Bell being examined…

A few more things about Rob Bell from John MacArthur…

DeHaan wrote,

I’m left wondering… are we allowing love (and truth) to win now… by using threats of group pressure and blackballing of brothers like Rob, and those who openly or secretly stand with him? Is that really the best way to maintain a strong and healthy orthodoxy? [emphasis added]

The biblical answer to DeHaan’s question is clear and fairly simple: The best way to maintain a strong and healthy orthodoxy is to “[hold] fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching . . . to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers . . . who must be silenced” (Titus 1:9-11).

We have a duty not only to expose, refute, and silence Rob Bell’s errors, but also to urge people under his influence to run as fast and as far as they can from him, lest they be gathered into the eternal hell he denies. It won’t do to sit by idly while someone who denies the danger of hell mass-produces sons of hell (cf. Matthew 23:15).

In a series of posts this week, we will demonstrate from Rob Bell’s own published works that he has long been hostile to virtually every vital gospel truth; we will consider some of the questions he has raised about what the Bible has to say about hell; and we will compare and contrast what Bell is saying about hell with what Jesus said about it. [source]

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19 thoughts on “Bell being examined…

  1. Vee,

    Thanks for the interesting quotes.

    1. I am shocked (not really so much) that Mart Dehaan would mount such a defense of Rob Bell. His Grandfather M.R. Dehaan would never tolerate such error as Bell’s. And as for Mart Dehaan’s wishy-washy statements about the eternity of hell are amazing.
    2. Then MacArthur nails Bell and DeHaan for their error.

    However MacArthur himself is sadly erroneous in his “Lordship” faith theology which contradicts the scripture in so many ways it is difficult to know where to start.

    On my Blog I have posted many articles about MacArthur and his statements about lordship or commitment salvation… One Blog in particular is on JMac’s new book, “Slave.” In it he takes liberties with scripture that simply amaze those of us who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture.
    The Article:
    http://www.expreacherman.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/john-macarthurs-new-apostate-book/

    There are many interesting comments also.

    Thanks Vee for allowing me to vent about this.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

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  2. My comment is to Ex-Preacher Man (Jack). It was my intention to respond to your comment over on your blog but since you have commented and posted your link here I will comment here.

    First – thank you Vee for this wonderful platform from which to discuss theological issues of the day. Love it!

    Jack, some of the comments refer to the perceived arrogance of JMac (:-)) and yet I find the tone in the first 2 paragraphs of this article to actually be somewhat arrogant.

    MacArthur himself makes mention of two bible translations, one early (Goodspead) and one more recent (Holman) that do translate the word doulos as Slave where appropriate. I have furthermore heard him reference a book written 10 years ago by Murray Harris and an article by Doug Yamauchi (sp?) that brings the same issue to the surface. Therefore to insinuate, somewhat noxiously and dramatically that ONLY MacArthur comes NOW to finally bring it to our ignorant ears is erroneous. (I am simply mirroring the tone)

    The article goes on to say that his greatest problem with the book was his perception of the superimposition of slavery upon MODERN Christianity in regards to our identity and relationship with Christ as Slave/Master. The verse quoted for substantiation was: Romans 8:15 which says, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,” Father.”

    This is a true verse indeed! We did not receive a spirit that makes us a slave to FEAR. FEAR!

    It is also mentioned in the article that MacArthur promotes a Lordship Theology meaning (according to your previous article on the subject) that he would cause folks to feel threatened into feeling they are not blameless enough to merit salvation.

    I can only speak for myself on this point. I have never heard, read or felt that he promotes such an idea. On the contrary.. Grace alone!!

    The article calls MacArthur’s book an Apostate book. I think that’s very strong language that the article doesn’t even come close to justifying. The definition of apostasy is: someone who forsakes his religion or cause, a deserter, ratter, recreant, renegade or turncoat.

    I think in these last days it’s very very important to shine a light on err and apostasy. I think with so much of it about us that it is also imperative not to wield the accusation willy-nilly either.

    Because one has Armenian or Calvinist views, it should not makes enemies of us. I agree with a friend who states that the bible holds a bit of both.

    I don’t hold to the “rock-star” mentality towards popular preachers and I pray for God’s discernment in these days. One day it may come down to me and my bible alone and that would be enough theology for me (with the Holy Spirit).

    It’s important in these last days to keep balance with love our decisions and conclusions.

    One last reference I have heard quoted was from the Kittel greek dictionary… “the word doulos means slave so unequivocally that no study of history is even necessary”

    Finally, on a most personal note. The term slave in regards to my identity to Christ does in no way negate me to a singular mindset. Remember who the Master is! All the things He calls us.. sons and daughters, joint heirs, etc. are still all true and even more so! I still call Him Abba. He purchased me, I am His. I want His mark upon me. It brings me another level of intimacy and comfort that I never realized before.

    Well, I better stop. I’ve taken up too much ground already!

    You can no doubt rebut me and I could rebut again but it is not my desire to have a match.

    Bless you brother Jack!

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  3. Hi Vee and Lorrie,

    Lorrie, I apologize if I appeared arrogant in the first two paragraphs of “this article” — (or were you speaking of the two paragraphs in “this article” of MacArthur’s as being arrogant)?

    Nonetheless I will not belabor JMac’s “Slave” book and his push for lordship faith but rather let you understand why JMac’s doctrine is considered erroneous by me and many others in Conservative Bible circles.

    Here are quotes from JMac that I and many more believe to be contrary to honest Biblical exegesis

    “Let me say again unequivocally that Jesus’ summons to deny self and follow him was an invitation to salvation, not . . . a second step of faith following salvation.” (Dr. John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus What is Authentic Faith? pp. 219.)

    “That is the kind of response the Lord Jesus called for wholehearted commitment. A desire for him at any cost. Unconditional surrender. A full exchange of self for the Savior.” (MacArthur, Ibid, p. 150.)

    “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 78.)

    “This is what Jesus meant when He spoke of taking up one’s own cross to follow Him. And that is why he demanded that we count the cost carefully. He was calling for an exchange of all that we are for all that He is. He was demanding implicit obedience–unconditional surrender to His lordship.” (MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 6.)

    In each case above JMac implies that to “Follow Him… implicit obedience… unconditional surrender to His lordship…” are requirements for salvation or maybe then you really aren’t doing enough to prove to others you are saved. How will one ever know if they are doing “enough”? That flies in the face of “For by Grace are ye saved… and not of works…” Ephesians 28-9). I have “tearful” Blog visitors who have seen the error of JMac-ism and are so relieved to find that their behavior does not affect either the gaining or keeping of their salvation. They understand God’s Amazing Grace and are then willing by His Grace to follow Him!

    We are saved by God’s Grace through our faith decision to trust Jesus Christ as Savior (without works) and then to serve Him, “(…we walk by faith, not by sight)” 2 Corinthians 5:7

    After trusting Christ, by God’s Grace, we have the opportunity and privilege to serve Him, not to be saved but because we already are.

    That is God’s Amazing Grace!!

    Vee thanks again for your hospitality and I pray God will bless you and Lorrie in your studies of God’s Word.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

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  4. Hi ex-preacherman,

    It’s funny how we interpret things that we read differently. I am reading ‘Slave’ and have read the above quotes. But I am reading it in a way that understands Grace and how my works will never save me.

    When I read the above, I see it being more about Jesus being my master, as I cannot have two. Perhaps I have read it too simply and missed MacArthur’s point altogether 🙂

    Let me assure you, it is only through Grace that I am counted as His and have been given eternal life.

    I will have to check out this whole “Lordship Salvation” issue more though. He is the potter and I am the clay and I may not be a perfect pot yet, that won’t happen till He comes again.

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  5. Dear Ex-preacherman,

    My reference to the two paragraphs were to the review you linked us to. I understood it to be written by Bruce Bauer? In any case, no apology necessary!! I may have expressed myself poorly 😛

    I’m glad you came back over. Honestly, I’m kind of scratching my head here a little. It’s like we are reading the same words but receiving it in completely different ways.

    I think wanting to obey Him, surrender to Him and be wholeheartedly committed to Him is a natural consequence of having received salvation through grace (alone). After all He has done for me, how could it not spring to overflowing from me to want to please Him. It’s not a matter of salvation. I’m grateful. I love Him. I know works are not tender for admittance to Heaven or a relationship with Him.

    I’m quite certain that my best works are filthy rags. I have faith in what Jesus accomplished for me. His blood bought me!

    In any case, MacArthur’s teachings do not come across to me as it does to you. Quite the opposite actually.

    Nevertheless, I have enjoyed our conversation a lot! When we all meet up in heaven one day we may just have a nice cup of tea and smile a bit about our views through this dark glass.

    Jesus is the way, truth and life!! Salvation is a free gift.

    Bless you Jack. Lorrie

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  6. Lorrie,

    That’s how I am reading it too! Go figure. I have done a little bit (and I do mean a little big) of research of this whole “Lordship Salvation” thing, and it seems to come from the Calvinist camp, right? Or am I way off base???

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  7. Dear Vee and Lorrie,

    Thanks for your kind comments to what must have seemed to you an abrupt and critical analysis of JMac.

    I have written extensively on my Blog about JMac and the error I (and many others) see. My appeal is simply for keen Biblical discernment as we study. If you wish you may study my research (and others) about LS and its origins on my Blog site. Just use the search bar and enter “MacArthur”. Especially read the comments — mostly pro but some con.

    YES, every believer should (Ephesians 2:10) want to serve our Savior in every way possible. To serve our Savior by Grace means we are constrained by His immeasurable Love.. not by legalist’s rules and regulations:
    “For the love of Christ constraineth [compels] us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

    We are to GROW in Grace — we do not trust Christ as Savior and immediately become spiritual giants.
    “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

    I am not answerable to JMac, Francis Chan (a protege’ of JMac), John Piper, Rick Warren or any other man — only the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. His Holy Spirit guides us into all Truth. Christ said:
    “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth….” John 16:13
    We simply should follow His leading.. not to be saved but because we are!

    I would like to see every believer in Jesus Christ witnessing the Gospel (clearly) on every street corner in America. But I don’t want for me or folks like JMac to be discouraging new believers into thinking that because they are not doing enough or “giving up everything for Jesus” they may not be saved. That is the impression that too many former followers of JMac (in tears) have told me. 1 John 5 13 (plus many other scriptures) tells us clearly the assurance that we can KNOW we have eternal life — is because we have believed in Jesus Christ (the only begotten Son of God) — NOT because we have given up everything for Him.

    And yes, Vee, most Lordship Salvation teachers are open and doctrinaire or maybe even closet Calvinists. I, having been raised unsaved in Calvinism and having dear family members and friends who dabble (or are immersed) in Calvinism, am fully aware of the damage it can cause. I trusted Christ as my Savior at age 35 after rejecting Calvinism and adopting atheism as my “religion.” Now, at age (almost) 82 I have had years to analyze the dangers of a teaching that says God chooses some for Heaven and they WILL believe and then abandoning others to a well deserved hell — with no choice to believe. JMac is a Calvinist, though at times he denies it and other times endorses the precepts.

    I do appreciate the conversation here and the kind attitude. Your love for your Savior is certainly evident in your writing. Please forgive me for my verbosity.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

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  8. Hello again Jack. I guess it boils down to impression then and I will leave off surmising that ours are different.

    Not to get another ball rolling, but I certainly do not consider Warren to be similar to MacArthur whatsoever! I did enjoy Chan’s Crazy Love though 🙂

    Bye Bye and blessings, Lorrie

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  9. Lorrie, your last note includes three of my “favorite” and most frequent blog subjects.
    And if you were not adversely affected by “Crazy Love” (as are many) then you are a strong, mature Christian and confident that your decision to trust Christ as your Savior is unshakable and unassailable.

    By and thanks again to you and Vee. See y’all in Heaven some day.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

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  10. Thanks everyone who has commented here on this blog. And everyone is commenting in the most gracious and patient. How lucky am I!

    It’s a funny thing because we can read things and depending what we are looking for, or what lens (whether it be the lens of Grace, or the lens of works) things will be understood differently. Perhaps even differently from even the author’s intention. Who knows.

    Even before I understood the two camps of Calvinism and Arminian/Wesleyan (or even knew that there were these two divisions)and when I read the bible I could see both free will and predestination in scripture. I couldn’t really reconcile the two or understand them both and how they worked together, but I knew both could be argued biblically. So, I thought to myself that these two seemingly opposing concepts must be held together in tension.

    One thing that I have noticed is that on both sides of the debate that it can tend towards hyperbolic rhetoric which serves no real purpose, in my mind anyway. I am thankful that this thread did not end or even gravitate towards that.

    Ex-preacher, you have certainly given me something to think about and perhaps to even look into a bit further, but like I said MacArthur’s book was and is being read through the eyes of someone who would not sit in the strict Lordship Salvation camp, or the Calvinist one.

    I think I will also have to reacquaint myself with the stages of salvation. Those being justification, sanctification and glorification. Back to basics I say. The gospel is meant to easy enough that even a child could understand it. And all these different camps, although interesting, (nothing like a good debate — iron sharpens iron and all that) I hope would be more agreeable on the basics than most would think?

    Anyway, thanks again to all you lovely readers of this personal blog and how you have all shared your thoughts with wonderful grace and understanding.

    Vee

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  11. Lorrie,

    Just a quick note. A friend sent me a quote in Chan’s book, Crazy Love. Please tell me if it is accurate and if you agree.
    Do you think that if I become lukewarm you will not see me in Heaven?

    Quote:
    In Chan’s book, Crazy Love, David Cook Pub., 2008, pp. 68-78, he creates a list of what he describes as his “profile of the lukewarm.” His descriptions are along these lines:

    1. people who say they love Jesus but only include him as a part of their lives; 2. people who are moved by stories about those who do what he calls, “radical things for Christ,” but they themselves do not do such things; 3. people who rarely share their faith with others for fear of rejection; 4. on page 78 he says, “Lukewarm People feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America.”
    After making his list of what he calls “Lukewarm People,” he then discards them like matchsticks all in one fell swoop on pp. 83-84. Chan says, “As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven.”

    That seems to contradict the doctrine of eternal salvation. Could you comment? Thanks.

    In Jesus Christ eternally – whether lukewarm or hot, Jack

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  12. Hi Vee

    Another good article.

    It’s such a shame that M Dehann has sided with Bell. As Jack stated Marty’s grandfather would be so upset. I wonder if this will lead to declining sales with the Dehann’s daily bread booklets?

    I was impressed with MacArthur’s expose of Bell.

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  13. Whoa…when Steve mentioned “Our Daily Bread” booklets, it finally clicked with me who this De Haan guy is (yeah, I’m that slow…Seriously, I never kept up with his ministry to begin with…just rarely hear the “OurDailyBread” minicasts on the radio now and then).

    Back in 2007, Lighthouse Trails had already noted that he was leaning toward contemplative authors. Here’s a link to an article about him:

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=2155

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    • Thanks for the link Pearl. I have never really been into “Our Daily Bread”, it relied to heavily on someone else to interpret scripture. I always wanted to know the context and what the test meant in the day it was written. But hey, that’s just me 😀

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  14. Hi vee

    Just came across another interesting critique of Bell’s theology, by kevin Harney on “Reflections on Heaven, Hell, Universalism, and Rob Bell’s Confused Theology” Apparently Kevin has been praying for years for God to bless Bells ministry but now has changed his view.

    just copy & paste into your browser for article.

    http://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/kevin-harney-reflections-on-heaven-hell-universalism-and-rob-bells-confused-theology-817.asp

    thanks

    Steve

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    • I have now read the review and oh boy… what a review it was. Rob Bell’s view is apostate and he really does need to know the God of the bible. He clearly does NOT know Him does he.

      Thanks for the link Steve 😀

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