Pastor Bob DeWaay takes an in-depth look in this piece at emerging church pastor Rob Bell and his “undefining” of the word holy. One of the methodologies of the Emergent Church is to play fast and loose with theological terminology. As a matter of fact, it’s really not unlike trying to talk with Mormon Missionaries.

If you don’t realize that the terms you are using have been emptied of their original meaning, redefined, and then injected back into those words you will actually be talking at cross purposes. In the end you’ll be under the impression that you understand what is being said, when the words used actually mean something else entirely.

As an example DeWaay points put that:

In Velvet Elvis, Bell lists a number of transcendent experiences that he claims overwhelmed him to be in awe of God. The first one for Bell happened as a teenager at a concert performed by Irish rock group U2, where he was “overwhelmed with the word true.” These extraordinary experiences he also describes as “holy” and “sacred.” The problem is that his usage has nothing to do with the Biblical meaning of the terms “holy” or “or sacred”…

[Rob Bell] describes conducting the wedding of a couple who wanted nothing to do with God, Jesus or the Bible. So they were married in a natural, beautiful place. Bell explained to them that whatever brought them together also holds all things together… The problem here is that only Bell’s subjective impressions distinguish the holy and sacred. When Bell uses the term spiritual (which he also used to describe how the couple wanted the non-Christian wedding to be) he uses it in the secular manner as an Oprah Winfrey would use it…

So, by broadening terms like, “holy, sacred, and spiritual,” Bell has made them vacuous. His usage is not Biblical and implies a heightened sense of immanence at the expense of God’s transcendence that is reminiscent of theological liberalism or panentheism. (Online source)

You can read the rest of this insightful article by Bob DeWaay here.