Update (9-27-11): "The pastor who ignited a debate over heaven and hell has announced his departure from the church he founded.....Rob Bell told Mars Hill today that he will leave for Los Angeles to follow a 'calling to share God's love' in new ways. ...[H]e will not start a new church....'We serve a big God and none of this is shocking to him.'" [Of course God isn't shocked! But He will certainly hold Bell accountable. Our all-knowing Lord reigns in spite of Bell's rebellion against His Word!] Read more here

 Book review: Love Wins by Rob Bell [1]

Mocking Truth: Rob Bell's False Hope,

Worldly Heaven and Earth-Based Hell

By Berit Kjos - April 4, 2011 (updated April 19)




Emphasis added below

"There is an energy in the world, a spark, an electricity that everything is plugged into. The Greeks called it zoe, the mystics call it 'Spirit,' and Obi-Wan called it 'the Force.' ...This energy, spark, and electricity that pulses through all of creation sustains it, fuels it, and keeps it going. Growing, evolving, reproducing..."[1] Rob Bell, Love Wins, pp.144-145.

"[Jesus] will always transcend whatever cages and labels are created to contain and name him, especially the one called 'Christianity.'...Jesus himself...demonstrates how seriously he takes his role of saving and rescuing and redeeming not just everything, but everybody."[1, pp.150-151]

"...there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.... And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed."  2 Peter 2:1-3

"When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head....  And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!' Then they spat on Him... struck Him... [and] led Him away to be crucified. " Matthew 27:29-31

While Christians prepare to celebrate Christ's victory this week, a contrary message is spreading through the Internet and news media. Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins, has become a sensation -- especially among those who welcome its assaults on Biblical Truth. Featured as the current cover-story of Time magazine, its mockery will surely fuel hostility toward God's Truth around the world.

The popular emergent "pastor" Rob Bell has a unique ability to make God's Truth sound detestable. Then, having raised doubts about our holy God, he offers comforting counterfeits that fit today's quest for unity and community. Scorning the true Church as narrow and offensive, he promotes alternatives that resemble the visions of the sixties. It's a deceitful set-up for group "dialogue" driven by feelings rather than by facts and truth.

In other words, this is spiritual warfare! Don't forget, "The whole world is under the sway of the evil one." (1 John 5:19) So we need to be prepared for this rising war against God's Word. Remember this warning:

"...we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day..." Ephesians 6:12-13

In Love Wins, "Pastor" Bell describes the current clash between Biblical Christianity and today's postmodern, pluralistic values. Guess which side he has chosen:

"I’ve written this book for all those, everywhere, who have heard some version of the Jesus story that caused their pulse rate to rise, their stomach to churn, and their heart to utter those resolute words, 'I would never be a part of that.'

"You are not alone. There are millions of us.

"...A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better.... This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus' message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy..." [Preface]

How dare this "pastor" rage against the words and ways of the sovereign King of the universe? Bell's arrogance reminds me of the tempter's seductive message in Genesis 3. There we see Satan in the form of a serpent whose main purpose is to block God's plan and deceive His people. Notice how deviously he twisted God's guidelines and raised doubts about His words:

      "Now the serpent...said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?
      "And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
      "Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'
     "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate."
Genesis 3:1-6

Might Pastor Bell have been blinded by similar lies? He seems to pick from the Bible whatever fits his values, then blends the truths with heresies that sound reasonable to those who don't know God's Word. The result is a corrupted message that feels right to a world that's fast trading God's absolutes for an evolving social gospel.

As Bell said, "there are millions of us."

That's so sad! Is America forgetting God's amazing grace and the peace that comes from "walking" with Jesus and delighting in His Word? 

"...there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies... and will bring the way of truth into disrepute." 2 Peter 2:1-9

A Worldly Heaven

According to Bell, the old Biblical truth about heaven is obsolete. Notice his disdainful tone:

"The dominant cultural assumptions and misunderstandings about heaven have been at work for so long it's almost automatic for many to think of heaven as ethereal, intangible, esoteric, and immaterial. Floaty, dreamy, hazy. Somewhere else." [p. 56]

"...People in white robes with perfect hair floating by on clouds, singing in perfect pitch."[p. 57]

"Much of the speculation about heaven—and, more important, the confusion—comes from the idea that in the blink of an eye we will automatically become totally different people who 'know' everything. But our heart, our character, our desires, our longings—those things take time."[p. 52]

Apparently Bell's skeptical mind can't believe that our sovereign, omnipotent God is more than able to accomplish all that He has promised. So he simply clings to his finite earthly vision:

"Life in the age to come. If this sounds like heaven on earth, that's because it is. Literally."[p.33]

It's not true! Yet Bell assures us that humanity's evolving and collective heavenly future will be based right here on this planet:

"The writers of the scriptures consistently affirm that we’re all part of the same family. What we have in common—regardless of our tribe, language, customs, beliefs, or religion—outweighs our differences. This is why God wants 'all people to be saved.'"[p.99]

"A couple of observations about the prophets’ promises regarding life in the age to come. First, they spoke about 'all the nations.' That’s everybody. That’s all those different...customs, habits, patterns, clothing, traditions, and ways of celebrating..."

Some of those prophets described God's extreme displeasure with certain kinds of celebrations -- especially when they involved idolatry, occultism, drunkenness and immorality. His judgments may seem severe to people who have learned to smile at evil. Thousands lost their lives -- sometimes in a mere moment of time -- through God's miraculous mastery over nature's forces.

But Bell seems to ignore such demonstrations of God's divine power and man's foolish defiance. Instead he offers a less offensive list of sins:

"Central to their vision of human flourishing in God's renewed world then was the prophets announcement that a number of things that can survive in this world will not be able to survive in the world to come. Like war. Rape. Greed. Injustice. Violence. Pride. Division. Exploitation. Disgrace."[p.36]

How will the earth be cleansed of these evils? How can fallen humanity be freed from the pull of our corrupt human nature and its selfish inclinations?

Since Bell fails to explain the divine power and guidance of the Holy Spirit in the "born again" Christian believer, that miraculous source of spiritual life and cleansing seems to be absent. What part, then, does God Himself play in Bell's view of a "literal" earthly heaven?

Bell's confusing answers may be seen in these visions of evolving universal peace and solidarity. Notice their similarity to the UN agenda. And remember, every religion would be part of envisioned solidarity:

"God says no to injustice.
God says, 'Never again' to the oppressors who prey on the weak and vulnerable.
God declares a ban on weapons."

"Around a billion people in the world today do not have access to clean water. People will have access to clean water in the age to come, and so working for clean-water access for all is participating now in the life of the age to come..."[p.45]


"Jesus calls disciples in order to teach us how to be and what to be; his intention is for us to be growing progressively in generosity, forgiveness, honesty, courage, truth telling, and responsibility, so that as these take over our lives we are taking part more and more and more in life in the age to come, now."[p.51]

For almost 2000 years, human civilizations have had opportunities to grow "progressively" in generosity, forgiveness, etc. The fact that today's culture is no closer to perfection suggests that Bell's utopian vision is merely an illusion based in man's lofty imagination. And ancient Israel was no more successful:

"They... walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward." Jeremiah 7:24

But God's promised heaven is not a figment of human imagination! It will include all who put their faith in Jesus Christ, recognize their need for forgiveness, and joyfully accept their new life in Christ through the Holy Spirit. This verse from one of my favorite hymns describes it well:

Pardon for sin and a peace that endurest,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness... [melody]

An Earth-Based Hell

Bell's liberal eschatology has no room for a Biblical hell. So he simply redefines hell to fit his own solution to evil:

"For many in the modern world, the idea of hell is a holdover from primitive, mythic religion that uses fear and punishment to control people for all sorts of devious reasons. And so the logical conclusion is that we've evolved beyond all that outdated belief, right?"[p.69-70]

"Do I believe in a literal hell? Of course."[p.71]

"God gives us what we want, and if that’s hell, we can have it.

We have that kind of freedom, that kind of choice. We are that free.

We can use machetes if we want to."[pp.71-72]

How do those statement line up with Bell's earlier call for renewal, peace, and "a ban on weapons"? Not very well. In fact, inconsistencies abound [2] in this book. For example,

"We need a word that refers to the big, wide, terrible evil that comes from the secrets hidden deep within our hearts all the way to the massive, society-wide collapse and chaos that comes when we fail to live in God’s world God’s way.

"And for that, the word 'hell' works quite well. Let’s keep it."[p.94]

So "hell" is merely a reference to earthly troubles? Would today's masses feel better if they could imagine away the devastating problem of sin and evil -- and replace it with a collective dream of peace and social justice?  Not Biblical justice, of course. That wouldn't fit Bell's view of an evolving earthly heaven.

Does that remind you of John Lennon's most popular song? It seems to match Bell's quest for an earthly paradise. Here are some of the lines:

Imagine there's no Heaven. It's easy if you try

No hell below us. Above us only sky...

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.

Eugene Peterson, esteemed author of The Message, doesn't seem a bit troubled by Bell's unbiblical teaching. Ponder his endorsement of this book:

"...it isn't easy to develop a thoroughly biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances.... Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination."

Man's gullible imagination has served as a tempting tool in social and spiritual transformation through the centuries. Today it's used to promote faith in a unifying "energy" -- like the "spark" or "energy" Bell mentioned in his introductory quote (the beginning of this article). It sounds like the teachings of Teilhard deChardin, the heretical Jesuit priest, who became a sage to mystics, globalists (including Al Gore) and the UN long after he helped "discover" the remains of the phony Piltdown_Man.

"According to Teilhard de Chardin, the human community is undergoing a radical transformation of consciousness. We are evolving from a state of tribal-national awareness to global consciousness....

"Both World Council of Churches and the Vatican have official agencies for dialogue with other religions. ...[It] is not primarily on the level of dogmatic beliefs, moral prescriptions or ritual, but on the level of spiritual experience....

"[Teillard is] challenging the religions to be active forces in our time to harness and direct human energies."[3]

But God says,

"Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not: 'Do you not fear Me?" Jeremiah 5:21-22

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.... Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:20-21

1. Love Wins (HarperOne, 2011), was listed as No. 2 on the New York Times Hardcover Advice & Miscellaneous best-seller list for the week of April. Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan.

2.  See  interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4RBWOgJGAQ&NR=1

3. Ewert H. Cousins, Fordham University, New York, September 16-18, 1981."Teilhard deChardin and the Religious Phenomenon." UNESCO: International Symposium on the Occasion of Centenary of the Birth of Teilhard deChardin.

Comment by Teresa Morris. I just read your review of Rob Bell's book again. The wolves in sheep's clothing are more scary than the jihadists. The worst that jihadists can do is to kill bodies. After that, people go to Heaven or hell depending on their relationship with Jesus (or lack of it). However, the Rob Bells of the world refuse to enter the narrow gate, and they hinder the people who are trying to enter. People will go to hell because of them. That's a lot worse than being blown up.

See also What kind of message is The Message

Emerging "Christianity" - Part 1: Breaking Out of the box

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