Saturday, July 21, 2007

Velvet Elvis! (Revised 07-27-07)
I just finished reading, Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Throughout the book I found myself a little, umm...disturbed. I don't want you to feel like I am attacking Rob Bell as a person. I am attempting to write this in a graceful matter, please do not take it any other way.
In the introduction of Velvet Elvis it sure seems like theology changes. Truth never changes. The book really risks damaging the faith. People will have different beliefs, but solid truth will never change.
Ch. 1
-"An atheist is a person of tremendous faith." I do agree with that. It is a funny thing to think about it, yet atheist just don't realize how much faith they really do have. Perhaps even more than Christians have today. Very sad, but possible.
-Bell risks claiming that Jesus was the Father in essence. Again, Bell risks it. I can't decide if whether Bell says it but it is possible that is what he meant. Which would be heresy if this is what he believes. Meaning Christ is God in bodily form.
-Bell says that we should take the Trinity out and "examine it. Discuss it, probe it, question it." However, the Trinity is key to salvation. If you don't believe in the Trinity, I would claim it is impossible for you to be saved. Rob Bell is questioning key points to the faith.
Ch. 2
-He says women have authority over their husbands. He takes 1 Corinthians 7:4 out of context.
-He challenged us to discern when we can curse non-believers. But again, the verse he uses is taken out of context.
-Truth is Truth. Trust doesn't change. Truth is the same for each person. Truth doesn't change to fit you. Although Rob Bell disagrees.-or atleast it seems to be the case
-Rob Bell basically said that can't know Truth. Check pg 60 fourth paragraph down.
-As far as I know, the Bible was not written because of oral history. If that was the case, how reliable is the Bible. Rob Bell doesn't elaborate of the matter. He has a false view of the Bible.
-Rob Bell said throw yourself to work in the church but we really need to find our gift in the church and use that for His kingdom.
-It appears as Rob Bell claims that the world is not fallen, just humans are. I would argue that the whole world is fallen. Everything in our world is tainted by sin, even the birds, the trees, etc...Humans are completely sinful as well as other created things.
(No issues in ch. 4, although it was a story about how Mars Hill was started)
-Rob Bell said Peter needed to have more faith in himself instead of Jesus when he was walking on water with Jesus. Peter doubted Jesus and started to sink that is why Jesus said,"You of little faith." Rob Bell is giving way to much responsibility to man. I wrote, "Wrong. Peter loses faith in Jesus. What do we have faith in ourself?" What Rob Bell says is pushing towards heresy.
Christ makes me more like Him. I don't make
myself like Christ.
-Rob Bell says we don't understand what we are capable of. Which is very false. God makes us who we are.
-Rob Bells says Christ believes in me, but Rob has it backwards. "God has faith in me."-NO! I have faith in God. God does not have faith I can be like Him which Rob claims. I need Jesus to make me like Him and He knows this.
Ch. 6
-"... it is possible for religious leaders to actually get in the way of people entering into the life of God." I know I have used strong language, and I am sorrow if I have offended anyone but these things must be said. With the quote from Rob, I think he may be talking about himself.
-He makes it appears as if I can not sin, but says we do. So, that doesn't make sense. God does not view me at Christ as Rob says God does.
-When I sin, it's good to feel shame, yet Rob says we shouldn't. He takes a verse from Romans out of context. Romans 8:1!
-Rob Bell says that their will be people in Heaven who are forgiven and people in Hell who are forgiven. Both places their will be full of people whom Jesus died for. "The difference is how we choose to live, which story we choose to live in, which version of reality we trust."
This is so, so false. I don't see any ounce of truth
in what he is saying. Does this qualify as blasphemy? Heaven and Hell is not based on works. Heaven is not based up to us!
Ch. 7
-In the story in Matthew where Jesus feeds 5000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. Bell says that "God gives fish the ability to make more."-NO! God makes more with His power.
-He claims creation wasn't perfect, which in reality it is!
-Rob says that Christ died to save all. And what I mean by all is all creation. Rob says he died for every star and bird.-I may misunderstood what he meant. But I know Christ came to redeem man!
-The Bible is not equivalent to the Church.
-He uses the TNIV which may be some of the issue since that translation is not a very good translation at all.
-I don't agree with ladies being leaders in the church, but there is much debate among the topic which I haven't study effectively.
-He writes many information as fact but the truth is that what he says is not fact. But many people who don't study doctrine will easily believe him. I may have if I read this a year ago.
Throughout the book he asks lame questions.
-Rob contradicts himself. I tell you Christ had to redeem man, but His death also had to save the earth. The earth is under the curse as well.

Sadly, Rob Bell has potential to be one of the false teachers Peter talks about in his two books. Is Rob Bell dressed in Sheep clothing?

This is the impression I got from reading his book. I would not suggest the book to anyone. I can really see people who don't know their doctrine believe every word. But their is a lot of false facts in the book that people will take as truth.

With that said, I'm sorry if I have offended you. I didn't desire to. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for reading...

In Prayers,



Anonymous said...

Hi Justin: Thank you for the review - I am now even looking more forward to finishing MacArthur's book. You took a lot of time in this - could I borrow the book, after I get back? There is such subtlies in Bell's interpretation - it is so important to know what the truth actually says in context. thank you for you hard work!
Mrs. Field

AgapeTheologian said...

Thank you for your encouragement. My father currently has the book. I'm sure he will have it finished shortly. My book has lots of scribbles and highlights. I'm sure you won't mind though...

Pastor Timothy said...

I haven't read your entire post yet, but did note a couple of things here that you might want to discuss with someone in the future. While I totally agree that Bell has some scarey theology (or he's just calling us to do some scarey things), I would have to say that there are truths that he does mention. For instance, you said this:

"Bell risks claiming that Jesus was the Father in essence. Again, Bell risks it. I can't decide if whether Bell says it but it is possible that is what he meant. Which would be heresy if this is what he believes."

- In response, I say what Bell said is true. Jesus and the Father are the same in essence. Meaning, they are both GOD. Two being in one essence.

"Rob Bell writes, 'The point is our joy. That is when God is most pleased." I write, "Wrong. God is not most happy based on our feelings.' God is most pleased when we give him glory that He rightly deserves not if we are in a joyous mood."

- My response is that you might want to be careful. Think of this quote: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." Who wrote that one? John Piper. That's the whole basis of his book, "Desiring God." Joy is a term that needs to be defined well, but I would say that all Christians should be and will be growing in their satisfaction in God - and God is glorified in that. I do believe that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.

Those were just a couple of quotes that I thought you might want to reconsider. Again, I agree, the things that Rob Bell writes needs to be evaluated, but you don't want to over analyze. Cut away the good from the bad, but make sure you leave all the good.

Thanks for your passion for discernment.

AgapeTheologian said...

Pastor Timothy,

Thank you for reading the post. The part about the Trinity is what I was trying to communicate is that Rob Bell appeared to me that His view on the Trinity was very similar if not the same to Bishop Jakes which is clearly a false doctrine.

""God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." Who wrote that one? John Piper. "

Wouldn't you agree that being satisifed in Christ is different then feeling joyous of Christ. What about when we are on a spiritual low? Are we not giving God glory because we are not joyful? Can't we stil be satisified in Him even though we are not joyful.

It is a question worth pondering on. Maybe Rob Bell was ok with what he said here, let me think it.

AgapeTheologian said...

Pastor Timothy,

Thanks for your corrections. The post has been edited...


Reformed Pastor said...

Hey your back to blogging. Great to see it. I don't know how long it has been since I visited your blog. either you are just starting back again, or I am really late.

Anyway, thanks for your reviews of Rob Bell's books. I remember picking Velvet Elvis up in a Christain book store and reading the intro. When Rob started talking about how we neede to be like Martin Luther(!) and change the message (Like Martin Luther just got up one day and said, "I don't like working for my salvation. I am just going to make up Christ paying for my sin!") I tagged the book as junk and left it.

plutohorn said...

Hi Justin. Thank you for your thoughts. I have not read Velvet Elvis, but a trustworthy friend of mine did. His wife used to go to Mars Hill, and I was very surprised to hear them say that Rob Bell teaches relativism, i.e. truth being relative, rather than absolute. I had always heard good things about Rob Bell and Mars Hill. I heard him preach at chapel at Hope College one time, and it was a good message, that I still remember part of, and that was years ago. I have also watched many of the Nooma videos, which I have enjoyed and found to be accurate as far as I can tell. What my friends told me is that Rob's preaching is from a relativistic perspective, but it is subtle. Going to his church a few times would probably not bring red flags to most of us. And those attending regularly who are not solid in their beliefs and theology would probably not notice the relativism, but probably would be influenced by it, according to my friends. I think that is very scary. I would possibly prefer someone preaching heresy, such as relativism, to be overt, so that his followers would clearly understand what they are learning, and hopefully be able to rebuke him, rather than gradually unknowingly have their consciences dulled.
Mrs. Heinz

Anonymous said...

I was reading the book, but syopped when i was hearing things that didn't seem to line up.