For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, ESV)

There Are Three Things That Are Never Satisfied, Four That Never Say, ‘Enough!’

This subtitle is drawn from Proverbs 30:15-16 where God tells us fire never says, “Enough!” Such is the way Satan is currently working—and from within the visible church itself—now that he’s implanted his seducing spirits through the Emerging Church rebellion against Sola Scriptura. A Trojan Horse that’s malignantly morphing into Emergence Christianity, which they see as the new reformation of the Christian faith. Just as fire, which never says, “Enough!”, enemy forces are busy—with what has become a deluge of doctrines of demons—sowing much confusion everwhere.

While they’ve been doing so this brood of vipers has been quite successful in causing the average Christian to quit even trying to discern through this veritable maze of myth; and instead, just be content to throw their hands up in the desperation of surrender. Jesus told us this would be so when He said — Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). And frigid the mainstream of evangelicalism has become toward God’s Word—the Bible; with devastating consequences only beginning to be realized.

Due to its rejection of Sola Scriptura, in favor of highly subjective Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism as dreamed up e.g. by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, this now spiritually spineless evanjellyfish now has no way to stop its drifting further away from our only sure source of truth in Holy Scripture. At this point we let Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, President of Westminster Theological Seminary and Professor of Church History, remind us what’s at stake as he give us a good working definition of what we mean by Sola Scriptura:

In spite of the difficulty of this undertaking, I am eager to join that historic train of Protestant apologists to defend the doctrine that the Scripture alone is our ultimate religious authority. I believe that it can be shown that this position is the clear position of Scripture itself. And I hope that, by the grace of God, those committed to the Roman doctrine of tradition will come to see the tragic error of denigrating the sufficiency and perspicuity of God’s own inspired Word.

Let me begin with certain clarifications so as not to be misunderstood. I am not arguing that all truth is to be found in the Bible, or that the Bible is the only form in which the truth of God has come to His people. I am not arguing that every verse in the Bible is equally clear to every reader. Nor am I arguing that the church — both the people of God and the ministerial office — is not of great value and help in understanding the Scripture. As William Whitaker stated in his noble work: “For we also say that the church is the interpreter of Scripture, and that the gift of interpretation resides only in the church: but we deny that it pertains to particular persons, or is tied to any particular see or succession of men.”

The Protestant position, and my position, is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible clearly enough for the ordinary believer to find it there and understand. The position I am defending certainly is what is taught in the Bible itself. (Online source)

Men and women, there’s no other way to bring out into the Light what Emergent leaders like Rob Bell are actually teaching about the Bible than to make the time to turn over the rocks under-which they hide. And so here we’ll roll a large one away; first, in a December 2008 article at Reformation 21 William E. Evans brings out that  “in theological circles” there’s been a “general revival of interest in Karl Barth’s theology.” Evans also notes, not surprisingly, there’s also a reinterpreting of Barth going on in some of those circles as well:

particularly [with] the revisionist “Neo-Barthian” interpretations proposed by Bruce L. McCormack, currently the Weyerhauser Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and others.  Considerable attention in all this has been focused on Barth’s view of Scripture.  The rhetoric of some of those associated with this newer line of interpretation often seems to suggest that no one has really read Barth properly until now, and that earlier evangelical and Reformed critics of Barth (e.g., Francis Schaeffer, Carl Henry, and Cornelius Van Til) were invincibly ignorant. (Online source

Um, right; can’t you just hear Carvey’s character  “the church lady” now — “Well, how conveeeenient!” Apprising Ministries also brought out in The Emerging Church Sowing Its Neo-Orthodox Confusion On Scripture that chapter 3 of Why We’re Not Emergent is where Kevin De Young also points out the resurgence of Barth among teachers in the Emergent Church rebellion against Sola Scriptura as well. De Young correctly assessed Barth’s fatally flawed neo-orthodox view of Holy Scripture when he writes:

Seventy years ago Karl Barth argued, “The Bible is God’s Word to the extent that He speaks through it.” At the time, Barth was calling liberalism back to the Word, which was a good thing, but he pioneered a new approach in establishing biblical authority, which was not as good.

The Bible, according to Barth, was not itself the Word of God, but as God spoke in and through the Bible, it became for us the Word of God. The Bible is only “derivatively and indirectly” God’s Word, he wrote. The authority of the Word, therefore, resides not in the Scriptures that contain the very words of God, but in Him who speaks through the words of the text (78, 79).

But Karl Barth Said We Can Listen To The Spirit Instead Of To The Text Of Scripture

Here the late Dr. Walter Martin’s succinct summation of Barth’s musings concerning the inspiration of Scripture prove helpful. As Martin put it Barth is essentially saying:  The Bible is a divine mailbox in which we receive communiques from Heaven. But as Martin went on to point out, the Bible isn’t simply a mailbox; the Bible is the Message from Heaven. And this is a critical, and very crucial, point for you to grasp if you wish to unpack and deconconstruct what Emergence leaders like Rob Bell are saying in regard to Scripture.

After dealing with those objecting to this understanding of Barth’s rather dense and often opague writings, as outlined above, the aforementioned Evans—Younts Prof. of Bible and Religion at Erskine College—is also right on target when he says:

While it may well be that this “neo-orthodox” version of Barth is not sufficiently nuanced as to certain details, I would argue that in broad outlines it has grasped rather well the practical implications of Barth’s view.  Because of Barth’s insistence on the fallibility of Scripture and his focus on Scripture as “act” rather than text, we only apprehend Scripture as it “becomes” God’s Word to us.  Thus the problem of subjectivity looms, and appeals to Scripture as text are rendered problematic and even suspect. (Online source

DeYoung then goes on to correctly inform us:

This neoorthodox view of Scripture is, wittingly or unwittingly, the view of many in the emerging church. [Dave] Tomlinson explicitly relies on Barth, noting appreciatively that “Barth spoke of the Bible becoming, rather than being, the Word of God.” The late Stan Grenz, one of the most influential theologians in the emerging church movement, wrote, with John Franke, something similar: “As we noted earlier, it is not the Bible as a book that is authoritative, but the Bible as the instrumentality of the Spirit; the biblical message spoken by the Spirit through the text is theology’s norming norm.”

According to Grenz and Franke, the text has its own intention, which begins in the author’s intended meaning but is not exhausted by it. We must start with the original meaning of the text, but we are not bound by it. For God has spoken, but He still speaks. The words of Scripture, therefore, are not the norming norm but the Spirit speaking through the Scripture becoming the Word of God. (79)

However, the error above is revealed here:

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21, NASB)

The imagery one gets while reading moved by the Holy Spirit in the original Greek is these men were as sails on a ship, which are set, then filled by the wind, and steered along by it. So rather than seeking some supposed meaning of the human authors as is so common today, since Scripture did not originate with their will, the proper Biblical hermeneutic is we must seek the intended meaning of the Author;  God Himself. And herein lies the very grave danger of this highly subjective and existential neo-orthodox approach to Scripture.

Now from the AM piece Marcus Borg And Rob Bell: The Bible Is Not A Divine Product With Divine Final Authority let’s meditate upon what Rob Bell—in lock-step with Living Spiritual Teacher and “Progessive Christian” scholar Marcus Borg—has said concerning the Bible:

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.” (Online source, emphasis added)

However, in Rob Bell And Karl Barth I showed that this is completely in line with existential i.e. experience-oriented neo-orthodoxy. Then in the AM piece Neo-Orthodox Approach To The Bible Perfect Fit For Emergence Christianity AM shared the following from Reckless Faith: When The Church Loses Its Will To Discern, an oft-overlooked 1994 book by Dr. John MacArthur:

Neo-orthodoxy is the term used to identify an existentialist variety of Christianity. Because it denies the essential objective basis of truth—the absolute truth and authority of Scripture—neo-orthodoxy must be understood as pseudo-Christianity. Its heyday came in the middle of the twentieth century with the writings of Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Paul Tillich, and Reinhold Niebaur.  Those men echoed the language and the thinking of [Soren] Kierkegaard, speaking of the primacy of “personal authenticity,” while downplaying or denying the significance of objective truth. Barth, the father of neo-orthodoxy, explicitly acknowledged his debt to Kierkegaard.

Neo-orthodoxy’s attitude toward Scripture is a microcosm of the entire existentialist philosophy: the Bible itself is not objectively the Word of God, but it becomes the Word of God when it speaks to me individually. In neo-orthodoxy, that same subjectivism is imposed on all the doctrines of historic Christianity. Familiar terms are used, but are redefined or employed in such a way that is purposely vague—not to convey objective meaning, but to communicate a subjective symbolism. After all, any “truth” theological terms convey is unique to the person who exercises faith. What the Bible means becomes unimportant, What it means to me is the relevant issue. All of this resoundingly echoes Kierkegaard’s concept of “truth that is true for me.”

Thus while neo-orthodox theologians often sound as if they affirming traditional beliefs, their actual system differs radically from the historic understanding of the Christian faith. By denying the objectivity of truth, they relegate all theology to the realm of subjective relativism. It is a theology perfectly suited for the age in which we live. And that is precisely why it is so deadly…

And so now you have the necessary backdrop against which to interpret what Rob Bell really means when he tells you:

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. (Velvet Elvis, 067, 068, emphasis mine)

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