Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lifeway Selling Rob Bell's "Love Wins"? Not Here

Day 260 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series

A few days ago in this series I talked about Lifeway and bad choices they are making. The choices? Selling "Christianzed" versions of worldly things I.E. "Resurrection Eggs" and "Jesus Promise Seeds". These items cause more damage than they do anything else, I see no good whatsoever in peddling these goods to people. I also mentioned Rob Bell and Lifeway carrying his books and videos and mentioned they would probably have his newest book "Love Wins" lining their shelves. So, today I stopped by the local Lifeway to check things out.

As I walked through the door I scanned the front most book shelf that holds the workers recommendations, not there. I then proceeded around to the "Christian Living" shelving units and there found 2 offerings from Bell, those pictured. That was it, not a glimpse of any other books in the store. That is a good thing, but still having his other books on the shelf is still a bad decision. I will give Lifeway props for not stocking this newest book of Rob Bell's, but mark an A down to a D since they still had his others for sale.

So, I guess the boycott is on hold for now, but a email campaign would probably be a good idea. Everyone should email or send a letter to the corporate offices and let them know we are thankful for them not selling Love Wins, but should also remind them that Bell's other books are just as heretical. It is time that Christians stood up and defended the faith and stopped cowering under the pressures of "You can't judge me" and "You're a Pharisee". Actually we can judge and calling out a false teacher and false teachings is not Pharisaical in the least, it is commanded. But we must do it out of love and not for the sake of proving a point or being argumentative. Us acting out in malice or pride is sinful and anti-Biblical to the core, it is a heart issue.

I pray that Lifeway is making some changes in how they choose the books they stock. For them to sell heretical merchandise is to partner in it and become just as guilty as Bell, McLaren and Pagitt. Hopefully the way Bell's "Love Wins" is being accepted (actually rejected) by the Christian community should be a sign that they need not partner with darkness. Just because someone speaks at a church, writes books and attaches the label of "Christian" to it all means nothing. Many will profess on Judgment Day that Jesus is Lord and be cast away into the Hell that Rob Bell denies existence of.

Pray for these deceived souls that God will ignite the Truth of scripture in them. Pray that they are genuinely converted and dismiss all the heresy they have spewed forth and repent. God still saves preachers just as much as He does druggies, alcoholics, liars and pornographers. I praise God through this because He has graced me enough to not be deceived by these wolves and allows me to pray for them. Deception is a very evil demon to overcome, but I know the One that can overcome any obstacle. I petition Him for their salvation and repentance and they they will be saved and start preaching the Word correctly.


Kelly said...

Ridiculous. Utterly.

Jeff said...

Totally agree with Kelly. Love Wins (and other Bell books) are ridiculous and should be rejected by the Church as a whole. While I don't agree with how long it took to take notice of the heresy of Bell, I am glad that it finally has been addressed by some "high profile" evangelicals.

Whitt Madden said...

I love that the Rob Bell book is sitting besides Driscoll's "Jesus wants to save Christians". That's awesome

Jeff said...

I think that is another Rob Bell book, not Mark Driscoll.

Brantley said...

So wait... maybe I'm confused. How are his books heretical? I've read three so far and was looking forward to getting love wins today at my local lifeway today. I was sad to see they didn't have it and when I asked at the front you'd have thought I'd asked for an African love goddess or something.

So clearly you found love wins to heretical. Why? What page? What point where he quoted a Bible verse? I thoroughly enjoyed sex God and his use of Scripture throughout was positively enlightening. So where's the heresy?

Now... if you tell me you haven't read the book, that your pastor said or your local radio channel said... then I politely request you begin your own research before statements like the entire church needs to... to have a blog on the world wide web.

To the author, I feel a need to say congratulations. I've owned my phone for a year now. Your blog was literally the first page I bookmarked. I wanted to make sure I could find it again. I was sad leaving lifeway today and googled to see why. Now that I see they're boycotting Rob Bell I feel a need to boycott them. Apparently they blow in the wind with people who don't read, only selling books that the masses seem to think aren't heretical. The main display as I walked in today was all in by Gene chyzic. As an Alabama fan I was disgusted and almost walked right out.

Jeff said...

Brantley - Try reading through these articles about Bell's previous books

And no, my pastor has said nothing about Rob Bell, to my knowledge and I do not listen to radio. I would also agree that Lifeway does "blow in the wind" and they seem to jump on any bandwagon that has dollar signs on it. I think the hoopla over Love Wins was too great, this time, for them to carry it and in turn had to stop selling Bell's other books, but not before they made a few bucks in years past.

Thanks for making me your first bookmark. I hope you look around at other things I have posted. I'd suggest starting at the beginning and moving forward. This post about Bell was part of a year long "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series that I just wrapped up earlier this month. I am not a writer (as you will be able to tell as you read my feeble attempts at conveying my thoughts), just a humble sinner, saved by a Great God that wants to share what He has done for me.... and also shed light on areas that I notice that are not in agreement with scripture a la Rob Bell this time.

Brantley said...

Jeff, I have to say I was truly surprised to see you'd approved my comment. Thank you. I like a good discussion as much (maybe more) as the next person, but find more often than not that people would rather I keep my comments to myself.

I tried to read the two CIC commentaries. I say tried cause wow, they were long. He's wordy. I'm wordy, and I know wordy when I see it. And I will look at your other posts, that is why I saved the link.

I do though still not understand. Pastor Bob said a lot of stuff, but he started out with "his theology." I'm a new believer, but have been in and around Christian churches my whole life. What I've seen, and in fact what originally pushed me out of love for Christ, was theology. Or rather, that your theology is better than mine, thus I'm not a good enough Christian, thus I don't get to go to Heaven. And I'll make this same rebuttal to Bob, as I have done with some rants I've seen on Christian Research International's site and others. But... theology is an attempt to understand God. An attempt to understand what can't be understood. We can understand how the brain works, we can understand that proteins and chemicals interact and electrons run along cortexs and so forth, but we can't understand "where" the thoughts come from. How then could we understand the brain of the One that made our brains? We have a written work of His. But we didn't get an instruction manual to go along with it. Point of fact, it even states, this isn't all there is. We have other people's opinion of what that passage means, but all we can do is assume and trust.

I'm having to break up my post cause apparently it's too long. :-/

Brantley said...

What I don't understand is why does everyone want God and Christ to be so elitist? I saw where Bob quoted Hebrews 7:27 (I suspect he meant 7:26), “separated from sinners." However... the rest of that verse is that Jesus was raised, and is now the High Priest, separated from sinners, pleading on the behalf of sinners. So yes... Jesus is separated from us. He's gone elsewhere, we hope to follow. When He was here though, He was very much not separate from sinners. I think Christ died for everyone. Christian or not. What I don't know is if they get the benefit of it. Part of me thinks so. I mean, as Paul wrote, He died while we were still sinners. Considering how much of what Christ said was a parable, I have to think everything he said has multiple meanings. But again, that's a theology. And I struggle with the fact that people's theology get in the way of God. In my small group at church we're reading a book, 20 basic beliefs of Christians (or something... have a hard time with titles for some reason...). My problem is, do I have to belief them to be a Christian? If I don't, will I not be allowed in Heaven? Will I be sitting at the pearly gates, filling out the paperwork, and when it comes to that section, if I don't answer right, is that going to get me sent to the end of the line??

Calling a man a heretic who I share opinion with is calling me a heretic. Am I? Does the antiChrist know he's the antiChrist? I mean, I love God, I put all my trust in his Son... is that not enough?

Or... and this is where I think we Christians should be very, very careful when it comes to judgment or Pharisaical points, or are we confusing what we think God wants, with what God wants? Remember, the Pharisees were good men. They were the best of their society. They loved God. They just misunderstood what God wanted. They read the bible (well... ya know what I mean) daily. They went to church daily. But they were so locked in to what they thought was the right way, they missed it even when it slapped them in the face. So when we condemn a man for his beliefs, we have to be careful we're not guilty of it too. Didn't Jesus warn us about planks and stuff?

Sorry that was so long. As I said... I know wordy. If you, or anyone, would care to discuss further, rather than filling up your post section, my email is brantleyp1@gmail. Feel free...

Jeff said...

Brantley – I have no issues with posting comments that object to my posts, as long as they are done in the right spirit and do not blatantly attack or have cursing in them, your comment(s) were far from those guidelines.

I, too, am a “new believer” by most terms. I was saved by God about 5 years ago, after living since the age of 8 believing to be a Christian. So, I too, have been in and around churches since I was a child. I was 38 when God showed His mercy on me and opened my eyes to the deception I was under, what is really prevalent throughout most of what America (and broadening to the world) calls Christianity. Christianity has been boiled down to a checklist of things to do, or agree with, that once completed one is deemed “saved” and they still go on in their life as they always have. They show no signs of repentance, no signs of the fruit the Bible says they will have, no striving to be Holy, no love for the Word, a desire to still live in the same sins they always have, no guilt of sin and so much more – all of which the Bible, God’s written Word, runs contrary to what He says a true believer will look like and do.

I think Rob Bell takes Biblical and Historic Christianity and tries to “reinvent” it to fit this world today. This is very dangerous. I think that was the whole point of his “Velvet Elvis” book, to say that Christianity is ever evolving, based on society and our “understanding” of it. This is blatantly ant-biblical. While we cannot know God totally, He has revealed quite a bit to us through His Word. Anytime someone tries to reinvent or reinterpret, call into suspect what is actually there in scripture, then yes, there are issues and they are heretical. Bell’s latest is to ascribe that those that do not follow Christ could possibly be in heaven. This single statement should discount any credibility that Rob Bell may have had as it totally denies the work of Christ and the need to trust in Him for salvation. It paints a picture that has been tackled many times before of a universalism mindset that says if you’re good enough you can still make it to heaven, regardless if you trust upon Christ or not. This is a second grace that Scripture never once allows.
I wish I could address each of your many concerns. I also have no problem continuing in the comments section here, to whoever wants to reply. I also have no issues with continuing on a discussion through Facebook or Google+ so that others can join in and we can all learn together.

(I also have to break up my comments because of Bloggers restrictions 1 of 3)

Jeff said...

(continued from previous comment 2 of 3)

I will address some of your questions in a blanket statement. We will never know everything about God, but He has revealed Himself to us through His Word and His creation so that we may strive to know Him. The trouble comes in when we try to understand God through our humanness and our convictions about humanity and our perceptions of our goodness and worthiness. I think this is Bell’s greatest error (leading to heresy) that because we wouldn’t do something, then therefore God wouldn’t do it for the same reasons. This doesn’t take into account our pure fallenness and depravity and inherent disdain for God through the Fall. We always want to compare the Holy God to us, which is heresy incarnate. God is God and we are not and I am, for one, glad that is true. We do not understand God and just how Holy He is. That is why Jesus said if you have broken one commandment you have broken them all, you are a sinner regardless if you steal a piece of gum or murder someone, they are both sin against God the same. For 30 years of my life I put those human thoughts and attributes on God, I thought that because I said a prayer (what I was always told to do) and deemed “saved” (what always happened when someone said the prayer) by a preacher that I was good to go. At 8 years old I didn’t even know what sin was, I was deceived and lived in that deception until I was 38 when God allowed the scales to fall from my eyes. For that 30 years I lived like the world, acted like the world, loved the world and was indistinguishable from the world, but yet I called myself “saved” and so did everyone at the church I once again started attending, because they are deceived in their understanding of Holiness and what the Word truly says. That’s not being Pharisaical, it’s stating a truth.

That leads me to being labeled as a Pharisee, which I have addressed in past posts. Many people take Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 out of context. If you keep reading He tells us to judge righteous judgments, not to cast pearls before swine and that a dog returns to its vomit. How can we not cast our pearls before swine if we do not first KNOW that they are a pig? We must use what is evident to KNOW that they are swine, which is not judgment, it is a fact. Throughout scripture we are told to keep watch, be vigilant, and yes, to judge, what is Holy and acceptable, to watch for false teachers, to be aware of other “gospels” and to not believe everyone that says they know Christ, because not everyone does. The Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses say they know God and put their faith in Jesus Christ, but when you actually look at their beliefs, they have created a different god and a different jesus and a different gospel. Sadly, that is also what a lot of the modern gospel message has done as well, which includes emergent preachers, speakers and writers such as Rob Bell.

Jeff said...

(continued from previous 2 comments - 3 of 3)

I suggest that you watch the free series “The History of the Modern Gospel” from Real Truth Matters. It is free online and also available on DVD. The Real Truth Matters website is full of information, sermon downloads, conference videos, transcripts, etc. all free. This material is God focused and not man focused, as much of what is out there today is. That is one of the first things to look for – is a message pointing to what man can do (works) or what God has already done? We can in no way attain salvation any other way, but through Christ, to deny that is rank heresy and Bell has done that and is hence causing others to be blown in the wind to think the same. To me, this proves they are either new believers and swayed easily (but will, by the work of God in them) or simply not converted themselves and follow the person of Bell instead of the deity of God.

Brantley said...

I will look at the site more in detail in a little bit, but I just wanted to say one thing real quick. You said "This single statement should discount any credibility that Rob Bell may have had as it totally denies the work of Christ and the need to trust in Him for salvation."

I beg to disagree with one sentiment in that. I believe that it is because of Christ's "work". I don't believe we can do something to make us worthy of that. By saying the only way I get to take advantage if you will, of that Grace, is to do something, that kinda nullifies the gift portion of that. If I have to give something to get something, it isn't a gift, it's a barter. That is why I truly believe Christ died for everyone who ever lived.

The only part I'm unsure about is if "everyone" gets the benefit of that. You've painted clearly your belief, that if they don't believe they don't. And I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm saying there are places in the bible that clearly point to that. But there are others that don't. Paul writes that we were saved while we were sinners. In fact, one of the Gospels (and at the moment I'm drawing a complete blank, but I haven't had my coffee yet), I think its Mathew, says that the Lord draws his people to Him. So we, as Christians, can't "make" someone see the Light. We can't open their hearts or anything, that only God can. So then God will open hearts as He wills. Why then would He not open their heart before they come to judgment? Christ also says He'll stand before two groups, one say they know Him, the other says they do not. The group that knows Him, Christ says, "I don't know you. You saw me and did not cloth me, did not feed me." He then looks to the group that does not know Him and says "you clothed me, you fed me."

Ok... I'm going to go get that coffee now. I'll look at the site you told me to.


Brantley said...

I just realized what you and Bob Dewaay are referring to when you say that "Velvet Elvis" was about reinventing Christianity.

Rob Bell describes a process (as he understands it) in the Bible of people on earth deciding this is what God wants and in Heaven it happens. That when Jesus said "...two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven..." He meant that if you and I come together and agree that something is, God will make it so. What do those verses mean? What, else, could they mean? Jesus says that if two are in agreement, it will be done by His Father. I've wondered, if I pray in Jesus' name, and particularly if I'm with someone else who agrees, and we pray that God grants everyone entry into Heaven... would that work? Jesus said by calling His name we could move mountains. Now... before people start saying, no, that wouldn't work, here's why... analyze why you're looking for that justification. Are you wanting to correct me, or are you unwilling to share the Grace? Humans were created to want to be the only ones. We want our football team to win (you're in KY, so maybe I should've said basketball...?), we want our country to win, we want only young people to be able to do stuff, or we say that only whites or only blacks or whatever else. Whatever group we fit into is what we think should be doing whatever we're talking about. Shouldn't we hope that God gives His mercy to everyone? Or are we afraid we'd have to sit in a pew in Heaven next to Bin Laden or Hitler?

People like to point out how Bell, or someone similar, are false teachers because they quote scripture and have an understanding of it that's different than yours (or than the prevailing understanding). Does that make them so? Is there any possibility that they're the ones that got it right and the prevailing understanding is wrong?

Christianity does evolve from generation to generation. In your lifetime you've seen the emergence of "happy clappy" church. Do they love Christ less? They tend to be very missionary, very driven to fulfill God's will. They just wear jeans or shorts and flipflops to church. 60 years ago blacks and whites couldn't be in the same room together to worship. 600 years ago if you loved Christ you were Catholic. God's word may not have changed, but the way people understand it, interpret it and act upon it certainly do.

And the human concept of the Word has changed. At a time the books known as the Apocrypha were accepted as equal to the rest of Scripture. It was put in the original KJV Bible. It was judiciously taken out after a panel of people came together and decided it wasn't Scripture. You could say it evolved.

That doesn't mean God's words evolved, it means that our understanding of it, our access to it, has changed.

Jeff said...

This is actually Brantley's part 2 to his last comment. I accidentally deleted it with my fat thumbs on my iPhone instead of posting it. This is a direct copy/ paste from my email notification, no ediing has been done
Brantley said:

Part 2

You stated that Bell's greatest error leading to heresy was that we compare God to ourselves. Does that not leave any room for the fact we're made in God's image? We're the only beings in creation that have that claim. As our pastor taught yesterday, we're the only beings in all of creation that God died for. So can't we? Not in the sense of we're equal, but in the sense, without access to the original, can't you form opinions and start hypothesis about it from a copy? If you were shown a print of a piece of art, you could learn some things from it, though it's not the original. Again, I don't mean to make light of God or something.

Actually... I think that's the rub. I don't know... I don't know if God's word was delivered to us as He wanted it. I don't know if Gandhi, Hitler or {insert your least favorite politician here} will be in Heaven when I get there. If, I get there. I ask, I seek, not so I'll know, but so I'll get to learn more. When people say they "know" something, they remove all doubt. They removed all room for growth. Only God "knows" for sure.

Carl Schuster said...

Great discussion guys. Brantley i'd recommend prayerfully getting in the word on the subject.