Nooma “Open”: A Review
February 29, 2008 7 Comments
Rob Bell, the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the producer of a series of videos he calls “Noomas.” In these videos he appears to be teaching Scripture, but a closer look reveals his message is anything but biblical (you can read about some of his earlier Nooma videos here, here, here, here, and here).
His latest offering is entitled “Open” and is fat with New Age teachings. He has tinkered with New Ageism before, but in “Open” Bell is a little more… um… open with his beliefs.
A tenant of New Ageism is the belief that we are “co-creators” with God. Bell embraces this notion in “Open,” though he tries to mask it in feigned respect for the Bible. He uses the account of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane and the biblical account of creation in Genesis (what Bell calls the “creation poem”) to lend credibility to his attempt to combine New Age teachings with Christianity. He asks why Jesus prays for “the cup of crucifixion” to pass from him and then answers it this way:
“…Jesus took very seriously the creation poem Genesis, that the Bible begins with. And in this creation poem God creates, but God creates things that are capable of creating more, and so God creates trees but then gives trees the ability to create more. God creates animals and plants and fish but then empowers them to create more. And then God creates people, and gives them the ability to create more. So everything in creation is essentially unfinished, God leaves the world unfinished, and invites people to take part in the ongoing creation of the world.”
He then goes on to say that when Jesus prayed in the garden he was, “tapping into this divine creative energy that made everything.”
This sort of spiritual teaching is nothing new — but it is anything but biblical. This is the kind of stuff the New Age writers produce. Just consider the following articles by prominent New Age writers…
Some have already tried to attach Christ to the New Age movement — Bell is not the first. But it is remarkably disturbing that Bell has managed to achieve a level of credibility with certain circles of evangelical Christians and this makes him extremely dangerous. The content of his Nooma “Open” (a full transcript can be viewed here) coupled with the New Age and humanist messages contained in previous Noomas, build a pretty strong case that this man is not a biblical teacher but, rather, a full-blown false teacher who is adept at tickling the ear.
And even if he is capable of sufficiently hiding his message in his “teachings” then, at the very least, we should take him at his word when he betrays his true nature in an interview. In a recent interview with Christianity Today magazine Bell said he was, “…discovering the Bible as a human product rather than the product of divine fiat.”
Not that he sees a problem with that.
“The Bible is still in the center for us,” Bell said, “but it’s a different kind of center. We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it.”
I pray that orthodox believers will begin to recognize this man for the false teacher he is and stand guard against his blended brand of “Christianity” so that it never has an influence in Christ’s Church.