March 26, 2008 11 Comments
As I mentioned before, there have been requests for reviews of other Nooma videos. I have watched “You” and “Breathe” and reviews of these two videos are forthcoming — I promise. In the meantime I thought it might be of interest to note some of the things I’ve learned about Rob Bell whilst I’ve been researching.
Apparently Bell seems to disagree with the biblical idea of sin. Certainly sin is not something over which God is angered. Quite the contrary. Bell even went on a speaking tour entitled “The Gods are not Angry” to reassure us that we’re really okay. A review of that tour is available here.
In a previous post I pointed out how Bell has recommended some very questionable reading in the endnotes of his book Velvet Elvis. Well, Ingrid, over at Slice of Laodicea, has discovered another one. Apparently Bell — with no qualification at all — recommends a book by Marcus Borg. This is very important because Marcus Borg is a member of the Jesus Seminar — a group of “biblical scholars” who have taken it upon themselves to reject (on the basis of their popular vote) many of the key doctrines in Scripture. They deny the virgin birth, the vast majority of His miracles, a lot of His teachings, and the resurrection — and Bell has no problem recommending Borg’s book The Heart of Christianity with no qualifications of any kind. One would have to assume Bell has no problem with the contents of the book. What are the contents of the book? Here’s just a sample:
When a Christian seeker asked the Dalai Lama whether she should become a Buddhist, his response, which I paraphrase, was: “No, become more deeply Christian; live more deeply into your own tradition.” Huston Smith makes the same point with the metaphor of digging a well: if what you’re looking for is water, better to dig one well sixty feet deep than to dig six wells ten feet deep. By living more deeply into our own tradition as a sacrament of the sacred, we become more centered in the one to whom the tradition points and in whom we live and move and have our being.
A Christian is one who does this within the framework of the Christian tradition, just as a Jew is one who does this within the framework of the Jewish tradition, a Muslim, within the framework of the Muslim tradition, and so forth. And I cannot believe that God cares which one of these we are. All are paths of relationship and transformation. (223)
Now I base my faith on Scripture and I get the sense from Scripture that Christ’s resurrection is kind of important. But maybe I’m not understanding something. Let’s take a look…
“And if Christ is has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. for if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” — 1 Corinthians, 15: 14-19
If I’m reading this wrong someone please tell me, but it seems the Christian faith hinges on the resurrection.
Bell, by contrast, recommends books by New Age teachers and Jesus Seminar “scholars.” He admits these people have influenced his beliefs. He doesn’t seem to have a biblical view of sin nor do things like the resurrection seem to matter that much to him (small hint: this is one of the problems I have with the Nooma “You”). His teachings are thick with humanism, universalism, and New Ageism. It’s no wonder he will be participating in an “interspiritual event” with other Emergent leaders, Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama.
I try very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt. But the Apostle Paul didn’t seem to mind calling a false teacher a false teacher. And when I hold Bell’s teachings up against Scripture I can only draw one conclusion: This guy is a museum quality false teacher.