Thursday, September 25, 2008

Discerning Truth from Error...

It seems in our overly-P.C. culture you can't say one thing is wrong and another is right without "offending" someone.

On top of that... there are many Christians who throw around the scripture, "Do not judge, lest you be judged." (Matthew 7) in order to silence criticism or Biblical critique.

Don't get me wrong... I have read far too many bloggers who throw around the word "heretic" far too loosely... which is unfortunate because when it is over-used it strips the word of its power and purpose to call people (especially those who have authority - i.e. pastors, teachers, etc) to accountability to Scripture!

With all that to say, I am willing to risk the repercussions of using strong language when necesasry because I fear there are streams of deceit that are quietly yet swiftly flowing into the ears of Christians who are unwilling or unable to be discerning. (Sometimes the half-truth is more destructive than the full-lie!)

In particular, I have becoming increasingly curious about the shifting theology of a prominent "Evangelical" by the name of Rob Bell. If one is looking through the lens of a fairly-orthodox and general Christian Worldview, one would read his books, listen to his sermons, and watch the NOOMA videos in which he stars, and come out with an overall sense of something relatively Biblical. However, upon further review and disection of some of the theological arguments and positions that he and/or his church are making lead to some very different conclusions.

I want it to be noted that I have never met Rob Bell... I have read/listened to/watched material he has produced and know a great number of my peers who have also... but I have never met him in person. I also want to note that the idea from Matthew 18 about going to your brother first, doesn't apply when speaking of dealing with potentailly false teaching. If the teaching is placed in the public square then the critique can (and probably should) be placed in the public square as well.

My concern is with Bell's theological leanings toward: liberal feminist theology, egalitarianism, rejection of Sola Scriptura, the endorsment of eastern/mystic spirituality, and his bordering on Universalism (that everyone is saved from God's Wrath no matter what).

To illustrate my current frustration... and his bent toward a liberal feminist theology... I point you to a critique of the newly released NOOMA video called "She"

There are links below to part 1 & 2 of a critique which I believe is fair and telling of Bell's use of scripture and his appearance of expertise (in Hebrew for example) so as to manipulate the text to affirm his point.

Part 1

Part 2

My goal here is not to be demonstrative, over-zealous, or self-righteous. My goal is to be faithful to the scriptures and make distinctions between Truth and error. I believe this can be done both firmly and in grace. My desire is not to BASH anyone but rather point out error with humility and uphold the Bible as ultimate and final authority on all matters of life and faith (Sola Scriptura)


Trevor said...

thanks for this blog. I have watched a few Nooma videos and read a little from his books. I try to discern carefully, but so often I will simply take the message as is (likely because of the 'cool' presentation).

Jake said...

Thanks Trevor -

The hard part with people (such as Rob Bell) is that you and I might fill in the holes in Biblical Theology with our own knowledge of the scriptures or read/hear a vague statement through the lenses of more certainty that we have in the Word.

On top of that is the "drift" that we are seeing/reading from men like Rob Bell who seem to be drifting from even some of the most Basic of Christian belief (it is not overt but subtle... which makes it all the more concerning)

Thanks for your comments!

Samuel John Gietzen said...

Oh boy... where do you start? Rob Bell FREAKS me out - seriously. You're absolutely right in saying that so many people reject and refuse to discern right from wrong. It's too much work - at least subconsciously rejecting and refusing. Rob Bell is a snake in the water - along with his 'emergent' friends... Donald Miller, Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren... the list goes on - my advice to a younger Christian "Stay away" - "run". Thanks for you post Jake - I can't believe I haven't found you on here before today!

My blog is nothing to look at...1 so far... haha. Anyways - later bro.