Friday, July 11, 2008

Your Weekend Post--"Dumb Bell"

Thanks to the Gospel Coalition's Resources, I was listening to D.A. Carson talk about the Emerging Church and he brought up Rob Bell. Carson had not previously tackled Bell because when he wrote his book "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church" Bell had yet to follow the voices of McLaren and Walter Wink into the Land of Blur!

Carson made a couple of good points: (1) Mars Hill would not be as successful outside of a place like Grand Rapids. Carson echoed something I have heard many of my friends in or near western Michigan say which is that the overwhelming majority of Mars Hill attendees are torqued off white kids who are bitter about being raised in Grand Rapids many stiff necked churches; and (2) Bell's NOOMA videos and presentations are only "deep" if you have a Christian background to read into them. Indeed, I remember showing a NOOMA film to a non-Christian and he thought it was "new age, Oprah-esque fluff." AMEN!

Moreover, Bell is not really that creative. He is essentially a fairly uncritical plagiarist. I have yet to see "The Gods Aren't Angry" but almost everything in "Everything is Spiritual" is lifted from texts like Walter Brueggemann's commentary on Genesis and Lee Strobel's "Case for a Creator." About the only thing original in "Everything is Spiritual" are the bad jokes!

Before Bell went on an extended summer vacation, he was preaching through Philippians and was lifting nearly all of his sermon material from Peter O'Brien, N.T. Wright and folks like Richard Horsley.
Bell even repeatedly made a mistake that would get a freshman Bible College student in trouble by stating during every sermon in the Philippian series that Paul was in prison for saying "Jesus is Lord" instead of Caesar. Not true. Read Acts 24:1-9. The charge was disturbing the peace by allegedly defiling the Temple. Paul even made it very clear in Acts 25:8 that he had not committed any offense against Caesar. Please note that this is a verse that Wright, Crossan and others who Bell is parroting do not deal with or butcher in order to fit their preconceived "political reading" of the New Testament.
This is in addition to the numerous mistakes Bell makes in citing "Rabbinic authority" to interpret the New Testament because most of the works he cites are from the 3rd or 4th century, which is like looking to today's New York Times to figure out what Abe Lincoln believed! It is literally that kind of time gap! Ben Witherington at Asbury "took Bell to the woodshed" over this but was apparently ignored. A shame. Lord help us. When will the rain of dook that passes for "evangelicalism" come to an end?????