It seems that everyone has an opinion or Rob Bell these days, and it’s been my experience that a lot of people approach Bell without being able to see past their narrow theological boxes.  So it’s refreshing to me to read a review from a man who is a genuine New Testament scholar.  Ben Witherington III is currently a Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary, and he has authored over 30 books in the last 25 years.  Of course, academic credentials aren’t the lone arbiter of truth, but I’m more inclined to respect his views on a subject than some of the, shall we say, drive-by “reviews” of the ADM crowd.

In this review, Dr. Witherington shares some brief thought on discs 16-22 of the Nooma series.  Here’s an excerpt that I found particularly apropo given what some the usual critics say about Bell:

On the surface, some might be tempted to accuse Rob of serving up chicken soup for the soul, or pablum for the masses, or what passes for Christian pop psychology, but in fact on further review there is much more Biblical substance to these videos than might appear on first glance, and one needs to bear in mind that Rob is speaking to a post-modern generation that even if church attending are largely Biblically illiterate, and Rob is not. Indeed his teaching, including in his books tends to be consistently grounded in the Word, and those who keep complaining that this is not so: 1) need to lighten up; 2) need to consider the audience and level of discourse Rob is dealing with, especially in these videos.

So when I hear BWIII, someone who has written in depth commentaries on almost the entire New Testament, say that Bell’s teaching and books are “consistently grounded in the word”, I’m pretty sure I can take it to the bank.  Just a thought…

Grace and peace!

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107 Comments(+Add)

1   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 12:18 am

But what about others who say he is not? What about a balance?

2   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 12:55 am

Pastorboy, did you say that just to be the first to comment? Just to beat Rick to it? Just to keep the balance???

3   Bo Diaz    
December 11th, 2008 at 1:19 am

But what about others who say he is not? What about a balance?

Now there’s a sick joke.

Here’s a quick explanation in what balance is going on here. BWIII is a 20 ton weight on the one side, every single ADM is a quarter of a nanogram on the other side. The reason for this is because of the hysteria ADMs have traditionally acted with. You’ve consistently lied about, and predicted doom for so long that no one pays any attention to you at all.

On the other hand BWIII has acted with integrity, and while not everyone always agrees with him, he has to be taken seriously because of the sober minded way he’s conducted himself. In other words, he’s everything the ADMs are not, and as a result he is credible.

4   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 6:58 am

BWIII led our Bible study at our last annual conference. It was wonderful to be around him for those 3 days and to hear him expound on the gospel of John.

I have enjoyed his NOOMA reviews.

5   chris    
December 11th, 2008 at 8:10 am

But what about others who say he is not? What about a balance?

bwaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

NOW you’re asking for a balance? Wow!

6   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 9:30 am

But what about others who say he is not? What about a balance?

What about it?

People certainly have the right to form their own opinions. All I’m saying is that when someone like BWIII who is a veritable expert in the NT and ancient Mediterranean cultures can give an endorsement to Bell, it makes me question others who are critics.

It’s the issue of “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” I see a lot of people make a lot of extraordinary claims about Bell, but most of their “evidence” doesn’t go beyond the realm of “because I said so” as they pull one or two paragraphs out of context.

7   AnonymousJane    
December 11th, 2008 at 9:47 am

I can only speak for myself, and I largely avoid the drama that goes on between “emergents” and “ADMs” or whatever, but I came to a knowledge of Rob Bell through the negative attack sites and I still like him. The more I hear of Bell’s teachings the more awed I am.

Most of the people debated here and at Slice are unfamiliar to me. I guess I study the Bible more than anything. I didn’t even know who Rick Warren was until I looked into his work because Ingrid kept harping on him. My church doesn’t use a lot of this material, sometimes I fear to our detriment.

8   Douglas K. Adu-Boahen    http://blackreformingkid.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 9:48 am

What about Dr. D.A. Carson, who is most definitely on the level of BWIII, and wrote a scathing denunciation of Bell? He’s (arguably) one of the most well-known evangelical scholars in the NT field, and definitely on the same level as Dr. Witherington?

9   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 9:51 am

What about Dr. D.A. Carson, who is most definitely on the level of BWIII, and wrote a scathing denunciation of Bell? He’s (arguably) one of the most well-known evangelical scholars in the NT field, and definitely on the same level as Dr. Witherington?

I read Carson’s book, well what I could before I could no longer take the strawmen and lack of context. It was pretty clear to me that Carson had a clear-cut agenda in writing that book – to defend a staunch Reformed version of Christianity.

I mean, big surprise – Bell’s not a Calvinist…

10   chris    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:16 am

I read Carson’s book, well what I could before I could no longer take the strawmen and lack of context.

I concur…I read the entire book, am a 4 1/2 point calvinist, and can say the book was probably some of the best manipulative tripe I’ve ever read.

11   chris    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:25 am

For the record D.A. Carson is a sharp guy who I appreciate much of what he writes/says. Particularly this quote:

“He serves in Grand Rapids — home of many Reformed churches, many of them very traditional and more than a little stuffy. To people from that background, Rob is a breath of fresh air.”

Source

And there in lies the problem with most people who are trying to “expose” Rob. They pick and choose quotes that fit their agenda. Which lacks intellectual honesty.

12   Bo Diaz    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:29 am

Though I agree with the assessment that Carson’s work on the emerging church wasn’t terribly fair or clear, its still a long way off from the treatment of emergents in general and Rob Bell in particular that ADMs give. I find it a little bit hilarious that ADMs are now embracing Carson’s work which is at odds with their own extreme views, and the only reason they do so is because by comparison to BWIII and other works by those with legitimacy its somewhat negative.

If the ADMs acted a bit more like Carson, even with his flawed treatment of the material they’d be a whole lot more honest and reasonable than they are now.

13   chris    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:33 am

I also concur with Bo!

14   nc    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:46 am

I’d say that BWIII still stands head and shoulders over D.A. Carson.

I’m not saying Carson isn’t smart, but BWIII has been able to gain the respect of those who deeply disagree with him.

Very few people outside of the bubble of evangelical “academia” don’t even know who D.A. Carson is.

15   nc    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:47 am

Last year BW lectured on rhetoric and orality in Galatians at my school.

One of the best lectures all year, if not the best.

16   Sandman    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:47 am

So it comes down to “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and the pragmatic “we’ll exploit whatever resource is available to make our point.”

Now just how exactly are we supposed to be different from the rest of the world?

17   nc    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:47 am

ooops…what I meant in 14 was that very people outside of the bubble actually do know who Carson is.

18   chris    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:50 am

So it comes down to “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and the pragmatic “we’ll exploit whatever resource is available to make our point.”

What? When has anyone hear ever had issue with D.A. Carson? And what resources were exploited to make a point?

19   chris    
December 11th, 2008 at 10:51 am

should be “here” and not “hear”

20   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 10:57 am

So it comes down to “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and the pragmatic “we’ll exploit whatever resource is available to make our point.”

Now just how exactly are we supposed to be different from the rest of the world?

Well it does seem that many of the so-called “discernment” sites operate from this principle, if that’s what you’re saying.

I don’t view Carson as an enemy in any way, and I’m pretty sure that BWIII wouldn’t see him that way either. I just didn’t think his book on the Emerging Church was particularly fair. To me it seemed like his research was pretty narrow, and that it was a protective move more than anything else.

21   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 11:44 am

In celebration of Barack Hussein Obama, and in interest of ‘fair and balanced presentation’ of the news, this beautiful piece of truth from our friends at Apprising:

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self,… For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 3:1-2; 4:3-4, NASB)

Rob Bell Rings Very Loudly For An Entire Generation Of Ill-Taught Evangelical Youth

As I open this important subject, by way of introduction, I will first mention someone I have often referred to here at Apprising Ministries. Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) was:

a recognized authority on religions having their origins in the United States. The late Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, named by Billy Graham as one of the foremost Bible Teachers of the 20th Century, once wrote of Dr. Martin, “I know of no one who equals him in this field.” He is widely accepted as the “father” of the Counter-Cult Movement… Dr. Billy Graham has said of him, “He is one of the most articulate spokesmen for evangelical Christianity that I know.”

Walter Martin’s radio ministry expanded in 1965 with the addition of “The Bible Answer Man” program, a two-hour live telephone talk show in which Professor Martin answer[ed] questions about the Bible and related subjects. The program was recognized by the National Religious Broadcasters as “one of the newest and most controversially stimulating programs in Christian radio!” “Dateline Eternity” was another radio program, developed by Dr. Martin, which included the best Bible questions and answers from the live “Bible Answer Man” program. He was the Founder and President of the Christian Research Institute, located in Southern California. (Online source)

Also author of the classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults, it’s simply beyond question that Dr. Martin was recognized within the Body of Christ as a foremost defender of what he would so often call “the historic orthodox Christian faith.” And it’s in that capacity to which I appeal now to his expert testimony concerning the state of the Christianity, and the Church, in the following quote circa 1975:

Christianity today is in conflict; in conflict against the secular world; in conflict with world religions—which are hostile to us—in conflict against the Kingdom of the Cults—and the Occult; in conflict against corrupt theology in our theological seminaries—and oftentimes in our pulpits; in conflict against all forms of evil surrounding us on all sides. And it is a foolish person indeed, who does not recognize that the Church was born in conflict; lives in conflict, and will triumph in conflict. We have been called to be soldiers of the Cross.

And if we’re going to be soldiers of the Cross that means that we have to be attired to fight. That’s why Paul could say here in 2 Timothy, chapter 4 — I have fought the good fight [v. 7]. He did not say, “I have taken the long vacation.” I have fought the good fight, I finished the course, I kept the faith. But the problem we are facing today in Christianity—and one of the reasons why we are in crisis—is this: A large section of the Christian Chruch simply will not come into conflict with the world. And that, is one of our greatest drawbacks. (Christianity In Crisis, CD Rom)

This is the necessary background against which I need to paint this piece some thirty-plus years later because the Christian faith preached within much of evangelicalism today—particularly that of the postliberal Emerging Church—bears virtually no resemblance whatsoever to that so capably defended by Dr. Martin. In fact, it sounds exactly like the “large section” he is criticizing above. So as we begin a look at this important issue as it relates to Rob Bell you need to understand that Bell is every bit as popular an icon in the Emergent Church as Elvis Presley was in pop music to an older generation.

His Nooma DVDs, essentially an introduction to Bell’s skewed version of Christianity, are now standard operating procedure within young adult ministries even within more mainstream evangelical churches. With all of this in mind then I will point you to the post Rob Bell: The gods Should Be Angry by Jesse Johnson at Pulpit Magazine, which “began in 2003 as the online magazine of the Shepherds’ Fellowship,” associated with Dr. John MacArthur.

The reason I that out is to show those not under the spell of Bell that Johnson is a reliable primary source who will recount below his own testimony about what he personally observed while attending Bell’s “The gods aren’t angry” tour at “Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood” about a year ago now. Pastor Johnson tells us:

this was basically 20th century liberalism. There was not much here that you would not get from Harry Emerson Fosdick. Except for this: the early liberals clearly stated what they believed, and where they differed from orthodox theology. Bell was not so kind to us.

Instead, he walked around an alter for 90 minutes, without talking about the wrath of God against sin being poured out on Christ. He did not say, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.” He did not say, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Instead, he said, “Anytime someone makes you feel guilty about how you are living, that is part of the old system (pre-Christ).”

He did not say he is a universalist. Instead, he just said, “the only Christian ritual is to help you tap into the peace that God has already made with the world.” He did not tell them “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Instead he said, “The gods are not angry anymore.” (Online source, bold his)

Again, those of us who are familiar with the rather nebulous teachings of Rob Bell will second Johnson’s impression that Bell, unlike the liberal forebears he does draw from, really is quite vague in what he’s teaching. This is easily documented in countless comboxes around the blogosphere where in comment after comment each person postulates what they think Bell is saying. And men and women, this alone is cause for caution in allowing Rob Bell’s teaching materials inside evangelical churches.

Bell’s position as a teaching pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, an ostensibly Christian church he planted, absolutely requires that Bell hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9). And for the Christian pastor this is not simply a helpful suggestion; or just a good idea, it is a command from Jesus Christ to all those who would function in the role of pastor-teacher.

Repainting A Generous Orthodoxy Where The Global Family Is Already Saved

Now according to the Bible, as opposed to the numbers-mad evangelical community, we don’t get to be excused from correcting and rebuking (see—2 Timothy 4:2) because we happen to be exceptional communicators and extremely popular with young people. Leaving that aside for now, we return to our subject of Rob Bell and Christian Universalism (CU). CU is also known as Universal Redemption (UR). Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry gives you a good basic working definition of CU/UR:

“Christian Universalism” is the position that all of mankind will ultimately be saved through Jesus whether or not faith is professed in him in this life. It claims that God’s qualities of love, sovereignty, justice, etc., require that all people be saved and that eternal punishment is a false doctrine. Salvation is not from hell, but from sin. (Online source)

We’ll return to this another time but it’s also important to note that many Christian Universalists do believe in a literal Hell as you can see in the AM article Spencer Burke: I’m A Universalist Who Believes In Hell. The key point for you to keep in mind right now would be what the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology enlightens us to here: “A universalist believes that the efficiency of the Atonement in not limited and therefore extends to all” (1232). In other words in CU/UR we’re not far from what the New Ager would call: At-one-ment.

As Milliard Erickson puts it in his Christian Theology:

The theory of universal reconciliation maintains that Christ’s death accomplished its purpose of reconciling all humankind to God. The death of Christ made it possible for God to accept humans, and he has done so. Consequently, whatever separation exists between a human and the benefits of God’s grace is subjective in nature; it exists only in the human’s mind. The message they need to be told, then, is not that they have the opportunity for salvation. Rather, they need to be told that they have been saved, so that they may enjoy the blessings that are already theirs. (1027)

This should now help you make a bit more sense as to what it is Rob Bell is likely saying, by what he doesn’t say, about repentance and forgiveness of sin. AM now points you to a short post called The Gods Are not Angry {But I Am!!}. In this piece Benji Magness, “Teaching Pastor at Country Bible Church in Kaufman, Texas,” also shares his own personal eyewitness testimony:

Just got back from seeing Rob Bell on his “The Gods Are Not Angry” tour. I went as a pastor precisely because I was concerned that he would end up saying that God was not angry at sin. Bell lived up to my expectations. His closing words were: “God is not angry because God is love.” [Bell's] message was simple: Don’t feel bad about yourself and all your shame and guilt because you have peace with God. This message was offered to all without the mention of repentance, trusting Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins and satisfying God’s wrath. (Online source)

Bell’s message above then, if he does hold the view of CU/UR, really couldn’t be clearer. In a followup post A Critique of Rob Bell’s “The Gods Are Not Angry” what Magness and friends will tell us below would also line up with one holding to CU/UR:

My good friend Rob typed up a response to Rob Bell’s message that we heard last week:

Rob Bell spoke Friday night at Nokia Live and titled his message “The Gods Are Not Angry.” I attended with two senior pastors who are my dearest friends from seminary. They are tracking with the Emerging Church movement and have sharp minds to discern truth from untruth. After Rob Bell spoke, we processed his talk in community and came to the same conclusion. I really appreciate Bell’s writings (like Velvet Elvis), and I think he has several great concepts and insight around 1st century culture and correlating it to the gospels.

But after Friday night, our community of three came to the conclusion that Bell denies a substitutionary atonement model of Christ’s death, and is a functioning Universalist. Substitutionary atonement in a Christian model is the idea that Christ died in your place (as a substitute) in order to cover your sins (atonement). Universalism is the belief that all men are saved apart from what a person believes and typically accompanies an understanding that God is Love without emphasizing God’s anger or wrath. (Online source)

In closing this for now let me remind you that in Rob Bell Says “All-ee In Free…Almost” we did show you that Rob Bell does indeed appear to be preaching a kind of universal atonement, like that expressed above, where just as in CU/UR everyone is already reconciled to God. In Velvet Elvis (VE) Bell writes:

So this is reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross, he was reconciling “all things, in heaven and on earth, to God.” All things, everywhere.

This reality then isn’t something we make come true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making. (146, emphasis mine)

Interestingly enough, what Bell has just said in VE really bears a striking similarity to the following by Bishop John A .T. Robinson (1919-1983), whom Dr. Martin called “a living devil when it comes to Christian theology.” Robinson actually shared his own belief in universalism in a controversial 1949 article in the Scottish Journal of Theology called “Universalism—Is It Heretical?” Here’s Robinson from his book In the End God: A Study of the Christian Doctrine of the Last Things:

THE TRADITIONAL position [is]…that God will be all in all despite the damnation…of many of his creatures…[T]he universalist asserts: “The God I believe in, the God I see in Christ, could not be all in all in these conditions: such victory could not be the victory of the God of love.” (as cited by Gregory MacDonald inThe Evangelical Universalist, 9)

Yes, you read that right: Evangelical Universalism, sometimes called Trinitarian Universalism and associated with Karl Barth. Men and women, I have said it in recent radio appearances, and I’ll say it again here; it’s as if the Emerging Church scours history for every piece of bad theology ever dismissed by the Christian Church and then drags it back in to reimagine. Gregory MacDonald, which is a pseudonym, would likely deny being part of the Emerging Church; but nevertheless, now that the evangelical camp has so openly embraced this Emergent rebellion against Sola Scriptura herein lies the grave danger.

One need only look at this week’s AM piece Phyllis Tickle and the Emerging Church: It’s Not If Sola Scriptura Ends But When to see just how bleak the road dead ahead is going to be for the apostatizing evangelical camp to try and maintain any semblance of orthodoxy. And tragically, at a time when the visible church most needs the anchor of God’s Word she has foolishly turned her back upon it in order to continue her sordid lust affair with corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism pawned off as legitmate Protestant Spiritual Formation by anti-Protestant Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster.

Sadly, while these attacks on the very heart and meaning of what salvation is i.e. the Gospel continue advancing throughout youth groups in mainstream evangelical churches “name” Christian bloggers are content to waste the important medium of the Internet blogging about nothing. Right; and it’s those of us in online discernment ministry who are hurting the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Well you know, now that I think about it, maybe it is just about time for another bunch of posts on the cessation of spiritual gifts…like say, the discerning of spirits. That one really does seem to have vanished.

But it’s not like God didn’t try to warn through one of your own evangelical Bible scholars. For here’s Dr. Walter Martin circa 1985:

There’s no such thing as a little bit pregnant. Got the message? No such thing as a little bit pregnant—you are, or you’re not. Well, there’s no such thing as a mild form of cancer; it’s cancer. You don’t get rid of it, you don’t deal with it, it gets you. And we have to deal with these things today; if we don’t, they’ll end up getting what’s left of the Church…

The form of godliness, but without the power; without the sound doctrine of Scripture. And what do we have today as the reigning school of [biblical] interpretation in Protestantism in our theological seminaries world-wide? I’ll tell you what it is: Bultmannian exegesis; named after Rudolph Bultmann, “the demythologizing of the Bible.”

And what did Dr. Bultmann teach, for forty-some years? He taught that you couldn’t rely upon any single thing—virtually—in the entire New Testament record; about Jesus Christ. It all had to be “demythologized,” and then the pieces put back together again. What does Paul say; “they will gather to themselves teachers who will tickle their ears, and the Truth of God will be turned into mythology.”

It’s here. The reigning school of American theologians has progressed from bad to worse. We only have to deal with Harry Emerson Fosdick in the 1920s; but then, it accelerated to Edwin Lewis, Nels F.S. Ferre, Reinhold Niebuhr, and on from Niebuhr to Paul Tillich, and crowned in Rudolph Bultmann. Not one single one of those men believed the historic doctrines of the Christian faith; but they were all the leading theologians of America.

[Episcopal] Bishop [John] A.T. Robinson cannot be unfrocked by the Anglican Church despite the fact that he is a living devil when it comes to Christian theology—denying everything and turning the faith of people into darkness. Do you know why they can’t unfrock A.T. Robinson; because [Episcopal leadership] is heretical as he is. Therefore they can’t touch him…

British theology was corrupted by German theology; by Friedrich Schleiermacher, Albrecht Ritschl, David Strauss. Finally [it moved] to the United States in Walter Rauschenbusch; and from there to Harry Emerson Fosdick, Nels Ferre, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Rudolph Bultmann—and the school that’s emerging from them today. Where do you think we got the “God is dead theology” from? From historic Christianity; from Christian seminaries?

You did not. You got it from a good, solid Baptist theological seminary known as Colgate-Rochester in New York, which was absolutely orthodox and which sold out to liberalism. And when it did, they embraced the theology of Paul Tillich and ended up with—God is dead. It was called at the time, “the gospel of Christian atheism.” Did you ever heard such linguistic nonsense in your life? The gospel of Christian atheism, T.J. Altizer, Emory University. (The Cult of Liberal Theology, CD Rom, Walter Martin Religious InfoNet)

HT Apprising.org
This is placed here at CRN.info for your edification and comment.

22   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 11:47 am

Ken is a master at mixing truth with error upon error… that is all I can say…

iggy

23   Bo Diaz    
December 11th, 2008 at 11:48 am

A liar quoting another liar is still lying.

24   Chris P.    
December 11th, 2008 at 11:49 am

John 2:
23Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Gal 2:
6And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.

(…..and please these scriptures apply. I already here the angst)

Who cares what Ben Witherington III says?
This blog, along with those it defends and promotes, are void of the Holy Spirit.
After viewing Bell’s “Breathe” video, it is safe to assume he is a biblical midget.

Too bad Jesus didn’t have the alphabet listed after His name, perhaps the pharisees
would have paid more attention. They, and you, have your reward.

Meet the neo-pharisees.

25   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
December 11th, 2008 at 11:52 am

Oh John. You are something…

26   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 11:53 am

The core issue with the article PB is that Rob Bell does not teach all are already saved… but that Jesus work is truly finished and we can enter into eternal Life through Jesus.

It is the difference between a Calvinists Limited atonement versus unlimited atonement. Not between Universalism as in all are saved…

It is the problem of placing all salvaiton on the Cross and overlooking we are saved by the Life of Christ…. not His Death.

Ken and many others place salvation at the Cross…

The bible teaches otherwise.

Romans 5: 10. For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

We are not saved by the death of Jesus.. that is where reconciliation began… we are saved by the Life of Christ through the Resurrection.

Ken mixes all this together in a glorious misunderstanding of the work of the Cross and the Resurrection and comes out in error.

iggy

27   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 11:53 am

PB,

And Walter Martin would agree with me…

iggy

28   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 11:54 am

PB,
We don’t delete posts here, but there is no need to copy and paste the entire text of an article into the comments here. It just clutters them. A link will suffice.

Basically the main point of that gobbledygook you just posted is that Bell is bad because he’s not a Calvinist. Oh and once again, Ken reminds that his credentials pretty much consist of listening to tapes of Walter Martin (or I see he’s upgraded to CD-roms now – welcome to the early 90’s Ken!).

29   Douglas K. Adu-Boahen    http://blackreformingkid.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Shoot me if you must, but I wonder: Could it be that your disagreement with Carson could be unfounded? I’m not saying it is, but somehow I cannot see a world-class scholar, respected in many fields by many people could have written “manipulative tripe” purposely. Misinterpreted? Sure – we are all human, even the “super-smart ones” with more letters after their name than in it. You make it seem as though he is well…evil, a liar and somehow who is academically inferior and has an ulterior motive…

And with that, I’m out on this one. And before anyone starts, yes I like BWIII – downright fantastic scholar and excellent NT writer.

30   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 1:25 pm

no one is blinder than he who will not see.

You folks are so in love with Rob Bell that you cannot see when he departs from scripture!

I admit, in all the sermons and noomas I have listened to, I have had to rewind, listen again, look to scripture…It is only a smidgeon off. But it is off; especially in terms of his view of heaven, hell, justification, universalism.

As the beloved Doc Martin says “you cannot be just a little pregnant”.

A little yeast leaveneth the whole lump of dough

31   Bo Diaz    
December 11th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I admit, in all the sermons and noomas I have listened to, I have had to rewind, listen again, look to scripture…It is only a smidgeon off. But it is off; especially in terms of his view of heaven, hell, justification, universalism.

As the beloved Doc Martin says “you cannot be just a little pregnant”.

A little yeast leaveneth the whole lump of dough

If you actually believed this you wouldn’t yoke yourself to ADMs who believe things like infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, the sacraments and any other theology in which they don’t agree with you 100%.

Its also a remarkable admission that you have to work so hard to find disagreement with Bell and resort to rhetorical manipulation to turn him into a heretic.

32   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

I cannot turn him into a heretic, but universal salvation is heresy.

33   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 1:43 pm

And for the record, infant baptism is not heresy.

Saying that infant baptism=salvation is…

34   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

PB,

I admit, in all the sermons and noomas I have listened to, I have had to rewind, listen again, look to scripture…It is only a smidgeon off. But it is off; especially in terms of his view of heaven, hell, justification, universalism.

As the beloved Doc Martin says “you cannot be just a little pregnant”.

A little yeast leaveneth the whole lump of dough

Icorumba!

Walter for years contended the 7th day Adventist were not a cult… he also allowed for much more significant differences in doctrine than you do… Ken seems to only hear what he wants from WM… I used to listen to WM every night I could… I read his books and have at least two copies of his “essential Christianity” book… and in all that he was more Graceful that anything supposed “disciples” of his ever have espoused.

In essence PB, you are stating anyone that disagrees with you is a heretic… and that is sad.

So if you are wrong on any point, holding you to your own standard… you are full of Leaven. So by your standard you also are a heretic. Get that at all?

I choose to hold out grace over the minor and will considerately disagree with the majors… In that way one can win over those who may be in error on the majors… but to state Rob Bell is a heretic and then at one point state you agree with me… when I was rephrasing Rob Bell… seems that you are lost in a quagmire of trashy doctrines and cannot discern truth from error yourself.

I hope you consider Grace first before you toss out the heretic word… cuz heaven will be a lonely place for you is you are only one right…

Standing solely on the Righteousness of Christ,

iggy

35   Bo Diaz    
December 11th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

I cannot turn him into a heretic, but universal salvation is heresy.

Then you have turned him into a heretic since he’s never taught that.

And for the record, infant baptism is not heresy.

Saying that infant baptism=salvation is…

Your ignorance has turned you into a living GBA against everyone who is a pastor.

36   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

PB,

Rob does not teach universal salvation… he is a he teaches universal atonement…

Sheesh… can’t you understand the difference?

iggy

37   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

PB,

Infant baptism is so that the Grace of God will be on the child so that salvation will come to him… it is like a garentee the child will be saved…. It comes out of the idea that the infant is not born in sin, but is of a “Holy Seed”.

Source:

If that is not baptism salvation I do not know what is!

iggy

38   Bo Diaz    
December 11th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Its shocking how little understanding PB has about such instrumental things to the faith like baptism.

39   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

#36
Please explain the difference, Iggy, as you see it.
And the question is: Is everybody saved? Will everybody, on the day of judgement, be welcomed into heaven no matter what they believe?

Bell does seem to teach universal reconciliation, BTW.

I am truly interested, Ig

40   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

#37
Is a description of covenant baptism, and is how it is ‘officially’ practiced by the episcopal, anglican, lutheran, et.al. The belief is that we are trusting that one day the child will come to Christ.

That is not heresy, it is simply a wrong interpretation of what baptism is and who it is for.

41   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Universal atonement:

It is the view that Jesus work was finished at the Cross and we ARE reconciled at the Cross. Then when one receives the Life of Jesus they are saved.

It is based on the Romans 5: 10.

For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Taking Calvin out of the equation, we are all reconciled at the Cross all are now able to enter into a relationship with Jesus by what He did on the Cross.

In contrast the universalist states all are saved at the Cross… I am not into Bell that much and have only listened to a few things he has taught… mostly that which is brought out as “proof” he is a heretic… and when I listen I do not hear Universalism at all, I hear that he teaches that Jesus meant it when He said on the Cross “it is finished”… reconciliation was complete.

That is why we now have the ministry of reconciliation… we are to tell others that they can now freely by Grace have a relationship with God through Jesus… Bell teaches that clearly…

If one is a Calvinist and has a bias against Bell because of the lies about him they will hear what they want to hear instead of what Bell is saying. PB and Ken are confused as they take a Calvinist view against Bell (though neither PB and Ken espouse Calvinism which is strange as they seem to lean heavily that way when they filter others teachings.)

Do we believe it was finished at the Cross? Did Jesus and Paul lie about being reconciled to the Father by the Cross? It seems PB and Ken and many others see this as so in how they filter others teachings that say so… so then who is the heretic? Is it the one that agrees with the biblical teaching of reconciliation or the one that disagrees with it? I think the answer is obvious… at least to me it is.

iggy

42   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

PB,

That is not heresy, it is simply a wrong interpretation of what baptism is and who it is for.

Your own words dude!

As the beloved Doc Martin says “you cannot be just a little pregnant”.

A little yeast leaveneth the whole lump of dough

So which is it PB? You contradict yourself all over the place…

Isn’t a wrong interpretation believing a lie instead of truth and to do that by your standard heresy?

iggy

43   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Shoot me if you must, but I wonder… – Douglas

Douglas,

Many of your posts start or end with some expectaion of perecution… me thinkgs you have a martyr complex. You are welcome to post contrary pov’s anytime…

Neil

44   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

I wish Ken, or PB, or any other ADM would/could take a statement by Bell and show that he advocates universalism. Every attempt I have seen to date includes at least one “…this is what he really means ” statement. As if only they can really decipher Bell.

PB, you have consistently shown a lack of ability in the arena of discernment… both in discerning groups from each or discerning what words in context simply mean.

Neil

45   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

After reading the post PB copy/pasted I see nothing but hear-say… a long litany of so called discerners who say Bell is this, that, and the other thing.

What is lacking is anything Bell said himself.

I agree that it appears Bell’s biggest “heresy” seems to be unlimited atonement – which many are mistaking for Universalism.

46   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
December 11th, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Well Ken is going to have some problems proving how Rob is a Universalist. Ken has a post that he incessantly self links to that talks about how Rob says Ken isn’t saved. How can Rob question someone’s salvation if he believes everyone gets saved?

47   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Well Ken is going to have some problems proving how Rob is a Universalist. Ken has a post that he incessantly self links to that talks about how Rob says Ken isn’t saved. How can Rob question someone’s salvation if he believes everyone gets saved?

LOL…excellent point. Perhaps he’s a Universalist when it comes to everyone but Calvinists…

48   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Hey Joe – you stole my question to Ken!

49   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Yeah now that I think about I think I’ve cracked the code. When Bell says “hell is full of forgiven people”, forgiven people = Calvinists!

It all makes perfect sense!

50   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
December 11th, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Deborah, I’m in the middle of a thousand things or I would have given you credit. Promise.

51   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 3:11 pm

What does Bell mean when he says Hell is full of forgiven people? (serious answers only, please)

52   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

What does Bell mean when he says that? (serious answers only, please)

I always took it as a layman’s explanation of universal atonement. Jesus forgave everyone of all sin when He died on the cross. Whether or not people walk in that reality is up to them basically.

Forgiven is the same as saved. How could someone simultaneously be saved and in Hell at the same time?

53   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Joe, I’m kidding, it is just that I usually come up with only one good observation or question a year, so I’m fairly protective of them, I never know when the next one might come. :)

54   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

I wanted to clarify one point to PB.

I think you are still confusing “Unlimited atonement” and “Universal atonement” I acknowledge many who espouse Universal Atonement do spin off into Universalism. I am one that does not as I see the difference between the Cross and the Resurrection. I see the Bell makes that distinction also.

What I think Rob Bell falls into is more the “unlimited Atonement” and may have some Universal Atonement tendencies… though I do not see that he has ever stated “all are saved” outside of a relationship with Jesus. In fact I see that is the point of his ministry to teach that one should and must have a relationship with Jesus to be saved. Unlimited atonement is more in the Wesleyan school of thought… so it is still very orthodox. Bell teaches that our whole being should be under Christ Jesus… marriages, sexuality, daily living in general… but he does not teach you can do whatever you want if you believe… he calls people to live their lives in the holiness that was given by Jesus. To be what you are instead of “act” like you are. An actor is a phony… Bell calls people to live as New Creators in the New Creation.

He is preaching to a generation that seeks and desires relationships… so Bell tailors his message to them. This generation is turned off by the “wrath and punishment” though it may be true… Bell focuses on the relational aspect of the Gospel of reconciliation so that they will come to Christ Jesus in faith by Grace. I do not see that Bell teaches against “wrath and punishment” in that those who are not saved and choose to not believe in Jesus will not suffer such a thing, Rather I see Bell’s focus in that people come to relationship so not to have that happen. I see Bell teaches that all are reconciled and need to be told to enter a relationship with Jesus.

God was satisfied by the obedience of Jesus… Bell teaches that clearly and in that obedience unto death on a Cross, we now have reconciliation.

iggy

55   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Makes sense Phil. Although I’m not sure forgiven equals saved in this discussion, or Bell’s thinking. Obviously someone cannot be saved and damned.

I figured he’s talking about unlimited atonement and the fact that all are forgiven… but it has not become redemption for all… forgiveness becomes efficacious.

Neil

56   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Neil,

Bell and I see that all are forgiven at the Cross. All your sins were after the Cross so they are all forgiven. We are reconciled by the Cross and saved by the Life of Christ as Rom 5:10 states. The bible teaches Jesus came at the appointed time… and “Once for all” the Cross gave reconciliation to all… but still we must have a relationship to be saved.

It is believing that God was either satisfied by the FINISHED works of Christ Jesus or He was not.

Interestingly those that are opposed to this view seem to deny that Jesus did not finish the works of the Cross… and they overlook that He began a new thing altogether at the Resurrection… He began New Creation at the Resurrection. “The old is gone the New had come” as Paul states it.

iggy

57   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I figured he’s talking about unlimited atonement and the fact that all are forgiven… but it has not become redemption for all… forgiveness becomes efficacious.

Yes, I should have said “unlimited” rather than “universal”…

58   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 3:31 pm

And I meant to say forgiven does not equal saved…

I really butchered that comment…

I was trying to say that Bell is not a universalist!

59   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Phil,

Forgiven is the same as saved. How could someone simultaneously be saved and in Hell at the same time?

Being forgiven is not the same as being saved. Salvation comes from the Life of Christ in us… not just by having sins forgiven.

I can forgive someone for their lies, but until they also come to accept the forgiveness and choose to give life to the relationship we have, then there is no relationship.

Say someone lies about me and I forgive them… they do not choose to apologize. I will still forgive them but there is not going to be a relationship with them until they recognize that they have wronged me.

Salvation is having a Living relationship with Jesus… in which He knows us and we know Him… He dwells in us and we in Him.

That is not possible is the party that though is forgiven does not enter into a relationship with Jesus… so all are forgiven, though they live lives without a relationship and will be lost.

The Life is in the Son and those that choose not to have the Son will not have the Life… Though on the Cross Jesus brought forgiveness of Sins, that is only half the Gospel… for without the Life there is no salvation.

iggy

60   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Phil…

Umm disregard that last comment as you clarified what you really meant to say… but PB should read it at least 5 times if not more… LOL! = )

iggy

61   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Being forgiven is not the same as being saved. Salvation comes from the Life of Christ in us… not just by having sins forgiven.

Igs,
See my last comment… I agree with you!

Darn these stubby fingers!

(Actually my fingers are quite svelte…)

62   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Phil,

See my last comment… all is well! :smile:

igs

63   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 3:57 pm

So Iggy, what you are saying is….

At the cross, all of mankind sins were paid for, God provided reconciliation sufficient for all mankind.

So far I am tracking….That is what the Bible teaches.

Where I get lost is who gets the benefit of eternal life? Who gets the punishment of eternal damnation? Does anyone? Does it matter what you believe? Does it matter if you ever consciously place your trust in Christ?

I want to hear Iggy’s answer…and, if possible Chads….and anyone else if they so choose.

64   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Chris P wrote:

“Meet the neo-pharisees.”

You know, I think I’ll take that as a compliment. However difficult pharisees may have been, and certainly it not all of them were, they still had a deep, passionate concern for the Word of God.

Jesus said to them: You search the Scriptures. Granted, he also pointed out that they missed the point of Scriptures. Still, they searched them. Historically speaking, the Pharisees, a group that included Paul the apostle, were not a terrible lot.

I wish more people would be so passionate.

65   Sandman    
December 11th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

18: Calm down, chris.

20: Phil, that’s exactly what I was saying.

66   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 4:04 pm

18: Calm down, chris.

Simple questions that’s all.

67   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 4:07 pm

PB,

With all due respect, why do you find it so difficult to believe? Isn’t this what John wrote:

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

That seems fairly simple.

68   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Where I get lost is who gets the benefit of eternal life? Who gets the punishment of eternal damnation? Does anyone? Does it matter what you believe? Does it matter if you ever consciously place your trust in Christ?

I just don’t think the idea of punishment and reward is really a good lens to look at the atonement through. The Israelites didn’t offer sacrifices to avoid punishment, they did it as an act of honoring God for the sins He already forgave them of. If they didn’t offer the sacrifices, it’s not that they would be punished, per se, it’s just that they wouldn’t partake of the benefits of the covenant.

So I don’t believe the God punishes people in Hell. They are, in essence, turned over to the consequences of the rejection of grace.

It’s kind of ironic, because I think to truly understand grace, you have to get to a point where you understand that no amount of punishment could truly atone for sin and no amount of good work can gain you favor with God. So in essence, I think grace is a rejection of the punishment and reward system.

69   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Where I get lost is who gets the benefit of eternal life? Who gets the punishment of eternal damnation? Does anyone? Does it matter what you believe? Does it matter if you ever consciously place your trust in Christ?

Pastorboy,

This is what I was talking about when I said it becomes efficacious. Somehow it moves from the realm of universally possible to individually applicable. One way to put it would be the Spirit of God affirms as saved, as children of God all those who trust Jesus.

There is an issue of effectiveness however you word it – trusting Jesus, putting your faith in Jesus, receiving Jesus – I think these are all valid ways of expressing the fact.

Would you agree?

Neil

70   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

PB,

Those that are saved in the relationship with JEsus receive eternal Life.

The benefits? To know and be know by the Living God through Jesus… what more is needed… to live a life as a living sacrifice unto God and enjoy His presence…

What we believe does not add to Grace.. in fact if you base your faith on your own believe then it is not in Jesus… to base salvation on Jesus’ name is to error as the JW does. For salvation comes through the Person of Jesus be His name pronounced differently in other languages.

As far as “consciously placing one’s faith in Jesus” I leave that up to God. God judges the inward thoughts and heart of a person… we can only see the outward appearance. Only God knows the hearts and whether they truly sought after Him. I am confident that God is more than capable to be able to sort that all out and does not need my help. I am only to tell others of the reconciliation and Life that is in Christ and that they can receive it now.

If it is a specific “name” then no… Y’shua would be as good as Jesus…

I do think that if someone never heard the Name of JEsus… in any of it’s forms… but acknowledged that only God could save them, God would arrange them to meet Jesus some way. If someone does not acknowledge God to save them, then they may be given the chance but refuse… But still if it is that imaginary tribesman in the Amazon… then God knows that persons heart and will arrange their salvation as He did mine and yours.

The bible teaches in Hebrews 10:

26. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27. but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

If one chooses to remain an enemy though reconciled, they will face judgement of fire that will consume the enemies of God. Yet, Jesus was sacrificed “Once for all” as Hebrews also states many times. One can be forgiven, though if they choose to reject forgiveness then there is no other sacrifice that need and will be made.

Heb 10: 12. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14. because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Again, if one chooses to not be made perfect and holy in Christ, then there is nothing for them… except judgment by their own words…

iggy

71   Aaron    
December 11th, 2008 at 4:18 pm

At the cross, all of mankind sins were paid for, God provided reconciliation sufficient for all mankind.

So far I am tracking….That is what the Bible teaches.

Where I get lost is who gets the benefit of eternal life? Who gets the punishment of eternal damnation? Does anyone? Does it matter what you believe? Does it matter if you ever consciously place your trust in Christ?

As far as I’ve been explained to and understand from this viewpoint of salvation and conciliation, all sins are paid for (forgiven), however, those who reject Jesus also reject the fact that Jesus ever paid for them.

It’s as if to say Jesus paid for unlimited tickets to a concert. All are paid for, invited, welcome to join. However, some will refuse to go get their ticket. They refuse to acknowledge Jesus paid for it, they want to pay for it themselves (impossible, obviously). All are forgiven, but not all will enter. Jesus is the doorway into the concert, others will end up in the bathroom or something.

72   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Aaron,

I think PB’s point is that one must “receive” the forgiveness to make it effective. One must acknowledge God saves them as Iggy said. As oppossed to all are admitted unless they make a declration of rejection. The “default” postion is still outside of fellowship and salvation.

One must trust Jesus to be God’s child.

Is that what ya mean PB? If so, I agree.

73   Aaron    
December 11th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Neil,

Yeah, that’s what I meant to say, not a refusal of Jesus taking them in, but a refusal to come to Jesus. There is still the necessity of coming to Him, yes, our default position is outside and away from Him. My apologies on poor word choice.

74   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Aaron,

I thought that’s what ya meant, I was just clarifying.

Neil

75   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Neil,
Yes, to a point, because what does receive mean? How does one go about receiving?

I prefer trust, placing faith in, replacing trust in self and my good works and putting trust in Christ alone.

But I think we are on the same wavelength.

I still am not sure about Iggy. Iggy, make it so a 2nd grader could understand.

76   Aaron    
December 11th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Just a quick side thought, isn’t this just another squabble between Calvinism and Arminianism?

In regards to (un)limited atonement, they both agree on the final reason that a person would go to Hell, they don’t accept Jesus. The only difference is that Calvinism believes a person goes to Hell for the sins they’ve commited (which were never forgiven) and an Arminian believes a person goes to Hell for refusing to come to Jesus (refusing to acknowledge their sins are forgiven).

If both parties agree on the final point (Jesus brings us into Heaven), why is there such a vehement squabble between people on this issue for certain people? Why declare heresy on others for believing essentially (and I do mean ESSENTIALLY) the same thing?

77   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

#67

Jerry, effective for the whole world, but does the whole world receive the benefit (that is) Righteousness?

78   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

#76

It is all about justification, being made right, a legal transaction.

I see it as an essential understanding. It is not about gaining heaven, it is about John 3:3 we must be born again and John 3:18-19 Christ came to save, not to condemn, the world is condemned (default position) already.

And really, it is about being made righteous, being in a position of peace with God.

79   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

PB,

I know what ya mean, “receive” can be vague… even if it is a biblical term.

We can also put to rest, once and for all, that Bell teaches universalism since his church’s doctrinal statement says: “The Spirit of God affirms as children of God all those who trust Jesus.”

We can also put to rest, once for all, that Bell believes salvation outside Jesus since his church’s doctrinal statement says: “Jesus is our only hope for bringing peace and reconciliation between God and humans.”

So there we have it, Bell confirming Jesus as the only way and bell affirming the need to trust Jesus. He even uses Pastorboy approved language.

Neil

80   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

It is all about justification, being made right, a legal transaction.

I see it as an essential understanding. It is not about gaining heaven, it is about John 3:3 we must be born again and John 3:18-19 Christ came to save, not to condemn, the world is condemned (default position) already.

And really, it is about being made righteous, being in a position of peace with God.

The legal transaction aspect of the atonement is one way to look at it, and I don’t even the way it’s presented today most of the time is very faithful to Paul’s original intent in Romans.

Paul was using legal terms because it was a way to get something across to his audience. I don’t think he was saying that ontologically this is how atonement works.

81   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

PB,

My boy is a preschooler and he gets it…. = )

What is not to understand… In Christ you have forgiveness and Life eternal…

Is that clear enough?

Without Christ you are forgiven, but do not have eternal life… for the Life is in the Son as the Bible teaches…. One must have the Son to have The Life…

iggy

82   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Just a quick side thought, isn’t this just another squabble between Calvinism and Arminianism?

You are correct

If both parties agree on the final point (Jesus brings us into Heaven), why is there such a vehement squabble between people on this issue for certain people? Why declare heresy on others for believing essentially (and I do mean ESSENTIALLY) the same thing

Not sure, other than they just don’t like his ways

83   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 5:21 pm

In Romans we see salvation viewed using three metaphors or ways of explanation: Legal – e.g. justification; Commercial – e.g. redemption; and Cultic – e.g. propitiation.

Neil

84   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

PB,

It is all about justification, being made right, a legal transaction.

I see it as an essential understanding. It is not about gaining heaven, it is about John 3:3 we must be born again and John 3:18-19 Christ came to save, not to condemn, the world is condemned (default position) already.

And really, it is about being made righteous, being in a position of peace with God.

Sooo now you are restating Rob Bell’s position as your own?

LOL!

So now Rob must not be a heretic if you agree with the core of his teachings…

iggy

85   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Sorry the above comment should have had the entire quote stating:

It is all about justification, being made right, a legal transaction.

I see it as an essential understanding. It is not about gaining heaven, it is about John 3:3 we must be born again and John 3:18-19 Christ came to save, not to condemn, the world is condemned (default position) already.

And really, it is about being made righteous, being in a position of peace with God.

iggy

86   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Iggy,

You may get farther without the sarcasm… I mean, I employ it plenty myself, even against some of PB’s refusal to discern nuances…

But in this case we are pretty close to showing him Bell and he have the same beliefs – as far as salvation goes at least. Above I showed how Bell uses language that Pastorboy approves of… so Pastorboy should have no reason to argue against bell’s view of salvation if we allow him to respond without being defensive.

They may differ on the extent of the atonement (limited vs unlimtied) but Pastorboy can no longer disagree with bell’s view on salvation.

Neil

87   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Neil,

In Romans we see salvation viewed using three metaphors or ways of explanation: Legal – e.g. justification; Commercial – e.g. redemption; and Cultic – e.g. propitiation.

Do you have an article or reference for this? It is fascinating to me. It seems that some just want to overlook the other metaphors Paul used and just focus on the Legal one…

iggy

88   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Neil,

There is no sarcasm… I am asking real questions. If PB agrees with the core of Bells theology and Bell is a heretic then how does PB reconcile that Bell is a heretic and he is not? I am using humor which is an unfortunate affliction I have at times… I see the conflicting statements and then point them out.. it would be sarcasm if I was not sincere in that I cannot see how PB can state someone is a heretic then restate what they believe as what he believes also… it makes no logical sense.

Also, Neil I have done a bulk of the writing to PB over the explanations… I am in good humor… but if we are going to start the “iggy don’t pick on PB” train again, I will gladly stop the comments again. I know that sounds like taking my ball and going home with it, but really I see that I have been more than pleasant with PB in our exchange and it does seem PB is thinking and processing things he may not have considered.

I mean admit it PB just did as I stated… He just stated what Bell teaches as if it was his own belief? I am point out and asking a legitimate question in my humor.

iggy

89   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

I do not know of any articles off the top of my head. Last year I taught through Romans – it was alot of fun. I used The NIV Application Commentary by Douglas Moo as one of my texts. I remember coming to the realization that Paul was describing salvation using these examples, these metaphors… but I cannot remember any particular articles.

90   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Sooo now you are restating Rob Bell’s position as your own?

LOL!

This is what I was commenting on… that’s all. I’ve given PB some extreme heat over the past couple days due to his refusal to take what people say at face value. I was hoping we could get him to admit his view and Bell’s were not that different.

I even used Bell’s own words as my own and PB agreed with me. So even if he denies it, he agreed with me when I used a direct line from Bell regarding salvation.

I just didn’t want him to get defensive and miss that.

We’re cool!

Neil

91   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 6:17 pm

#46

So this is reality, this forgiveness, this reconciliation, is true for everybody. Paul insisted that when Jesus died on the cross, he was reconciling “all things, in heaven and on earth, to God.” All things, everywhere.
This reality then isn’t something we make come true about ourselves by doing something. It is already true. Our choice is to live in this new reality or cling to a reality of our own making. (146, Velvet Elvis)

Universal reconciliation. There.

92   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Universal Unlimited reconciliation. There.

There – fixed it for you…

93   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 6:31 pm

PB,

I see it as an essential understanding. It is not about gaining heaven, it is about John 3:3 we must be born again and John 3:18-19 Christ came to save, not to condemn, the world is condemned (default position) already.

When did reconcilation happen?

When did God justify all creation through the very legal transaction you are speaking of?

iggy

94   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Neil,

PB misses that he misses and cannot see what he cannot see… It will take a revelation from God as it did me and many others to see through the lens of Grace.

iggy

95   Sandman    
December 11th, 2008 at 6:33 pm

66: No problem. I didn’t put a smiley at the end to let you know I wasn’t serious.

96   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 6:34 pm

When did God justify all creation through the very legal transaction you are speaking of?

He didn’t. He only justifies those who look to Jesus. (John 3:14-16) Those who do not pisteuo (believe) are condemned (John 3:18-19) and the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36)

97   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 6:35 pm

#96

By the way…red letters….

98   Neil    
December 11th, 2008 at 6:43 pm

I agree with Chris L., Bell is describing unlimited atonement or the universal ability of atonement.

That he does not believe in universal atonement in the salvific sense is obvious since he a) says one must trust Jesus to be saved.

Neil

99   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

PB,

Now, look at the work justify throughout scripture… simply most the time it means “to set right”. Are you stating that God is not setting creation right? Are you saying that Creation does not yearn for the sons of God to be revealed and so be restored?

I see justification as more than just us. God redeemed all creation by setting the balance of justice right again through Jesus. So as we who believe are justified by the blood of Christ so the world is set right again. This of course will come to its fullness at the regeneration of all things. Yet, in that statement, what is wrong in the world ravished by sin, has been set right again by the One Time sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

It seems you deny this… is that your position?

iggy

100   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 6:45 pm

PB,

You also did not answer the questions… :smile: you seemed to have dodged giving a real answer.

iggy

101   Chad    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
December 11th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Where I get lost is who gets the benefit of eternal life? Who gets the punishment of eternal damnation? Does anyone? Does it matter what you believe? Does it matter if you ever consciously place your trust in Christ?

I have not been following this thread but in skimming through it I saw this question by PB that was addressed to Iggy and myself.

Honestly, the fact that such a question is being asked shows how far off the mark we Gentile Christians have come. Who benefits? I presume this question is tied to the self – IOW, how do I benefit from any of this?

This, I would argue, is a question that misses the point of what it means to be saved.

Salvation is a gift. It is never our possession – it is God’s possession and his offering to us. The benefit to our being saved is we get to be a blessing to all the nations (like Israel). Our salvation bears a faithful witness back to Israel that the promises made by YHWH are in fact true. We are saved to display the glory of God in the world and to be God’s ministers of reconcilation to all the nations. The benefit is not ours to own but ours to participate in and give unselfishly away. Our salvation is evidence to the world that Jesus is Lord (and the Messiah promised of Israel). To the extent that we hoard this salvation and treat it as our property and something that we can impart upon others by grafting them into our own modes of being (Christian or otherwise) is the extent to which Israel doubts that our Messiah is really of their God.

In my theology final this morning this was one of the questions asked. When I read PB’s question I immediatly thought of this question, especially the final few lines. I would say that PB (and most of us Gentiles) are lodged within this problem described…

In the early stages of the course we spoke of contextual theology as being an attempt to address two large problems of Christian theology in the West — its narrowness as a white, male, European/Euro-American enterprise and its complicity in oppression. However, new problems arise through contextual theology; namely, (1) theology continues to be understood as disembodied knowledge that may be dropped into various cultures, and (2) theology has no ability to transform identity. In effect, Christian theology becomes simply the religious expression of various cultures. We’ve gone out of the way to say in this course the problems of contextual theologies at this point, the benefits of such theologies notwithstanding, must be located within the broader ways in which Christian theology in the West has operated. In other words, rather than seeing contextual theologies and the broader problems of Western theology as two discreet sets of problems, what must be understood is that contextual theologies are children of Christian theology as it has come to be practiced in the West. They are in the main in architectural and infrastructural continuity — not discontinuity — with Christian theology as it has come to be practiced as an essentially white, male, European/Euro-American enterprise.

With this as your backdrop, how might considering the starting point of theology in our identity as Gentiles who overheard the gospel of Jesus Christ to Israel offer a corrective to both the two large problems of Christian theology and the newer problems of contextual theology?

102   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 11th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

PB,

I took some more time to think about your first question…

Where I get lost is who gets the benefit of eternal life?

God does as it was His plan before creation in Christ to have His creation love him willingly.

iggy

103   Brendt Waters    http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/
December 11th, 2008 at 10:19 pm

I used to think it was tacky when Steve Camp would quote himself at great length, basically copying/pasting what he wrote on his own blog into the comments of other blogs.

But Steve’s got NOTHING on Pastorboy (#21).

104   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
December 11th, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Just driving by…I can’t help but thinking if a blogger had written something here like: So when I hear John MacArthur, someone who has written in depth commentaries on almost the entire New Testament, say that [fill in controversial figure here]’s teaching and books are “consistently grounded in the word”, I’m pretty sure I can take it to the bank. they would have been ridiculed, shouted down, labeled, etc.

(I’ll be honest, I saw BWIII in the title and pretty much ignored the actual post…sorta like I’ve know people to immediately right off anything said by other pastors/preachers…especially those stinkin’ Calvinists ones. OK, back to corners kiddies and come out fightin’. Oh, yeah–Merry Christmas.)

105   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
December 12th, 2008 at 12:13 am

Keith,

Contrary to popular belief… Not all that JM teaches is bad… just some things. Yet in the differences I do not condemn the man, just disagree with some of the teachings.

Though I know of people who have written entire commentaries that teach horrendous things… Like Mary Baker Eddy… you know the Christian Scientists… so having written a commentary really means nothing… it is the substance of the commentary that is truth or error.

iggy

106   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 12th, 2008 at 9:41 am

Keith,
I do realize that there is an inherent weakness in an argument that is an appeal to authority. That’s really not what I was attempting to do really. I wasn’t trying to say that just because BWIII likes Bell’s stuff, no one should question him. I’m just saying that I tend to take evidence cited by BWIII a little more highly than that presented by Bell’s critics.

It’s not as if BWIII has given Bell an across the board endorsement. I know that he has questioned some of his sources – particularly Ray Vanderlaan. His basic point in that was that he believed some of the details were off in “Dust” as far as the use of the word “rabbi”, but I don’t think he threw the whole thing out because of that.

I guess the thing that has impressed me with BWIII is that he is really a historian first and a theologian second. His work is at the level where he could probably be a professor in a History department at a secular university if he wanted to.

107   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 12th, 2008 at 11:04 am

102

Actually, a correct answer…sort of.

God gets all the glory for saving wretched people like me. I still get the benefit. That is what justification is. It is God’s mercy being shed abroad on me, not giving me what I deserve (death, hell, eternal punishment) and giving me what I dont deserve (Christ’s righteousness) which means I can live eternally with Him.

These benefits are given me by being born again; (John 3:3) a process which begins with the justification (being declared not guilty) which requires me to look to Jesus alone for my salvation (John 3:15-16). This is a pattern that is told again and again in the shadows of the Old Testament. We are justified through faith; replacing the trust we have in our good works with the work that Jesus accomplished.

Redemption in the universal sense is only in that Jesus’ blood was sufficient to cover all mankind’s sins, for it is not God’s will that any should perish. But, not all will be reconciled. Jesus Christ came to save the world, but those who do not believe (pisteuo) will remain condemned, and the wrath of God is on them for eternity.

Our choice is to receive justice or mercy.

Iggy, I am not avoiding any question. #99 Jusification means to set right. Why is the creation yearning for the Sons of God to be revealed, is because it has not yet been restored. It will not be done until God makes a new heaven and a new earth. Reconciliation is a change in relationship that results from being made right; We were children of wrath until we make effective for ourselves (individually) the work of justification that Christ accomplished on the cross. Now we are Sons of God. It is not universal in the sense that every human benefits; for it is only by repentance and faith that it can be made efficatious for us.