In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

The Tip Of The Evangelical Iceberg Of Apostasy Has Been Visible For Many Years Now

Apprising Ministries offers this piece as a kind of closure to Rob Bell And Homosexuals where I shared some of the discussion that I’d been having with Erica and Joe Martino regarding a couple of posts over at Erica’s blog. Now what’s important to note here is that in addition to being regular attenders as members in covenant community in “the city within the city” that is Mars Hill Bible Church, where Rob Bell is teaching pastor, the Martinos are also friends of his. Erica even tells us they “are actively involved in preforming weddings, funerals and marital counseling at the church.” (Online source)

As we begin I must first address a very grave problem in the Body of Christ today. And that would be a huge misunderstanding concerning the nature of the spiritual warfare, which every genuine Christian is thrust immediately into the moment they are first regenerated by God the Holy Spirit. In the last couple of years before he went home to be with the Lord Dr. Walter Martin told us of the burden Christ had laid upon his heart. In his lecture The Cult of Liberalism circa 1985 Martin warned:

Let me tell you something that I have learned; I know the liberals. I know them well; I was one of them. And they are the most dangerous, insidious, and all-pervading cult that’s loose in the United States right at this moment. They make the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons, and all of the Mind Sciences, and the Occult, look like Sunday School teachers. Do you know why? Because these other people are outside the Church; and these devils are in it! And they’re doing it in Jesus’ Name.

They do not believe the Trinity; they do not believe the Deity of Christ; they do not believe the Virgin Birth; they do not believe the vicarious atonement; they do not believe the Bodily resurrection, and they have grave doubts about whether Jesus will ever come back again, and that the Bible is itself the Word of God. Yet I could give you a list of them that infest—and that’s the proper word—infest our theological seminaries; and our church related schools, and our denominations.

And this theological flea infestation is ruining the lifeblood of the Church, which is evangelism. And, you think these are very strong statements; I intend to back them up in—if necessary—excruciating details. For any person who does not know that today in the United States,  and in denominational structures world-around, we are in an accelerating apostasy does not know—I repeat—does not know what’s going on. (The Cult of Liberalism, CD Rom, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet)

The question the discerning Christian, those feeling an unexplained “urgency” in their spirit, now needs to ask is: Do we really think the Church is in better shape now than it was some 20+ years ago whenMartin was speaking? If you’ve been following the issues AM’s been covering in the articles linked below you know the answer is absolutely not! Men and women, from my own personal investigation I can tell you Dr. Martin was dead on target when he said:

We have, for more than one hundred years, been under sustained attack in the United States; in our theological seminaries, church related schools, and our churches. A sustained attack by people, who have the form of godliness, and work within the structure of the Church and have—wherever they have been permitted the opportunity—diluted the Gospel and destroyed the Faith.

They occupy today the chairs in our major theological seminaries; the rulership of our major denominational structures—they maintain boldly and boastfully—“This the Church!” But it’s not the Church if it denies the power of the Gospel; it’s not the Church because it’s got a label. (The Cult of Liberalism, CD Rom, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet

Think with me here for a minute: If these people were teaching twenty years ago within so many mainstream evangelical seminaries and denominational structures do you really not see that they were instructing many who are now the senior pastors within play-acting Protestant evangelical churches today? And so, it’s with this dire warning in mind I will now remind you that in A Few Words Of Encouragement For My Fellow Soldiers In Online Discernment Ministry I brought to your attention what Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, said concerning spiritual warfare:

A great many mistakes are made about the promises of God. Some think that if God is to be with them, they will have nothing to do. Joshua did not find it so. He and his troops had to slay every Amonite and Hittite and Hivite who fell in battle. He had to fight and use his sword-arm just as much as if there had been no God at all.

The best and the wisest thing in the world is to work as if it all depended upon you, and then trust in God, knowing it all depends upon Him. He will not fail us, but we are not therefore to fold our arms and sit still. He will not forsake us; but we are not therefore to go upstairs to bed and expect that our daily bread will drop into our mouths.

God does not pander to our laziness, and any man who expects to get on in this world with anything that is good without work is a fool. Throw your whole soul into the service of God; and then you will get God’s blessing if you are resting upon Him. Oliver Cromwell had a commonsense view of this truth too. “Trust in God,” said he as they went to battle, “but keep your powder dry.” And so must we. (At the Master’s Feet, December 4)

The fact is, it’s well past time to step up and do your duty to follow the Biblical admonition to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). Do you really think it’s enough to say, “I sure do pray the Lord’s will be done.” Are men like me just supposed to sit idly by while seducing spirits spread their doctrines of demons in the Christian community and not confront them? No; beloved of God, we must fight and we must use the Sword of the Master just as much as if there was no God at all.

One quick illustration. Suppose you saw a child playing in the road as a truck sped toward him. Would you think, “Well, God is in control so there’s nothing I need to do.” Common sense tells you that you would need to at least warn the child. If you’re like most of us you’d probably holler to him to get out of the street. But what if the child didn’t move? Would you simply say, “Ok, I warned him; it’s all up to God now, I pray the Lord will move him.” My guess is you’d be wise enough to realize you are God’s hands at that point and you’d get the child out of the road. And likely you’d do so no matter what it took.

And so it is in this spiritual war into which we as God’s Christians have been sent. In the very same way the Lord chose to involve His Church in the preaching of the Gospel, so God has also enlisted His Body to actively participate in the defense of the historic Christian faith. Now here’s how what I’m saying applies in this particular case of AM. The forum of the Internet affords me the opportunity, not only to shine light upon e.g. the false teachings of Rob Bell, but also to dialogue directly with a couple of his friends who happen to be quite actively involved in his church.

The Internet Front of this Truth War, which is precisely what this is regardless of how far one wishes to bury their heads in the soft spiritual sand of apostatizing evangelicalism, can often be quite rugged. However, every once and a while a piece of fruitful discussion comes about from which all of us can learn something. Such is the case in what follows below between Erica Martino and myself in the combox of her post A followup post on Rob Bell. It begins with my response to a question Erica had asked me.

Every Minister Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Is Accountable To The Body Of Christ

As I have said previously she strikes me as sincere and so I did my best to try and help her see what’s really at stake: 

“Can I ask you a question? Can someone who is a habitual liar, a gossiper, engaging in premarital sex, be a christian or become a christian in right standing before God?”

Erica, this isn’t personal as I’ve told you before. However, in regard to the question I am asking Rob you just said: “I would say that the bible be your answer question. That is all that matters. What does Jesus say in his word?”

So, I guess until Rob answers, this ought to be my answer as well, right… (Online source)

Erica then opens a short bit of back and forth discussion between us which helps to clarify why it is I have been pressing the issue of Bell’s public non-stance on the practice of homosexuality. For I tell you in the Lord that with the all-out offensive upon Sola Scriptura coming soon from the decidedly non-Protestant Emerging Church the increasingly powerful homosexual lobby within it will turn homosexuality into one of the most crucial issues the Body of Christ will have to face in our lifetime:

EM: Ok, fair enough, if you can answer me the same way I answered you then I can only assume you are not trying to be sarcastic, that you believe it to be true. So, are you going to drop the issue of “Rob Bell and homosexuality?” (Online source)

KS: “So, are you going to drop the issue of ‘Rob Bell and homosexuality?'” Nope.  (Online source)

EM: That does not make sense. If you are going to throw my answer back at me the bible is the judge then you should not care what Rob Bell believes. And why is homosexuality your hobby horse? There are so many sins out there. Why this one ken? Why not demand an answer from Rob on the sin of Gluttony. Why Homosexuality?

And lets say for fun Rob does come out(which he never will make a definitive statement on this issue)and say what Jones says. What happens next? What satisfaction would you get from knowing? (Online source

KS: Erica,

The issue of homosexuality is a defining issue of our lifetime. Those with eyes that see know this. All men truly sent by the Creator Jesus Christ as pastor-teachers will openly proclaim His edict from Scripture, based upon His created order, that the practice of homosexuality, in any manner whatsoever, is a sin.

We must do so as lovingly, gently, and patiently as possible; but the pastor-teacher must tell people the truth concerning the sin of practicing homosexuality. Now, if Rob does not agree with what I have just told you then he is absolutely not standing on what the Bible says. Period; end of story. And what is more, there are many who are looking to Bell as a role model concerning how to handle this growing issue. The teacher should be able to ala Paul say what you see me do, you also do.

This isn’t about me; the fact is that Rob owes the people he inspires to be Christ-followers his view on whether practicing homosexuals, who believe their lifestyle is not sinful, are indeed in sin and violating the way Jesus would have them live. Regardless of what Rob’s position might be he really does need to be a man and step up to the plate on this issue just as Tony Jones did. I think deep inside Bell knows it too. (Online source)

Unfortunately Erica took exception to my comment confusing my proper Biblical position concerning the sin of homosexuality with the inexcusable and completely un-Christian actions of Fred Phelps. Then Rob Bell’s friend shared her opinion that she thinks the question of Bell’s view concerning the practice of homosexuality is “is silly and irrelevant.” Erica went on to say that in her view no one “outside of the Mars Hill community” needs to know where Bell stands.

And then she went on to tell me:

I am saying Mars Hill stance on marrying homosexuals and if Rob would marry them yadee, yadee, yadee, yadee doesn’t matter. In fact I pretty sure I know the answer to the question because my husband and I are actively involved in preforming weddings, funerals and marital counseling at the church.(I actually don’t marry people or do funerals but Joe will, I am involved in the premarital counseling)

However I would never tell you the answer because it doesn’t matter. Mars Hill and Rob Bell has accountability setup and that is who they answer to. Just like you choose who you answer to. I appreciate you at least responding to the question. I was excited to actually get an answer from you even though I don’t agree.:-) (Online source)

So I explained to Erica why she’s wrong and she told me that her pastor and friend Rob Bell is not going to make his postion clear to the public. At that point her husband Joe Martino joined the discussion. Joe would confirm that, as far as he knows, Bell has no plans to let the evangelical community, in which he ministers at large, know whether or not his position concerning the sinful lifestyle of homosexuality mirrors that of a growing number of Emergent Church pastors who are now acknowledging a homosexual lifestyle is within the framework of proper Christian sexuality: 

KS: Erica,

“anyone else outside of the Mars Hill community does not need to know the answer to this question.”

I’m sure you do feel this way but the fact is that Rob does do ministry in the visible church outside of MHBC and because of this the Body of Christ does have a right to know where he stands concerning the practice of homosexuality.

Whether it should be an issue or not Erica is actually irrelevant because it is one in this nation. And because the Emerging Church has now attacked Sola Scriptura it has now become one inside the visible church as well.

If Bell was strictly a local pastor your argument would stand, but clearly, he is not. And you at MHBC need to understand that Rob is eventually going to have to publicly answer: Is the practice of a homosexual lifestyle, monogamous or not, a sin? (Online source)

EM: He does? Ken, has he answered any of your questions to this point? Has he publicly made a stance? He won’t. Mars Hill Bible Church is not part of the emergent church.
And why has Rob denied Sola Scriptura again? That is my next post. It is funny you brought that up:-)
I don’t agree with you that because he is in the public eye he has to answer everyone’s questions. He is simply out doing what Jesus commanded him to do in Acts. He does not have to make a public stance on anything. That is what the pharisee’s did to Jesus. They demanded him to give answers. How did Jesus respond Ken? (Online source)

KS: Erica,

I am absolutely not saying that Bell owes me personally anything. However, as a pastor-teacher it is a part of my duty to speak for the Body of Christ, whether locally, or in this case nationally.

I can’t help it if bigger “names” than me haven’t seen the critical importance of the intertwined issues of homosexuality and the Emerging Church attack on Sola Scriptura. And Bell is considered by many in sympathy with that movement whether you like it or not.

And because Bell is right now so prominent in the Body of Christ, having now become accepted even within the maistream of evangelicalism, they have a right to know the answer:

Does Rob Bell believe and teach that the practice of a homosexual lifestyle, monogamous or not, is a sin.

And while I might go away, you and Rob had better know this, the issue of the practice of homosexuality within the visible church is only going to grow. Sooner or later, because Bell ministers internationally, he will have to publicly answer to what his position is. (Online source)

JM: And you at MHBC need to understand that Rob is eventually going to have to publicly answer

Says who? Ken Silva? Don’t hold your breath Ken.

Then there’s this gem: However, as a pastor-teacher it is a part of my duty to speak for the Body of Christ, whether locally, or in this case nationally.

And yet you dodge questions in a way that would make Peter La Fleur proud. (Online source)

KS: “Says who? Ken Silva?”

Nope. Christ – “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

That is the mandate for any who would dare claim to be a teaching pastor. No way around it; those who practice homosexuality, monogamous or not, are to be told “with great patience and careful instruction” that they are in sin.

And because they are in sin it then becomes the job of the teaching pastor to “correct, rebuke and encourage” them to repent of their sin. Now, if Rob Bell is too afraid to call sin, sin, then he should immediately resign from his post as a teaching pastor of Jesus Christ.

You might pray about getting over your fixation with me, Joe because this has exactly zero to do with me. God is the One holding Bell accountable, and all the smarminess and postmodern pudding in the world won’t change that absolute fact. In bringing this issue before the Body of Christ I am just about the task I’ve been given by Jesus to do. (Online source

Because in the end, I am by no means saying that Rob Bell owes me an answer personally. However, as a pastor-teacher it is part of my duty to speak for the Body of Christ, whether locally, or in this case due to the forums God has given me, nationally. The fact is Rob Bell occupies a very prominent place within the visible church—literally ministering in Christ’s Name world-wide—and proper Christian ethics require that he should have to answer publicly as to what his personal position is concerning this growing people group. And especially so because, to those not under the spell of Bell, he is most clearly aligned with this Emerging rebellion against Sola Scriputra.

The sad fact is that an increasing number of young people have already embraced the very highly subjective neo-orthodox (at best) approach to the Bible of Rob Bell and, even in the more conservative end of the evangelical community, they have rallied around him as a Christian icon. Men and women, the Body of Christ has every right to know the answer to the question which follows. And for that matter, so do the many practicing homosexuals who are themselves being drawn to pastor Bell through his empassioned teachings and his exceptional speaking skills:

Does Rob Bell believe and teach that the practice of a homosexual lifestyle, monogamous or not, is a sin according to Jesus.

Quite frankly, I wish there was a Dr. Walter Martin who knew enough to stand up and be counted when controversial issues and/or religious figures moved into the Christian Church. But as the Emergent rebellion against Sola Scriptura becomes bolder, and with it is emerging an increasingly militant “Christian” homosexual lobby, it’s becoming painfully obvious that there most certainly is not. And so until such a one would arise, in the time I have left, I continued my humble attempt to call out these rebels and press Rob Bell—one of their own number—as to where he personally stands in relation to all of this lunacy in the Lord’s Name. 

Also know this, as it concerns these Emerging rebels who would dare to spew out their rancid rhetoric demeaning Christ’s Word—the Bible; while it’s quite likely that I will go away, this rebellion against Sola Scriptura is going to create an explosion in the Christian community so loud that it just might even awaken one or two of these Rip Van Winkles in evangelical leadership. And when this detonation does finally occur the militant Emergent “Christian” homosexual lobby is going to come charging forth forcing even these timid li’l fellows to fall right out of bed; on one side of the issue…or…the other.

It truly is as that great 60’s pop philosopher Bob Dylan once warbled: “The times they are a-changin’.”

See also: