To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.
(Isaiah 8:20)

Behold The Cult Of A Postmodern Neo-liberalism

Apprising Ministries has been blessed of Jesus to be used as one of His leading online apologetics and discernment works for coverage of the warped and toxic teachings of EC leaders like the Emerging Church rock star pastor Rob Bell.

Sadly, mainstream evangelicalism became spiritually spineless and embraced the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church,  now upgraded to 2.0 with its newer, more clearly delineated, postmodern Progressive Christian theology, which these rebels against the final authority of the Word of God will often refer to under their circus “big tent” as Emergence Christianity

The purpose of this piece is to merely document, and explain where necessary, what Rob Bell has been teaching concerning Holy Scripture. In the Christianity Today article The Emergent Mystique we find out that Bell’s view of the Bible was influenced by Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, who’s part of the the unholy EC trinity of apostates along with Bell’s friend, universalist Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt, and his friend Tony Jones, the progressive “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch.

Please keep in mind here that Rob Bell happens to be the pastor that writer Andy Crouch chose to use as he opens his 2004 CT article on the Emergent Church. Crouch tells us:

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.”

“I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible,” Kristen says, “that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again–like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color…”

The Bells, who flourished at evangelical institutions from Wheaton to Fuller Theological Seminary to Grand Rapids’s Calvary Church before starting Mars Hill,…[felt] that very world, as the Bells tell it, became constricting–in Kristen’s phrase, “black and white…”

And how did the Bells find their way out of the black-and-white world where they had been so successful and so dissatisfied? “Our lifeboat,” Kristen says, “was A New Kind of Christian [by Brian McLaren].” (Online source, emphasis mine)

We start here because without this anchor of sola Scriptura Rob Bell’s neo-orthodox (at best) approach has now led him into a “repainted” [i.e. redefined] liberalism. And you need to understand that his embracing of mystery is Emergent-speak encompassing the practice of Contemplative Spirituality Mysticism (CSM). Bell’s highly subjective, and very wrong, view of the Bible would be along the lines that the text of Scripture itself is not necessarily inspired; but rather, as the Holy Spirit inspires a particular passage to a particular person, it then comes to life and then becomes the Word of God.

As such we would then breathe it in, so to speak, living it out but in a subjective i.e. existential personal experience. This heterodox position sees the Bible as “a human product,” and in fact, denies the perspicuity and verbal plenary inspiration of the text of Holy Scripture. However, the Bible does indeed claim to be completely inspired of God in and of itself (e.g. 2 Timothy 3:16). But now you know the underlying reason why Emerging Church leaders like Rob Bell, with their hollow shell of Christianity make studying the texts of Holy Scripture far more difficult than it needs to be.

Next, while making the rounds promoting his book Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith (VE) Bell told

The Bible itself, he writes, is a book that constantly must be wrestled with and re-interpreted. He dismisses claims that “Scripture alone” will answer all questions. Bible interpretation is colored by historical context, the reader’s bias and current realities, he says. The more you study the Bible, the more questions it raises.

“It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says,” Bell writes.
(Online source, emphasis added)

Then in his first book VE Rob Bell mused:

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. In reaction to abuses by the church, a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only need the authority of the Bible. 

But the problem is that we got the Bible from the church voting on what the Bible even is… When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true.[1]

At first hearing this case seems right; but in Rob Bell’s Abstract “Elvis”: A Critique of Velvet Elvis you’ll see this is actually very similar to the position of apostate Roman Catholicism:

Bell claims that people in church history (he gives Luther as an example) were involved in “rethinking.” I don’t deny that. But when he says that we have no objective means to determine whether Luther’s teachings or those of the Council of Trent are in closer agreement with the teachings revealed once for all in the Bible—there I strongly disagree. In fact Bell rejects “Scripture alone” on principle [in the quote cited above]…

He thereby takes the same position that the Roman Catholic Church took against the Reformers: That since the Church (guided by the Holy Spirit) gave us the Bible, the Church (guided by the Holy Spirit) is authoritative over the Bible. Bell’s version simply expands that idea beyond Rome to any Christian group anywhere struggling with the meaning of the Bible. Rather than to rely on a grammatical/historical approach to determine the author’s meaning, he trusts that in some manner the Holy Spirit is “enlightening us.” (Online source)

For our purposes here we will leave this, for now, by making the following points: 1)  Rob Bell, as with the EC itself, quite specifically denies sola Scriptura; 2) their teachings, which are essentially a neo-Gnosticism, certainly do not belong within mainstream Protestant evangelicalism, and 3) the main EC argument advanced against sola Scriptura, as evidenced by Rob Bell above, has completely reversed what actually happened concerning the canon of the New Testament.

The question becomes: Why subject the Younger sectors of evangelicalism to this mythology? As it is written:

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)


End notes:

[1] Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], 067, 068.

See also: