Archive for the ‘emerging church’ Category

Universalism is not taught in Scripture

May 11, 2011

As even universalists have to admit:

It is best in fact to admit quite frankly that any view of the future destiny of [unbelievers] which is to be tolerable to us today must go beyond the explicit teaching of the New Testament….[This] does not really give us what we want, and it only leads to insincerity if we try to satisfy ourselves by artificial explanations of its language. And we are in the end on surer ground when as Christians we claim the right to go beyond the letter, since we do so under the irresistible leading of the moral principles of the New Testament and of Christ Himself.

C. W. Emmet’s, ‘The Bible and Hell’ (1917) quoted by Richard Bauckham

Of course, like modern universalists such as Rob Bell, Emmet had to impose a paradigm on the NT and ignore/downplay texts that did not ‘fit’. This reminds me of what Sherlock Holmes might say:

I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

source

The universalist twists the data to suit the universalist theory rather than adopt a theology that suits the facts of the NT texts.

Rob Bell’s god is a small god

April 29, 2011

Bell’s god is a small god, so bound by notions of radical free will that I wonder how Bell can be so confident God’s love will melt the hardest heart. If God’s grace is always, essentially, fundamentally, resistible (72, 103–4, 118–19), how do we know some sinners won’t suffer in their own hell for a million years?

Bell’s god may be all love, but it is a love rooted in our modern Western sensibilities more than careful biblical reflection. It is a love that threatens to swallow up God’s glory and holiness. But, you may reply, the Bible says God is love (1 John 4:16). True, but if you want to weigh divine attributes by sentence construction, you have to mention God is spirit (John 4:24), God is light (1 John 1:5), and God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). The verb “is” does not establish a priority of attributes. If anything, one might mention that the only thrice-repeated attribute is “holy, holy, holy.” And yet this is the one thing Bell’s god is not.

Kevin DeYoung, God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins”

The Liberal Jesus of Rob Bell

April 29, 2011

…Christ (says Bell) is (not) whatever you want him to be. Some Jesuses should be rejected, Bell says, like the ones that are “anti-science” and “anti-gay” and use bullhorns on the street (8). But wherever we find “grace, peace, love, acceptance, healing, forgiveness” we’ve found the creative life source that we call Jesus (156, 159).

Elsewhere, after describing a false Jesus “who waves the flag and promotes whatever values they have decided their nation needs to return to,” Bell offers the promising alternative: “the very life source of the universe who has walked among us and continues to sustain everything with his love and power and grace and energy” (156).

These [Eucharist] rituals are true for us, because they’re true for everybody. They unite us, because they unite everybody. These are signs and glimpses and tastes of what is true for all people in all places at all times—we simply name the mystery present in all the world, the gospel already announced to every creature under heaven. (157)

This is classic liberalism pure and simple, a souped-up version of Schleiermacher’s feeling of absolute dependence. This is all immanence and no transcendence. This is not the objective gospel-message of Christ’s work in history that we must announce. This is an existential message announcing a rival version of the good news, the announcement that you already know Christ and can feel him in your heart if you pay attention.

Kevin DeYoung, God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins”.

NB Bell has a ‘Jesus’ who just happens to espouse the same (left-wing) causes he does. Quelle Coincidence!

Bell’s Hell

April 29, 2011

So why do I say Bell is a universalist if he believes in hell? Because he does not believe hell lasts forever. It is a temporary “period of pruning” and “an intense experience of correction” (91). Bell’s hell is like purgatory except his “period of pruning” is for anyone, not just for Christians who die in a state of grace as Catholicism teaches. For Bell, this life is about getting ourselves fitted for the good life to come. Some of us die ready to experience God’s love. Others need more time to sort things out. Luckily, in Bell’s scheme, there is always more time. “No one can resist God’s pursuit forever because God’s love will eventually melt even the hardest hearts” (108).

Kevin DeYoung, God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins”

Rob Bell’s Scripture twisting

April 29, 2011

(interpreting the) parable of the prodigal son, Bell maintains that heaven and hell exist side by side. It’s not always clear what Bell thinks, but it seems he believes everyone goes to the same realm when they die; but for some people it is heaven, and for others it is hell (170). If you don’t accept God’s story about the world and resist his love, heaven will be hell for you, a hell you create for yourself. We are supposed to see this in Luke 15 where both brothers are invited to the same feast but one can’t enjoy it. Heaven and hell at the same party (176). To call this is a little stretch is like calling pro wrestling a little fake. Jesus told all three “lost” parables to explain why he was eating with “sinners” (Luke 15:2–3), not to posit a thoroughly un-Jewish notion that the afterlife is whatever you make of it. If the parable of the prodigal son teaches Bell’s theology of heaven-and-hell-at-the-same-time, then the Bible can teach anything Bell wants it to.

Kevin DeYoung, God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins”

The emerging church is the last rung for evangelicals falling off the ladder into liberalism

April 29, 2011

The emerging church is not an evangelistic strategy. It is the last rung for evangelicals falling off the ladder into liberalism or unbelief.

Kevin DeYoung, review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins

The emerging church is not an evangelistic strategy

March 21, 2011

The emerging church is not an evangelistic strategy. It is the last rung for evangelicals falling off the ladder into liberalism or unbelief.

Kevin DeYoung

Truth…could not be stated in propositional terms, but was whispered in the heart by the Spirit of Christ, source of that inward light dwelling in every man

December 3, 2009

(George Fox, founder of the Quakers, had unorthodox views)

Truth…could not be stated in propositional terms, but was whispered in the heart by the Spirit of Christ, source of that inward light dwelling in every man. Fox denied that the Scriptures were the final and revealed truth of God – his own message was a direct revelation from God.

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press 2008, p.126

He sounds like an emergent.

The Impersonal God of the Emerging Church

February 7, 2009

“What’s more, I’m not sure I believe in God exclusively as a person anymore either….I now incorporate a panentheist view, which basically means that God is “in all,” alongside my creedal view of God as Father, Son, and Spirit….As I see it, we are in God, here on earth. This is how our relationship is defined. God does not just have to be reached up to; he is here as the surrounding Spirit.” –Spencer Burke (A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity, p. 195)

To move ‘beyond’ personality is not to go higher, but lower. Personality is above impersonality. God is not raised up by ‘adding’ to his personality. I am above a plant or rock by virtue of my personality – they are lower by lacking the same. God is a greater person than we are – especially in our fallen state. But He is not beyond personality. He is supremely personal – the great ‘I am’ who exists as the eternal communing trinity of relationships.

The non-creedal creed of the Emerging Church

February 6, 2009

Statements of faith are about drawing borders, which means you have to load your weapons and place soldiers at those borders. It becomes an obsession to guard the borders. That is simply not the ministry of Jesus. It wasn’t the ministry of Paul or Peter. It stated to become the ministry of the early Church, and it abated somewhere in the Middle Ages and blew back to life in the time of modernity. For the short duration of time that I have on this planet to do my best to partner with God and build his kingdom, I don’t want to spend it guarding borders. I’d like to spend it inviting people into the kingdom. Statements of faith don’t do this. They’re a modernistic endeavor that I’m not the least bit interested in.

Tony Jones, Relevant magazine

So is the Mormon my brother (in the same sense that Jesus is Lucifer’s brother?!)? Is the Arian and the JW? If there are no boundaries, does the word ‘Christian’ mean anything? And is it worth being, specifically, a Christian at all?

Surely Jones’ use of the word ‘kingdom’ has a definition. And if a word has a definition it has a boundary. Sure there is semantic range, but semantic ranges have edges.