Rob Bell Leaves No Doubt: He Is A Heretic And An Enemy Of God

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Matt. 18:6

Rob Bell is still causing great harm to many, and it would be good for him to heed the above passage.  After I listened to a recent interview on Premier Christian Radio (and all I needed really was to listen to the first minute) a few things came to mind.  First, what were they thinking when the leadership of the Church of the Nazarene came up with the “brilliant idea” of having Rob Bell as the main speaker at a pastor’s retreat at Point Loma Nazarene University?  See this post-retreat report on Bell’s visit, written by a PLNU alumnus.  You would think they had enough information about Mr. Bell and would have summarily rejected any thought of having him speak to Nazarene pastors.  Welcoming false teachers seems to be a continuing trend at Nazarene schools, as PLNU had Donald Miller for the pastor’s retreat this year (see slide show).

What good can a heretic bring to the table at a pastor’s seminar?  And why do some of Bell’s books turn up as resource materials in theology courses (1)?  Why is Rob Bell considered a good source within a denomination that says it believes in holiness?  What he teaches is far from holiness.  What is the attraction by  “mature” college theology teachers and church pastors to this man’s obvious heretical ramblings?

Rob Bell, who is no longer a pastor, has been a toxic influence for quite a few years now, in the Church of the Nazarene and in practically every evangelical denomination.  His error filled NOOMA video series has been popular with pastors who have used them for Sunday School classes, and during weekly “Bible studies.”  What gets into the minds of these leaders who are constantly turning to the most popular books and using them for “Bible study”, and setting aside the Bible, only to use an occasional reference to a scripture passage?  In any case, why do they continue to insist that Rob Bell is a good resource for Christians in learning how to grow and walk in the Lord?

Rob Bell, I suppose to his credit, is now openly declaring his affirmation of the gay lifestyle, that gay marriage is good, and in this interview, he even gets a bit hot about it and uses a cuss word to express his outrage against Christians who continue to hold the line and preach the word of God as it is written- not as Bell wants it to mean, or as Rob Bell seems to think that Scripture is no longer relevant in the area of homosexuality.  Have you noticed that some pastors dance around the issue and seem to be very afraid of stating their position on this, whether they are for or against gay marriage, or that they cannot answer a question as to whether homosexuality is a sin?  I urge you to ask your pastor where he stands on this matter of homosexuality, gay marriage and sin.  It may not be as obvious as you think.

According to Rob Bell, it is more important to stay attuned to the cultural shifts in society and go with the flow, rather than be a hardliner about what Holy Scripture speaks to us concerning human sexual relations and sin.  To Bell, the Bible is just no longer relevant in this day and age, and so he chooses to ignore its plain teaching in favor of what he prefers, what he feels seems right.

This is the same Rob Bell we have know for years believes the following also, so there is no excuse:

–       The Bible is a human product, not a product of divine fiat

–       Bell is really a universalist, who believes that eventually all will go to heaven

–       He rejects the doctrine of original sin

–       Rejects the notion of penal substitution

–       Rejects the idea that Scripture alone will answer all questions

–       Rejects Scriptural teaching of the reality of heaven for the saved, and hell as an eternal place of punishment for the unrepentant.

–       Questions the virgin birth

–       Bell also promotes contemplative spirituality

–       Bell endorses heretics such as Marcus Borg, who denies the atonement and the doctrine of the cross

Rob Bell misses so many points in the Bible that are so easily understood, it’s a wonder he was a pastor for so long.  Now he is trying to make his mark in Hollywood, and has charged $500 for small groups of people to meet with him for two days of … teaching and discussion.  But we already know what Rob Bell is teaching, and for $500 why would any reasonable Christian want to spend two days with Bell just to get error filled theology?  All he is preaching is the religion of man.

I feel sorry for Rob Bell, and he needs to come to repentance for what he is doing and teaching to countless many people.  I also feel sorry for those who are still using his materials, especially undiscerning pastors who have been deceived by all this emergent church garbage.  Rob Bell has probably caused more damage to the Nazarene and other denominations that we will ever know, and we know that God reserves a bit of extra judgment on those who are charged with the responsibility of teaching others.

Will Rob Bell continue to appear at pastor’s seminars?  Has the leadership in the Church of the Nazarene come to their senses yet?  What about other gay affirming emergent church heretics like Brian McLaren, whose books you will find in various theology course lists at Nazarene universities.  What about gay affirming chaplains in the Nazarene universities?  Why are they being enabled to preach this new concept of “homosexual Christians.”

A final word for Rob Bell and all others in his camp, including pastors who are affirming that homosexuality is okay, and who are having fellowship with sinners as if they were not sinners, and who are not preaching the whole counsel of God on this matter.  Take warning:

“Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” 2 Peter 2:2-3

Additional Resources:

Review of Love Wins, by Matt Slick


Video: Rob Bell Promotes Homosexual Marriage:


Rob Bell and His “Christian Universalism”



(1) Northwest Nazarene University
PRTH6980 Topics in Spiritual Formation  (MDivSF, MASF)

  • Bell, Rob.  *Velvet Elvis. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. (ISBN 978-0310263456)
  • Chalke, Steve. *The Lost Message of Jesus.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. (ISBN 978-0310248828)
  • McLaren, Brian D. *A Generous Orthodoxy:  Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative . . . Unfinished Christian.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. (ISBN 978-0310257479)
  • Miller, Donald. *A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. (ISBN 978-0785213062)
  • Willard, Dallas. *The Divine Conspiracy.  San Francisco: HarperOne, 1998. (ISBN 978-0060693336)

    Also: Nazarene Theological Seminary

    Bell, Rob.  *Velvet Elvis. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. (ISBN 978-0310263456)



Rob Bell Delves Further Into Heresy, Leads Undiscerning Pastors By The Nose

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.  Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.  Jeremiah 23:1-2

God has given pastors a charge, and a great responsibility, to lead their flock according to God’s word, to instruct them in right living, as well as to protect their flock from false teaching.  This charge cannot be taken lightly, yet many of them do.  They have allowed evil and foolish teachings to come into the church.  Somehow many see no difference between the holy and the profane (Ezek. 22:36).  This can be seen most often lately when discussing the topic of homosexuality.

Now like falling dominoes, pastors and other church leaders are leading their sheep into compromise with secular society and the pressure to get along with everyone.  Apostate “pastor” Rob Bell is one of those who many pastors are enthralled with, even using his books for “Bible” study.  They entertain his books in all seriousness, claiming to get some good out of his writings, while often using disclaimers such as “I don’t agree with everything he says, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”  As an example is this conversation between several Nazarene pastors discussing Rob Bell’s new book What We Talk About When We Talk About God.  It is the blind leading the blind.  Equally sad are the sheep who sit in the pews, listening to and tolerating anything, bearing with false teachers and false doctrines.

In 2011, Rob Bell was the featured speaker at a Pastor’s Day event at Point Loma Nazarene University. Back then, I was wondering what in the world was the Nazarene church doing allowing this man to speak to Christian pastors?  Rob Bell is a heretic.  He is an apostate.  He is a false teacher.  He is an enemy of God, a puppet of satan.  He uses pastors as tools to cause immature Christians to stumble.  He by no means represents orthodox Christian beliefs, with his promotion of Eastern meditation, his rejection of the full authority of Scripture, his twisted NOOMA messages, and his recent acceptance of homosexuality and Christianity as being compatible.

Rob Bell’s books also are spiritual resources for students, or part of required reading at some Nazarene universities, such as Northwest Nazarene University.  Do you think it’s time these “Christian” universities cleaned up their act and remove his books from their curriculum and resource libraries, not to mention the other false teachers they have used as “good” resources?

Last year, Bell finally stated clearly to us in this interview of his affirmation of homosexuality, describing unrepentant homosexuals as passionate disciples of Jesus Christ.  Well, it’s 2013, and I would like you to read some comments by Rob Bell from a new interview, which is available in this article from

The Bible says: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  1 Cor. 6:9-10

Rob Bell says:I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man,” he said. “I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

 “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work.”  I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, evangelical subculture that was told ‘we’re gonna change the thing’ and they haven’t. And they actually have turned away lots of people.”

 “And I think that when you’re in a part of a subculture that is dying, you make a lot more noise because it’s very painful. You sort of die or you adapt,” Bell continued. “And if you adapt, it means you have to come face to face with some of the ways we’ve talked about God, which don’t actually shape people into more loving, compassionate people. And we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we’ve done it in the name of God and we need to repent.”

I think…. I think…. I think.  There you go, the entire underpinning of the emergent and mysticism crowd expressed in two words… I think.  This is the disease that infects our church today, whether Nazarene, Baptist, or any other denomination.  The “I think” philosophy overrules God’s written and clear words.  The difference between me and Rob Bell, when I say I think Rob Bell is dead wrong, is that I can then support what I think with the actual authoritative and final words of Holy Scripture!  Rob Bell cannot, because like all the other apostates today, it’s all about what he thinks!

Wake up church!  This type of false teaching that clearly runs contradictory to Holy Scripture should be a no-brainer.  New born again Christians have recognized the errors of this man’s teachings; why is that that the leaders of the church have shut their mouths and have failed to lead the people?  Yes, I mean the leaders of the church: the General Superintendents, the district superintendents, the local pastors.  Yes, I know pastors and some district superintendents who have spoken openly and bravely against such heretics, and who have worked hard to keep the heresy out of their local congregation.  But they are few and far between.  The majority either are supporting this kind of heresy, or are quiet, perhaps in fear of losing their jobs.

The admonitions in Scripture are clear for pastors, and they bear a great responsibility to keep the sheep protected from the wolves.  Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and all those who enable these “teachers” to bring their false anti-christ doctrines into the churches and universities, to poison our young people and lead many astray, are in danger of some serious judgment from the Lord for causing so many to stumble.


Rob Bell Promotes Homosexual Marriage

Rob Bell and His Christian Universalism

A Review Of Rob Bell’s Book, Love Wins

Further Reading: The Pastor’s Authority and The Church Member’s Responsibility

The Time Has Already Come: They Are Not Enduring Sound Doctrine

In 2 Timothy 4, after Paul instructed Timothy to “preach the word, and to reprove, rebuke and exhort”, he explains to Timothy the reason for that instruction.  It is because there would be coming a time when “they will not endure sound doctrine.”  “They” refers to professing Christians, and Paul is saying that soon they will succumb to their own desires and wishful thinking, and will “after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”  That time has long come and gone, and is continuing.  The teachers themselves are also now looking after their own desires and looking to soothe their restlessness with all sorts of bad teaching, therefore dragging some of their undiscerning flock down the road of apostasy.

Recently, Rob Bell revealed his approval of homosexuality when he answered a question at a seminar, as seen in this video at Apprising Ministries. Brian McLaren gave his thumbs up to Rob Bell’s pronouncement as well.  And now, Brian McLaren has officiated at a wedding ceremony for his homosexual son and his partner. (see Apprising Ministries)  Is it possible that a high number of pastors in today’s evangelical world have no problem with these two men and the way they are contributing to the eternal damnation of many souls?

Both of these false teachers have been heavyweight leaders in the emergent church movement for a long time now.  They are just simply adding on to their false credentials as post-modern “evangelical” leaders.  They are now bringing it up another level, and I wonder now: how will the leaders in the church respond now?  With silence again?  Where are the Al Mohlers within the Church of the Nazarene?  After all, those two men have been a major influence, both in the colleges, the seminaries, and in the churches.

What Brian McLaren Thinks

When asked about homosexuality a few years ago, Brian McLaren (who is no longer a pastor) said this:

“You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.”

Brian McLaren also said the following:

“Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.” That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think. Even if we are convinced that all homosexual behavior is always sinful, we still want to treat gay and lesbian people with more dignity, gentleness, and respect than our colleagues do. If we think that there may actually be a legitimate context for some homosexual relationships, we know that the biblical arguments are nuanced and multilayered, and the pastoral ramifications are staggeringly complex. We aren’t sure if or where lines are to be drawn, nor do we know how to enforce with fairness whatever lines are drawn.”

And he said this in 2006 regarding homosexuality:

Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements. In the meantime, we’ll practice prayerful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they’ll be admittedly provisional. We’ll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak; if not, we’ll set another five years for ongoing reflection. After all, many important issues in church history took centuries to figure out. Maybe this moratorium would help us resist the “winds of doctrine” blowing furiously from the left and right, so we can patiently wait for the wind of the Spirit to set our course.”  (

Both men have certainly had a big influence on many within the church.  In 2011, Rob Bell spoke at a pastor’s seminar at Point Loma Nazarene University, where you will find emergent ideology being promoted, mysticism, and a softening of the biblical view on homosexuality.  His books and videos are used in churches for weekly Sunday School studies instead of Bible study.

Brian McLaren conducted a three day seminar at NorthWest Nazarene University several years ago that was outrageous, as described here by Eric Barger, who attended the seminar.  His books are used widely as resources at many Nazarene universities, and can be found in the college bookstores.  His books are also popular with many Nazarene pastors, who have gone on to pass them down to undiscerning members.


NazNet Pastors Weigh In On McLaren’s Actions

We have often called NazNet a breeding ground for emergent heresy, and with good reason, and unlike those who accuse us of being unloving, we have documented what they said, compared with Scripture, and have clearly pointed out their error.  They continued that trend in a new thread on NazNet, although there were others who strongly disagreed with many of these pastors.

What some of these pastors have said reflects the kind of compromise, lack of Scriptural understanding, and lack of strong conviction that has allowed a lot of the damage that has come into the Church.  Would these pastors say the same words to their congregations?  Would they say these words at a district assembly in front of other churches?  Since they said these words publicly, let’s put out what they have stated in their own words so that others may see and decide whether their words are based on sound doctrine:

I am not able to be as black and white on this issue as some of my friends – on either side. And I hope we will have grace to understand that this is, for some, a more complex issue than others see it…. I don’t have a problem at all with Brian McLaren doing this, any more and perhaps even less than I have a problem with a member of the clergy praying a blessing over various activities of our secular culture. He is not a member of my theological tribe, and thus has absolutely no accountability to me, or to us.”
“Okay, now I will say this – and I know that many will disagree. I am still not sure how I personally believe about this issue.”
(Mike Schutz, Nazarene pastor)

 “McLaren still has a bit of capital with me, and I offer hopefully a diminishing amount of public criticism for those who clearly strive to sense the Lord’s direction. Selfishly perhaps, I’m focusing increasingly on what the Lord wants me to do, and less on telling others what they should do.” (Dennis Scott, Nazarene pastor)

“Brian McLaren drinks beer, too. I’m not sure what the big deal is. I don’t know why anyone would need to defend the man for anything. Some things he’s said have helped people think about God in new and refreshing ways (some have helped us think of God in old, powerful ways). Disagreeing with one thing (this is hardly the first thing he’s said that gives one pause to think) does not negate the positives.
There’s a ton of our brother and sisters who have spent lots of time, effort, and prayer seeking how to deal with this issue and have decided differently than us. We have to get along with each other.
I don’t consider one’s views on homosexual marriage as a litmus test for faith (I’m more inclined to do so on things like purity, chastity, faithfulness, and relationship).”
(Ryan Scott, ordained Nazarene elder)

I see McLaren the way I see a MLB slugger. I’m a fan because he hits a lot of homeruns. I am a fan in spite of the fact that he also strikes out.
While my own evaluation is that this was a swing and a miss, I’m still a fan.
(Wilson Deaton, Nazarene pastor)

“It sounds like Brian McLaren was in a tough spot, given that it’s his son we’re talking about here. … McLaren didn’t officiate at the actual wedding but “led a commitment ceremony” for family and friends later in the day…. which sounds like the pattern I’ve heard advocated here on NazNet in the past (couple gets married by the state, then blessed by the church).
Of course, as a Nazarene minister, such an action is out of bounds for me, but if I were in Brian’s shoes… who knows what choice I would’ve made?
 (Rich Schmidt, Nazarene pastor)

“I guess I’m confused as to what is being blessed here?
I would be happy to pray for or at just about any event. I’d love to pray for any couple, gay or otherwise, that they would experience all the love and grace and peace and joy that God has for all God’s children – that they would have the wisdom and grace to seek to love and serve others in all situations – that every person’s life would radiate the love and grace of the one who created them.
I’d be happy to pray at any wedding, even if I thought it was a bad idea – the thing ill-conceived marriages need most is prayer.” (Ryan Scott, Nazarene ordained elder)

These men would do Brian McLaren proud with their words.  These are indicative of many other pastors who show a weak sense of conviction regarding homosexual sin.  To be unwilling to clearly rebuke Mr. McLaren and avoid him as Scripture demands, is just as wrong as approving it.  This same kind of wavering or refusal to make a clear statement on homosexuality, was reflected at Bruce Barnard’s FaceBook discussion.  It does have a lot of eye opening insight in how these pastors are so devoid of discernment.  Maybe they have good intentions, but they are way off the mark biblically.  There is nothing ambiguous when it comes to homosexuality and what the Bible teaches.

So what now?  Irresponsible, undiscerning, or apostate pastors is one of the reasons why the Church of the Nazarene is sliding deeper and deeper into apostasy.  And yet, will the General Superintendents still remain silent and allow these two men to continue spreading poison in the church?  Or, will they ever say, enough is enough, and call for a return to true holiness teaching and doctrine based on God’s word, not McLaren or Bell’s doctrine?  Of course, even if they banned McLaren and Bell completely, that would not come close to helping cure the sickness spreading in our denomination.  And how many more pastors are our seminaries sending out, who cannot stand firm and lovingly on the teaching of Holy Scripture, without trying to send ambiguous messages to people that could be sending them straight to hell.
Additional Resource: From Truth To Fables (John Henderson)

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)

A Review of Rob Bell’s Book, Love Wins

Rob Bell is yet again the topic here because of his immense popularity and likeability in the evangelical community, especially among youth, and even many pastors now, as I mentioned in a previous post.  Attached to Justin Taylor’s post here, there is a 21 page review of the book by Kevin DeYoung.  I suggest downloading the pdf version and keeping it for reference and distribute to others, especially those who are enamored by this false teacher.  If your pastor has been deceived by Rob Bell, please give him a copy of Kevin’s review.  And pray for Rob Bell.

Rob Bell’s Love Wins: A Response
(posted originally at The Gospel Coalition)

Kevin DeYoung has invested an enormous amount of time to provide the Church with a careful, comprehensive, and compelling review of Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins. I could not recommend this review more highly. Whether Bell realizes it or not, Kevin is serving as a biblical friend to him. I pray God gives Bell ears to listen.

The Gospel Coalition has produced a PDF version of the review for easier reading, printing, and distributing.

Kevin’s opening paragraph summarizes the book’s thesis and argument:

Love Wins, by megachurch pastor Rob Bell, is, as the subtitle suggests, “a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” Here’s the gist: Hell is what we create for ourselves when we reject God’s love. Hell is both a present reality for those who resist God and a future reality for those who die unready for God’s love. Hell is what we make of heaven when we cannot accept the good news of God’s forgiveness and mercy. But hell is not forever. God will have his way. How can his good purposes fail? Every sinner will turn to God and realize he has already been reconciled to God, in this life or in the next. There will be no eternal conscious torment. God says no to injustice in the age to come, but he does not pour out wrath (we bring the temporary suffering upon ourselves), and he certainly does not punish for eternity. In the end, love wins.

After listing some of the book’s virtues, he summarizes why it is so troubling:

The theology is heterodox. The history is inaccurate. The impact on souls is devastating. And the use of Scripture is indefensible. Worst of all, Love Wins demeans the cross and misrepresents God’s character.

He also explains why this is such a difficult book to review; namely, that one doesn’t know where to begin:

Love Wins is such a departure from historic Christianity, that there’s no easy way to tackle it. You can’t point to two or three main problems or three or four exegetical missteps. This is a markedly different telling of the gospel from start to finish.

He ends up organizing the book’s problems under the following seven headings:

  1. Not Your Grandmother’s Christianity
  2. Historical Problems
  3. Exegetical Problems
  4. Eschatological Problems
  5. Christological Problems
  6. Gospel Problems
  7. A Different God

Kevin closes with a “Pastoral Postscript,” and it is worth reproducing in full:

The tendency in theological controversy is to boil everything down to a conflict of personalities. This is the way the world understands disagreement. This is how the world sells controversy. It’s always politician versus politician or pastor versus pastor. But sometimes the disagreement is less about the men (or women) involved and more about the truth.

This is one of those instances.

I have not spent hours and hours on this review because I am out to get another pastor. I may be a sinner, but with four young children and a very full church schedule, I have no time for personal vendettas. No, this is not about a single author or a single church. This is about the truth, about how the rightness or wrongness of our theology can do tremendous help or tremendous harm to the people of God.

No doubt, Rob Bell writes as a pastor who wants to care for people struggling with the doctrine of hell. I too write as a pastor. And as a pastor I know that Love Wins means God’s people lose. In the world of Love Wins, my congregation should not sing “In Christ Alone,” because they cannot not believe, “There on the cross where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” They would not belt out “Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood.” No place for “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted” with its confession, “the deepest stroke that pierced him was the stroke that Justice gave.” The jubilation of “No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in him, is mine!” is muted in Love Wins. The bad news of our wrath-deserving wretchedness is so absent that the good news of God’s wrath-bearing Substitute cannot sing in our hearts. When God is shrunk down to fit our cultural constraints, the cross is diminished. And whenever the cross is diminished we pain the hearts of God’s people and rob them of their joy.

Just as damaging is the impact of Love Wins on the nonbeliever or the wayward former churchgoer. Instead of summoning sinners to the cross that they might flee the wrath to come and know the satisfaction of so great a salvation, Love Wins assures people that everyone’s eternity ends up as heaven eventually. The second chances are good not just for this life, but for the next. And what if they aren’t? What if Jesus says on the day of judgment, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23)? What if at the end of the age the wicked and unbelieving cry out, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16)? What if outside the walls of the New Jerusalem “are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Rev. 22:15)? What if there really is only one name “under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)? And what if the wrath of God really remains on those who do not believe in the Son (John 3:36)?

If Love Wins is wrong—if the theology departs from the apostolic good deposit, if the biblical reasoning falls short in a hundred places, if the god of Love Wins and the gospel of Love Wins are profoundly mistaken—if all this is true, then what damage has been done to the souls of men and women?

Bad theology hurts real people. So of all the questions raised in the book, the most important question every reader must answer is this: is it true? Whatever you think of all the personalities involved on whatever side of the debate, that’s the one question that cannot be ignored. Is Love Wins true to the word of God? That’s the issue. Open a Bible, pray to God, listen to the faithful Christians of the past 2000 years, and answer the question for yourself.

Bell addressed an invitation-only meeting at Mars Hill Bible Church on Sunday night and began by saying that he is not a universalist, that he believes in heaven and hell, and that he believes Jesus is the only way to God. Kevin’s review will help you see what he really means in each of these three areas.

I am praying that God uses this review, among others, to strengthen God’s church in sound doctrine and to protect the church from deceptive teaching. May God’s name be glorified.

You can read the review here:

God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True:
A Review of Love Wins

Rob Bell And His “Christian Universalism”

“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Cor. 11:14-15)

My friends, do not stay silent, do not compromise the truth in any way, not even for the sake of family and friends.  We continue to expose all the elements of the APOSTASY MOVEMENT* and its’ false ‘angels of light’ who are deceiving our youth, many long time Christians, and even pastors and leaders.  It is obvious some are heeding the warnings, others are not.  Our duty as Christians is to warn, and to continue exposing these false teachers uncompromisingly, and let God work in people’s lives.  Do not be discouraged.  Do not back down down one bit on such serious matters.  We have to call out these people for what they are!

So here is Rob Bell for the third time in two weeks, following right on the heels of his ill-advised visit to Point Loma Nazarene University to “minister” to Nazarene pastors, many who nodded approvingly at his words.  This three minute video promoting Bell’s new book, Love Wins, comes via a post on Lighthouse Trails Research, which was alerted by Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries.    One of the main techniques of these modern day false teachers is that they will often ‘suggest’ something might be true, or cast doubt on a truth statement by “asking questions”, causing confusion and doubt in the minds of many Christians. Certainly his slickly packaged videos and “cool way” of talking are a magnet for young people.  That’s why he is so dangerous.  Yet when I saw this video, there were so many areas where my biblical red flags went up and told me, this man right now is a servant of satan!  Again and again. Yet I marvel at how pastors and Christian college leaders with much more Bible knowledge than many of us let this wolf into the midst of the sheep pen unguarded!

I’m curious as to how those who brought Rob Bell to Point Loma last week will defend this latest piece of “wisdom” from a supposed Christian pastor who last week “ministered to” who knows how many Nazarene pastors.  Who is responsible?  Will the President of PLNU, or the theology department, or the pastor who hosted Bell at his church, now see what kind of teaching this man brings?  You have the opportunity to say something and do something, but what will it be? Will other Nazarene schools wake up to this now, or will they now get on the bandwagon and sign up Rob Bell so more ears can be tickled?

For those of you trying to keep this false teacher from indoctrinating your youth, file this one as an example of this dangerous man’s deception.  Yet, although we must not hesitate to refute his false teaching at every turn, we must pray for Rob Bell to repent, renounce man’s religion, and proclaim the name of Jesus boldly as the only way to God.  If he does not repent, he must be exposed as the false teacher that he is, and I guarantee that you will not be popular for doing so.  But expose him and the others that are poisoning the minds of our youth, we must.  We have no choice if we wish to obey God.

A brother in Christ, Tim Martin, says it well here:

Rob Bell has been taken captive by the adversary.  He comes across as a nice guy and critical thinker, but do not be fooled by the twisted perverted pseudo gospel of these enemies of the cross of Jesus Christ. Bell is one of several that are continuously creating doubts and straw man type questions about the plain teaching and understanding of the Word of God.  Bell, like others, have embraced a long standing mandate issued by the powers of darkness to attack the Words of God that began long ago with Eve and the serpent in the garden.  God and Jesus Christ are being seriously misrepresented by “Bell” to multitudes of people, and this kind of deception always leads to destruction and death.

Somebody needs to remind “Bell” that GOD IS HOLY AND JUST ALSO!!!!!  According to Bell, the standard and means of getting into heaven is open for discussion among men and then determined and presented in the context of universal liberty and access to heaven. Bell has been crafting a pseudo gospel message in a very deceitful way that leads others to believe it comes from the Bible, yet he presents it in ways foreign and contrary to what God has CLEARLY communicated to mankind.  Bell and others like him are dangerous to those that celebrate their evil works.

3 minute video by Rob Bell: LOVE WINS

Rob Bell Comes Out of the Closet for Universalism – Yet Speaks at Nazarene University

February 25th, 2011 | Author: Lighthouse Trails Editors

Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries has alerted Lighthouse Trails to a promotional video clip of Rob Bell’s upcoming book, Love Wins (March 29th, HarperOne). Silva states:

[W]e are seeing within mainstream evangelicalism a reimagined version of just about every piece of antibiblical theology i.e. doctrines of demons that seducing spirits have ever attempted to bring with them as they slither into the Christian Church. One that is being openly promoted now is so-called Christian Universalism.(source)

Silva adds: “Rob Bell embraces a form of universalism. For the person willing to be objective, the video promo below for his new book dispels any doubt that Bell is teaching this heresy” (source).

In the promotional video, Bell tells viewers that a loving God would not send billions to hell. He suggests that God would not place a criteria (even being born again, Bell says) on people to bring them to Heaven.

Bell clearly showed his resonance with the New Age in his book Velvet Elvis,where he tells readers to study a book by New Ager, tantric sex advocate Ken Wilber for three months for a “mind-blowing” experience (p. 192).

You may be thinking that what Rob Bell believes and teaches has nothing to do with you or your church, but what about your children and grandchildren? What about their youth groups, Christian high schools,  colleges, and seminaries? Bell may be there, either with his Nooma films or Velvet Elvis. And now Love Wins? Or he may have even spoken at their schools. For instance, a week ago, Bell spoke at Point Loma Nazarene University at their annual Pastor’s Day event. This isn’t too much of a surprise to Lighthouse Trails though. Nazarene universities have become a playing field for the emerging church. One year ago, we reported that a Buddhist/universalist sympathizing speaker addressed students at a Nazarene university in Idaho (“Buddhist/Universalist Sympathizer Woos Nazarene Students at NNU”) .

Once you watch this promotional video below, we hope you realize the implications of this. Mainstream evangelical Christianity is going universalistic! Right before our very eyes.

Is Rob Bell right that being born-again is unnecessary to enter the kingdom of God? The Bible says a resounding no to that: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Can we enter Heaven through any door at all? Once again, the Bible gives the answer:

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.  John 10: 7-11

But in the mindset of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and other emerging spirituality leaders, there are no “thieves and robbers,” and every door is a door to God. All paths lead to God. If that were the case, then it would have been God’s biggest mistake to send His Son to die on the Cross for the atonement of man’s sins. But Scripture is clear on this also. A sacrifice had to be made for sin: “[W]ithout shedding of blood is no remission [of sins]” (Hebrews 9:22).

If emerging figures would stop and think about it, the Bible is a complete antithesis of what they teach. Jesus Christ of the Bible would definitely not fit into the emerging definition of “Jesus.” The Jesus of the Bible shed His blood and suffered, taking our place, so we could be saved if we believe on Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior.

[Jesus Christ] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:25-26)

[Jesus said] And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. ( Matthew 10:14)

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43)

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.

Related Information:

Rob Bell: Universalist?

Christian Leaders Celebrate Easter But Promote Atonement Deniers – Makes No Sense

Buddhist/Universalist Sympathizer Woos Nazarene Students at NNU

Biblical Atonement or New Age At-One-Ment?

The Shack Author Says: “The God of Evangelical Christianity is a Monster.”

*APOSTASY MOVEMENT : emergent church, mysticism, ecumenism, social justice gospel, environmental gospel, word of faith, New Apostolic Reformation, …

Rob Bell: More Messed Up Emergent Theology

Emergent Church false teacher Rob Bell, who as I have said before is particularly a danger for youth of today with his rock star-like qualities, hypnotic way of speaking and engaging personality, has a new book out.  It deals much with the topic of human suffering, and Bell offers his solutions, but are they scripturally sound?  This review by Mike Stanwood exposes more of his false theology masquerading as Christianity.  Parents, beware- is Rob Bell being introduced to your children somewhere?

Review of Rob Bell’s book, Drops Like Stars:
Book Review: Rob Bell’s  Drops Like Stars

Drops Like Stars
by Mike Stanwood

Free-lance writer and researcher for the Gospel of Jesus Christ
(From Lighthouse Trails Research)

What has red gilded pages, a hard cover, and costs more than the average person might pay for a book that can be read in one sitting? From a distance, Rob Bell’s gigantic new book Drops like Stars is reminiscent of the Twilight Series look, with red flower and broken petals falling and shattering to pieces against a black backdrop. It looks like something you might find on a table in the corner of your favorite trendy coffee shop.

Drops Like Stars is Rob Bell’s fourth book and much different from the others (Velvet Elvis, Sex God and Jesus Wants to Save Christians)–I couldn’t help wonder how environmentally incorrect it would be considered by the earth-hugging culture, as many pages are blank, or contain a few words at best. The book is basically what they say it’s about. A few thoughts on suffering–short on words, big on paper. It reads like a Nooma DVD script. Artsy and unique, the empty pages are the pauses; the full page photographs are meant to draw the reader in visually to stories or ideas said to be deep and stunning by some, overly simplistic by others. In between the pauses are various short stories about suffering, chopped and mixed together with quotes and commentaries by Bell.

The book opens with the story of the two sons, which we know as a beautiful, timeless picture of the Father’s grace toward the prodigal son. But in the retelling of this story, Rob Bell (pastor of Mars Hill church in Grand Rapids, MI) turns the perspective to how the story doesn’t end. How the older son doesn’t put his arm around the father, and Bell says, “You’re right, Dad … I’ve been such an ass. Can I get you a beer?”(p. 011). Bell laments that “we never find what the older brother decides to do,” and how “some elder brothers never join the party,” and that “lots of parties are missing somebody.” (Bell leaves his readers with a recommendation in his endnotes to discover more perspectives on Jesus’ story of 2 sons by reading Timothy Keller’s book The Prodigal God and The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen.)

As the subject turns to suffering, the question Bell asks is not the usual “why does God allow suffering,” but “what now?” From here, the train of thought shifts to the topic of “out of the box” thinking. When we suffer, we are “out of the box” because our “insulators” are dismantled and there is “disruption”–these are keywords repeated often on the next pages. The key word for dealing with new realities, Bell writes, is “imagine.”

Bell presents the young Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) as an example as one who coped, his insulators being smashed as a young man when his entire family died. There are many more tragic stories in this book about people who have had their boxes smashed, their insulators removed, the empty places inside of them opened up; but in answering his own question of “what now?,” does Rob Bell offer the hope of a Savior as a solution to such suffering in the world, as the Bible instructs? Of this, he falls short.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15

Countless Christians can attest to the fact that God has used suffering to bring them face to face with their own mortality, leading them to salvation in Christ. In fact, the Bible tells us that our salvation is made perfect in suffering (Hebrews 2:10). But instead of giving an answer for the reason of the hope that lies within the Christian heart, Bell offers the reader the philosophy that suffering unites. Like those who have been affected by cancer, Bell’s book says suffering unites us in compassion, empathy, solidarity, connection, and love. He sees pain as a necessary way to get to God (none get to God but through trouble), and honesty as the process to really feel alive.

However, our suffering is not so much about getting to God through trouble, but about His conforming us–bringing us into alignment with His will when we realize our weakness and utter hopelessness without Him, and our great need for Him. The Bible tells us there will be suffering until the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:22). But what Bell does not say is that true unity can be found in Christ alone, and the only way any of us can receive new life and final redemption is to be born again by faith through His grace.

It’s all about the art of the ache and expressing feelings, the ache being the universal factor that reassures us we are not alone. There is a bond in suffering that unites–this is the art of solidarity (p 65). Like Jesus when he hung on the cross, “feeling what we feel, aching how we ache, suffering like us” (p 67).

But did Christ suffer “like us”? The Bible says he suffered and was marred more than any man (Isaiah 52:14). He took our punishment so we don’t have to suffer as He did on the cross. Even so, Bell wonders (p 69) if the cross is God’s way of saying “I know how you feel.” The Bible says we are one in Christ Jesus, through the sacrificial blood atonement of the Lamb of God, our substitute. This is the unity Jesus prayed for in His High Priestly prayer before He was crucified (John 17).

Rob Bell never gets to that. Instead he mixes it up with more insulators being destroyed and more boxes smashed, and a quote from Susan Howatch’s fictional Starbridge series (p 68) about the whole point of the incarnation being someone else (God) coming into the world and screaming alongside of us. But the Bible tells us that God’s only Son was sent into the world to save us, and suffer in our place, not just feel our pain and scream with us. (John 3:16,17)

This view of the cross brings God to our level. While Jesus Christ became a man and bore our sins upon Himself, it wasn’t simply to feel what we feel, but to break the power of sin and death in order that we might have eternal life in Him. It is through his suffering, death AND resurrection that we are now united in Christ. Tragically, Bell has not given his readers the whole truth.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

In a recent interview Bell said: “The most powerful thing is when somebody joins us in our suffering … In some ways the gospel, or the story of Jesus, is like a cosmic act of solidarity.”–Mars Hill founding pastor to speak in Winnipeg, By Aaron Epp, Friday, July 24, 2009,

Did God send His Son so that we could stand together in the solidarity of our sufferings? No. Not our sufferings … Those in Christ Jesus find fellowship in and around HIS sufferings: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10).

Jesus Christ conquered the power of sin and death, but has yet to return and put an end to suffering. There are only two choices for all of humanity–eternal life in Christ in heaven, or eternity without Him in Hell. Of these two realities, Bell gives no warning or makes no distinction.

Bell’s frequent use of the word solidarity is curious–this is a term associated with unions and political socialism, as if we are all fractals, or parts of a whole without the finished work of Christ.

According to wikipedia, a fractal is “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is … a reduced-size copy of the whole,”… a property called self-similarity.

Like the fragmented flower petals pictured in Drops Like Stars?

How coincidental that a similar new view is finding its way into the current emerging church of which Bell is part–this is a new emerging world-view based on the “new science’s” research on fractals.

“… the term “fractal” is directly related to what are being called the “new sciences” of “Chaos Theory” and “Fractal Theory.” (p. 141, “Fractals, Chaos Theory, Quantum Spirituality, and The Shack,” A Wonderful Deception)

“Teilhard de Chardin, Matthew Fox, Leonard Sweet, and others with New Age affections are teaching the world and the church that God is “in” every atom–therefore God is “in” everything–therefore we are all One–“As above, so below.” But in the Bible, the apostle Paul made it very clear to the Greek unbelievers on Mars Hill that while humanity shares one blood (Acts 17:26)–and all the cellular similarity that infers–humanity is still in need of a Savior.” (p. 148, “Fractals, Chaos Theory, Quantum Spirituality, and The Shack,” A Wonderful Deception)

But nowhere in Drops Like Stars does Rob Bell mention the need for a Savior for our suffering. The Apostle Paul, on the other hand, never stopped talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and continued in spite of his sufferings to bear witness that not only did Christ suffer, but was also the first to rise from the dead.

As the pages of Drops Like Stars are turned from thoughts on the cross, we are carried into the art world. Once again, Bell relays that there’s a key element of imagination and creativity in suffering, and the art of elimination is a big part of that. For example, a sculptor’s most important work is knowing what to take away. (Is this the same method that Bell has used to reimagine, sculpt and take away the truth, revealing his humanistic views?)

After more quotes and visuals (Van Gogh, Mark Twain, Michelangelo, Nike swoosh) the reader finds himself staring at a full page picture of a bar of soap, followed by various soap carvings over the next few pages because sculptors remove, eliminating the superficial and trivial in the same way that suffering reveals what matters most.

Here would have been a great opportunity to share with the reader how it is God, the ultimate sculptor, who in His mercy cleanses and refines us through suffering and trials in order to mold us into His image.

“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” Malachi 3:2

“But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8

Instead we read in Drops Like Stars that there is greatness in you, and it takes suffering to get at it (p. 91). But is this what the Bible says?

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

We have no greatness in us, but God has great plans for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, and His power is made perfect in our weakness. This is what Bell completely misses.

Bell does put some Bible references to suffering in his book, and we are reminded that the apostle Paul suffered, having nothing but possessing everything (p 94). This brings up more short stories–of Rwanda, AIDS, David Letterman, Warren Zevon, and how when we suffer we become grateful for what we formerly took for granted. Such as the unemployed Argentineans that Bell observed in his travels who sang with passion. This was solidarity and hope. Not in God, but in their poverty and suffering.

On page 115 of Drops Like Stars, Bell quotes Franciscan priest and contemplative mystic Richard Rohr who tells of the native Americans who have a tradition of leaving a blemish in the rug they are weaving because that’s where the spirit enters. Bell repeats this idea, saying it’s in the blemish that the Spirit enters, relating this to coming to the end of ourselves through pain, and God turning our fragments into something new that we could never create on our own. Bell concludes that “it turns out that a Navajo rug and a Roman cross have a lot in common” (p 117).

Speaking of Richard Rohr, it is not unusual for emergent writers to turn to Rohr. His beliefs fit very well together with those in the emerging camp. In a Lighthouse Trails report on Mike Erre’s book, Death by Church, it states:

Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. His spirituality would be in the same camp as someone like Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ) who believes in pantheism (God is all) and panentheism (God in all). Rohr wrote the foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God.

There are differing traditions about the blemish in the Navajo rug. Called the “Weaver’s Pathway,” or “Spirit Line,” it may have come from a legend of a Spider Woman spirit being. Some say the Spirit Line is where the weaver’s spirit leaves the rug so that she can create other rugs, preventing her spirit from being trapped. Others say the Weaver’s Pathway counters negative symbolism in the pattern, and allows any evil spirits or energy residing in the rug to be released into energy and imagination for more rugs.

Instead of explaining this connection further, Rob Bell leaves his readers hanging by a thread, wondering exactly what native spirituality and spirits have in common with a Roman cross.

A little further along in his book, Bell quotes Abraham Joshua Heschel (a rabbi who believed that no religion had a monopoly on truth) who said that one should “live life as if it were a work of art called your own existence” (p 126). This reminds Bell of another Susan Howatch quote regarding the creative process that is the reward, and that nothing is wasted or without significance (p 128). These quotes support an emerging thought that it’s the journey that counts and not the destination, as Bell has said before, “The way of Jesus is a journey, not a destination” (p 168 Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell).

This is a journey where hell is a present reality and our final destination is not “somewhere out there.” Isn’t this what mystic proponent Ken Wilber believes, that the truth cannot be found in truth but in the journey of seeking it? (Rob Bell did recommend his readers spend 3 months reading Wilber in his book Velvet Elvis, p 192.) The unbiblical goal of this emergent journey is to find a way for all truths to fit together, making the journey the important goal, not the destination.

Near the end of the book, we are told that Drops Like Stars got its name because of Bell’s nephew who thought raindrops hitting the ground were stars. Oddly enough, even though this book does not give the biblical reason for suffering, the title is pointing to it. Dropping like stars is not an uncommon theme in the Bible, as when Jesus spoke of what he saw fall from heaven.

“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:18

And throughout the Bible, it talks about various messengers coming down from heaven. In the book of Revelation, there is a star that drops from heaven, to whom was given a key to open the bottomless pit (Rev. 9:1,2). According to God’s Word, there will be one more time when all will see Satan drop like a star, and that will be when Satan, formerly the most beautiful angel of all, and his followers are finally thrown into the lake of fire. That’s where solidarity in suffering will be a reality–forever (Rev.20:10).

But this does not fit into Bell’s theology. God’s eternal plan for mankind should be central to a book with this theme, from the beginning of creation to the end of all time, as God has laid out His plan for salvation for us in His Word. Instead of answers, Bell offers a humanist perspective of life and a shallow version of hope that our culture would easily accept. And no wonder, as his own words recently revealed:

“Asking questions, engaging the wider culture and connecting with people are important aspects of his ministry, but the key, he says, is hope.”–Ibid. Mars Hill founding pastor to speak in Winnipeg, by Aaron Epp, Friday, July 24, 2009

In conclusion–if it’s a coffee table book with worldly wisdom and emerging spirituality you seek, this book may be just the one. You will not find much godly counsel within these spacious pages, but plenty of name dropping quotes from famous musicians, writers, artists, movies and celebrities to whom the world will gladly listen. In Bell’s attempt to engage the culture, he has drawn from the philosophy and wisdom of the world and abdicated his responsibility as an evangelical pastor to represent the Gospel.

And what a shame. Far more important than the wasting of trees and paper with nearly blank pages in a book, there is an eternal significance–a wasted opportunity to share God’s hope to a dying world. Our hope, our solidarity, and our unity is not in suffering, but in the resurrection power of our living Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Hope of the world.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3,4