I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in My Council, they would have proclaimed My Words to My people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. (Jeremiah 23:21-22)

Getting To The Root of Rob’s Rapid Slide Away From Orthodoxy

Apprising Ministries is pleased to point you to the following pastoral critique of Rob Bell, the Elvis of the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC), from Pat Abendroth, who is Senior Pastor of Omaha Bible Church. It appeared as a guest article at Irish Calvinist, which is the website of pastor Erik Raymond.

As I told pastor Abendroth, I’ve been studying the EC and some of its more influential spokesmen like EC Guru Brian McLaren, quais-universalist Doug Pagitt, and his friend Bell here at AM for over three years now. And recently I covered their mutual violation of the Bible in Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell, Dalai Lama and the Interspiritual Seeds of Compassion Event.

Clearly something is serious amiss in the American Christian Church when it is now openly embracing this EC rebellion against Sola Scriptura. Abendroth actually begins to put his finger on the root of the problem with Bell’s pseudo-Christian message when he says:

Rob Bell makes me mad because he downplays the vital role of conversion. In a horrible overreaction against professing Christians wrongly not being compassionate, Bell says “the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people…” (p. 167).

He then proceeds to establish a supporting argument that would surely set well with most anyone who is either ignorant of or ignoring what Jesus says in John 3—unless someone is converted, they will not see the light of day in the kingdom! Bell’s tactic is entirely unacceptable and irresponsible, but dare I say, fits with his mimicking the likes of the quintessential theological liberal Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969). (Online source)

Very close; and now let me begin to expose the very place where EC leaders like Bell go astray. It is as Abendroth correctly points out:

On page 21 for example, when he talks about Jesus’ claims of exclusivity in John 14:6, he spins them to mean something other than what they clearly say and have been recognized as saying by Christians throughout the ages. At first I was surprised at how much Bell sounded like a radical theological liberal like Marcus Borg, but then I saw that the very first endnote in the book was an unqualified recommendation of a book by Borg!

Bell’s recommended reading on his church’s web site promotes reading by John Dominic Crossan, the former co-director of the Jesus Seminar, so endorsing Borg is not a matter of isolation. Such men have a reputation for shamelessly doing violence to Jesus and His gospel. (ibid.)

I have also noted striking similarities in Bell’s writing with that of Borg in Rob Bell: Sounding More and More Like “Progressive” Christian Marcus Borg and in Rob Bell and Marcus Borg. But it gets even worse as we showed in Rob Bell and New Age Guru Marianne Williamson because Bell uses a quote concerning the nature of man, which many think is Nelson Mandela but is actually from New Age priestess Marianne Williamson.

In his message on breathing Bell tells:

he [“Mandela”] concludes by saying, “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to manifest the glory—put on display, to show—the glory of God that is within us.” He says, “you may be a dirt clod, but there is greatness and power and glory that resides in every single human being.”

This is in direct opposition to what the Bible says of fallen and unregenerate mankind, e.g. this quote from Jesus recorded for us by the eyewitness Matthew where the Master says to His Own disciples in contradistinction to God:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11).

Can you see the contrast; mankind is evil when compared to the glory of God, it is the Lord alone Who is good. Bell’s welcome to his view but he shouldn’t call it Christian when he so openly denies what Christ has just said.

In fact what Bell and Williamson have just been teaching above, that God dwells in every single human being, is certainly much closer to the “Church” of Oprah Winfrey than it is to the Church of Jesus Christ. Truly this false view of mankind actually fits quite nicely with the neo-Gnostic New Spirituality previously covered in Understanding the New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind.

Then in James Emery Smith Promoting Contemplative Mysticism and in Erwin McManus: Finding God Inside of Yourself we show you that this New Spirituality has right now even slithered deep within rapidly apostatizing evangelical camp. As to the reason such men are, quoting Abendroth, “shamelessly doing violence to Jesus and His gospel” is because long ago self-proclaimed “Progressive Christians” like Marcus Borg have rejected the proper view of Holy Scripture.

They Did Not Receive The Love Of The Truth In God’s Word

In summing up why he rightly rejects Bell’s psuedo-Christian message Abendroth is dead on target when he says:

Simply put, Rob Bell is a theological liberal resembling the mainline denominations of the early 1900s. The difference is that Bell is sporting a fashionable new dress or in his case, a new pair of geek-chic glasses.

If J. Gresham Machen were alive today, I suspect he would do what he did with Bell’s theological predecessors. Machen would remind him that while he has the freedom to start a new religion, he really should call it something other than Christian given that his religion does not resemble what Christ actually established as recorded in the Christian book, the Bible. (ibid.)

As Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989), America’s foremost authority on cults having their origins in the United States, brings out in his lecture The Cult of Liberal Theology:

There is a progression that takes place in liberal theology: It begins with a corrupt bibliology, a corrupt view of the nature and the inspiration of Scripture. They have a corrupt theology because once you are picking and choosing from the Bible what you want, your theology has to suffer from it, because your human reason is corrupt. From the corrupt theology proceeds a corrupt Christology, Jesus Christ loses His position, and the great doctrines of Who He is and what He did are diluted and finally destroyed.

From the corrupt Christology comes a corrupt pneumatology, that is a corrupt view of the Holy Spirit and of what the Spirit does and is doing in the Church. Then from this corrupt bibliology, theology, Christology and pneumatology liberal theology ends up in a complete lack of proper morality, and actually leads people away from what the Gospel says into unChristian and immoral positions. (available from Walter Religious InfoNet)

And the truth is, what we are really dealing with in the Emergent Church and with men like McLaren and Bell is a new form of liberal theology—a postliberalism. Keep in mind here that the Emerging Church is quick to tell us we live in a postmodern culture. Keep in mind at this point that liberal theology was also known as “modern” theology. Now men like Rob Bell have come along with a new hybrid, existential, and highly subjective postmodern approach to Christianity.

But in the end, all these new Gnostics have really done with their secret knowledge gained through Contemplative Spiritualiy/Mysticism under the guise of the spurious Spiritual Formation being promoted by myriad Spiritual Directors within the Emergent Church such as “key mentor” Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin Dallas Willard  is to come up with a postliberal theology which will kill the mainstream denominations just as dead as the original liberal theology which Dr. Martin was talking about above did the mainline denominations.

So here’s a word to the wise, this The Cult of Guru Richard Foster and reimagined/repainted cult of postliberal theology is following the exact same methodology of hostile takeover to strangle evangelicalism and then inject its deadly spiritual venom into your local churches as did their satanic fathers. And tragically Dr. Martin’s warning which follows below would go unheeded:

So I did [a personal study], and it was amazing what emerged. Point number one; every major theological seminary that has turned from orthodox Christianity began with disbelief of Biblical doctrine. There wasn’t a single exception. This corrupt Bibliology then lead them to the next step. Their Theology began to be touched by it, their view of the Cross, the Virgin Birth were both immediately questioned; then came the miracles of Christ.

And finally they had emptied the Gospel of all its content; they were simply using the outward shell so that they go on collecting money from the people and the churches; because they knew that if the people in the pew knew that they were apostate, they’d throw them out. So the strategy was hang on to the trust funds; hang on to the money we’ve got; hang on the properties we control, and we will gradually educate the laymen into this new approach to theology.

And then finally we will take control of everything. The gradual process of feeding you theological poison until you become immunized enough so that you don’t know what’s happening to you. And when you wake up to what’s happening to you, it’s too late they’ve got everything. That is not a baseless charge, I stand prepared to prove that the Cult of Liberal Theology in the United States has deliberately and consistently followed this methodology to entrap, control and dominate the denominations and the churches of the United States and our educational institutions. (ibid.)

The entire response to Rob Bell from pastor Patrick Abendroth is found here.

See also: