29 November 2007

Bullwhip Guy

posted by Phil Johnson

    don't know who made this spot-on parody of Rob Bell's "Bullhorn Guy," but I want him to head the TeamPyro Film Division:



Bingo.

While I'm at it, here's another classic response to the Nooma disaster by our good friend (and honorary PyroManiac) Todd Friel:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Phil's signature

133 comments:

Randy said...

Wow, whoever he is I hope that he makes more of these. He has Rob Bell down perfectly.

steve said...

Sigh. I'll have to wait till Becky is available to help interpret these for me.

Can't wait.

John Haller said...

This is really good.

candyinsierras said...

So..the original bullhorn guy on the bench in front of the trendy Momo sign....is that Rob Bell?

Fred Butler said...

Too bad he couldn't use scenes from "Jesus of Nazareth." I liked Robert Powell's Jesus much better.

Fred

Puritan said...

Mark Sohmer has also wriiten an excellent book showing Bell's heresy's in Velvet Elvis. The PDF (Free) is on our website: http://www.puritanfellowship.com/2007/11/rob-bell-ravenous-wolf-in-sheeps.html

Quote from the introduction of the book: "I had a number of people recommend Velvet Elvis to me, and interestingly, they all said basically the same thing. “You might not agree with everything Bell has to say, but there’s a lot of good stuff in there.” Each separate individual who recommended this book all gave a similar disclaimer, that there would be some things I wouldn’t agree with.

Because of this, I figured that when I read the book, I would likely agree with maybe 80% of what was written, and find 20% objectionable. But when I started to actually read the book, I found that my guess was grossly inaccurate.

To the contrary, I found myself underlining objectionable content on almost every page! I was shocked by the many errors of Velvet Elvis. This book was hardly 80% truth and 20% questionable. Page after page I found major heresies, aberrant theology, and in some cases bizarre conclusions based on very flimsy Biblical interpretation.

I have categorized the errors of Velvet Elvis as follows:
- Heretical Errors:
• Wrong View of the Trinity
• Wrong View of the Exclusivity of Christianity
• Wrong View of the State of Mankind
• Wrong Gospel
- Aberrant Theology:
• Wrong View of Jesus’ Purpose
• Wrong View of Heaven and Hell
• Wrong View of Rabbinic Judaism
• Wrong Hermeneutics
• Wrong Influences
- Bad Conclusions:
• You Don’t Have to Defend Doctrine
• You Should Not Preach the Gospel with Words

These errors are hardly minor, and they should concern us greatly. Considering the profound influence Rob has been enjoying lately, especially among younger Christians, the fact that he misrepresents the Trinity, the gospel, and our Christian mission is no small matter."

At Bell's the God's Aren't Angry Tour he was reported to be mocking the protesting evangelists outside as one had a sign saying "Turn or burn". It appears from Bell's heretical theology, that he'd do well to take their advice.

Puritan said...

Sorry the link to the 50 page "Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show a review of Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis-PDF" didn't work. I'll put it in two halves.

http://www.puritanfellowship.com/2007/11/rob-
bell-ravenous-wolf-in-sheeps.html

We have a "Christian" bookstore chain in England named after John Wesley and John Owen, and they're currently really trying to promote Bell's Nooma videos, and his book "the Sex God", with chapers "Chapter One: God Wears Lipstick" and "Chapter Four: Leather, Whips, and Fruit".

Joanna said...

Puritan, Thanks for the link. I'm partway through reading it and its proving very helpful. While it's about one book in particular, it has a lot to say about issues with the emergent movement as a whole.

Libbie said...

Yes, thankyou puritan, it's very useful to have a document to pass on to people that documents the specific concerns about Rob Bell so thoroughly.

centuri0n said...

One of the reasons I love this blog is that we have a category called "merciless beatings".

For the record, Tim Enloe coined the term as it relates to blog posts, so those with complaints can blame him.

Chris Ross said...

Praise God for youtube.

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

After reading some of the reviews of Bell's "The God's Aren't Angry Tour", both from his supporters and those who oppose his teaching, I too was very surprised. Unfortunately his supporters often mock the teachings of prior generations of pastors and theologians ("Spurgeon" is a cuss word, but cuss words aren't, etc.). That's part of what I find so troubling is the attitude that "we are going to teach something new, and we don't care if it differs from past centuries of believers".

I'm starting to think that too much time is spent talking about the errors of extremists like McLaren and Paggit, while the errors of Rob Bell and other popular pomo teachers get overlooked. I'm thankful that this is not the case here, and I appreciate your posts very much Phil.

donsands said...

It is amazingly difficult for me with men like Bell.

I have friends who like him. And as Puritan said, they say things like, " there’s a lot of good stuff in there.”

And my friends love Christ, and serve Him.

I sometimes feel like I'm the one who is coming on a bit too doctrinal. And maybe I am.

Thanks for this post.

"The truth isn't a playground, it's a battleground". -Chuck Swindoll

stratagem said...

What a great video!!

Hayden said...

Phil,

Thanks for the smile.

I once showed a NOOMA video to two young men I was discipling just to see what they would say. Their reactions was, "Who is that 'hippy guy' and why is he so emotional ?" I then asked them what they thought about the content and they said, "What content. There was none."

The first video is great!!!

DJP said...

Chris Ross, are you the guy in the video, or his S-A-B twin?

Tim Bertolet said...

"Spurgeon" is a cuss word, but cuss words aren't

That's a classic. If that's the new S-word, don't forget the C-word "Calvin". And I guess 'hell' is only a cuss word if you are refering to a real place that has fire where peoplpe might actually go--oh the irony of the reversal,. I remember being told I could only use "h-e-double hockey sticks" if I was referring to the actual place.

Thanks of the youtube videos, the first parody was a riot, glad I wasn't drinking coffee.

Thanks also for the PDF link. My sister-in-law was reading that book for her young adult group, I had read it and warned her about it, I gave her some other reading, I wish I would have had this at the time, although I don't know if she'd have read something that long. I wonder if the PDF was formatted the same as the book, would it be longer?

Got to love the tag "merciless beatings" I wouldn't have even picked up on it.

Preson said...

I have a bullhorn guy that stands in front of my hangout in downtown Ybor City in Tampa. He harasses me and all of the people in my congregation every-time we go down there. He's got a 13 foot sign that tells everyone their going to hell for Alcohol, Tobacco, sodomy, being a liberal... etc.
He stands there with a blowhorn and literaly screams at people from on top of his mild crate. I talk to his sidekick who explained that they cam all the way from orlando to "tell people about Gods love". While he was saying that, the guy with the horn called on of the girls in my congregation a "whore" because she had a v-neck sweater (and from where he was standing, he was looking right down it). He also told our church treasurer that he was gonna burn because of the cigar he was smoking.
I don't see how anyone who truly is a follower of Jesus could approve of that kind of childish behavior. What the guy in the second video is talking about is not the same thing. Having a normal conversation about life, death, and God with a stranger is not on par with the "bullhorn" guy that Bell is speaking of. I've only seen about 2 minutes of the bell video, but I know he described the man as "yelling, judging, scaring," and other things. I want someone to make a video that is TRULY supportive of bullhorn guy. Get a box, and a sign, and a bullhorn, and go to a club district, and start screaming. If anyone repents, I will secede my case, but I have a feeling that none of you would ever do that either, mainly because you don't think that is what Jesus intended for us to do.

Maybe I'll go film him myself for a while. Would you post that video?

Preson said...

sorry about the spelling errors. My keyboard is broken from being old, it doesn't really respond very good when I type, and I don't feel like spending an hour trying to fix all my typos. :)

Jay T said...

I liked the videos. But I doubt the Todd Friel - like conversation is the target of the Bullhorn video. If all street evangelists were as kind and polite as Mr. Friel, I doubt that there would be any Nooma-business.

stratagem said...

Hey Preson and Jay t: If you doubt that anyone does the kind of preaching you're describing and gets results, go check out Ray Comfort at wayofthemasterradio.com . He is a street preacher who does exactly what you are describing, and he does get converts and repentance by doing so.

Rob Bell, on the other hand, will never get anyone to repent, because he doesn't preach the gospel. He basically preaches something that is halfway between Buddhism and "Your Best Life Now."

threegirldad said...

"steve":

If you're interested in a transcript of the first two videos ("Bullhorn Guy" and "Bullwhip Guy"), send me an email...

Preson said...

I've sen ray comforts material, I've met him too. He doesn't do what I am describing, and what rob is describing. He talks with people (I guess you could call it "conversation"), he has rational conversations with people, hes relational. The bullhorn guy is not. Ray comfort truly loves and cares about people. Even James 2:22 says "his faith and his actions worked together, his actions made his faith complete".
If one guy has a bullhorn, and one has nothing, it is not a conversation, its the O'Rielly Factor.

Drew said...

Ray comfort and the WOTM guys have the same problem that the emergent guys have. Both claim to be loving, and behave in such a way during their conversations with those who disagree with them. Once they are amongst their own, however, they mock the people they love. Both sides show their true colors.

Paul said...

stratagem,

In fairness to Ray Comfort, he is not quite as violent as the gentleman Preson & Jay describe.

Living Waters Ministries may get a little comical on their tracts, but their compassion, love and sincerity are obvious.

I personally am thankful for the Ray Comfort's, Todd Friel's, Paul Washer's of this generation. Some of their messages may not need to be heard daily, but they do need to be heard.

Jay T said...

Stratagem

My comment does not imply that direct contact evangelism is ineffective, nor did it defend Rob Bell's philosophy.

I just doubt that the target of criticism of the Nooma video is a frank, open, courageous conversation of the Todd Friel variety. "Bullhorn guy" sounds more like the type that were known to interfere with James White's ministry to Mormons in Salt Lake City. They aren't faithful or bold, they're just jerks.

Thanks

Tim Bertolet said...

I think we should at least try to understand that not everybody that talks about hell and eternal condemnation does so with "anger".

James White often talks about those guys that drove them away from doing Mormon street evangelism because they spew hate. There are street screachers and then there are street preachers (White, Friel, etc).

I'm not sure if Bell is targeting only the former or both. Maybe chalk it up to emergent "coyness". Why not just say "hey I'm talking about this (i.e. screachers) and not this (i.e. preachers who legitmately talk about God hating sin and bringing condemnation)."

At time one wants to give them the benefit of the doubt, but so many have noted that there is little or no place for sin, God's just hatred of sin and God's rigteous judgment, I find it hard to believe that some don't find all talk of judgment and use of the Law as the context for John 3:16 as just "screaching". If they are clearly against all notions of God bringing condemnation, they should just say so without word games. Many of these guys are pastors and not theological ninnies.

We need to be careful we don't try to make them friendly to positions because we are, or we would like them to be.

Yeah, some evil doers preach only God's hate, but how can a true Christian not preach God's love without making clear God's hatred of sin?

Paul said...

Tim: "I'm not sure if Bell is targeting only the former or both. Maybe chalk it up to emergent "coyness". Why not just say "hey I'm talking about this (i.e. screachers) and not this (i.e. preachers who legitmately talk about God hating sin and bringing condemnation)."

This is a good question & excellent point.

Tim Bertolet said...

Drew,

"Once they are amongst their own, however, they mock the people they love."

I don't see Friel in the videos doing any mocking. He does put the suggestions of the "Dr. Loves" to the test. He challenges the assumption that to speak frankly of hell and condemnation is "mean" and "hateful" and that we cannot do it and show that we love others at the same time. How is that "mocking"? Just to create a scenario by way of parable with "Drs." isn't automatically mocking. To speak with frankness about the dangers of something is not "mocking".

The assumption that all talk of hell is nasty and flows from the selfish judgmental spirit of the person needs to be challenged (both in discources and in practice).

Friel's message seems to be the same for sinners of all stripes (whether in his 'group' or not; unbeliever on the street, emergent, fellow evangelical, etc.), we all need to repent, if we don't there is condemnation, if we do we are saved and can know God's love.

SolaMeanie said...

Puritan (love that name!),

When you consider that Rob Bell's wife told Christianity Astray that she didn't know what most of the Bible meant, that ought to tell you something. That's a classic honker if I've ever heard (or read) one.

And with apologies to all, I find the term NOOMA a bit difficult to swallow. It sounds like something the goon characters in "Popeye" would chant while they were boiling you in a kettle. Not to be confused with "pneuma."

And last but not least, Frank . . .

I do like the term "merciless beatings." A lot. However, you realize that calling attention to it in this context will probably mean you'll have to shut this thread down eventually like you did yesterday. (I feel guilty for my part in that, btw. Sometimes my sarcasm does get the best of me.)

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I need a grape Kool-Aid fix. If I can't find any, perhaps a bottle of Delsym?

stratagem said...

To point out a few things:

1) The "bullhorn guy" in the Bell video is a straw man, not a real person. The straw man is given every characteristic that will make him unlikable, right down to his nerdy, "out-of-touch-with-reality" appearance.

2) The straw man Bell erects as the bullhorn guy, is a clear attempt to impugn anyone who preaches the wrath of God, not just street preachers who break social norms. We know this because Bell says so himself, in his video.

3) The straw man's nerdy appearance is also clearly intended to contrast with the hip look of Bell. Narcissism.

4) "I just doubt that the target of criticism of the Nooma video is a frank, open, courageous conversation of the Todd Friel variety." Jay_t, how much do you actually know about Rob Bell's teachings? He most certainly is against the type of gospel that Friel teaches.

5) Drew, yes occasionally Friel is mocking toward the Emergents, although not nearly as rudely as you let on. Who says there's anything wrong with that? I think of it as Elijah mocking the prophets of Baal. Lies need to be mocked, especially when they are as ridiculous as the Emergents' doctrines are.

Preson said...

I guess there would be 2 sides to evangelism today, side is interested in answering the question "how do I get to heaven", and the other is answering "how do I love God".
By all accounts, they are both setting out to achieve the same purpose, to create disciples of Jesus (because in doing so, you have answered both questions).
Most people think one of these questions is more important than the other, and that usually determines how you evangelize. It will decide whether or not you speak primarily about judgement after you die, or relationship while your alive. I don't feel that either one is a wrong approach, Ray comfort preaches one, Rob Bell preaches another, Paul preached both.
Sorry for being a moderate.

Jay T said...

I strongly doubt that Mr. Bell would appreciate Dr. White's or Mr Friel's methods. However, instead of speculating, I think it's more useful to point out the explicit problems with the video: Mr. Bell criticizes a practice that almost no one would defend, and he criticizes people who would never change because of a NOOMA video (talk about failure to contextualize). In other words, the slick production is probably a waste of time and money.

I need to confess that I've only seen that brief preview of the Nooma video. Also, I haven't finished Velvet Elvis. It's just not very good.

steve said...

When you consider that Rob Bell's wife told Christianity Astray that she didn't know what most of the Bible meant, that ought to tell you something. That's a classic honker if I've ever heard (or read) one.

Solameanie: Wasn't it McLaren's wife who did this? Otherwise, yes, such a comment is deeply perturbing.

Now if both wives made such a remark...

threegirldad: Thanks for the kind offer. I may send an e-mail later today.

stratagem said...

Preson

In the case of contrasting Bell and Friel/Comfort: Friel believes the Bible is the inspired word of God, Bell believes the Bible is a man-made product; he said so himself.

That alone should tell you that there is more going on that is much more absolute than simply one preference over another.

Daryl said...

Steve,

Don't know if McClaren's wife said it but Rob Bell's wife definitely said it.

Susan said...

I just want to point out, he let the young men know he cared, at a personal level, before sharing the gospel.

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

http://www.youtube.com/wat
ch?v=8wSAEezBc3s

Psa 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man.

SolaMeanie said...

Steve,

This will answer your question. Kristen Bell it was indeed.

As for McLaren, him saying such a thing wouldn't surprise me in the least. Give him time.

SolaMeanie said...

Drew,

Who said this:

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

In the good ol' KJV, the words are "rebuke" and "chasten."

And should you answer this question correctly, tell me further -- is rebuking, chastening and yes, even mocking, always wrong?

Preson said...

Strategem -
Everyone believes that the bible is man-made. No one believes that it was written by God.
Inspiration refers to origin of the thoughts, truths, etc... not the makers of the books. Inspired by the spirit, written by man. We know exactly who wrote most of the books, they have the MENS names right there at the beginning of them.
I have read both of bells books, and listen to his sermons every week (as well as driscoll, piper, keller, and others). I could easily take a sentence out of an hour long sermon and make them look like a heretic. I really am weary of the word games.
Galatians 5:15 says "...if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out. Beware of destroying one another".
And daryl and steve, lets talk about the men, not their wives. One shouldn't expect the pastors wife to be as eloquent or knowledgeable as the pastor. Otherwise, put her on the payroll.

Daryl said...

"One shouldn't expect the pastors wife to be as eloquent or knowledgeable as the pastor. Otherwise, put her on the payroll."

Could we get anymore sexist than that???

It doesn't take a seminary education to realize that we can and should understand the Bible.

If Rob is instructing his family as he should, his 4 year old should have a better answer than that. Unless of course he himself doesn't believe you can understand the Bible. After re-watching his 'Bullhorn Guy" in its entirety I'm reminded again that he apparently doesn't believe the whole Bible so his wife's reaction is hardly surprising.

stratagem said...

Everyone believes that the bible is man-made. No one believes that it was written by God.
...and...
I have read both of bells books, and listen to his sermons every week


Your second quote, above, leads to the first one. One error begets another. No, "everyone" doesn't think of the Bible as manmade, in the way Bell describes this and especially in the way he uses it.

Excerpt from the CT article referenced above:

"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."


This says loads about why Bell thinks his own teachings and opinions are roughly as authoritative as those in the Bible. Most of his teachings are as though he had never even read the Book.

DJP said...

PresonAnd daryl and steve, lets talk about the men, not their wives. One shouldn't expect the pastors wife to be as eloquent or knowledgeable as the pastor. Otherwise, put her on the payroll.

Really? And if she's quoted in the context of how great and "big" and wonderful and exciting this Emerg*** voyage away from the Bible is? Can't quote her then, either?

Would that apply, then, to everyone whose Emerg*** voyage takes him further and further from Biblical faith? We can't quote any of them?

Could you maybe post a list of people who you think can be quoted about the Emerg*** detour?

steve said...

Solameanie and daryl: Thanks, both. Appreciate your jogging my memory with specifics.

And daryl and steve, lets talk about the men, not their wives. One shouldn't expect the pastors wife to be as eloquent or knowledgeable as the pastor.

Preson: Kristen Bell's comment appeared in a public context. Why shouldn't we be allowed to share our responses in like context?

More importantly, this should not be an issue of expecting less from a pastor's wife. It's clear from the CT article that Kristen Bell has been in the church for a long time. Every believer, whether male or female, is self-accountable for making sure he or she has a clear and correct understanding of God's truth.

Note that Kristen didn't refute any of what Rob said. That's a clear indication they're of like mind on the matter of understanding God's Word.

Finally, on the matter of pastor's wives...here's a principle that's equally true for men and women: Those who truly love God's Word take the time to know it well.

Mike Riccardi said...

While we're talking about Emerg*** and detours, let me take one.

I've noticed this Emerg*** thing emerging (;o)) over the last few weeks. I assume that we use it to apply statements to both Emerging and Emergent.

However, I vote that we don't do this anymore. I vote that we just say Emerging, when we want to say something about both, and infer that because Emergent is much nuttier, that we can argue from the lesser to the greater. If we want to say something about just the nuttier Emergent, we can say Emergent.

Whaddaya say?

Drew said...

Sola: No, but mocking is not the normative behavior for those that you love, especially not behind their back.

What I have heard on WOTM radio (which is pretty entertaining, even if so much of it bothers me) is an interview where a person is very polite and kind, DURING the interview, but after which the guys in the studio mock. If there ever is "helpful, loving" mocking, then this ain't it.

And again, I know that emergent-types do this, too, and truth be told, I have done it myself, but it is wrong, and it is contrary to the "but we really love these people" attitude that Friel presents in the videos.

Paul said...

Rob Bell has a [low view] of scripture centered around the belief that [man] chose the books to be included [pp. 67-68 VE]

Others, myself included, believe that God tells us He will preserve His word for all generations and how He fulfills this promise is irrelevant.

Like the article [that Puritan posted] says, Rob's view of scripture emphasizes a low view of God's sovereignty and a high view of the power of man.

stratagem said...

From what I've heard, Todd Friel only mocks the ideas presented by the people they've interviewed, and mostly those are people who, though false to the Word, hold themselves out to be Christian teachers. I've never heard WOTM mock someone who is truly open to at least hearing what they are teaching about the Law and Grace, even if that person doesn't fully accept the message.

There is a higher standard to be applied to people who hold themselves out as Christian teachers. If a person can't stand the scrutiny, they should find another avocation.

There is nothing loving about Bell obscuring people from understanding their need for repentance and faith in Christ. Nothing at all loving about that.

DJP said...

Riccardi, you can do as you like, honestly.

But I coined the "Emerg***" thingie, and I'm keeping it. To me the quibbling over "Oh, no, that's not emergENT, that's emergING" (and vice-versa) just gets silly. ("No no -- not 'Frank-en-STINE,' but 'Fronk-en-STEEN'").

So it's my way around.

But you're welcome not to participate. It's shorthand for "Emergent, Emerging, whatever applies."

SolaMeanie said...

I think a pertinent question is, does Kristen Bell have a formal role in Rob's church? Is she a teacher of any kind? And that's just one question.

I would also hazard that, if you are going to allow yourself to be interviewed by a nationally circulated magazine read by pastors, theologians and laypeople alike, wouldn't it be nice if you had even a smidgen of knowledge about your subject matter?

If I had a pastor's wife who openly said that she had no idea what much of the Bible meant, I think I'd have some pretty serious questions to ask. Especially if said wife had a visible public role.

It amazes me even further that this even has to be a subject for argument. It makes me thankful to have God's assurance that every "mouth will be stopped" at the judgment, with no more argument necessary or allowed.

Bang 'dat gavel!!

Lance M. Roberts said...

Ouch!

Great video!

I'm sure it went over the heads of many.

MTR said...

Well, it sure is fair to criticize, since we've all see obnoxious bullhorn dudes winning over so many people for Christ... Right?

MTR said...

You know what's unfair about the videos is that they don't tell the full story of the original NOOMA Bullhorn video. These videos, the responses, show reasonable people...

The Bullhorn video is about the angry loudmouths that we've all seen who scream and yell and love to get people angry... And that's why they exist: Not to tell people about Jesus, but to get into arguments.

Watch the Bullhorn video before criticizing.

DJP said...

Perhaps it's more apropos to say "Read the comment-thread before criticizing."

Bell doesn't focus on the use of the bullhorn. He focuses on the use of words like sin and Hell and repent.

And there's the focus of the criticisms.

Oh, and I'll add this. It's subjective, but: I don't come away from Bell's full video thinking, "Wow, Rob Bell really loves Jesus!"

I come away thinking, "Wow, Rob Bell really loves Rob Bell!"

SolaMeanie said...

Dan,

I hate to say this, but I will. Phil's "Bullwhip" lead makes me think of Devo.

Perhaps he can use his graphics gizmo to concoct a picture of Bell, McLaren, Pagitt etc. wearing upside down flowerpot hats.

"When some doctrine comes along, you must whip it."

Okay, I'm going to my corner now. I know. I'm grounded.

carolczech said...

The problem with Bullhorn Guy is that a lot of people, maybe even most of those in the "target audience" of the nooma videos have never seen one of the "extreme" street evangelists (if that is indeed what Bell is trying to caricature). I have personally never seen one.

So the swooning young people who hang on his every word (you don't have to read many blogs to hear about "man crushes" on Rob Bell)get the impression that anyone who speaks the name of Jesus or utters the word "hell" in public is wicked and unloving. By Bell's standard someone standing on the street corner reading the red letters in the book of John would be evil. John the Baptist would be evil. Jonah would be WAY evil!

And the unpardonable sin in Bell's eyes is loving someone with an "agenda" when in reality, Jesus left us with an "agenda":

Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

Luke 24:46-47 "He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

Compare that to Rob Bell's "agenda":
"And see Bullhorn guy there’s so much that you can do that we can do too...there’s so much good we can do to help. There are so many people that just need somebody to listen – not to preach to them to try to convert them but just to listen – listen to their story and to listen to their pain and listen to their dreams and there are so many who have really basic needs like food and clothing and shelter and medicine and we have the resources to help them and didn’t Jesus say that when we do that , when we look out for each other, that he’s there in some sort of mysterious way? I mean, how we love others is how we love God. And see, Bullhorn Guy, that’s why the hellfire and brimstone stuff is so dangerous. When you tell me that I should follow Jesus so that I don’t burn forever, it sounds like a threat. As if like you scare people enough they’ll all of a sudden magically decide to love God and follow Jesus. Well, that isn’t what Jesus did. Jesus went around inviting people into the best possible kind of life. I mean at one point he even says “I’ve come that you might have life and have it to the fullest". You just don’t find Jesus waving heaven in front of people like some sort of carrot on a stick...See there are massive numbers of us all over the place who are serious about following Jesus who actually believe him when he said he came to bring us life and life to the full. We want the best possible life here and now. The kind of life that goes on forever."

Hmmmm.......I'm sticking with the "Jesus Agenda"

SolaMeanie said...

Carol,

A few years ago, the national news media made much of this rather porcine family in Appalachia who sent their young children out to "street preach." The kids (aged around 10-12) would literally stand on street corners screaming at people at the top of their lungs that they were going to Hell. Imagine Fred Phelps on steroids. And they were the most perfect stereotypes you could ask for. Fat, greased hair, deep Southern drawl. A caricature of a caricature.

These poor misguided kids had been taught that when the Bible spoke in various places of shouting, that was how you were supposed to preach the Gospel. Literally. The media had a field day with it. I don't know if that is specifically what Bell is referencing, and I'm sure those kids weren't the only ones doing things like this. But sadly, it did gather a lot of attention, and yes, kooks like that were lumped in with mainstream evangelicals.

philness said...

Hook a brother up with just the link. This looks like a keeper!

Phil Johnson said...

DJP: "Bell doesn't focus on the use of the bullhorn. He focuses on the use of words like sin and Hell and repent."

Exactly.

After 35+ years of relentlessly being tweaked about how unstylish we are (first by shallow seeker-sensitives and now by smarmy Emergents), evangelicals have slept through the near-total erosion of their own doctrinal distinctives at the hands of people ostensibly within their own movement. It's amazing how many evangelicals still have not caught on to what these über-cool peddlers of "relevance" are all about. It has little to do with style (which changes every month anyway) and everything to do with changing things that should never have been regarded as fluid anyway. Specifically, what has actually changed most in the visible evangelical movement over the past thirty years' time is the content of our confession. "Evangelical" belief has become so minimalistic that whatever remains of the evangelical consensus is now in effect devoid of every principle that ever made evangelicalism distinctive.

Preson: "a bullhorn guy that stands in front of my hangout in downtown Ybor City in Tampa. . . . told our church treasurer that he was gonna burn because of the cigar he was smoking."

See, the problem with that guy is what he's preaching—or, rather, what he's not preaching, namely, the gospel. Ditto with Fred Phelps, Darwin Fish, and a thousand other bullhorn-and-placard-carrying crackpots. The problem is not their "style"—i.e., the fact that they use a bullhorn and speak with passion. The problem is that they are heretics. (Incidentally, one of the best preachers I ever heard was a guy with a bullhorn on a pedestrian-choked street in—of all places—central London.)

The principle works the other way, too—and let's not gloss over that. Just because Rob Bell has cool glasses and a smooth delivery and a lot of people who like him does not make him a better witness for Christ the guy with the bullhorn calling people to repent. As a matter of fact, the problem with Rob Bell is exactly the same problem with your bullhorn guy in Ybor City: He's not preaching the gospel. If anything, Bell is worse, because he is actively opposing the clear proclamation of the gospel by objecting to the vital aspects of the message that make it a stumbling-block and rock of offense to unbelievers.

Strong Tower said...

Rob must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, his wife likewise must be dignified, not a slanderer, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Indeed, what we confess, is the mystery of godliness, but Rob, he doesn't believe in plenary inspiration. So he wouldn't know that older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. And that is why he must be silenced, since his kind are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. There is no doubt that Mr and Mrs Ding-dong's chime is out of tune with Scripture, she said of it, "Now I have no idea what most of it means." And as long as the money keeps rolling in, well hey, isn't it all about your best life now with the riches of the kingdoms on Earth?

carolczech said...

Phil said "See, the problem with that guy is what he's preaching—or, rather, what he's not preaching, namely, the gospel. Ditto with Fred Phelps, Darwin Fish, and a thousand other bullhorn-and-placard-carrying crackpots."

And it probably isn't even THOUSANDS of bullhorn & placard-carrying crackpots.... And yet to listen to Bell and the rest of the Emerg***s you would think they were on every street corner of America and standing in the pulpit of every evangelical church. So everyone who does street evangelism - and even those who witness to their friends and neigbors and talk about hell - get painted with that same broad brush. Something that we are commanded to do in scripture is not only NOT trendy, it is branded as pharisaical - even sinful (not that they would use such a black and white terms...but I'll bet they think it!)

Johnny Dialectic said...

It was Cent who made this point with Dan K. recently, and it applies to bullhorn guy too: The not so subtle intent of Bell is to place the entirety of tradtional evangelicalism within the ambit of this caricature. Cent called it slander, I believe, and it's true.

It would be nice if Es (no asterisks at all required!) paid some homage to their elders and the servants who have toiled, and continue to toil, faithfully. But they don't.

Rather than seeking to correct, they seek revolution, and it's in the nature of revolutionaries to behead all who represent the past.

polycarp said...

Brilliant stuff!

Here's the deal: the way I see it, there are at least two layers involved with unmasking the emergent profile. First, and most important of course, is what occurs in most of the posts here at this blog: using scripture, logic, theology, and other solid modes of critical analysis to dismantle the assaults on scripture, the annoying fallacious reasoning, and the dreadfully bad pseudo-theology.

The other layer I’d like to address here is more of an enthnography of sorts--a cultural observation of the EC psuedo-countercultural wannabeeism. So many of these emergent types all seem to have an "almost, but not quite" element to them when it comes to the "edge" they long to display, yet fail miserably at actually attaining. The larger, encompassing argument is actually a question: why would a believer who has been bought with the precious blood of Jesus even want to be so concerned with the degree of “edge” they have, or are trying to get, which is clearly the case for most EC’er’s. Let me explain: I believe these people have never really been able to get enough "edge" in their lives--whether it be a result of growing-up in the church and finding it boring, or feeling as though this blessing somehow robbed them of ever getting out in the world and seeing what it is REALLY all about, or whether they have been perceived/called "geeky" by kids in school and wish to replay a new tape in their adult lives, or maybe some of them have never been geeky, or intellectual, enough and they are attempting to be big smart fish in a pond they perceive as larger and deeper than it really is--while never really reaching the advanced ranks of secular humanism in graduate school. Furthermore, it appears that many EC’ers seem to be frustrated artists as well, wishing they made more of a mark (or any mark) in the artistic world. In other words, their sense of importance on “cool” and self-identity is essentially just a "boulevard of broken dreams" as it were.

Now, my point is not to criticize them merely for any lack of worldliness and/or achievement in this world because it should not be here that we look for our treasures. To the contrary, as what they perceive as loss is actually gain! By claiming the name of Christ, as professing Christians, we have inherited the greatest treasure of all because we have exchanged the corruptible for the incorruptible through our salvation in Jesus Christ. What irritates me most, however, is watching people in this movement go back and do the opposite: work so hard at trading the incorruptible for the corruptible...from which they have been saved (the ones who are indeed believers).

It's all about getting that artistic edge validated, that rebellion they never really immersed themselves in as church kids out; it's wanting one's cake and eating it too. In other words, emergents are trying to do something quite different than people in generations past have done: they went through a rebellious, prodigal period and subsequently drew their lines clearly in the sand and departed from any association with believers for a time--but then they returned. This movement is all about saying "hey, we don't need to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater' because we can do all of our rebelling right in the church...and sanctify the whole mess in the process with fancy words!" Of course, they don't express the truth behind their agenda, so one would never hear such a confession; regarding this layer of their profile, it’s something they would probably just like to ignore or never actually realize. As for all the baby-boomers who seem to be on board with the whole mess and "emerge" as leaders, they are happy as clams because they get a glimmer of hope that all of the rebellion they strove to achieve back in the sixties might actually come to fruition through their kid’s generation…and besides, a midlife crisis can manifest itself in a variety of ways. They want to be “cool” and hip moms and dads after all.

The only word I have for this is "pathetic" because I am one who did not have the luxury/blessing of growing-up in the church in order to find it so boring and unattractive that I now want to define the historic Christian faith around my petty, myopic broken dreams as a postmodern through a 21st century lens. A common expression among a number of EC leaders says something to the effect of: “I’ve been where you (evangelical Christians who think in black and white) are, and you should learn from my experience”. To that notion, which seems like something a wise sage should say (except for the fact that EC’ers despise wisdom and are far from title of sage), I reply by saying that I have been where they are striving to go.

I have no desire to toot my own horn when I say that I have "been there and done that" with regard to just about every area so many Ec'ers long so desperately to find acceptance and/or rebellion...with full accomplishment and/or identification as being entirely cool I'm afraid. I was in the central hub of a number of art/music scenes and cutting-edge, counter-cultural postmodernism in various forms (I'm of the gen x lot, having been born in the early seventies). I've experienced two lifetimes of success in academics, having earned Ph.D, an MA, and 2 BA's. My point in saying all of this is absolutely not to brag! To the contrary, as I counted all of it as meaningless rubbish when I came to understand the authority of the God of the universe and bowed at the foot of the cross in humility, thus receiving Christ as my Savior and Lord. I gladly exchanged all of my nonsense accomplishments and superficial modes of identity for the greatest gift anyone could ever receive when they are identified with the King of Kings! This is why I am so disgusted when I see the silly antics of all these wannabes of the world's ways when they (claim to) have genuine identity with the Lord of the universe and complain that it's just not good enough anymore! The primary objective of emergents should not be to revamp the church around their sin and change it, but rather it should be to bring their sin to the Lord and submit to the authority of the church in order to change them.

These folks don’t seem to understand the fact that one cannot merely pick and choose the elements they wish to adopt from countercultures, or secular-humanistic atheism within academia for that matter, as a subscription to part is a subscription to the whole…if one is really “doing” what their identity/words suggest. Otherwise, they are just playing one big game of pretend with everyone they know.

**A bit of advice to the disgruntled EC Christian: please let the world do worldly because they do it better—far better actually! They don't appreciate your meager efforts. Yours is much too often a pathetic reproduction because you were never really in it—of which you should be thankful if indeed you never were (or are?). Return to your first love, and embrace an identity that far exceeds those constructed by the world because once you deliver the black and white thinking that every Christian should profess to our "tolerant" world, the world's intolerance of you will be quite clear.

Mike Riccardi said...

Dan,

Yeah, I meant no harm. Hope it didn't seem that way. I just think that the distinction is a bunch of smoke and mirrors anyway. That is, in my opinion, there's nothing better about being simply Emerging and not Emergent. From what I've seen, they both get ecclesiology, philosophy of ministry, and most importantly the Bible wrong enough that I'd have the same issues with both groups. So I guess I see some tactical advantage to doing the whole lesser to the greater thing. But I definitely understand your frustration with the differentiating. It's the same as mine. But anyway, even with all that said, just wanna make sure you didn't think I was digging at ya.

But as far as actually being on topic [:o)], I finally watched these videos (couldn't all day) and they were phenomenal. Especially Friel's videos. I'm absolutely amazed that every Emerging person can do anything but be stifled and say, "Dang, I guess we were wrong." He made 150% sense, he demonstrated both approaches, and even if he didn't mimic exactly what the EC guys are championing, he did do what us traditional reformed folk say to do (i.e., what the Bible says to do) and all the accusations were shown to be bogus.

So seriously... what's the response?

Mike Riccardi said...

And polycarp's last comment should be a "Gem from the Combox" Post like... tomorrow.

For real man, that was phenomenal. And I think you hit all sorts of nails on the head.

pastorbrianculver said...

I am very supportive of Ray Comfort and Todd Friel. It is because of the way they teach that I am a saved Christian. Every time I have listened to WOTM, I have always heard them say that we need to keep these people in our prayers (those people, emergents, atheists, etc). i feel they have been loving and have upheld Scripture. I appreciate everyone's view on here. Pyro is a great blog! Thank you!

DJP said...

Oh mercy, Mike; no harm, no foul.

Sounds like we're agreeing from (or in!) different directions.

donsands said...

"one of the best preachers I ever heard was a guy with a bullhorn on a pedestrian-choked street in—of all places—central London."

Very nice. Wish I could have heard him.
Bullhorns are, for me, very rarely the Lord's true servants, but if it's real.

I have seen a preacher preach to the public, and it was perhaps like the preacher you saw in London.

He was on the beach in Ocean City, MD. He makes sandsculptures with biblical themes about 15 feet away from the Boardwalk.
Thousands of people walk by and watch. I was able to help him a couple times dig the sand and pile it up.
After he applies his final touches to his sculptur. He walks up toward the Boardwalk, where it is quite loud with all sorts of sounds.
He pauses and prays, and then begins to shout at the people, and little by little it quiets down, and then it's finally pretty much silent, and an hundred or so people stop and listen as Randy preaches the bad news of sin, and the good news of Jesus' forgiveness.
I wish more people would do this. Not too many people respond right then. But he preaches the Gospel.

candyinsierras said...

My husband just called me from work to tell me that Al Mohler is on Nightly News tonight at 9:30 to talk about the Emergent Church.

carolczech said...

You can watch the NBC news segment here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/

Al Mohler gets about 3 whole seconds. Emerg*** Pastor Tadd Grandstaff is the focus along with the political shift in evangelicals from Republican to Democrat. There is an ominous comment at the end about mega-churches being concerned about competition from the Emerg***s.

Jay said...

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Will said...

Let me offer a brief defense of Rob Bell since I am guessing that few of you have seen or heard much more than this one video (that I agree is the worst video he ever made and a bad video in general). Rob Bell moved his family from the suburbs into the poorest ghetto of Grand Rapids last year so that he could work with the needy more closely and not be a hypocrite when he encourages others to follow. As a guy that was raised wealthy and could certainly have a big house in the suburbs, I think this tells us something about his character. His church has set up programs, given thousands and hundreds of thousands, for the neediest people in the world. He has poured himself out for the oppressed giving up his own comfort in the process. This guy is the anti-Joel Olsteen. I listen to his sermons every week and he almost always preaches on sin (although sometimes he uses the phrase “offence to God/Jesus”). His preaching is tremendously inspiring and powerful and God honoring. I have been listening to him for 2 years and I have never heard him say anything unorthodox or heretical and to the contrary he makes regular point to affirm the creeds and the central tenants of Christianity. If you haven’t listened, go to Mars Hill website and download some sermons….they are good.

Regarding Rob Bell’s video. I agree, it was a stupid straw man and Rob Bell should probably apologize for it. Street preaching is a long traditional practice in the church dating all the way back through Paul. I was annoyed when I first watched it. With that being said……this Bull Whip guy video attacking Bell is every bit as misleading and unfair. Rob Bell is not afraid to speak about God’s judgment or anger (he does so regularly). He is not ignorant of the judgment of the Bible (he discusses this regularly). He is not a relativist – he believes in biblical axioms that are true for all people in all generations. Rob Bell is not perfect (I actually wrote a critique of his weaknesses on my now defunct Blog once). But I think that he is generally a good Christian that God is using for good.

Alan Kurschner said...

Too good guys!

centuri0n said...

will -- I welcome your opinion of this critique of a recent Rob Bell sermon.
__________

All --

There are two things going on in the original Bell video which deserve some unpacking. I mean, since we had to unpack Ralph Winter to criticize his mistakes, let's unpack Bell for a minute.

The first thing we all should recognize is this: Ruckmanites are everywhere, from LA to Phoenix to Tampa to Grand Rapids. And their particular style of street terrorism is frankly disreputable and offensive -- not because they describe Hell or judgment but because they do so in an unbalanced way. If you need examples of that kind of street assault, go visit aomin.org and search for "street preachers", particularly in Mesa, who are "evangelizing" the Mormons.

James White rightly decries the damage these quacks do to evangelism, and we should, too.

But here's the thing: can we conflate that -- the excessively-legalistic, insulting street shouting with no view of grace or the cross -- with personal evangelism which is inherently polemic even if it is respectful?

The question is not that there's a right way and a wrong way: the question is if the "wrong way" includes guys like Ray Comfort, James White, Bill Bright, and anyone who has ever handed out a tract. Because the implication of the Bell video is that all street evangelism is really a form of the Bullhorn Guy.

Bell is taking a shot at traditional evangelism -- because he thinks it's too invasive and at the same time too impersonal. The question we ought to be considering is: is he right? Because if he's not right, or if he's merely trying to "start a conversation", why is he using the tactic he's decrying to make his point?

The Bullhorn Guy is one kind of inflammatory; the insinuation that all tract-style evangelists are the same kind of offensive is another kind of inflammatory. If inflammatory is bad, I say demonstrate that by personal example and try some other way of telling me our point.

John Haller said...

Frank:

That's a great critique of that sermon. It's the same problem I've noted with Bell in other sermons. It starts off with some good points, but then turns into a rant again "them" (the conservative evangelical) and how "they" are not doing enough.

I have a clip that I archived out of one sermon, Wine and Heaven from April 22, 2007. In that sermon, he starts out along the lines you noted with some good stuff (talking about the wedding in Cana) then turns to 2 Tim about destructive teaching and then proceeds over the next 10 minutes to lay the blame for Darfur and tribal conflict in Africa at the feet o of missionaries who taught people that if you get saved you go to heaven when you die. So, you see, that's a good thing so we can have a war. He also equates it with gnosticism (which is a favorite technique of Pagitt as well). Here is a short summary of that sermon (quotes are from the sermon): Be careful teaching about a disembodied gospel which separates the physical from the spiritual. Avoid "evacuation theology" (which he says leads people to believe they are super-spiritual ("I got the ticket and I'm gone"). This is absolutely lethal because it what it says is the gospel is just about the spiritual soul getting out of here (sidebar: I don't know ANYONE who really teaches this so it's a straw man). One case study of a disembodied gospel. From Africa from the early 90s. Late 19th, early 20th century there was a massive missionay movement. "The idea was that white Christians had Jesus, their responsibility was to take Jesus to pagans who don't have Jesus... One of the places where lots of missionaries went was Africa, specifically central Africa, specifically places like Rwanda where they would share that you need to believe in Jesus so that you can die and go to heaven... so much so that by the early 1990s Rwanda was a shining example... by early 1990s missiologists estimate that 80% were involved in a church on Sunday." In 1994 in a span of 100 days one tribe turned on another tribe and slaughtered 600K to over 1 million of their fellow Rwandans. There are stories of entire churches slaughtering other churches. "Do you see that we have to be careful that the gospel that we preach is the whole gospel?... what happens is that the gospel becomes about another world and this world suffers greatly."

eastendjim said...

"I've only seen about 2 minutes of the bell video, but I know he described the man as "yelling, judging, scaring," and other things."

preson,

Watch the whole Bullhorn Guy video. Not only for content but for technique as well. The video is not just about bullhorn guy. Bullhorn guy and those like him are few and far between and do not warrant Rob making a video about them. He is making a more sweeping statement with this video.

You will see that Rob starts with the caricature of a 1950's, skinny tie, bad haircut, fire and brimstone street preacher. Note the lighting, cheap tracts etc. in the intro part of the video.

He then smoothly draws into that caricature anyone who preaches sin, hell, and judgement. This is regardless of the love and compassion that this person may use in the presentation. Note the disdain that Mr. Bell inflects into the words sin, hell and judgement as he speaks them. Also Note how Mr. Bell is presented, natural light, casual, on a bench, latest frames and look.

What the video presents is that anyone who speaks of sin, hell, or judgement is an old 50's, out of touch dinosaur who turn people away from Jesus Christ.

And those who just luv, and luv luv, and luv luv luvingly while luving those who need luv (and wear cool glasses) are the true and relevant carriers of the Gospel of Jesus.

It's a great propaganda piece that insulates itself against disagreement.

If you agree with what is presented then you must be cool and relevant. Just like Rob Bell and Jesus.

If you disagree with what is presented you are that caricature so of course should not be listened to. Just like Bullhorn Guy.

Very slick. Very slick indeed.

donsands said...

"I have been listening to him for 2 years and I have never heard him say anything unorthodox or heretical and to the contrary he makes regular point to affirm the creeds and the central tenants of Christianity. If you haven’t listened, go to Mars Hill website and download some sermons….they are good." -will

Thanks for sharing that. I'll be checking Mr. Bell's sermons.

But we do need to remember that Satan comes like a Rob Bell, or Billy Graham, or RC Sproul, or even me, moreso than say a Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, Fred Phelps, Benny Hinn, or even the Pope, as deceiveing as they are, their false teachings are obvious for the most part.

Satan comes as an angel of light, and so his ministers are seemingly righteous and good, and surely don't mind saying they love Jesus in pretense.
Jesus said, "False christs, teachers, and prophets would come, and if possible would even deceive the very elect of God."

We need to take those words to heart.

Will said...

hi frank, i just commented on your critique.

I want to note that I am not an uncritical fan. I once wrote a blog post that pointed out many concerns (apparent lack of consern for teaching doctrine, failure to speak boldly for the unborn etc). My point above is that he is a paradox. He can make a stupid strawman like Bullhorn Guy and then the rest of the Nooma vidoes (that I have seen anyway) are brilliant. He can have sermons that are extremely moving and important and ones that are not so good and annoying for thier lack of critical thought.

I think the guy is used by God in many ways. I know people who have grown in thier faith thanks to his teaching. I personally have come to a greater understanding of what it means to serve others since I started listening to him. I have been convicted to be generous with my time, money and heart. I have also decided to give more to the poor thanks to his convicting sermons. In addition to my tithe, I am now giving sacrificially to other organizations. His sermons (by the grace of God of course) inpired these actions in my life. He has also (by the grace of God) been used to inspire deeper personal holiness in my life.

Again, none of this takes away from his failings. He is imperfect. It is good that we have guys like centuri0n around to note when we go astray and if people listen uncritically it is thier own fault. Rob Bell will be judged ultimately by God but I think that, at least in my life, he has done much more good than bad.

Stefan said...

Praise God that He is a God of grace, mercy, and lovingkindness. But He is also holy, righteous, perfect, and just, and cannot abide sin. We need to be convicted of our sins and to understand the utter hopelessness of our situation, in order to receive and show full gratitude for the grace He extends us in imputing the perfect righteousness of Christ for our sins.

Some judgemental guy said this once upon a time, when he was giving advice to missionaries:

Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Was he a fire-and-brimstone nutcase? Some think so. Would Jesus approve of what this guy said?

Puritan said...

Will, and other Bell fans,

It's pretty obvious what's wrong with Rob Bell's message. 1, he's not saved, and 2. he's not saved.

I am making these claims about Bell's salvation based on Scripture, as Jesus said you will know them by their fruits. Rob Bell is a Ravenous wolf, preaching a different Jesus than in the Bible and saying the way is wide. What was it Paul said about if someone comes to you preaching another gospel?

As I posted above this 50 page examination of Velvet Elvis, shows his theolology:
Rob Bell Velvet Elvis Examination PDF on LINK
It includes:
Heretical Errors:
Wrong View of the Trinity.
Wrong View of the Exclusivity of Christianity.
Wrong View of the State of Mankind
Wrong Gospel.

Aberrant Theology:
Wrong View of Jesus’ Purpose.
Wrong View of Heaven and Hell.
Wrong View of Rabbinic Judaism.
Wrong hermeneutics:

Mt 7:13-20:"“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."

"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 Tim 4:3-4.

"Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;" Acts 20:28-29

Preson said...

puritan,
do you just go from blog to blog posting the same reply? I've seen that same exact post several times. Are you even the one who originally wrote it? or did you copy and paste it here?

Tim Bertolet said...

Bell may not come right out an embrace heresy, so for example in Velvit Elvis he believes in the virgin birth but he holds to it with indifference. Saying basically, 'it's one spring and we could jump without it'.

It was this indifference to orthodoxy that guys like Machen say as more problematic than those who outright denied it.

“But of what is the importance of the matter [the Virgin Birth]? That question has loomed large in recent discussion, and some have held that although they accept the virgin birth of Christ themselves, they can make common cause in Christian service with those who do not accept it. But this indifferentist position is really almost worse from the Christian point of view than any doctrinaire denial could be. As a matter of fact, the virgin birth is of central importance for Christian faith.”
--J. Gresham Machen J. Gresham Machen Selected Shorter Writings p.72

It's nice to know those things in the apostle's creed, like oh the virgin birth, are potentially dismissible to our faith.

Ignatius said this in his letter to the Magnessians so that they might not get "snagged on the hooks of worthless opinions but instead to be fully convinced about the birth and the suffering and the resurrection, which took place during the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate. " --Elsewhere Ignatius clearly affirms the birth as 'the virgin birth'.

Justing Martyr was so convinced of the truth of the virgin birth that while he acknowledges similarities the ancient myths he offers proofs that Christianity is true and the virgin birth happened and mythology was not true (here).

So glad they weren't a silly enlightenment rationalist with his silly notions of "proof" and "certainty".

Tim Bertolet said...

"saw" not "say"

stratagem said...

Will
People may have "grown in their faith" under Bell, but the issue is, which faith? Was it Biblical Christianity, on God's terms, or was it something else? From what I can see, it is that they have grown in spirituality, but not in Christian faith. How can a man who sees the Bible as a human product, be a sound teacher of Biblical Christianity?

You've made the point several times that you are impressed by Rob Bell's good works. OK, Rob Bell has good works to his credit. I expect that one sinner who is convinced by Bell that he doesn't need to personally repent of sin to be saved, and therefore goes to hell, would offset a lot of Bell's good works. I know all about the terrible effect this man's teachings have had on previously sound believers, who now believe something between salvation by good works, and universalism.

No one will ever be saved by good works, or by a belief that all are already saved and just need to live as though they are. I expect Satan himself would love for us all to do good works until the cows come home, if it could keep us distracted from God's way of salvation.

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Rob Bell consistently mishandles scripture and fronts himself as scholar. He’s really just a showman floating unorthodox opinions (not biblically supported) to the masses. He's just another PC “ethics cop” playing the Gen X’rs like a fiddle. Since the cross is not marketable, Rob removes it, or distorts it. When you have a distorted or absent view of Calvary- you can’t understand grace either.

Jesus came to bring division while simultaneously bringing unity (to elect). This unity is built on (amongst other things) Word, Truth and Love of Jesus Christ. Satan is also simultaneously building a knockoff built on distorted word, worldly truth and worldly love.
Love and unity without truth is Satan’s plan
OPEN YOUR EYES SLEEPER!!!!!!!!!
__________________________
Will said…
"I have been listening to him for 2 years and I have never heard him say anything unorthodox or heretical..."

WILL- “HERE’S YOUR SIGN” (below)
__________________________
Rob Bell-Velvet Elvis p26
"What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archaeologists find Larry's tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? But what if as you study the origin of the word virgin, you discover that the word virgin in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word virgin could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being "born of a virgin" also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse?"
_[sic]_________________________
Will,
I prolly have 50 more examples but got a few things on the T.D. list-
like ministry :)
__________________________
Jhn 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Hbr 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Hbr 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot
__________________________
TP-
Thanks for marking Rob Bell.

Sorry for the sugar coat-

Preson said...

once for all,
Why don't you put the rest of the paragraph from velvet elvis in your post? Like the part on the next page where he says... and I quote from the book sitting in front of me:
"I affirm historic Christian faith, which includes the virgin birth and the Trinity and the inspiration of the Bible and much more. I believe that God created everything and that Jesus is Lord and that God has plans to restore everything"

This single paragraph straight from his book negates most of what you people are saying about him and what he believes.

Tim Bertolet said...

Will, I point to Machen once again. The "what ifs" followed by the "I still believe in it" are extremely dangerous.

At this point, sure Bell affirms he still believes these orthodox things, but to argue one of the cores of Christianity might not be that important (**even if he still believes it) is way out there, dare I say 'out of bounds' with historic orthodoxy. A while back I started blogging about it .

Christian orthodoxy is grounded on the fact that something happened. These things were not mere "what ifs..." even if the writter says "now I still believe..."

Tim Bertolet said...

I think I meant to address that to "Preson", sorry I'm so confused, trying to do two things at once.

Mike Riccardi said...

Preson,

That's totally incorrect. Rather, it's what you posted that it is negated by what was posted previously.

If you believe something, you treat those beliefs in a certain way. You don't get to do all sorts of tap dancing on the ideas and then at the end come out and say, "But I believe all this."

If Bell really believed in the virgin birth, that paragraph that was quoted couldn't have come from his pen. If he believes that Jesus was born of a virgin, then, according to his own confession, there's not one fiber of possibility that anyone could find any evidence supporting the notion that Jesus had a father named Larry.

Saying, "I believe in...," means more than just, "Sure, I'll buy that."

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

@preson

Good point dude--that's called a
Non sequitur- aka Talking out both sides of the pie hole or in this case a Heterodoxy. I won't waste anymore time today on Bell. Gotta hit the hookah bro-Good day mate.

Peace out, afo/ofa

Preson said...

Mike,
Its called a hypothetical.
He brought it up to make the point that this entire thread is proving. Kind of "What if it turns out that you were wrong about something you were so sure you were right about? What would that mean to your faith in God? Do you stop having faith? Or do you seek Him even more now that you are uncertain?"
In that sentence is is basically answering the question that so many college students have to deal with when they study science, or politics, or whatever... and they learn things that challenge their view of a literal 7 day creation, so they become atheists because the evidence they find is so overwhelming.
Bell is telling them not to build their relationship with God like a brick wall, so that when one thing gets a little shaken loose, the whole wall doesn't come crumbling down. He's actually urging you to have MORE faith than you had before, knowing that if you seek the Lord, he will reveal himself to you.

I know all of this "anti-emerg***" stuff would be much easier if you could prove Rob didn't love the Lord, but it just isn't so.

Phil Johnson said...

Preson: "I know all of this "anti-emerg***" stuff would be much easier if you could prove Rob didn't love the Lord, but it just isn't so."

Yikes. If that is your standard of discernment, there is no level of compromise you won't ultimately embrace. You ought to read a little more church history. Every wolf in sheep's clothing in history--from Arius to Robert Tilton--has professed to "love the Lord." If it were necessary to disprove that claim by some means besides demonstrating that they depart from Jesus' doctrine, it would be impossible ever to warn Christians about heresy.

But Scripture has a different sniff-test for distinguishing wolves from lambs. Read 2 John for the short version of it.

Mike Riccardi said...

...and they learn things that challenge their view of a literal 7 day creation, so they become atheists because the evidence they find is so overwhelming.

People who "become atheists" based on situations like the one you're describing don't really "become atheists." They are atheists who say they "love the Lord." Then, when something or someone else (note the lack of Sola Scriptura) comes along and challenges them, they get scorched by the sun and wither, cuz they had no root. In the example you provided, that's what happens when you let science be your hermeneutic. When you let Scripture speak for itself, you can confidently say that there will never be a case in which conclusive evidence is presented to prove the Bible wrong.

Bell is telling them not to build their relationship with God like a brick wall, so that when one thing gets a little shaken loose, the whole wall doesn't come crumbling down.

The terminology you use here is astounding. If I were a charismatic I'd say you were prophesying, albeit against your own argument. Check this out:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell--and great was its fall."

Jesus, in contrast to what you're saying is Bell's teaching, is saying to build your faith on the Rock of His Word, like a brick wall, if you will. Because the point is that a foundation built on a rock is steady and cannot be shaken loose, and whatever's built on it cannot come crumbling down.

He's actually urging you to have MORE faith than you had before, knowing that if you seek the Lord, he will reveal himself to you.

And this is patently untrue. It's the classic hermeneutics of humility argument. "Don't believe the Bible so certainly such that you would be skeptical if God revealed something to you that's not in the Bible... like... I don't know... something I have to say." He's encouraging you to trust everything but what God has already revealed of Himself.

Preson said...

Well, now we've wandered into the old postmodern question of "can God do what God wants to do, or can God ONLY do what the Bible says He can do? "

Both sides make mistakes, my liberal brothers and sisters generally jettison scripture or tradition first when they get into trouble, my conservative brothers tend to throw-out, or at least "straightjacket", reason and experience, or else they narrow tradition down to an agreeable subset by including only voices from the past who agree with them.

Some rely on their ideas that God is done communicating with us, or that he revealed everything there is to know in the letters we have, but even John said "Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the world could not contain the books that would be written".

SolaMeanie said...

I believe Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." Is it possible to love Jesus and ignore His Word? Better yet, is it possible to love Jesus and approach near-contempt for His Word?

Just asking.

SolaMeanie said...

Preson: Some rely on their ideas that God is done communicating with us, or that he revealed everything there is to know in the letters we have, but even John said "Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the world could not contain the books that would be written".

I have been hearing that sort of statement from some surprising sources of late and it's very troubling to me. The unspoken inference is that whatever shade pops up out of the cauldron and claims to be a new move or revelation from God is to be accepted on a par with what God has already revealed.

How about this? God -- in Scripture -- has already revealed all that we need pertaining to life and godliness. Novel concept, isn't it?

This is where we always end up getting into trouble. A significant part of the church decides God's Word isn't good enough, or is too boring and staid to be relevant to the culture of the day. So let's bring in lasers, lights, smoke and mirrors, and the greatest show on earth since P.T. Barnum handed out Charms Pops to a gullible public that's been amused to death. Once in a while, let's throw in a Bible verse on occasion for the quaint factor.

Grrrrr. It makes me so mad!

Mike Riccardi said...

Well, now we've wandered into the old postmodern question of "can God do what God wants to do, or can God ONLY do what the Bible says He can do? "

Not only can God do what He wants to do, but He always does do what He wants to do. And He will do only that which is in accord with what's written in the Bible, as what's written are actually His own words!!! I mean come on... are you really trying to pit God against the Bible? Are you trying to demonstrate a contradiction in the character of a consummately perfect being by saying that His own self-disclosure is contrary to that character? You might as well be in a secular humanist philosophy class here at Rutgers.

Some rely on their ideas that God is done communicating with us, or that he revealed everything there is to know in the letters we have, but even John said "Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the world could not contain the books that would be written".

And yet we have everything we need for life and godliness. I mean... just read Psalm 119! Just because we didn't get a second-by-second Chronicle of everything Jesus ever did during His incarnation 2000 years ago, it doesn't mean Scripture isn't sufficient and that God has more to reveal to us.

You're grasping at straws, Preson. I invite you to forsake the creature for the Creator.

Tim Bertolet said...

"The devil has no better way to conquer us than by leading us away from the Word and to the Spirit" --Martin Luther

Preson,
they narrow tradition down to an agreeable subset by including only voices from the past who agree with them.

I've been in some discussions with people who are E-whatever and when I mention something the early fathers said was basic to orthodoxy I either get ignored, rejected, or dismissed as reading evangelical views into it. I know all the church fathers don't agree with everybody through history and vice versa but there are core truths that are the center. So for example, a lot of things get dismissed as 'fundamentalism', when it can clearly be found in the church fathers or other pre-reformation people.

Even within the Protestant Christianity there is a lot of disagreement, so this "narrow subset" is somewhat of a straw man. The issue is agreement around core truths. Hardly anybody quotes "only voices from the past who agree with them" otherwise they'd only be able to quote themselves.

We cannot pillage history or use it simply to deconstruct everything thereby justifying our modern (i.e. postmodern) fits of fancy.

Devin said...

General Comments:

I agree with Mike Riccardi. Besides, if the claims of the Bible turned out to be untrue, or even deeply flawed, it seems to me that we should take Paul's comment to heart:

"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins...If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people to be pitied." - 1 Corinthians 15:17, 19

Correct me if I'm stretching the context of this passage out of shape, but since our knowledge of God is based almost entirely on the record of His words to humans, if the Bible were to prove to be an unreliable text in terms of content and doctrine, what foundation can the rest of our faith have? I can long for God, but how can I know what He wants or what He's done apart from this record?

How many verses are there which speak of the reliability of God's Word, the worthiness of the Scriptures for instruction and correcting?

I've heard the argument from an Emergent, "You're making the Bible your idol," but I simply don't find it to be a convincing charge, in light of the nature of our relationship to God.

I've seen most of the NOOMA videos - I worked at a Christian bookstore where we had them playing in the background most of the time since they came out. I like some of them, but "Bullhorn Guy" always irked me, for the reasons that Eastendjim eloquently outlined.

Polycarp:

I tend to agree with your analysis of the Emergent ethnography. I'm one of those struggling artists, wanting to make an impact in the art world. As a Christian, I want my artwork to glorify God, and I've been frustrated by the generally low quality of artwork created by fellow Christians which seemed to reinforce the idea of a Christian cultural ghetto. Since I grew up in the church - especially being the Protestant church - I always felt that art was devalued by the Church at large. Looking at art history books, I learned that the Church was once the source of popular art, and that some of history's greatest artists drew from Biblical inspiration.

So it was that the Emergent movement really appealed to me. When I first went to Solomon's Porch (Doug Pagitt), I loved what I saw: paintings by local artists, a room set aside as an art gallery, practices from various denominations gathered together under one roof. I liked that they wrote their own songs. I liked that communion was done with actual loaves of bread and pitchers of grape juice that everyone broke together and shared. I even liked the fact that they had all the couches in a circle around the pastor.

It was like the Emergent movement was promising me, "Here is a place in the Church where your artwork will be valued, and considered part of the work that we're doing in following Jesus." It wasn't that I resented or regretted the more traditional/conservative church upbringing I had, but rather that this felt more exciting and welcoming to me. Nor did it feel like it was telling me I was better than Those Other Christians, but that my particular talents were just as valued here as, say, seminary students and musicians were valued in my old family church. It's a huge draw to people like me; it was like a breath of fresh air. And to be honest, I still long for some of those things.

But not at the price of truth. As much as I want to be artistically relevant, my true desire is to serve God as He would have me serve, and if that means that I'll be marked as "that guy who makes those goofy Christian comics," then so be it. I still want to strive to be the best artist and writer that I can be, but the things God wants us to tell others aren't usually considered hip or popular - I don't know if I'll ever be winning any Eisner Awards. If nothing else, I can be comforted by the thought that God sometimes uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. If my artwork turns out to be one of those foolish things, then praise God.

And as the Emergent movement has continued to move toward its ultimate destination, the apostasy and ugliness of the movement has made itself more apparent to me. And I've seen alternatives. There's an "urban art center" not far from my art school that reaches out to the community in an artistic and, more importantly, a Christ-like way. It's good to know that it can be done.

Puritan said...

Preson, if Jesus had preached the same message as Rob Bell he'd have never have been crucified.

I recommend a reading of John MacArthur's Truth War or/and John Owen's Apostasy From The Gospel.

Devin said...

Oh, yeah - I almost forgot. While I often disagree with Todd Friel on WOTM - usually when he goes off-topic to speak on something he's obviously not very familiar with - when he speaks about what Scripture says, he's right-on. And in the years that I've listened to him, even back when he was doing "Talk the Walk" on KKMS, before WOTM, I've never heard him be openly mocking of a person that he's witnessed to. He'll mock ideas, certainly, but his emphasis is always on concern and love for that person, and a longing that they'll be saved. As has been mentioned, he often urges his listeners to pray for the unbelievers he talks to.

As for for his song parodies, lampoons of popular preachers/authors/claimants to Christian fame, and other such jibes, well, he is a comedian. And, of course, there's good old Elijah...

Like the saying goes, "If I didn't laugh about it, I'd be crying."

Sacchiel said...

Hehe Todd!

DJP said...

Devin — thanks for those insights. I think you've put your finger, not only on the draw of Emerg****ism to many, but of the dead Doxies, Episcopilpalpalianism, and the RCC. ("To many," I said.)

They find our "low-low-low" liturgy artless, and are appealed to by the ornate liturgy, atmosphere, architecture, of those bodies. I pled to this effect with a friend who had gone from Presbyterian to Episcopilpalpalian to attraction to Rome: "Get a nicer stereo, go to an art museum, watch the History channel — but for church, go somewhere that preaches Christ crucified, and the whole Word of God, above all else!"

Strong Tower said...

Absolutely Devin and I don't think that you're speading the Scripture too thinly on this piece of bread. To offer a hypothetical is to engender doubt, and our hope is grounded upon absolute knowing of the Truth. Faith is the substance of hope. If any Word, should fall to the ground it would be the same as Paul said, our faith would be in vain. For if we challenge the virgin birth or the veracity of anything revealed in Scripture, like this thing, the resurrection, which cannot on any rational naturalistic grounds be explained, then our only hope is in this life. But, then again, isn't that what the Emer's are promising, your best life in the kingdom now?

Stefan said...

Polycarp and Devin:

The Lord bless you both. I come from a multi-generational family of artists and intellectuals (on both my parents' sides), and growing up as an atheist, I had my own struggles to deal with. Your testimonies moved me.

Jay said...

Devin,

When you walk into any church, is it important that what you encounter is "likable" to you, OR that God is being worshipped in spirit and in truth regardless of how it makes you feel?

Stefan said...

Jay: Did you read all of Devin's comment?

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Like the saying goes, "If I didn't laugh about it, I'd be crying."

Well said Devin, that's where I'm at w/ the EC.

Oh, regarding my earlier reference -'better Hit the Hookah' that was code for a kid ministry I was working on (helping my son build a fort).
:)
God is good!

Dave Marriott said...

Very good!

http://seeingclearly.wordpress.com/category/rob-bell/

Will said...

For the record, I totally agree with the critique from Velvit Elvis. I thought it was a poorly written book and the bit about the virgin birth is stupid. I was mad when I read it (about a year ago) and it is one of my major heartburns with Bell.

With that being sad, we should be clear that he does 'not' actually deny the virgin birth. His point in that passage was that doctrines are not all tied together like a house of cards and that our faith is about God working throughout all history and that to distill it down to one doctrine and say "it all falls if this falls" is wrong and harmful.

I don't agree with Bell here. Namely I think that it is very important to the Christian faith that the virgin birth is historical for the following reasons:
1) it affirms the Divinity of Christ
2) Biblical infallibilty is very important and this would almost totally detroy any claim to the historical reliability and inerrancy of the Bible.

So, while Bell is wrong here ..... he is not a heretic. A heretic would argue that the virgin birth didn't happen. that is not what Bell argued (he actually affirmed that it did).

polycarp said...

Devin,

Great points. Please don't get me wrong--art can absolutely be a way to glorify God! A great example of artistic creativity used for God's glory is this very site and/or Phil's posters (along with all the other team pyro bloggers, particularly Centurion). So, I don't at all believe Christians cannot, nor should not, use their artistic giftedness as the Lord would direct them. From your fine description of the way in which you use, or hope to use, your artistic talent, it is quite clear where you place your priorities as one who fears God...and He will honor this I'm certain. Either way, your concern is first to honor Him who reigns on the throne.

My focus on the EC use of (or obsession with) art is likewise upon the subject of priority and application. There is absolutely no place in my beliefs to criticize people (Christians) who are doing their best at something they enjoy in humility, have a gift for, and believe God is blessing their endeavors. In contrast to this are the image-obsessed whose priorities are on their sleeve: "I answer to culture; what does culture want me to be?; how can I make God conform to culture?, etc. Now, culture and/or image obsession is bad enough, but the point I was making in my last post is that it's so much more dreadful and pathetically worse when the very thing they have sold-out for is something in which they have mediocre talent at best! "Don't quit your day job" is what I wish I could say to so many of them ...and "certainly don't quit the only thing of any importance in this entire universe for 'it' either!"

DJP said...

A great example of artistic creativity used for God's glory is this very site and/or Phil's posters....

Hear that, Phil? You're an ar-TEEST!

(c;

Lane Chaplin said...

Maybe the best part:

"And Bullwhip Guy, God is not pleased with what you are doing. You just don't how to demonstrate God's love. You can't love people with an agenda. If I'm loving someone with an agenda, then it really isn't love... is it?

...

My agenda is to come to you in love and let you know that."

Jay said...

Yes, I read all of his posts.

It certainly sounded as if the most important part was how he felt and how his need to be validated as an artist were met by Pagitt's church.

Saint Christopher said...

Brilliant, so indicative of this age of evangelicalism. I wish I were that clever.

Michael said...

Will -

How about turning over church to those who espouse false teachings like Paggitt or Mclaren while he is travelling or away? When one considers what Rob Bell does when he not only entrusts his congregations pulpit and teaching to those who believe the virgin birth is questionable or valid, but who also believe that the church needs to its stance rethink sexuality(as in is homosexuality acceptable), should we consider him that great of an example or even discerning when it comes to the vigilence expected of someone who is entrusted to guard and guide sheep?

You would only need to go back the past few months in his sermons to see that these are some of the the men he has let fill his teaching platform(sermon/message).

Michael said...

Typo - I typed "to those who believe the virgin birth is questionable or valid"

I meant "to those who believe and teach that the virgin birth is questionable or should not considered valid"

Devin said...

Jay: I think the most important thing is, as you said, that the church is worshiping God in spirit and truth. While I'm certainly guilty of a degree of shopping mentality when looking for a church to attend, I think it's better to be in a church that is orthodox but austere than a church that is artistic but heretical.

I don't think feelings should be entirely discounted - they are a part of how God made us - but neither are they a reliable guide. My desire to be validated as an artist was met by Pagitt's church, but it was the heresy that drove me away.

stratagem said...

1) Rob Bell's passage about the virgin birth is pretty silly. In it, he basically asks whether or not we should continue to follow Jesus, if we found out that he was a fraud. Of course, we shouldn't - who wants to follow a mere mortal who claimed to be God? Whether that means Bell is a heretic, or only a person who has an inability to reason, seems irrelevant, since either case would disqualify him as a teacher.

2) I've learned from experience that the most important thing to me in deciding if I should join or stay with a church, is: Can I trust them? Are they on the level, or playing church politics? Can I trust them to defend good doctrine, even if it's out of style?

SolaMeanie said...

I once had a friend of mine (a liberal member of a Congregational church) tell me during an argument that if he were to find out that none of the Bible was true, it would not change him one iota in terms of belief and practice.

He actually said that with a straight face. Can you believe it?

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

Well, if one already rejects the authority and inerrancy of Scripture—and yet still affirms what he or she claims to be faith in God—it doesn't really matter what one thinks of the Bible. To wit, there's a certain retired Episcopalian bishop who presumably considers himself a Christian, who's written reams of stuff discounting almost everything in God's Word we hold dear.

Based on an empirical sample of one (me), I'd say that the shame of that is, that it is much, much harder to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour, if one rejects the fundamental groundwork that the Holy Spirit has laid out for us in the texts of Scripture.

Sam Garber said...

"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." Gasp…

“This is a faithful saying,” Paul says, “that Messiah Yeshua came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Double Gasp…

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse . . . do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you . . . So I’m not going to try to correct the Bullwhipped Guy’s Video…

Oops – every too often I check in to see what Fundamentiacs are ranting about – I know – I know – I’m an idiot - I have no idea what most of it [the Bible] means… so…

polycarp said...

Sam,

Please take no offense at my suggestion to enroll in an English composition course.

Sam Garber said...

I was thinking actually doing that just - thanks polycarp =D

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

MR. JOHNSON, YOU ARE WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

Wrong, that is, to categorize ~18 minutes of solid-talk video as "50 words or less." But since the videos were so, as the kids say, awesome, I'll forgive you. ;-)

Michael Nevarr said...

Campi is right. You guys need to repent. This is not funny at all. It may be an accurate portrayal but it is seriously dishonoring to our Lord Jesus Christ to refer to Him in this manner.

Psalm 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.

Eddie said...

Phil,
This guy is a friend of mine. I can put you in touch with him.

Eek said...

here is the comment I left over on the COT blog...

I agree that as Christians we are to love those we disagree with... and the more they stray from the truth the more we should love and engage them with the Gospel.

However, I believe satire and sarcasm can often communicate a truth more powerfully than simply stating it flatly. I think this is biblical and thought of these two examples off the top of my head...

1 Sam 2:1b "My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation"

1 Kgs 18:27 "And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”


Telling Rob Bell that sometimes preaching biblical truth must be harsh, and that sometimes people will be offended is true... but to take his own words and apply them to the work of Jesus Himself makes more than a simple truth statement it EXPLODES his whole way of thinking in a way that, in my humble opinion, was much more effective.

In Christ,
Eric

Phil Johnson said...

To all:

Please learn to make links to outside articles before spamming our comments with multiple aborted attempts. Thank you.

Whoever was trying to post that URL never did actually succeed, so we deleted the remnants of the various attempts. It's OK, because the article being referred to is already linked at least three times in the "Links to this post" section below. So we didn't really need so many heads ups.

Thanks, nonetheless, to Steve and whoever else was so desperate to get that URL posted here.

Those not so easily put off by biting satire ought to read Dr. Geason's latest. He had me laughing out loud.

Carol said...

The Bullwhip Guy parody misses the point. There is no comparison between Jesus confronting the religious frauds in the temple and our proclamation of the gospel to the lost. If Rob Bell were to see this parody, it would make him laugh. He might even show it in his church because it proves the point he makes in the Bullhorn Guy--that fundamentalists don't get it. Rob Bell may espouse problematic theology--and these things demand a careful refutation from wise theologians. But Bell easily wins this round.

Habitans in Sicco said...

Carol:

Your comment misses the point. The comparison is between the park-bench dude's condescending contempt for Jesus' deliberate breach of Norman Vincent Pealeism and Rob Bell's simliar disdain for Bullhorn Guy's countercultural appearance, methodology, and message. If the Pyros were to see your comment, it would make them laugh. They might even deconstruct it in a follow-up post, because it proves the point they make all the time--that pomos and Emergents just don't get it. Unfortunately, there's not enough substance or clarity in Rob Bell's teaching to attract the attention of many truly "wise theologian[s]," but the problems really ought to be evident to anyone who ever spent a week in Vacation Bible Scool. So the Pyros easily win this round.