Providentially, related to our recent series (and one that should continue shortly) is the current firestorm over the yet-to-be-released book by hipster and so-called "pastor," Rob Bell, Love Wins. I was surprised over the controversy because it is not as if Bell's universalism has been well-hidden. I was present when Bell "preached" in Los Angeles a couple years ago and I would attest to any and all opponents that Rob Bell is a false teacher and a heretic.
If those titles still hold any meaning at all, Bell must be unequivocally anathematized by the entire Church. It seems that Paul's warnings of the "dogs" and "evil workers" (Phil 3:2) are aptly applied to Rob Bell personally, unless he repents.
In any case, this controversy was kicked-off by Justin Taylor, "Rob Bell: Universalist?" and was furthered by Kevin Deyoung, "To Hell with Hell" and "Two Thoughts on the Rob Bell Brouhaha." Both of these men have faced the ire of the Gospel-less segments of "evangelicalism" (note the oxymoron !). For that reason, I appreciated the call for intercession on their behalf by Prof. David Murray, "Pray for Justin and Kevin", specifically petitioning the Lord:
1. Have peace and assurance in the heat of the battleThis seems most appropriate given Taylor's admitting in an interview with CNN (!), "To be honest, it was a pretty rough weekend.”
2. Enjoy restful nightly sleep
3. Communicate wisdom and grace in all their responses
4. Avoid losing their tempers in public (and private)
5. Receive understanding and support in their congregations and workplaces
6. Be protected from overt and covert assaults on their ministries and characters
7. Experience the daily relief of happy relationships with their wives and children
8. Win souls to Christ as they have opportunity to speak the truth in love
9. Hold the line.
Praise God for Taylor's integrity, clarity, and courage in the "public arena." He continued in the same interview:
We’re talking about the big things here, things that have been historically defined as orthodox... I have a high degree of confidence in what God is saying and what we can understand.Again, praise the Lord and His Spirit's enabling Justin to speak with clarity and simplicity in a CNN interview. May his tribe increase!
...This isn’t a peripheral academic debate. What Rob Bell is talking about gets to the heart of Christianity.
... It is not preaching the gospel as found in the New Testament... The New Testament is pretty clear if someone preaches a false gospel… that we are to reject that and have nothing to do with them.
Please pray for more strength to be given to leaders like Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung - not to mention all the other shepherds contending earnestly for the faith once for all given to the Church (Jude 3). May the true Gospel and the orthodox Church prevail against all opposing philosophies and experience the victory her Head has promised (Matt 16:18)! Let's continue to "hold the line."
NB - 30 years ago today, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, "The Doctor," went to be with His Savior and Master. (For more on MLJ's life and work, plus a rare video-interview, see Taylor's post "Martyn Lloyd-Jones"). It is with thanks to God that we recognize today Lloyd-Jones mantle of fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not perished from the Church. Our Lord is a faithful Shepherd.