates to the scripture in Psalm 118:8:  “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”  The writer justifies his support of Rob Bell’s book by citing, not Holy Scripture; not the writings of Jesus or the apostles; but he cites fiction, albeit written by a well known and respected Christian author, C.S. Lewis.

The writer says,

“Even more surprising, in the book The Last Battle from the Narnia series, Lewis has Aslan, the personification of Christ, say to a character who served Tash, an idol, all of his life: “Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.” I guess Lewis expected some surprises at the end.

And is that strange? Unbiblical? I would say, it is not.”

The last time I checked, C.S. Lewis’s books are not part of the canon of Holy Scripture.  What the writer has done here is done too often now.  He has elevated C.S. Lewis as an authoritative figure that cannot be challenged, as if Lewis wrote one of the inspired books of the Bible!  But some people reading this will fall for this, and since C.S. Lewis is a hero to many, will assume that, well, if C.S. Lewis said it, that makes sense.  I warn this writer that as a teacher, the scriptures say that those in his position will be held more accountable in the day of judgment for what they teach.

If the writer had gone on to show us that the illustration from the Narnia book could be backed up with supportive scriptural teaching, then that would be fine.  But he does not do that, which is his third error.  He erroneously says that this illustration is NOT unbiblical, that it’s fine.  He tells us what he thinks.  Not what Holy Scripture says, but what HE thinks.

But in truth, when compared with scripture, it is exactly that.  It is unbiblical, because what Aslan is saying to that character that served an idol all his life is this: “You served a false god all your life, you never knew me as your Savior and Lord, but… come on in anyway, it’s all good.”  This is universalism, folks.  And if that is what C.S. Lewis was teaching in that story, then he was wrong.  If that is what the writer is suggesting, then he is wrong. The writer has great hope that God will not really do what He says he will do regarding unrepentant sinners.

It does not matter who it is that is teaching something wrong and unbiblical.  Everything must be held up to the light of scripture, and no man- none at all- is above scrutiny in what he teaches.  Not C.S. Lewis, not John Wesley, not a General Superintendent, not the greatest preacher in the world today- not anyone else.  That is the danger that we face today folks.  Instead of looking to scripture for the answers, some are grasping for stories like Aslan’s to tickle their ears and make them feel better, that perhaps even those who reject Christ and worship false gods and idols, will somehow be redeemed in spite of their lost condition.

In the parable of the brides, Christ says that “many are called, but few are chosen.”  And those who try to come in and are not ready are thrown into “utter darkness”, in other words, hell.  Hell is one of the concepts that Bell has twisted around to mean something it is not.  It’s like making the claim that the unrepentant sinner, when he dies, will be annihilated completely instead of spending eternity in hell.  A comforting concept to some who do not want anyone to suffer eternally, but an unbiblical concept nonetheless, shown by scripture to be false.

In explaining to his congregation at Mars Hill what he believes, in the aftermath of the book controversy, Rob Bell said the following:

 “I believe in Jesus, I believe in heaven, I believe in hell, and I’m not a universalist… I believe in the Bible as the fresh inspired words of God…”

When you dig deep into what Bell really believes, it is a different Jesus, a different heaven and hell, it’s a different kind of “inspired book” than is what is taught in the Bible.  But many do not recognize this, because he is such a good deceiver.  That’s what makes an effective false prophet.  So to get to recognize a genuine teacher of God’s word, YOU need to be in God’s word so thoroughly, that you can recognize that which is fake.

I encourage those who write for Holiness Today, or approve the articles, to do the same.  Don’t look to other men’s writings, unless they are supported by THE BOOK.  Look to the only words that are infallible and the hold the absolute truth- the Holy Bible.

Suggested read: Rob Bell: “Evangelical and orthodox to the bone?” Hardly. (John MacArthur)

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15 responses to “God’s Word Is Our Authority, Not C.S. Lewis or Rob Bell

  1. Manny, none of us are above reproach on Scripture or God’s authority. Not you, not me, not our board member, our Pastor, our District Superintendent, or our General Superintendent, or even the little old lady who faithfully comes to church and reads her Bible everyday. We are all held accountable. On my knees this morning I prayed that the Lord would keep me humble, knowing how much he hates pride – that those of us who are being led to call out apostasy would continually be seeking the heart of Christ and His Word. The enemy knows our weaknesses. If only those you and others are calling out would realize how quick God is to forgive a truly repentant heart. I pray that we would always be open to the conviction of sin and quick repentance to Jesus Christ.

    Praying for you specifically today, dear friend.

  2. Manny,

    I wrote Han’s the following on his Blog, and trust he will respond.

    After reading your article, I am having a difficult time understanding your acceptance as Biblical truth of “The Last Battle” from the Narnia series where Aslan, the personification of Christ, says to the character who served Tash, an idol, all his life. In that his service to Tash, was equally accounted as service done to Aslan. It appears that you agree with C.S. Lewis. Especially in your next statement, “And is that strange? Unbiblical? I would say it is not.” You cite as evidence the story of King Hezekiah who is about to die. And you quote the story of Jonah as well.

    First, service done to idols cannot be attributed to service to Christ, and I truly hope you did not mean this. You cannot serve idols and Christ at the same time. As far as God changing His mind concerning Hezekiah the change was conditional on Hezekiah’s part just as God’s hand of destruction upon Nineveh depending upon whether or not they repented. By the way memories faded and Nineveh forgot God and God destroyed them 250 years later. His judgment of destruction still stood against them, just as Hezekiah’s death sentence was still upon him, Hezekiah died 15 years later.

  3. Good old Hans from Naz Net.
    Of course a great source of information.
    Not if you want biblically based information.
    But hey he has a nice smile.
    Anyway what could be added to all this is there is not anything new here since our enemy satan mislead Eve and Adam in the Garden.
    Rob Bell is just another personification of intentional demonic misleading.
    Rob does not know the Jesus of scripture so to be sure when Rob talks its a different jesus, and for sure Rob preaches a different gospel.
    And what does scripture teach us about those who preach a different jesus and a different gospel?
    Tim

  4. Thank you for your prayers, Betty. We do need to stay humble at all times. Lord knows, as this blog has become more “popular” (who needs this kind of popularity anyway!), I remind myself, it’s not about me. That’s one of things I have to guard against, becoming more known than I ever thought I would be. Whatever I write here is out of love for God’s truth, and I also realize what so many other folks are doing “behind the scenes”, on their own, writing to leaders and expressing their concerns. All that together with those who are writing these blogs, come together to work to make some kind of difference for somebody, somewhere.
    Our prayers go back to you as well.
    Blessings,
    Manny

    P.S. One of the biggest blessings for me of course since starting the blog two years ago, is the blessing of so many brothers and sisters in Christ like you who I have gotten to know. It’s almost unfair, since not everybody is doing this and therefore is not coming into contact with folks the way I do. I am blessed because it has been a big help for me and encouragement.

    All the glory goes to God.

  5. I agree brother. The Bible must speak for us and we must rise and fall upon the Bible. It alone is the inerrant and infallible truth for the disciple of Jesus (John 8:31-32; 17:17).

    Keep seeking God for Him to move in power in His Church.

  6. Some facts on C.S. also that reveals his less than “orthodox” positions:

    Was C.S. Lewis a strong Bible believer? By no means, as even Christianity Today admits. “Clive Staples Lewis was anything but a classic evangelical, socially or theologically. He smoked cigarettes and a pipe, and he regularly visited pubs to drink beer with friends. Though he shared basic Christian beliefs with evangelicals, he didn’t subscribe to biblical inerrancy or penal substitution. He believed in purgatory and baptismal regeneration” (“C.S. Lewis Superstar,” Christianity Today, Dec. 2005).

    Lewis believed in prayers for the dead; in purgatory; denied the total depravity of man and the substitutionary blood atonement of Christ; believed in theistic evolution and rejected the Bible as the infallible Word of God; taught that hell is a state of mind; lived for 30 years with a married woman; and there is more.

    The complete article is here at David Cloud’s website:

    http://www.wayoflife.org/files/2e66ace0fe4b2b419ec7f916702eabf6-134.html

  7. Great thoughts Manny. I must admit I do not know why you bother with the Nazarene church, but keep up the good work. If you ever leave you should keep my denomination (reformed baptist) in mind. We would be lucky to have a faithful brother in Christ like yourself. Keep fighting the good fight. You are certainly prayed for.

  8. With all due respect to those who are summoning to the “other side”… there is no OTHER SIDE. ;) There is only Jesus Christ, crucified. If anything, we are seeing a falling away of denominational lines for the Truth of God’s Word, eliminating the fallacy of false allegiance to a denomination. Rather, we proclaim the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Once we tie ourselves to one denominational thinking over another then we give more glory to man’s “definition” of the Word than we do to Word (Jesus) alone.

    (All of this said from someone with a total of 57 years of Nazarene love, allegiance and membership!)

    Again, Jesus Christ and Him Crucified! He is alive, Praise God, He lives that we may live!

  9. Well for sure even though I do like John MacArthur’s materials as well as him having the guts to speak out against heresy and use names,
    I’m certainly no Calvinist.
    I believe Jesus died for everyone not just those who would or will accept Him as Savior.
    Tim

  10. Tim,
    I have been reading your blog as well. Wonderful stuff. Even though you have made it quite clear you wouldn’t join my denomination, we would as well be luck to have you. Keep speaking the truth brother. You are prayed for.

  11. Tim Wirth,

    I understand what you mean in your last line, but the way it’s worded made me do a double-take because it made you sound like a universalist (I highly doubt that you are, just saying it looked weird at first glance).

    As for the Calvinist-Arminian divide, yes it’s a real divide, but not a heretical one as others have pointed out so well here. Spurgeon in the Down Grade Controversy had several Arminian churches standing by his side against the liberalism that had infiltrated both Arminian and Calvinist churches in England. Though he championed and preferred Calvin, he made it clear that central truths of Christianity as a whole were far more important.

  12. Well Im for sure not a universalist.
    I believe in a very real heaven filled with Christians who accept Jesus as their Savior.
    And I also believe in a very real hell.
    That’s what urges me to share the true gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world.
    Im not a Arminian or a Calvinist.
    Just a christian saved by Jesus who died on the cross for all my awful sin’s and who then rose from the dead.
    Not sure what threw you.
    I would certainly never wish to mislead anyone ever.
    Tim

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