I May be Destined for Wrath, But I Like Me For Who I Am

By Stephen T. Roberts

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:4).

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:6-8).

In his book, Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality Rob Bell, a very influential pastor in the Emergent Church, continues to promote the universalist’s view of salvation and the Gospel of Christ, and seemingly denies the problem side of the doctrine of sin. His view is steeped in humanism and the exaltation of man and seemingly ignores the whole idea that Christ died for us because we are lost in sin and are “enemies of God” (Colossians 1:21; James 4:4):

You can’t be connected with God until you’re at peace with who you are. If you’re still upset that God gave you this body or this life or this family or these circumstances, you will never be able to connect with God in a healthy, thriving, sustainable sort of way. You’ll be at odds with your maker.

And if you can’t come to terms with who you are and the life you’ve been given, you’ll never be able to accept others and how they were made and the lives they’ve been given. And until you’re at peace with God and those around you, you will continue to struggle with your role on the planet, your part to play in the ongoing creation of the universe. You will continue to struggle and resist and fail to connect. (Sex God, 046, emphasis mine)

Within context, Bell is speaking of accepting our “lot in life” and basically being content with it. While an element of truth is there, it’s blindness to the big picture—all of it—that makes his statements dangerous. It’s fine to say we need to come to grips with the life we have been given; however, if I am still in my sins, no matter how at peace I am with myself, there will be no connecting with God unless His peace has been given to me. And that comes only because of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on my behalf and my being regenerated by the Holy Spirit, where by the grace of God, I place my faith in Jesus Christ.

God is not a therapist trying to help us accept what has happened to us and lead us to peace and happiness with who we are. That message leads us down the broad road to destruction. It does not deal with the problem of sin and the absolute holiness of God. It ignores the fact that regardless of our circumstance of life we are all sinful, and “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

If I have not accepted the fact that I am an enemy of God because of my sin nature; and that I deserve His ultimate justice and punishment, and turn away from who I am—not be at peace with it—accepting the substitutionary death of Christ, God’s only begotten Son, and His resurrection, then I will not know true peace. Any peace that I may feel is a total false sense of security. Because without regeneration you cannot have eternal life — He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36).

The Bible states it plainly, but Bell chooses to ignore it and teach a dangerous message. Anyone reading his book without the discernment of the Holy Spirit would find themselves easily led down the broad pathway to hell.

Also disturbing is that Bell seems to imply that whatever situation we are in, God gave us that situation. This will lead to many conclusions which are not congruent with the nature or character of God. God does no evil, nor does He cause evil. So to say, for instance, that God gave me an abusive father is not true and is in discord with the truth of scripture.

There is also the thought he adds about our “role…in the ongoing creation of the universe.” This goes along with thoughts he expresses elsewhere about a ‘creative energy’ that we have. The latest Nooma — Open, suggests, “God leaves the world unfinished, and invites people to take part in the ongoing creation of the world” and suggests that the “divine energy that made the world” flows between us and connects us to whoever we are praying for or whatever we are praying about.

This evokes the very essence of panentheism, which is pervasive in the emerging church movement; the thought that we are connected to everyone and everything because everything is in God. So we see Rob Bell is following other worldly religions that have accepted or espouse some form of panentheism. We see this error in Unitarians, Hasidic Judaism, Kaballah, the Sufi branch of Islam, the Bahá’í Faith, Hinduism, Gnosticism, Manichaeism, Kabbalism, Creation Spirituality and the New Age movement. Bell is clearly not teaching the truths of scripture or of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Cross of Christ stands as a stark unanswerable dilemma to all those who blind themselves of the truth. They want to be gods; they want to exchange grace for lewdness and to deny the Lord of all creation and His perfect gift to us. They have had their conscience seared with a hot iron and no more do they want to hear truth but rather they heap damnation on themselves, teaching another gospel and a different Jesus.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).