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WARNING: Heresy to Follow. . .

March 15, 2011

For a while now, Rob Bell, pastor of the huge Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids Michigan, has been teetering on the edge of outright heresy.  He has made many statements in the past, as well as comments in his books, that have given many pause in just whose team he is on (including questioning the reality and necessity of the virgin birth of Jesus).  Now, I’m afraid, there can be no confusion that he is certainly not preaching and teaching the God of the Bible.

The clip below is a trailer for the book that he will release late this month called “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived“.  Prepare to be shocked.  Remember this is a “pastor” who is preaching from a “Christian” church.  His books are read by millions.

As you watch the video, notice the way he frames his questions to set up the conclusion he has drawn.  Notice the subtle twisting of truth and playing on human desires, emotions,  and perceived needs.  Notice how he subtly implies that we “have been lied to” and that God would be unjust if he sends people to hell.

As you watch, think about how the serpent approached Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.  He uses the same tactics.  “God is not telling the truth”, “He is withholding good from you”, “If He really loves you then he won’t kill you”.  “You will not surly die…” (Genesis 3)  I hear the lying tongue of Satan hissing through Rob’s words.  It breaks my heart, not only for him, but also for the countless thousands who will buy his book and potentially be misled to their ultimate peril.

I will tell you, Rob (since you ask), how a God who would send sinners to hell could ever be good.  Because “good” does not equal blind.  “Good” does not ignore and tolerate evil.  “Good” does not let murderers go free, rapists get off with no punishment, and reward child molesters with paradise.  “Good” demands justice.  Is a jury who fails to convict a guilty felon because they like him, “good”?  Would the family of the victim think the judge who released the murderer who killed their daughter (even though he was clearly guilty), good?  No.  There is nothing good about someone who could choose justice and instead doesn’t.  That is unjust.

Let’s not redefine “good” so that it makes it easier on us.  It is certainly easier to believe everyone will go to heaven and that belief in Jesus Christ alone isn’t really necessary.  Teach this and you will be very popular.  I am sure Rob will sell many copies of his book.  However, it isn’t important if what we believe is “easy to swallow”.  What is important is whether it is true or not.  As Rob himself says in the video, “What we believe about heaven and hell is incredibly important…”  Perhaps we should just stick to what Jesus and the Apostles clearly taught about it.

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. . . Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” ~ John 3:18, 36

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ . . . Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” ~ Matthew 25:41, 46

“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” ~ 2 Thes 1:8-9

We would do well to consider how unpopular Jesus was; how His message so so challenging and convicting that He was killed for it.  No one would have killed Jesus if he’d have taught that all paths lead to God and that hell wasn’t a real, physical place.

“How could this ever be good news”, Rob asks.  Well, I guess that depends on your perspective.  If you are on an airplane and someone hands you a parachute, you might react one of two ways, depending on if you knew the plane was about to crash or not.  If you had been burying your head in the ground and choosing to believe the plane was really completely fine (despite the rapid descent, oxygen masks, and flaming engine out the window) you might think it pretty bad news once you realize you have to jump out of the plane to survive.

However, it would be pretty good news if you already knew the airplane was about to crash and you had no hope of living apart from the gift of the parachute.  It might be even more amazing and better news if you realized that the person giving you the parachute was giving you their own chute and they were sacrificing themselves to save you.  If you had this knowledge, perhaps you might see the costly gift of the parachute differently.  Perhaps you’d realize what real love is.  Perhaps, you would see how love does win.

Beware anyone who would take the sting out of rejection of God.  Beware of anyone who would reinterpret the message of Christ, water it down, take the edge off it, or elevate the cause of man above the cause of God.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:3

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