Friday, March 25, 2011

Love Has Already Won

I share the following article with great concern. We live in a day where many people are no longer looking for 'truth', but rather for someone who will agree with their own idea of what truth should be. And sadly there are those who are ready to stand and lead them in these false truths.

We should never make emotional assumptions about God or eternity but ALWAYS seek to find the truth.  Read God's Word! He created you... He loves you... He knows you. And He's given you the truth in His Word. HE is truth!

Jesus said ..."Watch out that no one deceives you." ~Matthew 24:4

Love Has Already Won by Dr. Michael Youssef
via his website Leading The Way
Mar 25, 2011

As an Anglican pastor, I bear scars from the war with “universalism” inside the Episcopal Church. I also have endured the battering of Bishop John Spong and his effort to “rescue the gospel from fundamentalists.” And when I saw Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins,” I found myself quoting former Yankee great Yogi Berra: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

I’m the kind of person who detests jumping through hoops, playing mental gymnastics and arguing about what the definition of “is” is. That’s why I’m not going to challenge the book point by point as wonderful scholars like Dr. Al Mohler have done. Instead, I’ll deal with the big picture in the larger, even global, context of this “new suit” placed on an old heresy.

A number of years ago, when some young people representing the sad and lost segment of the church told me how wonderful Rob Bell’s videos were, I became curious. Even back then, I felt nauseous when I watched some of these videos. I saw just how troubled this young man Rob Bell is and how he, in his effort to create a name for himself, began to trouble weak believers – causing so much harm to his soul and theirs.

Asking questions for the sake of asking questions, not in a desire to find true answers, is indeed troubling. Even then, I felt that Bell’s questions were quite similar to those of the serpent in the Garden of Eden: “Did God really say that?” He was more anxious to share his own doubts than to arrive at the truth. I felt that Mr. Bell and his equally confusing mentor, Brian McLaren, are deeply entrenched in the school of Bishop Spong from the Episcopal Church – but with one major exception: they call themselves evangelicals.

With “Love Wins,” what Rob Bell managed to do (once he came out of the closet of just-asking-questions-for-asking-questions’ sake) is reveal to us that he is a universalist pure and simple. Just like the author of “The Shack” did before him, he (for the sake of misleading larger numbers) has dressed his brand of universalism in a new suit, bringing it up to date with fashionable clothes that could easily deceive emotionally bound, mindlessly challenged and unsuspecting young Christians.

In many ways, Rob Bell’s book puts an end to the nonsense of the “I’m only raising questions” and “We all should be asking questions” gibberish.

By telling us that hell is empty, he finally came clean and revealed his modern-day modification of Bishop Spong’s universalism. Sadly, this sleight of hand has and will mislead many young people, for whom I truly grieve.

The pathetic part about this claptrap is that Mr. Bell, in his effort to draw some cheap sympathy for his heretical views (much as Bishop Spong did with his “rescuing” the gospel from fundamentalists), made himself a martyr for his blasphemous view of God and His eternal plan of salvation. As Bell puts it, anyone who disagrees with him is “defaming” him. Those who attack his false teaching are attacking him because he “does not articulate matters of faith as they do.”

This is the oldest trick in the book. You grab someone’s finger, poke your eye with it, and say, “Ouch!”

His biggest argument wonders how can a “great God” send people to hell. As kids would say, “Duh.” God does not send people to hell; people send themselves to hell. God is too respecting of human beings not to give them a choice.

I want to think about this twisted logic.

Heaven is all about Jesus. So, the people who hated Jesus—rejected Jesus, reviled Jesus—are going to be forced against their own will by that great God to spend eternity with Jesus? To them, that would be very hell itself.

Of course Bell picks and chooses what part of Bible history is acceptable to his warped logic; that’s why he says that some things in the Bible nullify others. This appears to be akin to the Islamic method of interpreting and explaining all of the contradictory passages in the Koran. The way they get around this is the same as Rob Bell. In Arabic they call it “Nassick WA mansoock”; later revelations cancel earlier ones. It’s not surprising that many people love Bell. After all, he created a new Christianity that eases their conscience.

Throughout history, God has offered humanity a choice: His way or theirs. Each choice bears its own consequences. Rob Bell chose his way. To change this is to impose on God Mr. Bell’s ideas of what His love and justice should look like.

Imagine a school headmaster saying to his students, “It doesn’t matter if you come to school on time or not, study or not, keep the rules or not. All students will get an A.” That’s the kind of gospel Bell and his emerging-church cohorts are establishing — spiritual anarchism.

Just about every parable Jesus told has to do with those who obey and those who do not. Evangelicals did not come up with the words, “Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched,” (Mark 9:48 NIV) when describing hell; these are Jesus’ words.

For a man who was born in Africa, I came to the same conclusion about heaven and hell as Western Christians. Imagine that! Where did you get the funny idea that hell exists, you may ask? The text of the sacred Word of God. For to deny hell as a real place with real people in it who reject Christ’s gracious salvation is to deny the very words of Jesus in Luke 16 where He told us about the rich man and Lazarus.

Not only that, but this heresy makes total mockery of Jesus coming from heaven, dying on a cross and rising again. It mocks not only the entire plan of salvation that God articulated to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15, but also the prophets’ prophesying of Jesus’ coming as the only Redeemer of mankind for those who believe in Him.

I understand Rob Bell’s desire not to “traumatize” people. Believe me, I have never preached on hell without weeping, even sobbing. I don’t want to see anyone, not even my worst enemy, go to hell. I do, however, wish Bell would think of the traumatization of the many persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and killed Christians who are dying for their faith. I suppose Mr. Bell would tell them to abandon Christ and embrace the religion of their persecutors, because after all, everyone is going to be in heaven together.

What kind of justice says, “It does not matter what you do, what sins you commit and whether or not you reject God’s gracious offer of salvation here and now; everyone will get off scot free”? The fact is that love already won when God so loved that He gave so that whosoever believes (in this life) will be saved. This is a clear indication that His love, not Rob Bell’s perception of it, has already won the day.

Please visit Dr. Michael Youssef's website Leading The Way and take a look around. You'll fine some great articles.

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)


Mary said...

There is every aberrant doctrine under the sun being taught out there today. Perilous times.

Mary Ann said...

That is true Mary. Just one more reason to keep in God's word and in prayer. God bless!

Kathleen said...

Wow. You're the 2nd blogger today that has posted something similar, not to mention the related cautions being expressed by Dr. Albert Mohler, Brannon Howse, Jan Markel and others.

The counterfeits (even if those that espouse them don't think they are) are cunning. Best we cling to the Lord, stay in His word, and test EVERYTHING through that filter.

Great post!

Mary Ann said...

So true Kathleen. It is important to stay in God's word... so much so that we will know the counterfeits when we see them (or hear them).

They seem to be coming from every direction, and some right from among us... they are the ones that concern me the most. Especially for the younger generation. It's so important that they have a foundation built on truth.

Believe it or not, I just saw a review for a book called "What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?" Can you believe it? Written by a pastor... yet written to say that we don't need to take the Bible literally (in a nutshell). Time to watch and pray.

God bless! :)

Cathy said...

Hi, I'm a new follower of your blog. Great post...its nice to see other moms with discerning hearts, who are desiring the Truth.
Feel free to visit my blog...

Cathy :)

Mary Ann said...

Hi Cathy! Thanks for visiting... and following! I will be sure to visit your blog. Like you, I love to meet others who want to know and share the Truth. Blogging is a great way to do that!

God bless! :)


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