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Saturday, August 27, 2016

God saves us from God-Answering Rob Bell’s Irreverence

Posted by Gary on April 18, 2011

Exodus 19:21-25 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. “Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them.” Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.'” Then the LORD said to him, “Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, or He will break forth upon them.” So Moses went down to the people and told them.”

Exodus 33:5 “For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.'”

1 Thessalonians 1:9 –10 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” 

Rob Bell, in the promotional video for his latest book, “Love Wins”, says the following:

And then there is the question behind the questions, the real question: What is God like? Because millions and millions of people were taught that the primary message—the center of the Gospel of Jesus—is that God is going to send you to hell, unless you believe in Jesus. And so, what gets, subtlety, sort of caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God. But what kind of God is that; that we would need to be rescued from this God? How could that God ever be good; how could that God ever be trusted? And how could that ever be good news.

Take note that Bell puts his parameters around God, God could only be good if he is the way Rob Bell thinks he must be. “What kind of God is that?” What Bell more than implies is that a God we must be rescued from could not be a good God and Bell has come to assure us that we don’t need to be rescued from God.

What does Rob Bell do with passages like those listed at the head of this post? A God who would break forth against sinners who come into His holy presence? A God who plainly says that if He were to be in close proximity to His rebellious people He would destroy them in a moment? We are waiting for God’s Son from heaven who rescues us from the wrath to come? Whose wrath? Isn’t it God’s wrath Jesus is saving us from? (See Revelation 14:19)

“What kind of God is that?” Bell has asked. The simple answer to his question is, “A holy God” (Revelation 4:8), a righteous God (Deuteronomy 32:4), a just God (1 Peter 3:18), an avenging God (Nahum 1:2), a God who is to be feared (Revelation 15:3-4).

But isn’t God loving? He is love itself (1 John 4:8). Isn’t He merciful? He is full of mercy (James 5:11). Doesn’t God forgive? That is His promise (1 John 1:9).

The danger of Bell’s gospel is that he will not allow God to be who God is, remember his question, “What kind of God is that?” Bell is the determiner. Bell will not allow God to be holy, righteous, just, avenging nor should he ever be feared.There is a word for this, it is called idolatry. Idolatry is man creating a god for himself, a god who fits his thinking, desires and boundaries.

We must never relent from declaring the gospel of Christ which is clearly and unapologetically a declaration that sinners need to be saved from the wrath of the holy God. What did Jesus experience on the cross? Was it not the wrath of God? “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Bell further asks how it could be good news if God were a person we must be saved from. The falseness of his gospel and mockery of the true gospel are bound up in his question. The good news is that that Jesus saves us from the wrath of God. Jesus is God and so who is saving us from the wrath of God? God is. God saves us from the very wrath His holiness demands we receive.

Do not our initial passages reveal this? Isn’t God saving the people from Himself as He warns them not to come up on the mountain? Is God not saving the people from Himself as He tells Moses that He will not go up with them? Isn’t Jesus, the second person of the Godhead saving us from God’s wrath? God could, would and should pour out His wrath on us, for that is what we deserve, but thank God, He saves us from Himself.

Rob Bell rejects the truth that sin deserves wrath, this is why the gospel offends him.

If you would have the forgiveness of a merciful, forgiving God, you must first be willing to acknowledge that you need mercy and forgiveness and that without it, God Himself would punish you in His wrath.

This of course is why only a few are finding the path that leads to life (Matthew 7:13), because the great majority of mankind hates acknowledging what our sin really is. Even more, we hate acknowledging God’s holiness and justice in dealing with us.

Bell is right about one thing, love does win. God is so great, that He can be both loving and holy at the same time. He was holy in punishing His Son in our place and it was His love that led Him to do so.

Rob Bell and his gospel are false and dangerous. May God grant you His truth and protect you from false shepherds like him.


One Response to “God saves us from God-Answering Rob Bell’s Irreverence”
  1. Darrell Cooper says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and biblical post responding to Rob Bell’s book. I am grateful for voices like yours offering a cup of cold truth in a desert wasteland of distortions and deception. The Bible depicts God as a lamb, and thank God for the Lamb that was slain. But the Bible also depicts God as a Lion, and we would be very foolish to take His holiness lightly.

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