Here's a brief guest post by Marcia Montenegro:
An article by John Pavlovitz about Rob Bell criticizes Christian critics of Bell for being unloving towards Rob Bell. I agree we should not be “unloving” towards anyone, including Rob Bell. But I think this is a "straw man" argument and serves only to make light of Bell's steady drift from the historic Christian faith. The article describes it as this:
"He deviated. He dared to ask questions. He challenged the status quo. He moved against the grain."
Bell went much further than just “deviating” and "asking questions." That was not the problem. What Bell did was question the truth of God's word as well as some major doctrines. In fact, I think Christians were slow to recognize problems with Bell, starting with his book, "Velvet Elvis." It took a long time for voices to be heard and even then, it was not that many. Yet Pavlovitz's article makes Bell sound like a victim:
"As so often happens in the modern Church, he was intentionally and mercilessly pushed to the margins of the Christian community, just a few feet from irrelevance. There he would be left to languish for a few months before hopefully dissolving into obscurity."
I don't think Bell was treated “mercilessly.” What happened is that as Bell continued his drift from sound doctrine, many churches and conferences no longer wanted to book him. Well, that is a consequence of Bell's choices and ideas. It's on him.
The article denies that Bell is “softening the Gospel” or denying orthodox doctrine. Rather,
"Bell’s been doing something very brave. Something many pastors overseeing churches in this country would never do, but many in their congregations wish they would do. He’s admitting the real questions that surface in the excavation of deep faith. He’s looking to separate what in this religion is of God and what is of people. He’s asking why we believe what we believe, and asking believers to do the same."
Bell's words and actions indicate a rejection of the Christian faith as delivered one for all to the saints. This is not being "brave." I have tracked this since “Velvet Elvis” through NOOMA videos and his recent participation with uber New Ager Deepak Chopra.
Serious red flags appeared in Bell's first book, “Velvet Elvis." For example, Bell gives a positive recommendation of Ken Wilber and advises his readers to take 3 months to read Wilber's book, “A Theory of Everything” (which I've read). Wilber, an admitted Perennialist, is a nondualist and the architect of Integral Spirituality, which is mostly based in Eastern spirituality (especially Buddhism). What Christian would positively point anyone to Ken Wilber, whose beliefs have influenced many to his kind of anti-Christian worldview?
There were other red flags in the book, including misinterpretation of Scripture, but Bell's advocacy of Wilber was the most startling and most disturbing to me.
The article continues to bring Bell's critics to task for “destroying” Bell. Again, I repeat that I am against any harsh or unloving treatment of anyone, and I admit some may have been this way toward Bell. However, any articles I read critiquing Bell were not harsh towards Bell but rather expressed grave concerns about Bell's ever-changing theology that was spinning rapidly away from sound doctrine.
Not only that, Christians were and are concerned with Bell's influence on the church and on younger Christians, and that concern has been validated. The Emergent movement, of whom Bell was a spokesperson and leader, has considerably damaged the church in such a way that those influenced now question absolute truth, the Bible as God's word (Bell denied the Bible as God's word years ago), that we can know anything for certain, the doctrine of hell, how people are redeemed, the nature of Christ (which is rather panentheistic in “Love Wins”), and other core beliefs of the faith.
This attack on Bell's critics reminds me of William P. Young stating, with no evidence at all, that critics of his book "The Shack," did not read it. It's a way to deflect attention from the author's theological problems onto those pointing them out. -Marcia Montenegro
Please check out Marcia's extensive website for more information: Christian Answers for the New Age
Here's a GREAT video that carefully examines the "Postmodern/Emergent Church" movement:
Here's a fascinating interview between Marcia Montenegro & Steve Kozar: Marcia Montenegro: Astrologer Overtaken by the Love of God
Check out the review of Rob Bell's new book on the podcast In Layman's Terms
Just for fun...