Monday, September 28, 2009

Apostasy
Do you see it or are you in it?

Do you honestly and wholeheartedly desire to please the Lord Jesus? Are you genuinely committed to remain faithful to His Word? If you say you are, then read this post and decide once and for all, because the apostasy is here and it is gaining momentum throughout the evangelical world.

There are many new faces among the evangelical landscape with many new and interesting thoughts. Brian MacLaren, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Marcus Borg, Peter Rollins, Phyllis Tickle, Miroslav Volf, and many, many others. One notable name that has gained prominence, and who is interactive among all these I have mentioned is Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Michigan. He came from an evangelical background but has now has changed course and teaches an emergent message in a post modern reality.

Many mainstream evangelical churches are using his videos and material in their churches. But let us examine an interview and his responses to questions. These are not isolated answers that can be made more clearly orthodox by some of his other teachings. These are accurate representations of what he believes and teaches. He is a husband, a father, and a pastor. His character is not an issue, but his teachings must be confronted and challenged through the prism of Scriptural redemption and the core of the mission of Jesus and His church.

I want to make it clear that I am not attacking Pastor Bell personally or demeaning his office or in any way addressing him apart from what he is teaching. Against that backdrop let us examine this interview:

The interviewer asks: I’m struck by the fact that I don’t hear a lot of explicitly religious language, or mentions of Jesus, from you.

Pastor Bell responds: I think we have enough religious people who are going around trying to convert people. My guard is up when somebody is trying to convert me to their thing. Are you talking to me because you actually are interested in this subject, because you care about me as a human, or am I one more possible conversion that will make you feel good about your religiosity? I don’t have any embarrassment about my religion, and it’s not that I'm too cool, but I would hope that the Jesus message would come through, hopefully through a full humanity. If you have something to say, whether you're religious or not, if it is truly Christian and Jesus-centered, then it will help and be interesting and compelling to people, regardless of their world view. But I’m not just interested in talking to Christians. I'm interested in what does it mean to be fully human.

Bell is suspicious of people spreading the gospel in hopes of converting sinners? I find it difficult to even address that since it seems so at odds with New Testament Christianity. He goes on with, “but I would hope that the Jesus message would come through, hopefully through a full humanity”. Again, what in the world does that mean? Bell continues, “If you have something to say, whether you're religious or not, if it is truly Christian and Jesus-centered, then it will help and be interesting and compelling to people, regardless of their world view.” Are you getting the picture? Tell the martyrs about being interesting and compelling to sinners. Bell finishes with this, “But I’m not just interested in talking to Christians. I'm interested in what does it mean to be fully human” What does it mean to be fully human? Check out the current state of humanity around the world. Is that what it means to be fully human? Again the code speak that doesn’t even address the reason that Bell does not speak very often of Jesus, and armed with just that one fact, we can conclude that he does not teach a Christ centered message. As you can tell much of this new brand of religious jargon is a nebulous language that seems to purposely avoid – the cross. Let’s look at another question.

The interviewer asks: OK, how would you describe what it is that you believe?

Pastor Bell responds: I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That's a beautiful sort of thing.

The ACLU believes the exact same thing. A hopeful outlook? The environment? That is what defines the belief system of Pastor Bell? Is Jesus any part of it? There is no mention of the gospel of redemption, and in fact, the environment takes the stage ahead of the souls of men. This is abominable and completely at odds with Biblical Christianity. In fact it is not Christianity at all.

The interviewer asks: Is religion a part of that?

Pastor Bell responds: At the heart of the Christian story is resurrection, the belief that this word is good, and that, as a follower of Jesus, a belief that God hasn’t abandoned the world, but is actively at work in the world. Even in the midst of what can look like despair and destruction there is a new creation present.

Men like Bell use the resurrection as some kind of metaphor for newness and recreating the world by solving its problems. As per his tradition, there is almost never any mention of the cross, much less a lifting up the cross as the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. As you can see Bell’s concept of Jesus is a solver of the world’s problems and not the Redeemer and Savior of men’s souls. I hope you get the picture.

And on and on goes this new emergent Christianity. But at what point do you even question what is being taught? Like a slowly dripping faucet many are allowing this departure since it has come with such clever verbiage and patient unraveling. I implore you to, with humility and with faithfulness, to examine what is being said with neither a charitable nor a judgmental preconception. Examine these teachings with what you know the Scriptures teach with an emphasis on whether Jesus and His cross is being given the prominence it deserves.

1 comment:

Everyday Mommy© said...

Spot. On. And, also chilling.