“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)