Archive for the ‘Rob Bell’ Category

I said years ago that these EC rebels against the final authority of the Word of God in the Bible are neo-Gnostics whose personal practice of corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism has deluded them into a quiet, but smug, arrogance where they feel they’re just a little better than you are, because they know; and well, you don’t. I don’t believe Bell would ever think he’s wrong; but he is.(source)

Please visit Apprising Ministries to read the full article: COULD ROB BELL BE WRONG?

We here at DefCon (as well as our brothers and sisters at other sites, such as Ken Silva and Ingrid Schlueter) use the written Word of God as the rule and basis for everything we believe about God and how one is to worship Him. For that, we are constantly accused of being “Pharisees” by those who would lead the Body of Christ away from the clear teachings of Scripture, and into areas which are questionable (at best) and/or heretical (at worst).

Well, here’s my question–what exactly does it mean to be a “Pharisee”? Are we justly accused as Pharisees by the Seeker-Driven™/Purpose-Driven™, “Let’s all just get along in unity” church-goer who does not dare speak for fear that it may offend someone? Or is there a more accurate description of a Pharisee? Let us examine the issue.(source)

Please visit Defending.Contending to read the rest of this well written article that explains from the Bible the characteristics of a Pharisee.

You’re likely aware that the online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries has shown you the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—that morphed into Emergence Christianity (EC) was a creation of Leadership Network right along with it Purpose Driven/Seeker Driven Pope Rick Warren. In Emerging Towards Convergence Christian researcher Sarah Leslie at Herescope explains:

We know that the current Emergent Church is a marketing phenomenon, set up as an official movement by Bob Buford’s Leadership Network, a historical fact which we documented in a series of Herescope posts in 2005 and 2006.[2] From its very inception in the 1980s Leadership Network imported a number of leading New Age business “gurus” as “experts” – holding nebulous (if any!) Christian credentials. (Online source)

In recent pieces like Did Brian McLaren Overplay His Hand? and Brian McLaren Invites You On His Quest To Destroy Christianity I’ve shown you that with his new book A New Kind of Christianity (ANKoC) McLaren, now a Living Spiritual Teacher alongside such as Deepak Chopra, the Dalai LamaThich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, and Marianne Williamson, has come out of the closet, as it were, and has all but laid out his reimagined i.e. new form of Progessive Christianity aka liberal theology that so many in the EC actually adhere to as well.

With this in mind I point you to an important post from Chris Rosebrough, host of Fighting for the Faith on Pirate Christian Radio, who’s also a contributor to AM’s sister outreach Christian Research Network. Rosebrough begins his piece at Extreme Theology by informing us:

Rick Warren, Bob Bufford and Bill Hybels are the Druckerite “trinity”. All three of these men were personally mentored by the late business guru Peter Drucker and these three men more than any others are responsible for innovating the church by purposely changing congregations from a pastoral leadership model to a CEO / Innovative Change Agent leadership model. All of these innovations were strategically crafted under the careful eye of Peter Drucker. And all of these innovations were incubated, introduced and injected into the church through the coordinated efforts of Drucker’s disciples through their different but intimately connected organizations; Leadership Network, the Purpose Driven Network and the Willow Creek Association.

What many people don’t realize is that the Emerging Church is a product created by and promoted by the Druckerites.

If you don’t believe me then it is time for you to listen to or re-listen to my interview with Doug Pagitt regarding the genesis of the Emerging Church. Pagitt provides us with an expert insiders look at how the Emerging Church came into being and got off of the ground. What you will discover is that without the Druckerites there may have never been an ‘emerging church’. The Druckerites formed, bankrolled and promoted the Emerging Church much the same way a music marketing company might form and promote a boy band like the Backstreet Boys or N Sync.

Here’s the interview… (Online source)

You can listen to Rosebrough’s interview with quasi-universalist Emerging Church leader Doug Pagitt, as well as read in the rest of his article, right here.

See also:

BRIAN MCLAREN CONTINUES TO BLUNDER

PUTTING BRIAN MCLAREN IN HIS PLACE

BRIAN MCLAREN COMMENDS FRIEND TONY JONES

TONY JONES, THE EMERGING CHURCH AND PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY

DISSENTION GROWING AROUND THE EMERGING CHURCH

EMERGENT PAIN AND DISCORD IN THE EMERGING CHURCH

APPRISING MINISTRIES WITH A PEEK AT THE COMING SOTERIOLOGY OF EMERGENCE CHRISTIANITY

18 Now the birth of Jesus 1Christ was as follows: when His amother Mary had been 2betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was bfound to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned 1ato send her away secretly.

20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “aJoseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for 1the Child who has been 2conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

21 “She will bear a Son; and ayou shall call His name Jesus, for 1He bwill save His people from their sins.”

22 Now all this 1took place to fulfill what was aspoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “aBehold, the virgin shall be with bchild and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name 1Immanuel,” which translated means, “cGod with us.”

24 And Joseph 1awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,

25 1but kept her a virgin until she agave birth to a Son; and bhe called His name Jesus. -Matt 1:18-25 NASB

What would Christmas be like without the virgin Mary? I’m not speaking in Roman Catholic terms that uplift Mary to a status of worship, but rather I’m referring to her as the virgin mother of Christ. There are some who belittle the virgin birth as something that is not necessary for the Christian to believe. This rank heresy is floating around many churches today heralded by the ever-changing Seeker Sensitive Purpose Driven Church for the Carnal Nature of Mankind. Observe what Rob Bell has to say concerning the virgin birth.

“What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? But what if, as you study the origin of the word ‘virgin’ you discover that the word ‘virgin’ in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word ‘virgin’ could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being ‘born of a virgin’ also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse? What if that spring were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart?…If the whole faith falls apart when we reexamine and rethink one spring, then it wasn’t that strong in the first place, was it?”

He asks a lot of “what ifs” in his statement as he proceeds to undermine the authority of the Holy Scriptures. Out of one mouth Rob Bell says he believes in the virgin birth, but out of his other mouth he says it’s not really that important. I want to examine, using the Scriptures, why Rob Bell is dead wrong.

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our Christian faith. If Jesus was not conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit , then what makes Jesus any different than any other prophet or man?

The Bible clearly states that Mary was a virgin until after Jesus was born. Matthew 1:24-25

If we take Rob Bell’s advice and follow his wisdom, then our Christian faith is nothing more than a bunch of stories based upon myths to create an entertaining story of redemption that only serves to leave us to question everything about Christianity. We are left to sort out what is the truth and what is myth when we read the Bible. We are advised to question the very Word of God and come to our own conclusions about what God really meant to say in His Word.

If Mary was not a virgin and Jesus was conceived in the same manner as you and me, then we have a problem because we have no Messiah. No virgin birth means the following:

  • No salvation
  • No foundation
  • No hope
  • No Gospel
  • The Bible cannot be trusted fully.

If any pastor recommends or reads after Rob Bell, it is in your best interest to leave that church. The poison of Rob Bell and all those who teach/defend this heresy is toxic to all who are exposed to it. Any pastor who does not have the discernment to separate and warn the church about this heresy does not need to be in the pulpit/stage. Those in the ever-changing Emergent Church are all too silent about Rob Bell and his heresies.

If Rob Bell has his way, then the virgin birth is a matter of opinion based upon myths. If our Christian faith rests upon the interpretations of men like Rob Bell to judge what is truly God’s Word and what God really meant to say, then why should we trust the Bible at all? Why not just substitute Velvet Elvis:Repainting the Christian Faith for the Bible since Rob Bell is so enlightened?

We must stand up and call these heretics out by name and mark those who compromise the truth just to add numbers to the church. We must continue to follow 2 Timothy 4:1-3 and Acts 17:10-11

2 Peter 2:1-3 (New American Standard Bible)

The Rise of False Prophets
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;

3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.


1I.e. The Messiah

aMatt 12:46; Luke 1:27

2The first stage of marriage in Jewish culture, usually lasting for a year before the wedding night, more legal than an engagement

bLuke 1:35

1Or to divorce her

aDeut 22:20–24; 24:1–4; John 8:4, 5

aLuke 2:4

1Lit that which

2Lit begotten

aLuke 1:31; 2:21

1Lit He Himself

bLuke 2:11; John 1:29; Acts 4:12; 5:31; 13:23, 38, 39; Col 1:20–23

1Lit has happened

aLuke 24:44; Rom 1:2–4

aIs 7:14

bIs 9:6, 7

1Or Emmanuel

cIs 8:10

1Lit got up

1Lit and was not knowing her

aLuke 2:7

bMatt 1:21; Luke 2:21

Matt 1:18-25 NASB

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Ken Silva has another good blog about Rob Bell. I appreciate all the Mr. Silva does to stand up for the truth and contend for our faith.

Please visit Apprising Ministries and support this ministry:

http://apprising.org/2009/11/rob-bell-man-is-object-of-god%E2%80%99s-faith/

“These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.” (Psalm 50:21 )

Emerging god But A Bigger Version Of Man

The following Apprising Ministries piece concerning Rob Bell, the Elvis of the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church de-formation of the Christian faith—now morphing into Emergence Christianity—is adapted with permission from Rob Bell’s Abstract “Elvis”: A Critique of Velvet Elvis, a Critical Issues Commentary article by Bob DeWaay, pastor of  Twin City Fellowship.

Previously in John MacArthur: Existential Neo-Orthodoxy Denies Sola Scriptura I quoted Dr. MacArthur from his excellent book Reckless Faith: When The Church Loses Its Will To Discern:

Neo-orthodoxy is the term used to identify an existentialist variety of Christianity. Because it denies the essential objective basis of truth—the absolute truth and authority of Scripture—neo-orthodoxy must be understood as pseudo-Christianity… Neo-orthodoxy’s attitude toward Scripture is a microcosm of the entire existentialist philosophy: the Bible itself is not objectively the Word of God, but it becomes the Word of God when it speaks to me individually.

In neo-orthodoxy, that same subjectivism is imposed on all the doctrines of historic Christianity. Familiar terms are used, but are redefined or employed in such a way that is purposely vague—not to convey objective meaning, but to communicate a subjective symbolism.

The above is critically important background as we pick up the discussion to follow below; DeWaay has just finished pointing out that, while Bell himself doesn’t use the term “neo-orthodoxy” to describe his view of the Bible, “his position on Scripture echoes it.” DeWaay then shares with us:

The most egregious error in Velvet Elvis is found in the section where Bell offers many details about the nature of rabbinical instruction and discipleship in Jesus’ day. Much of his information about Jewish practices is interesting and accurate. But his application of the material is shockingly unbiblical. His error is to assume that since Jesus was Jewish and was a rabbi, that therefore almost everything that was descriptive about Jewish rabbis of His day is true about Him. This is a de facto denial of the uniqueness of Christ.

For example, in a section where Bell describes Jewish education and educational techniques, Bell misquotes a Scripture: “Jesus later says to his disciples, ‘Remember, everything I learned I passed on to you’” (emphasis his; he footnotes John 15:15).[1]  He then asks, “Did Jesus go to school and learn like the other Jewish kids his age?” [2] That is not the point of John 15:15! Here is what the passage says: “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). The Greek said “heard” not “learned.” Furthermore, his learning was from the Father with whom John claimed Jesus pre-existed (John 1:1). Jesus was no typical Rabbi. (Online source)

One of the problems with what Bell’s preaching is that he often takes sources concerning third century Jewish rabbinic practices and then reads them back into the time of Jesus, as if these traditions were actually taught in the first century. However, this is to assume a lot; and in addition, DeWaay is also correct in that EC teachers like Bell so over-emphasize the humanity of Christ Jesus of Nazareth that they all but obscure His Deity in the process. Yet Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus was the monogenes (Greek), which carries the meaning “one-of-a-kind” i.e. “unique” Son of God.

DeWaay then continues deconstructing Bell’s mystic-based myths:

Bell assumes that Jesus’ relationship to His disciples must be also of the same sort that was typical between rabbis and disciples of that day. But that assumes too much and fails to account for what the Bible teaches. For example, in the narrative where Jesus tells them to “drop their nets,” Bell assumes that therefore Jesus sees some sort of ability in them: “Of course you would drop your net. The rabbi believes you can do what he does. He thinks you can be like him.” [3] That is a very man-centered interpretation that assumes that Jesus believes in innate human ability rather than His sovereign power to transform.

Because ordinary rabbis took the best students based on certain criteria does not mean that Jesus did the same. For example, the commission to be made “fishers of men” in Luke 5 came after a miraculous catch of fish caused Peter to say, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man.” This is likely an allusion to Isaiah’s call in Isaiah 6. Isaiah saw God’s glory and was convicted of his sinfulness. Peter followed suit. This was no ordinary rabbi that Peter encountered. (Online source)

No Matter What Judaism Was In His Time God The Son Was No Mere First Century Rabbi

Jesus was most certainly human; however, the Master was also God and, unlike you and me, His communion with the Father was not clouded by a sin nature. And God the Holy Spirit tells us through His vessel Luke that something preceded Jesus told some of His disciples to drop their nets:

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles. (Luke 6:12-13, NASB)

And further, in His high priestly prayer Jesus informs us that these men were not at all chosen by Christ because of any innate human ability, but rather, were given to Him by God the Father:

“I have revealed You to those whom You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me and they have obeyed Your Word. Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You.” (John 17:6-7)

With all of this understood, now you’ll be better able to see that DeWaay is dead-on-target as he Biblically topples the man-centered musings of Rob Bell:

One of the videos I saw of Bell preaching was about this topic of rabbis and disciples. After a very well articulated discussion of rabbinic practices, Bell came to the conclusion that the main point is that we must have faith in ourselves because Jesus believes in us. WHAT? Man is the object of God’s faith? Bell makes the same point in his book, discussing the incident of Jesus walking on the water and Peter starting to do the same. Here is Bell’s interpretation: “And Jesus says, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ Who does Peter lose faith in? Not Jesus; Jesus is doing fine. Peter loses faith in himself.” [4] That is very bad exegesis. Furthermore, Peter did have faith in himself later on and it was a bad thing: “Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You’” (Matthew 26:35a). We all know what happened.

Throughout the gospels, “great faith” or “little faith” had to do with people’s belief about Christ. For example, the centurion who did not consider himself “worthy” for Christ to come to him had a very high estimation of Jesus’ authority (Luke 7:2 – 10). He had “great faith” according to Jesus. His faith was in Christ, not himself.

According to Bell, what frustrates Jesus is “When his disciples lose faith in themselves.” [5] Bell makes a serious error when he assumes that when an ordinary rabbi chooses disciples based in his perception of their own abilities and potential to be like the rabbi himself that, therefore, Jesus must have had faith in the abilities and capabilities of His disciples. But this is not the case. No one will ever be conformed to the image of Christ because of his own innate human abilities. Bell’s humanistic teachings disregard the Biblical doctrine of human sinfulness and inability.

Bell makes it clear that we are not misunderstanding his point:

God has an incredibly high view of people. God believes that people are capable of amazing things. I have been told that I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. [sic] But what I am learning is that Jesus believes in me. I have been told that I need to have faith in God. Which is a good thing. [sic] But what I am learning is that God has faith in me. [6]

Is man the object of God’s faith? Here is God’s testimony about man:

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one. (Romans 3:9 – 12)

In John 2:24, 25 it says this: “But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man.” The word “entrusting” is pisteuo_ in the Greek, the word “to believe.” John 2:23 shows that this lack of faith that Jesus had in man is applied to believers. The reason for not trusting or believing in men was Jesus’ knowledge of the inner nature of man (anthro_pos, humanity). So most decidedly Jesus does not have faith in man.

We have to conclude that Bell is leading people away from the faith once for all delivered to the saints and toward a man-centered faith that believes in self as the appropriate object of faith and not to God Himself as the ONLY object of faith.

________________________________________________________________________________
Endnotes:

1. Rob Bell Velvet Elvis – Rethinking the Christian Faith, (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 2005), 128
2. Ibid. Bell leaves this question unanswered for his readers to ponder.
3. Ibid. 131.
4. Ibid. 133.
5. Ibid. 134.
6. Ibid.

See also:

THE GOSPEL-LESS GOSPEL OF ROB BELL

IS ROB BELL EVANGELICAL?

ROB BELL ABSOLUTELY WRONG ABOUT SCRIPTURE

THROUGH ROB BELL “THE GREAT ENLIGHTENED ONES” TELL US MAN HAS DIVINE GREATNESS

RANK HERESY BEING PREACHED AT MHBC OF ROB BELL

SHANE HIPPS, CO-PASTOR WITH ROB BELL, SAYS ALL RELIGIONS VALID

ROB BELL, PETER ROLLINS, AND QUEERMERGENT’S ADELE SAKLER

Screen shot 2009-11-08 at 6.35.50 PM

Rob Bell is a heretic. There is no way to sugar coat the fact that this man teaches rank heresy that needs to be exposed by more Christians who value and love the Lord Jesus Christ. I am personally alarmed at the number of Christians who simply stay silent about heretics like Rob Bell and the men/women who promote him.

Here is blog from Pastor Ken Silva. Please visit his blog and watch the video. http://apprising.org/2009/11/the-gospel-less-gospel-of-rob-bell/

Yesterday, as of this writing, Dr. James White of the excellent apologetics work Alpha & Omega Ministries tweeted the following concerning Rob Bell, the Elvis of the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC):

So you think @realrobbell would direct me to a listing of his sources for his “What is the Gospel” video? Esp. his claims about ekklesia? (Online source)

Below is the video to which Dr. White refers:

http://www.viddler.com/explore/GoodNewsTo/videos/12/

Earlier in the Apprising Ministries post Deconstructing The Gospel-less Gospel Of Rob Bell I included the segment of the Fighting for the Faith podcast where apologist Chris Rosebrough, Captain of Pirate Christian Radio, does a serious and thorough deconstruction of the gospel-less gospel preached by EC icon Rob Bell in the above video.

Rosebrough is right when he says:

Not only are there doctrinal errors in here; there are historical errors in here, and he’s engaging in something here called deconstructionism. This is a very, very dangerous “gospel” that he’s preaching. And I am not going to back off from my assessment; I’ll tell you ahead of time, this is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not the Gospel that the Apostles preached. This is something completely different…

I am willing, at this point, to stand by my assessment; unless I hear otherwise from Rob Bell, which I seriously doubt, I’m going to basically make the charge this is not Christianity. This is a rehashed liberalism, if you would; kind of an interesting spin on liberalism, the liberal social gospel, if you would. This is seriously, seriously, dangerous and heretical stuff…

And to make it easier for you to be like the Bereans ala Acts 17:11, following below is a transcript of the video in question:

Sometime in the 1st century around the year 30A.D. a movement was started by a group of Jews who insisted that their rabbi, a man named Jesus from the Galilee region in Israel, had risen from the dead after being crucified by the Roman Empire. They claimed that after His resurrection they had seen Him and that they had had conversations with Him and had eaten meals with Him.

And then they said that He had ascended to heaven, and that someday He would return. Now, the world at this time was ruled by the Roman Empire; this giant, military, global superpower, from England to India, the Roman Empire ruled the world.

And one of the most popular gods of the Roman Empire was the god Mithra. Mithra’s followers believed that Mithra has been born of a virgin, that he was a mediator between God and humans, and that Mithra had ascended into heaven. Another popular religion at this time centered around the god Attis. The followers of Attis believed that Attis had been born of a virgin; and each spring they gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Attis.

Which takes us back to the Roman Empire, which was ruled by a succession of Emperors called Caesars. The first one, Julius Caesar, when he died, a comet appeared in the sky and people said: “Well, of course, that’s Julius Caesar, the Son of God, ascending to the right hand of the gods of heaven.”

Soon after this Julius Caesar’s adopted son, Caesar Augustus came to power, and Caesar Augutus believed that he was the Son of God sent by the gods to Earth to bring about a universal reign of peace and prosperity. One of his popular propaganda slogans was: “There is no other name under heaven by which people can be saved than that of Caesar.” Caesar inaugurated a 12 day celebration of his birth called the Advent of Caesar.

Another popular phrase at the time, people would literally greet each other on the street by saying “Caesar is Lord”. So, in the first century, to claim that your god had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven; well, it just wasn’t that unique. The claims of these first Christians weren’t really anything new.

Everybody’s god had risen from the dead. What makes yours so special? Now, these first Christians believed that Jesus’ resurrection had implications for the entire universe. Their tradition had taught them that the world is broken and desperately in need of repair and that at some point in the future, God was going to put it all back together. Now, for them, this future restoration had nothing to do with leaving this world, it was all about restoration, the renewing and the reclaiming of this world.

And so they saw in Jesus’ Resurrection the beginning of this universe-wide movement to put it all back together. Well, this, of course, brought them into direct conflict with the Roman Empire, because remember, for the Caesars, it was all about Caesar’s belief that he was making a new and better world through his power, through his armies, and through his wealth.

And so when Caesar wanted to send out a message to let everybody know of his latest military conquest or his latest accomplishments, he would send out a royal pronouncement telling the masses of his latest achievements. These pronouncements were called in the Greek language “evangelions.” An “evangelion” was like a “gospel” or a “good news.” In English “evangelion” spells “evangelical.”

Now,these first Christians believed very passionately that the world was not made better through military power and political coercion. The Gospel they were living had nothing to do with using political force to force people to live according to your laws. For them, this Gospel was about serving the world, especially those on the underside of the Empire. For them, it was about serving not ruling.

And so they took this Empire propaganda term “gospel,” and they used it to describe this new world that Jesus and His followers were making right under the nose of the Empire. Because their way, the way of Jesus, was totally opposed to the way of Rome. And so, when we read accounts of how they lived, we read they shared their possessions, they fed the hungry, and they carried each other’s burdens.

Well, it’s because the Gospel for them was a whole way of life. A whole new world, right in the midst of this one. Now, Caesar had a particular word that was used for a city or a village or a province that worshipped Caesar as the Son of God, that acknowledged Caesar as Lord. So Caesar would conquer, with his armies, a new land and then demand that all of the people would confess “Caesar is Lord.”

If people didn’t, well, then they were crucified as a way of showing everybody what happens when you refuse to submit to the power of the Empire. But if a group of people did, if a city or a village of a region did acknowledge and worship Caesar as the Son of God, Lord, if they did accept Caesar as their savior, then the area became a worshipping center of the Caesar. These worshipping centers were called, in the Greek language, “ekklesias.”

The word “ekklesia” translates in English, “church.” And so these first Christians took this empire propaganda term “ekklesia,” and they used it to describe their gatherings, the ones where they confessed “Jesus is Lord”. Well, obviously, the way they were living it raised all sorts of questions for those around them. Who do you believe?

Caesar, who thinks that a new world, a better world, is made through his brut military and political power, by forcing people to do what he says? Or Jesus, who invites you to make a new and better world through loving acts of compassion and generosity? Caesar, who killed Jesus on an execution stake, or God, who raised Jesus from the dead? Whose way do you think is better? Who do you think is Lord? Jesus or Caesar? Whose kingdom do you find more compelling?

For them, the Gospel was an invitation to a whole new way of life. And they lived this way because they had this profoundly mystical understanding of what they were doing in their lives. They called themselves “the body of Christ.” And they believed that in their communities, in these loving, compassionate, generous, peace-loving communities, they believed that Jesus was present in a way that went beyond words.

So they’d invite people to join them, to eat with them, to celebrate with them, to suffer with them, and then they’d ask them, after they’d seen the hungry fed, the lonely loved, and the poor honored, they’d ask the people, “Well, do you think Jesus is here?” Or, more specifically, “Who do you think is Lord? Who’s making a better world, Caesar or Jesus?”

They believed that a church was a living, breathing display of a whole new world God was bringing about, right here, right now. Because some people, some people are fierce with reality, aren’t they? They don’t have to spout off about how they’re right and everybody else is wrong because there is something going on inside of them so powerful, so tangible, you can’t help but ask questions. You’re dying to know why they are the way they are. You want them to explain the reason for the hope that’s within them.

It’s because when you’re around people like this, you have this sense that you’ve in some way been with Jesus, and that is church. This group of people who by their compassion, their generosity, the grace that they extend to others, you find yourself believing when you’re around them, that God hasn’t given up on the world. That’s the Gospel. That’s it.

The Gospel is the good news that God hasn’t given up on the world, that the tomb is empty and that a giant resurrection rescue is underway and that you can be a part of it. And so, yes, this has a deeply personal dimension to this. Jesus is saving me. He’s saving me from my sins, from my mistakes, from my pride, from my indifference to the suffering of the world around me, from my cynicism and despair.

The brokenness I see in the world around me is true of my own soul, and so He’s resuing me moment by moment, day by day, because God wants to put it all back together. You, me, the whole world. And so He starts deep inside each of us with our awareness that we need help, that we need saving, that we need rescuing.

And then He begins to show us, step by step, what it looks like to put flesh and blood on this Gospel. Because we all fall short, and that’s the beautiful part. Broken, flawed, vulnerable people like you and me are invited to be the hands and feet of a Jesus who loves us exactly as we are and yet loves us way too much to let us stay that way. I believe. I believe because I see. I see the Resurrection all around me.

If people only had your life and they were asked the question: “Has Jesus risen from the dead?”, how would they answer? Has He? May you be a “yes” to the question “Has Jesus risen from the dead?” And may you come to see, may you understand, that you are the good news. You are the Gospel.

See also:

IS ROB BELL EVANGELICAL?

ROB BELL ABSOLUTELY WRONG ABOUT SCRIPTURE

THROUGH ROB BELL “THE GREAT ENLIGHTENED ONES” TELL US MAN HAS DIVINE GREATNESS

RANK HERESY BEING PREACHED AT MHBC OF ROB BELL

SHANE HIPPS, CO-PASTOR WITH ROB BELL, SAYS ALL RELIGIONS VALID

SILENCE SHANE HIPPS

SHANE HIPPS EXPOSED

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Screen shot 2009-11-07 at 9.00.30 AMTaken from: http://apprising.org/2009/11/outlaw-preachers-and-the-emerging-church/

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 4, ESV)

Warning: Apostasy In Your Mirror Closer Than You Think

In posts like Meet Outlaw Preachers and Communion With Outlaw Preacher Khad Young recently Apprising Ministries has introduced you to a rather rapscallion bunch, who’ve crowned themselves outlaw preachers and who are now slithering up all around head Outlaw, gay affirming “pastor” Jay Bakker. As I previously pointed out, this growing, largely Biblically illiterate, group of  *cough* “preachers” is currently quite busy Turning God’s Grace Into An Idol.

For more on what is meant by that the interested reader is referred to ELCA, Gospel Reductionism, And Homosexuality; but simply, these “out” laws actually end up as “no” laws. The point being, their message over-emphasizes the grace of God neglecting the conviction of sin, which ends up in an antinomianism. But what’s this got to do with the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church de-formation of the Christian faith—now morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC)?

I’m glad you asked; what’s important for you to know is that, as it continues swallowing up mainstream evangelicalism, it’s also embracing these self-styled outlaw preachers as well. We take for example a couple of EC “Voices” who were supposedly revealing “the way the Christianity will be changing in coming days” at the recently concluded Christianity 21, which was put on by heretical Emerging Church theologian Tony Jones and his equally heretical quasi-universalist Emergent Church pastor Doug Pagitt.

One of them is “queer inclusive” ELCA “pastor,” and former “professional f**k-up,” Nadia Bolz-Weber. In the AM post Outlaw Preacher Nadia Bolz-Weber you’ll see she has announced herself as an outlaw preacher and has already appeared on the Outlaw Preachers precast, hosted by the aforementioned Khad Young, which was the forerunner to the Outlaw Preachers podcast mentioned below. As a matter of fact Bolz-Weber is in this debut episode along with Bakker’s assistant “pastor” Vince Anderson.

And then yesterday EC pastrix Makeesha Fisher, who will be attending the Outlaw Preacher’s Reunion being held at Bolz-Weber’s church in May 2010, tweeted the below because she wanted to make sure those following the errors of this Emerging/ent/ence form of Christianity knew about the:

Outlaw Preachers podcast episode 1 http://post.ly/Bmer (Online source)

Evangelical leaders can sleep on if they want to, but some of us will continue to attempt to make you aware that the warped and toxic teachings of such as these have been dripping into your Youth Groups and Young Adult classes for years now. As I informed you e.g. in Ex-Homosexual Friend Of Apprising Ministries one of the pet doctrines of these vipers is attempting to convince us that the deviant lifestyle of having sexual relations with another of the same sex, i.e homosexuality, is a viable one for the evangelical Christian.

And this is why AM has been continuing to warn that there’s a very dark and threatening same-sex storm right now approaching hurricane force which is currently only slightly off the coast of your own local church.

See also:

EMERGENCE CHRISTIANITY—A POSTLIBERAL CULT SLITHERS INTO EVANGELICALISM

JAY BAKKER FEATURED ON OOZE.TV OF EMERGING CHURCH

HOMOPRESSIVE AS JAY BAKKER

DID NADIA BOLZ-WEBER JUST CALL JESUS “A SCHMUCK”?

MAKEESHA FISHER: SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA BE CRASS

MAINSTREAM EVANGELICALISM NOW ON THE RAPID SLIDE TO APOSTASY

THE SIN OF HOMOSEXUALITY IS DIFFERENT