Just for the Bell of It…

4 Mar

So a fun little Bell quote for you:

“You have to be totally disconnected from the pain of the world to think that blogging is somehow a redemptive use of your time. I guess I have some strong thoughts on that.”

He said this in Relevant Magazine BTW…(which I love)…

But does anyone else suspect that the reason Bell doesn’t like bloggers is because they criticize him (I know that seems obvious)..but let me point out something to you…a whole lot of Bell’s congregation is made up of young people who grew up in gospel free, fundamentalist churches here in good ole’ GR. What does that mean you ask? Two things:

1. They were tired of dead, lifeless churches (which this town is full of).

2. They are most likely not very theologically astute, because after all, they grew up in Grand Rapids fundamentalist churches. Let’s face it most of the churches here teach a tired moralism (which is really just practical relativism) and never teach the Gospel. (Jesus anyone?)

So along comes Rob Bell, who lets face it, is more dynamic than David Koresh, and the young people flock to him like crazy because he seems to be what they are looking for..and because they are from nominally theological churches they assume that he is on the same page as, oh I don’t know, orthodoxy…I blame the churches for that one.

DA Carson expresses the idea like this:

In other words, he shows a little clip on one of his Nooma videos—on forgiveness, let’s say—that would be completely gospel-free to anybody who is Biblically illiterate.

But if you bring in your Christian assumptions on what forgiveness looks like—because you know what Christ was doing on the Cross—and you’re making the right confessions already, you read your Christian assumptions into that video and you won’t see just how empty it is of real substance because you brought all of your Christian catechism with you. (thanks to Kenneth for the quote)

Anyhoo that is who Bell is speaking to, and they are not going to criticize (who wants to be a pharisee). But here is the blogosphere he encounters people who dare disagree and whom he can’t silence so he hates on them…Interesting is all I am saying.

PS: I have noticed a lot of you who do (rightly) take on Bell’s thoughts don’t allow comments on your sites…I mean if you are going to say it, why not allow the comments?


20 Responses to “Just for the Bell of It…”

  1. Tony April 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    Does anyone like being criticized? I would hate it as well; but I think he can handle the criticism if it never moved personal! I have read some pretty hateful things that bloggers have said about him, and I think he is referring more to the hate speech on blogs than someone who genuinely disagrees with his theology, says so with grace and truth…but shows love and mercy for the man! Even your comments here say he is on the side of nominal and theologically challenged so called Christians who follow him because he is what they are looking for (I assume hinting they are not looking for God, maybe?) and then compare his charismata to that of an occult leader that got him and his whole group shot up by the ATF in Waco TX! What is that all about? I think you would have to agree that your speech at times is hateful at best and points a finger of judgment toward Rob Bell and others who think like him. This is not far from many of the reformed folks I have run into by the way. We are all heretics if we don’t hold to the TULIP like the “real christians” Not too mention, I have read some of the stuff that people say and criticize Rob Bell on and it is usually a pretty bad critique and far off from what he was originally saying. Everything I have seen on the Bull Horn Guy nooma critique has been way off, and I think only supported Rob’s point in the Nooma video. The Todd Friel fiasco on Youtube is somethign that reformed followers should be ashamed of, and try to erase it from You-Tube. He actually proved that his brand of evanelism was more like Rob desires to see, relationally…not from a higher place screaming the judgement and wrath of God from a good old fashioned bull-horn not caring one bit about the folks he is screaming at! Rob Bell never said you can’t sit down with a guy or a girl you just met and ask them some questions about sin, God, judgment, etc. Anyway, I think your critiques at times are worth hearing becasue God knows Rob doesn’t have all the answers, but keep it to the theology and stop harassing the man. Making fun of the style, glasses, and ways of a man are rooted in grade-school bullying dont you think?

  2. poopemerges April 2, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    Bell’s glasses are the one thing I do like about him…

    I totally disagree that the critiques are off…My suspicion is that you are interpreting Bell through your own Christian sub-culture instead of his own less than Christian universalist, non-biblicist perspective….hmmm that is what this post is about. Ironic.

    Secondly I am funny. Live with it. I am not hateful. although I do believe that Bell is dangerous…and people who love Jesus need to speak out.

    I am actually a Baptist, but you are right I am a reformed Baptist-ish type person, but it does make sense i guess to stereo-type and judge in a post opposing both. As Alanis would say: a little too ironic, doncha think.

  3. Tony April 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    I don’t think assuming your a reformed guy is stereotyping at all. It is clear from your choice of words, verbage, and style. So Be It. It’s not a negative thing, just is what it is.

    My interpretation of Rob Bell or anyone I listen to or read is never my “christian sub-culture” but my bible. But I guess stereo-typing me is not something you planned to do either? Just because I listen to things from Rob Bell, doesn’t make me a guy who swims in the not as christian sub culture. I think he has a lot of good things to offer, and I filter everything through the word.

    Most not all, but most of he critiques are off, the critiques don’t mention anything about a bull horn style, they just harp on the fact that Rob doesn’t like to use the words sin, judgement, etc. But if you listen to Bell, he uses those words all of the time…the point of the Nooma video is speaking out against screaming from the street corner in a megaphone or bullhorn how angry Gos is at you and you must repent of your sin because God is out to get those who don’t repent and trust in Jesus, etc. I don’t 100% disagree with the message, but the delivery sucks period! I was outside of a Rob Bell Gods Aren’t Angry deal… some guy looks me right in the face and says that I was going to hell because I honored my wife more than God, and I needed to repent or follow Rob Bell all the way to hell! How did that guy know I was not there to report about the talk, but heavily against Rob Bell and his teachings? How did that guy know one ounce of my heart, and that I somehow honored my wife more than God??? Anyway, my point…this bull-horn guy used poor judgement and taste in his delivery, words, and style but yet he firmly believes God is pleased with his ministry and that he is doing the will of God but yelling at me as I stood in line and held my wifes hand, which apparently to him and his crew was proof that I was on my way to hell! Yet, I think he is missing it, and he certainly missed everything he said about me!

  4. poopemerges April 2, 2008 at 10:53 pm #

    Tony: Yeah that stuff about the Bull Horn guys you encounter is crazy! I am not about that at all.

    BTW: I was saying that you stero-type reformed people when you said “this is jsut like most reformed people I have met” Not when you rightly noticed my reformed tendencies (in theology not in stuffiness I hope)

    BTW2: When Bell says that he is unwilling to say that Jesus is the only way to God and that God could save some people in other ways how does that filter through the bible?

    BTW3: I don’t even know who the Bull-horn Guy is I just thought he did a pretty accurate impression.

    BTW4: But if you thought that was mean enjoy the new on I just posted.

  5. Tony April 3, 2008 at 2:28 pm #

    Actually what I said was

    “This is not far from many of the reformed folks I have run into by the way. We are all heretics if we don’t hold to the TULIP like the “real Christians” ”

    I was simply drawing a connection to the attitude or posture taken by these guys defending the bull-horn guy tactics to that of others I have encountered, which is all fact! A stereo-type is saying that all reformed believers think this way. I realize they all don’t have these views and have even scene some of these folks back off from their eager “heretic hunting” But enough about stereo-typing, maybe we are both guilty!

    You asked – “When Bell says that he is unwilling to say that Jesus is the only way to God and that God could save some people in other ways how does that filter through the bible?”

    First, I have not heard this yet, where did you get it or hear it, please point me to it.
    Secondly this would be one of those cases that doesn’t line up with the bible and I would not endorse this type of teaching at all. But again, when I listen to most of what he says, this is not at all the posture he takes or teaches. He affirms the traditions of the Christian faith that teach Jesus as The Messiah, not as One of many avenues to God!

    I’ll check out the new post and get back to you!


  6. poopemerges April 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    Tony: It is a direct quote from the Grand Rapids press, the city that both Bell and I live in…in the religion section earlier this year.

    But I do not think that is his only departure…like when he says that people in Hell are forgiven, that seems to be in direct contrast to 1 John 1:9. Also his over realized eschatology is out of balance and un-biblical. Not to mention the fact that most of his purported “Jewish” facts are historically inaccurate a point made by numerous scholars.

    His conception of man seems to be that people are basically good. That does not it seems square with the bible.

    Beyond that he seems to have abandoned a balanced gospel of both proclamation of the Jesus with a hand to those in need for a purely social gospel.

  7. Tony April 4, 2008 at 1:42 pm #

    People in hell being forgiven; this would be held by anyone who is not a Limited Atonement supporter! The standard non reformed view of Jesus death and sacrifice to reconcile all to the father, wishing non would parish and calling all to eternal life, therefore his blood is shed for all, effective for forgivenss only for those who accept Him and repent!

    1 John is speaking of those who actively seek God to forgive sins, and unlike the Jewish audience who believes they must work at getting forgiven of sins by asking and doing the forgiveness dance of OT times, God as in Yeshua the Messiah is faithful to forgive those sins because of His righteousness alone. To me this doesn’t address limited atonement, going back to Verse 4 and 5 it addresses walking in the light of the gospel and not the darkness of the OT that says you have to work at getting forgiven and keep Yahweh happy!

    I have heard other “scholars” support some of the “jewish facts” though I am sure there is a middle road as there usually is in quarrels about historical facts, right and wrong in religion, etc.

    His conception of man, again doesn’t line up with Total Depravity of man as the reformed theology suggests and most others not reformed would generally say “if we are image bearers of God that upon creating man, God himself called His creation good, then even when sin has entered the world, I would assume that our image bearing ability and goodness factor still exists. Again, I would agree that not everything in us is good, and there is evil to be embraced by man, because we all have that ability and we all do of coarse! I just don’t buy the left side of Christianity that says there is nothing in us or about us as God’s creation that is good anymore! Therefore we can’t even accept Christ and the gospel unless He chooses for us, etc.

    I would argue that he is more balanced than most I have encountered. The church has largely let the government take over the role of social contributor to those in need, and gladly. My church helped one of it’s part time “staff members” get on welfare and food stamps! 1 year later she is still collecting:) As far as His evengelism vs. social gospel…of coarse there is a much greater lean towards the social and this may at times be out of balance…point taken. But again most churches I encounter are out of balance the other way so who is complaining! And if they are into evangelism, many churches are concerned about evangelism that leads more butts into the seats, which of coarse translates to more money!


  8. poopemerges April 4, 2008 at 3:09 pm #


    I think you are misrepresenting arminian theology and the concept of limited atonement…for instance I know lots of reformed people who do not believe in limited atonement. The issue of limit/unlimited atonement is not persay who is forgiven but rather whom Jesus died for. Most arminians would say that Jesus died for everyone, yet they would also quickly add this does not mean that everyone is saved. It is a issue of two sides of atonement: One is that Jesus died for everyone, two is that one must believe to have access to this atonement. I think most armininans (and others who do not believe in limited atonement…(which is a doctrine I do believe but am not going to die for by any means)… would not say that the people in Hell are forgiven but rather resisted God’s grace and his forgiveness. SO while Christ died for them, they are not in fact forgiven.

    Re: Our depravity, yes we retain the image of God is retained but it is broken beyond human repair, and there is no good in us (this is what the Bible teaches. But this is not a reformed view it is a Christian view. The opposite of this view is not arminianism it’s pelagianism.

    Re: Social v. Evangelism, I agree most churches are totally out of balance…and we need to do both, however i think we can agree that going to hell is a bigger deal than not having a good education (I use this example because education for the urban poor is my passion and my whole family teaches)..I would also point out that church like mars Hill only attract the rich and have plenty of money while churches like the one I pastor are in the ‘hood and have no money so do with that what you will…

  9. Tony April 4, 2008 at 4:31 pm #

    I think this has become more about semantics. I’m not sure anyone believes that there are a bunch of people in hell and truly forgiven by God, actually wearing Christ’s righteousness. I believe what Bell and others who talk like this are speaking of the fact that Christ died for all mankind, and turning to Him Christ alone activates that righteousness. If you don’t turn, then you’re not saved, forgiven, in heaven, etc; but it doesn’t negate the fact that Jesus took on the sins of the world! This is the general disagreement about limited atonement. We can argue about semantics if you like, but I was not misrepresenting anything in my opinion. Either way, I’m not an Armenian anyway, I’m a Christ follower.

    Sorry, I don’t buy the Reformed view of Total Depravity, and by the way this view (TD) was shared by Arminius, and many facets of early Arminianism. Of coarse you can’t find many today who carry the label of Arminian! Either way we will have to agree to disagree that this is not what the bible teaches. And Pelagius taught that the original sin of Adam and Eve did not affect all of humanity and our human nature; He believed through our good works and devotion to God, anyone could live a sinless life, basically on their own merit! And I would not agree with this position either. I affirm that all of human nature was tainted and broken because of Adam’s original sin; I also believe this to be the case without humans being labeled totally deprave of anything good! And I think if you listen to how Jesus spoke and what He says all throughout the gospels, it is clear that He never taught that all of humanity is evil with no good inside and an inability to choose anything good outside of the providence and direction of God himself regenerating us before we know it unto salvation!


  10. poopemerges April 4, 2008 at 5:21 pm #

    Bell says in VE to test his words…well this is what he said: “Heaven is full of forgiven people, Hell is full of forgiven people…” I can only take him at his word.

    On the rest: Well played. I disagree strongly but well said. It is important to realize that Total depravity does not mean that there is nothing left of the image of God in a person. So certainly there is beauty and honor to a man. T.D. does not man is without value.

  11. Tony April 7, 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    That is not how I’ve heard it broken down by others, I realize there are hyper forms of any theological viewpoint, but so many people I know in the reformed circles think this way.

    There is nothing in us good, period.

    I recieved an E-mail response one time from a friend who received a forward about God wanting to be our friends and get intimate with us or something, and I think it asked the question something like, “can God trust you” leaning on the fact that in this life you only get intimate and share things with friends and family you can trust, blah, blah, blah. It was not meant to be a theological dissertation, just something to encourage people, and I got ripped a new one for the E-mails assumption that there is anything good in any man, so that God would actually trust them, etc. It was all a bit extreme for me. I think these people were actually pretty offended that someone would suggest God might actually trust and believe in any man!

  12. poopemerges April 7, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    Tony: but what does it mean for God to “trust” us? I mean, he knows us. More than that he wants us. God knows the next time I will mess up and he knew every time I would mess up at the cross and he still died for me. God’s knowledge of me is perfect…he does not have to “trust” me. He knows me…and he loves me…and he wants me.


  13. Tony April 7, 2008 at 6:11 pm #

    I believe there is a level of trust…scripture says He entrusted us with the gospel message. Sure God can get glory anytime and anywhere He chooses including from the rocks…but He chooses to work through you and me. I believe this qualifies as some sort of trust. Again, it was taken from the hyper side of Calvinism that says God can’t trust any man because we are bad all the way around without any possibility of good!

    So I don’t think God has to trust me, I just think the relationship between me and God has some facet of trust in it.

    But I’m not hanging any theology on the statement that God must trust me 🙂

  14. logan June 11, 2008 at 1:35 am #

    I’ve been to more “Bell-hating” blogs that disabled comments than I have “Bell-loving” blogs that did…just thought I’d throw that out there.

    (But I commend you for allowing people to criticize your opinions because I feel if you’re going to say it, you should be open for discussion…because that’s what community is about.)

  15. poopemerges June 11, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    I agree…it is usually the Bell hating blogs that disable comments…a person who disables comments is a wimp..and they are afraid they can not defend what they say…

  16. Billy B. June 15, 2008 at 10:53 pm #

    I just think it’s funny to see how much time you people spend talking about each other. You say you follow an old prophet named Jesus, yet it is one another with which you are almost totally consumed.

    Why would anyone want to follow this Jesus when his own people are more concerned with each other than the teacher they claim to worship?

  17. poopemerges June 15, 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    And with what my friend are you consumed? I mean besides judging a person’s life and interest’s via the net?

    BTW I don’t think that anyone here is claiming to follow an “old prophet”

  18. Billy B. June 16, 2008 at 6:04 pm #

    I’m not sure I understand that response.

  19. poopemerges June 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm #

    I am not sure I understand you not understanding…

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