Tag Archive - Rob Bell

Universa-what?

There has been a bit of talk about Rob Bell the past few days. Actually, that is putting it mildly. Rob even took much of the internet’s attention from Charlie Sheen. Rather than commenting on Rob (for now), I wanted to post something brief about the underlying topic: Universalism.

Now, Rob didn’t actually use this word in his video, but this is the concept he seems to be promoting. At a minimum, he has raised the issue – which it seems is what Rob does best.

I’ve had a few conversations with people who didn’t really understand what the issue was, so for this post I just want to throw out some very basic definitions.

There are 4 primary views on the final state of souls.

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The Emergent Village should recede

I was just forwarded a review of Brian McLaren’s book “A New Kind of Christianity”.  You can read it here.  If nothing else, it will save you from having to read the book.  McLaren and his “Emergent Village” have emerged too far.  They need to retract.

There is great value in studying the bible for ourselves.  Researching the accepted doctrines of the faith is invaluable.  Tracing the origins, both biblical and extra-biblical, is extremely helpful.  This is what builds the basis for a strong apologetic.  In fact, this is a biblical mandate.  2 Peter 3:15 – “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  Paul praised the Bereans for doing this. (Acts 17)  But if your studies lead you to challenge fundamental Christian tenets, you are not exploring your faith – you are establishing a new one!

The Emergent Village (McLaren, Bell, Pagitt, etc.) has added nothing to the understanding of Christianity except confusion. These guys are very wishy-washy on matters of theology and overly accepting of culture. When cornered on issues such as the trinity, homosexuality, the fall, the bible as inspired, etc., these guys simply refuse to answer. This is a problem!


In an effort to be accepting of everyone and not hurt feelings, they trample on centuries of Christian tradition. So accepting are they of the green movement that their broadcasts are sponsored by the Sierra Club. Leaders in the homosexual movement write the forewords to their books. It is one thing to be accepting of others, but if you are so politically correct that the enemies of Christianity see you as an icon, there is a serious problem.


When Time magazine asked McLaren his position on homosexuality he said, “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.” This is not an issue of homosexuality. The truth, in itself does not hurt people. The delivery of the truth can. Brian – maybe you are doing it wrong. Sometimes hearing the truth hurts. When light exposes darkness, it is jarring. Liight and darkness cannot coexist. Avoiding the question is not an answer.See More

Pagitt says that “what we [Christians] believe is not ‘timeless”. Theology will be ever-changing.” He has also said that “The idea that there is a necessary distinction of matter from spirit, or creation from creator, is being reconsidered.” Doug – this is called Paganism, not Christianity!

In Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell says if “Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archaeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time, we would essentially not lose any significant part of our faith because it is more about how we live.” Any faith that does not see the virgin birth as prophesied and also fulfilled is not a Christian one. Some more nuggets from V.E.: “Heaven is full of forgiven people.
Hell is full of forgiven people. Heaven is full of people God loves, whom Jesus died for. Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for.” Where on earth did he get this notion? Bell also believes that the trinity is a human invention that did not surface until several hundred years A.D.

The spokesmen of the Emergent Village are trying to be accepting of people. I’ll give them credit for that – but that’s all. When we are presented with a difficult question, like McLaren’s example of homosexuality, there are 3 options. The first is to be hyper-liberal and accepting of everyone and everything. God is grace, so who are we to judge. Everything goes! This is the emergent position. The second is to be overly conservative and reply that they are living in sin and damned to hell. This helps no one! Sadly, this is the historical position of much of American Christianity. The third position is the most difficult one, but also the biblical one. To speak the truth in love. It is a very fine line to walk for sure! To speak the truth of God’s word without crushing someone can be very difficult, but it is what we are supposed to do. It takes time to build relationship and explain God’s grace, while at the same time expressing the holiness that God requires.

This is difficult, but it is the right thing to do. It would be much easier to follow the path of our fundamental roots and accept no one, or to drink McLaren’s Kool-Aid and accept everyone. Easier, yes. But very wrong.