ROB BELL FAILS THE TESTBy Ken Silva
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world [1]. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
It Is Written
Test the spirits to see whether they are from God. It will be critical in these perilous times as we stand in Christ for us to better understand the Bible, and to then be able to use God's Word in our lives and witness. This is a subject you are going to see me cover with increasing emphasis because Satan has such a firm grip on this nation–and on more and more of the Church as well–through his postmodern philosophy of relativism and the skepticism it inevitably produces. All of which is really just the same old trick that the Devil used on Eve in Genesis 3:1 where he asked her, "Did God Really Say?"
You need to know that this quite faulty line of thinking is very deeply rooted in most people within the Emerging Church (EC) and all but paralyzed its pastors and leaders. Oddly enough one of the foundational reasons that this movement exists, is their supposed superior "enlightenment" that the Christian is really unable to actually know for sure what given texts of the Bible in fact say. In other words, we are told that because no one is omniscient, then it logically follows (so they say) that we have to allow for various interpretations because no one can say conclusively what key verses of Holy Scripture really mean.
This is the very idea that Rob Bell, a prominent and popular pastor in the EC puts this forth in his book Velvet Elvis. <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Bell begins undermining our confidence in arriving at what a given text in the Bible means when he tells us something that is partially true: "Everybody's interpretation is essentially his or her own opinion" (053). He then discusses "an intense meeting" where leaders within his church "were discussing several passages in the Bible." Finally one of them said that after studying them out thoroughly she had "decided to get back to the Bible and just take it for what it said" (ibid).
The Skeptical Smokescreen
Here is where Bell jumps track as a pastor when he says:
Now please understand that this way of thinking is prevalent in a lot of
Christian churches,… But this view of the Bible is warped and toxic, to say the least. The assumption is that there is a way to read the Bible that is
agenda-and perspective-free. As if all these other people have their opinion and biases, but some are able to just read it for what it says. [2]
Since the focus of this work is the testing of the spirits I use this as an example of why we must test those who profess to be pastor-teachers. This is an immensely important issue affecting our young today because they are just not equipped to deal with this type of argument, nor it seems are many adults for that matter. Bell is revealing his own postmodern skepticism here by saying that the historic orthodox Christian position regarding proper hermeneutics and exegesis "is warped and toxic." How does Rob Bell know that? He doesn't. First of all, in an attempt to make his point he must first misstate our position by saying that those of us who say that God spoke to us in propositional Truth, which we are then capable of understanding assume "there is a way to read the Bible that is agenda-and perspective-free."
This is not what the Church is saying at all. The true Body of Christ has always taught exactly what the Bible itself says – The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. [3] Further we most certainly can know what God has revealed to us, and we can come to full understanding of what our Lord tells us in the Bible about Himself because Christ Jesus told us that God the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His Own." [4] 
In part two we'll explore the importance of what we have just learned from the Master and how all of this relates to our understanding the foundational flaw of postmodernism in the EC. As we do you will then see why Emerging Church pastor Rob Bell fails the test when we follow the noble example of the Bereans who received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. [5]
 


[1] 1 John 4:1

[2] Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, (Zondervan, 2005) pp. 053, 054.

[3] 1 Corinthians 2:14

[4] John 16:13

[5] Acts 17:11

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