The following is a small sample of Rob Bell’s teachings found in his book, What Is The Bible.  His statements are given addressing three key Christian doctrines, the Bible, eternal punishment, and the substitutionary atonement of Christ.  His beliefs are patently non-Christian ideas.  This is demonstrated by the fact that his teachings contradict the statements of faith of numerous churches in our community including the Methodist Church, Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene, Roman Catholic Church, Christian Church, Southern Baptists, and Living Word Church.

 

On the Bible Rob Bell says:
“So the Bible is the word of God?  Yes. Lots of things are.  Wait – lots of things are the word of God? … So when you read the word of God, you find the writers of the word of God talking about lots of words of God? … What they’re saying is that they find this library of books to be a reliable record of what the ongoing, unfolding creative work of God looks like in the world.  But can’t you experience that through lots of books, lots of other words, lots of other experiences?  Of course.  That’s something the writers of the Bible say often.  It’s as if the writers keep saying, Open your eyes, look around, listen, and pay attention.  God is always speaking – the whole thing is a word.” p.266

“So one of the main points of the library of books that some refer to as the word of God is that there are lots of words of God and you can and should listen to them all?  Exactly.” p.267

“Pick a random passage.  Jump in.  Do your best to read it without any ideas about God entering the picture.  That’s what you have.  So when you read that ‘God told them to kill everyone in the village,’ someone wrote that.  That’s how someone understood that event.  Don’t drag God into it…What you’re reading is someone’s perspective that reflects the time and the place they lived in.  It’s not God’s perspective – it’s theirs.” p.295

Bell teaches that many different books and messages outside of the Bible are all, equally the word of God.  Yet he also teaches that the words in the Bible are not God’s words but people’s words.  Bell not only contradicts himself but at the same time also contradicts the statements of faith of numerous churches:

The Methodist Church
“We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God…Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to be made an article of faith”

The Assemblies of God
“The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.”

The Church of the Nazarene
“That the Old and New Testament Scriptures, given by plenary inspiration, contain all truth necessary to faith and Christian living.”

The Roman Catholic Church
“God is the author of Sacred Scripture…the books of the Old and the New Testaments”

The Christian Church
“We believe in the Bible—God’s Holy Word, Scripture.  We believe God inspired the autographs (original writings) of the Scripture and those autographs were consequently without error.  …We accept the Bible as the final authority for all matters of faith and practice”

The Southern Baptist Convention

“The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man…the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried.”

Living Word Church
“We believe that the Bible is the inspired and only infallible authoritative Word of God.”

 

On the Christian doctrine of hell and eternal punishment Rob Bell says

“Did God reject God’s people?  By no means!  Interesting isn’t it?  Because often people read [Romans] chapter 9 and the bits about wrath and say, See?  Some people are objects of wrath, destined for the trash heap!  They’ve rejected God and they’re gonna burn!”

“But if you keep reading, that’s exactly the thing that Paul insists he isn’t saying.  He talks about their full inclusion.” p.256  …”That everybody ultimately resides in the goodness of this God.” p.257

Bell teaches that no one will experience God’s punishment in hell.  This is the non-Christian idea of universalism, contradicting the TCS statement of faith and statements of faith of many churches.

The Methodist Church
“We believe all men stand under the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ, both now and in the last day. We believe in the resurrection of the dead; the righteous to life eternal and the wicked to endless condemnation.”

The Assemblies of God
“There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

The Church of the Nazarene
“That the finally impenitent are hopelessly and eternally lost.”

The Roman Catholic Church
“Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God’s grace as nothing be condemned…By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one’s works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.”

The Christian Church
“We believe the Bible teaches that man, created by God, willfully sinned against God and is consequently lost and without hope apart from Jesus Christ.”

The Southern Baptist Convention
“The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment.”

Living Word Church
“We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and lost; those who are saved unto the resurrection of life and those who are lost unto damnation.”

 

On the atonement of Jesus Rob Bell says

“God didn’t need to kill someone to be “happy” with humanity.  What kind of God would that be?  Awful.  Horrific.  What the first Christians did was interpret Jesus’ death through the lens of the sacrificial system”… p.245  “God didn’t set up the sacrificial system.  People did.  The sacrificial system evolved as humans developed rituals and rites to help them deal with their guilt and fear.” p.244

Bell teaches that the substitutionary atonement of Jesus to save sinners from God’s wrath on their sins is false.  He calls it “awful” and “horrific.”  This is a non-Christian idea that contradicts the statement of faith of

The Methodist Church
“We believe God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The offering Christ freely made on the cross is the perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, redeeming man from all sin, so that no other satisfaction is required.”

The Assemblies of God
“The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare…His substitutionary work on the cross”

The Church of the Nazarene
“That the atonement through Jesus Christ is for the whole human race; and that whosoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin.”

The Roman Catholic Church
“Jesus’ violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God’s plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: “This Jesus (was) delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.”

The Christian Church
“We believe the Bible teaches that salvation—the forgiveness of sins—is only by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ”

The Southern Baptist Convention
“He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.”

Living Word Church
“We believe in the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, His bodily resurrection”

 

In the things quoted above I hope to point out the following:
1) The conflicting matters above facing believers in the community are not at all about differing denominations.  Rather they are about Rob Bell contradicting virtually all denominations.  He, himself, does not comprise a denomination unto himself to be included amongst and respected as one of many other denominations.

2) Rob Bell’s teachings are non-Christian ideas.  Though he may call himself a Christian while espousing these beliefs he rather sets himself apart from the rest of Christendom.  (Of course Bell is not alone in believing these things.  There are others.)

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