“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)

Bell Says Sola Scriptura “Is Not True”

While making the rounds promoting his book Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith (VE) Emergent Church pastor and communicator Rob Bell told

The Bible itself, he writes, is a book that constantly must be wrestled with and re-interpreted. He dismisses claims that “Scripture alone” will answer all questions. Bible interpretation is colored by historical context, the reader’s bias and current realities, he says. The more you study the Bible, the more questions it raises.

“It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says,” Bell writes. (Online source, emphasis mine)

Then in VE, after laying out a neo-orthodox understanding of some of the Biblical writers, Bell specifically says:

This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice but it is not true… When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true (067,068, emphasis mine).

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8, ESV)

In his recent article The Colossian Heresy and the Sufficiency of Scripture on Shaper Iron Dr. Kevin Bauder writes:

Verse 8 issues a caution to beware of people who want to carry Christians into spiritual captivity (a clear reference to the heretics of Colosse). This captivation can take three forms. The first is through “philosophy and empty deceit,” by which Paul means philosophical and theological speculations that carry them beyond the warrants of revelation.

The second is “human traditions,” or rites, forms, and customs that people have made up for themselves. This is a reference to the Gnostic side of the heresy and its invented liturgies. The third is the “elements of the world,” an expression that is connected in Galatians with the transmission of Judaistic forms into Christian observance. In other words, Paul warns that when doctrine and order go beyond what is revealed, this excess reduces Christians to captivity—whether the imported teachings and customs arise from deceitful speculation, from human invention, or from Judaistic retention.

The Emergent Church in general and Rob Bell in particular are perfect examples of what Dr. Bauder was just talking about. By kicking out the Bible as the final authority for their corrupt view of Christianity they are doing their best to drag the Christian Church back into the “spiritual captivity” of the apostate Roman Catholic Church through their postmodern “philosophy” and the “empty deceit” of the Reformation-denying practice of Contemplative Spirituality. Bell and the Emergent Church preach a philosophy that causes questions and doubt about how to relate to God through the text of the Bible itself while offering the empty deceit of some experience-oriented spiritual encounter with Him instead.

Without a solid Biblical foundation deceivers like Bell are then free to repaint the Christian faith into an existential spiritual journey while sowing a social gospel reducing Jesus to a cause to live for. Growing up in a culture where pursuit of fast-paced pleasures has all but erased attention spans the Emergent Church offers a very diverse and eclectic liturgy. And by blurring the lines of Holy Scripture we are now free to pick and choose whatever we happen to like from virtually anything that ever referred to itself as Christian. But we must come to understand that when Bell tells us, “It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says,” he is only following a postmodern worldview that in the end is itself nothing but a “human invention.”

Denigrating The Word Of God

What I have been pressing forth lately concerning the Hollow Men of the Emergent Church is beginning to sound a bit like a tape loop. However, because the Lord continues to give me strength, yet I say it again: There will be nothing good that is going to come in having “conversation” and dialogue with men who have already decided to pursue the faulty philosophy of postmodernism which leaves them as Christian agnostics. Unwilling to make the effort for sytematic and thorough study of the Bible, men like Rob Bell would much rather explore mystical experience instead.

I have often referred to witnessing to non-Christian cultists such as Mormon Missionaries as wrestling with the serpent because of all its inevitable twists and turns in the redefining of Christian terminology. This is exactly the case with someone like Rob Bell who is caught up in the Emergent rebellion against the Bible. Only those of us who have already tried conversing with someone like this can fully understand the arrogance that actually underlies this neo-liberal cult. This is quite similar to a form of hyper-Pentecostalism which insists unless one speaks with other tongues they are not filled with the Spirit, and I can tell you from having personally belonged to a church like this one is then treated as a “second-class” Christian.

This is the exact same mentality beneath the Emergent Church; a kind of smug, “Well, ‘they’ just don’t get it because they don’t understand the postmodern ‘emerging culture.’ ” We get a little peek at this view in The Emergent Mystique Andy Crouch tells us:

Mars Hill’s teaching pastor, Rob Bell, hair tousled and reddish brown, hops on stage in the center of what must have been the mall’s anchor store… Inviting his congregation to embrace weakness, referring to Paul’s words about his own infirmity in 2 Corinthians, Bell takes up a refrain: “Weak is the new strong”…

“This is not just the same old message with new methods,” Rob says. “We’re rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life. Legal metaphors for faith don’t deliver a way of life. We grew up in churches where people knew the nine verses why we don’t speak in tongues, but had never experienced the overwhelming presence of God…”

The Bells started questioning their assumptions about the Bible itself –“discovering the Bible as a human product,” as Rob puts it, rather than the product of divine fiat. “The Bible is still in the center for us,” Rob says, “but it’s a different kind of center. We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it.”

“I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible,” Kristen says, “that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again–like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color”… The Bells, who flourished at evangelical institutions from Wheaton to Fuller Theological Seminary to Grand Rapids’s Calvary Church before starting Mars Hill, were by their own account happy and successful young evangelicals. Yet that very world, as the Bells tell it, became constricting–in Kristen’s phrase, “black and white.”

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:4)

You have just read Rob Bell giving you a good explanation of the neo-orthodox view of the Bible. It can be summed up like this: “The Bible is a divine mailbox where God speaks to us from Heaven.” This is what the Bells have just said. And as I said on a recent SliceCast at first this sounds right until someone like myself points out that the Bible itself is the message. 2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed. This is the huge issue that is being obscured in all the bending over backwards to give someone like Bell the benefit of the doubt.

The Body of Christ needs to finally grow a backbone and wake up to the fact that when Rob Bell tells us he is discovering “the Bible as a human product” he is denying that – All Scripture is God-breathed.” There’s just no way around it taking into account everything I have shown you here concerning Bell’s neo-orthodox view of the Bible. Tim Challies also brings this out in his article Emergent Church – Nothing New Under The Sun:

It would seem from the article that the Bells have given up on trying to discern what the Bible really means; that their view of the human origins of Scripture have made them decide that the Bible is not a book God gave for us to pour over and study and do all we can to understand. Rather, it is a mysterious book that we can never really know. We have to let go of the black and white of past days � (sic) the black and white of saying that we know what the Bible means � (sic) and instead embrace color � (sic) new, trendy ways of doing church. We have to embrace doubt and mystery.

If we cannot know God through His Word, then we have to find him in other ways. It is little wonder, then, that the emergent church is embracing mystical practices of days past. The labyrinth and [Roman] Catholic mystics find their way into emergent worship. There is renewed emphasis on meditation and new methods of preaching. The Bible is taught as a guidebook, not as an authoritative manual for the Christian life.

“It Is Written”

And this we have already heard from Rob Bell himself when he says in Velvet Elvis:

This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice but it is not true… When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true (067,068, emphasis mine).

And with this as our backdrop let’s look at a few key Scriptures that will help us to capture a proper perspective on how the true Christian should approach Holy Scripture. We’ll use the inspired Apostle Matthew from his written eyewitness deposition. What has been lost in Christian circles through the growth of this Ecumenical Church of Deceit is the attitude of the true Christian. The Bible says – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus – Philippians 2:5. The King James Version puts it a little stronger – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

So it logically follows that if we truly are Christians, then we absolutely must handle the Word of God the same way that our Lord did. No one has the right to claim that they are followers of Jesus and not treat the Scriptures as He did. We begin our brief examination of Christ’s approach to Holy Scripture in Matthew chapter 4 and verse 3. For context, this would be during the time when Satan was tempting Jesus while He was fasting for forty days. Obviously Matthew wasn’t there in person, so he is recounting an event that the Master would have Personally shared with His disciples at some later time.

Matthew 4:3 – The tempter – [Satan] – came to [Jesus] and said, “If you are the Son of God.” Let’s stop and think about something for a moment. It’s important here to understand that the Devil is actually taunting Christ here. He doesn’t so much doubt Who Jesus is–as he is mocking Him. Satan is saying: Since You are the Son of God. “If You are” – [or “Because] – You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Note carefully how Jesus answers Satan – “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

This is the doctrine of sola Scriptura from the very mouth of our Creator God Himself. I might add is just a few years before Martin Luther or any Reformers ever came on the scene, which now destroys another pet straw man argument of those indoctrinated into the neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church. Now let’s break down Christ’s response to the tempter here. Holy Scripture says – Jesus answered. How did He answer? Did He say: It wouldn’t be right for Me to eat right now, I need to be culturally relevant because there are many in My emerging faith tradition who don’t have enough food.

No, the Master takes up what the inspired Apostle Paul will later call – the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Jesus answered, “It is written:” – [But the question we need to ask here is – It is written – where? Was this some sage old advice about spiritual mysticism found in one of the latest books by the trendiest Rabbi who has put the “hip” in discipleship? Nope, Christ finds His defense in the Holy Scriptures alone; in the very Words of Almighty God alone. Because – “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, [he does not live by philosophy] but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

True Christians Quote Scripture Because Our Master Did

It is simply beyond question that Jesus appeals to the Scriptures as His Own final authority for doctrine as well when He said – “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Hopefully you are now going to start observing this same parallel in your own walk with the Lord. And this is precisely why the historic orthodox Christian Church has always appealed to the Bible as our own final authority for faith and practice. Once again, it’s because Jesus did, and it is truly a sad indictment upon these sorry times that we live in that this is even an issue that needs to be discussed in Christian circles.

Do you realize that I am presenting an apologetic defending the Bible against the warped and toxic teachings of Rob Bell who is himself an evangelical pastor? But the absolute truth is that the historic orthodox Christian Church, and our appeal to Holy Scripture as every Word that comes from the mouth of God began right here in Matthew 4:4. And it has continued in the true Church of our Lord ever since. Consider this eyewitness testimony from Dr. Luke’s history of the early Church: they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). And then there is this admonition from the Apostle Paul to a young pastor named Timothy: And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

I’ve got to say that it’s pretty hard to add “myths” into your teaching if at the same time you are appealing to witnesses to verify the very truth of what it is you teach. Look again – And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2). So now you can see that as Christians we have many very solid reasons why we so often quote the Bible to others. And despite what deceivers like Rob Bell say, this is not some kind of “fundie” teaching from rabid heresy hunters at all. No, our rationale as to why we say “God said” as we quote the Scriptures really is quite simple; because that’s what our Master and Savior Himself did.

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