The next ODM spokesman?…is the basic mantra of tabloid journalism and a number of ODM’s.

Today’s case in point:

Here is a recent quote from an interview with Rob Bell in Relevant Magazine:

We refer to ourselves [at Mars Hill] as aggressively nonpartisan, so we don’t engage in partisan politics in terms of “Here’s whom you should vote for; here’s whom you should support.” We do acknowledge that the Gospel has deeply political edges to it, but that should not surprise anyone. Jesus was killed because of how He confronted a particular socioeconomic religious system. He’s a first-century Galilean revolutionary who proclaimed a Kingdom other than the kingdom of Herod, so the Gospel does have political edges.

The interest is in giving voice to people who have no voice and using all of our abundance and wealth and resources on behalf of those who have a shortage. Some of our pastors had a meeting with the mayor of [Grand Rapids], which was simply for the purpose of asking who the most forgotten and the most hurting in our city are. They mayor had several very specific answers, and so we’ve actually reorganized a whole area of our church, putting the majority of our efforts around trying to take care of the worst problems in our city. I don’t know if you would say that’s political or not, even though it involved meeting with the mayor, but if Jesus comes to town and things don’t get better, then we have to ask some hard questions.

For anyone who pays even moderate attention to Mars Hill Bible Church and Bell, this is nothing new or groundbreaking. In fact, it is something he addressed in a Q&A podcast this past summer:

I would say that we have a historic opportunity in that all truth belongs to God. It is not owned by the Republicans. It is not owned by the Democrats. It is not owned by the liberals. It is not owned by the conservatives. All truth belongs to God. And God has set us free in Christ.

Our culture worships at the altar of duality. Everything that comes to people – ‘Is it this, or is it this? Is it conservative or is it liberal? It it modern or post-modern? Is it emergent or is it non-emerging?’ And the Kingdom of God – “how God wants things” – transcends whatever divisions our culture has created.

We, as a church, will remain aggressively non-partisan. The gospel has political edges to it. So when a person says ‘oh, no, Jesus just came for the personal’ – [I say] ‘then why did they kill him’? There were deep political edges that had implications.

The environment and our care of the earth is not a Democratic party issue. It is a Genesis 1 issue. If I met a woman today who is pregnant and thinking about terminating that pregnancy, I would introduce her to about ten women in our congregation who would tell her their stories, and I say ‘we are desperate for you to not make that choice.’ That is not a Republican issue. That is an issue of ’we want to affirm life, and we believe mistakes and redemption become opportunities for grace’. So – any side that wants to say ‘we own this issue’ – if it’s true you only own that because you borrowed that from God.

I’ve had people say – ‘well, if you’re saying that, you must be against the President’, or ‘if you’re saying that, you must be for him’. I’m trying to articulate the way of Jesus, and I don’t really care who is for it or against it – I just want to get the word out so that everyone can do it. If you take the gospel seriously, it will always feel lik you are flirting with various political parties, because it is not surprising that different groups would grasp different dimensions of God’s truth. ’Well, if you’re advocating for the poor, that seems to be a Democratic thing’, or ‘if you’re advocating micro-finance that seems capitalistic – is that a Republican thing?’ As far as we know, it’s true and it doesn’t belong to anybody, because it belongs to God.

Can we be a church that transcends all of the ways our culture tries to divide us? What we are trying to do here at Mars Hill is to say that there is a truth that is not the swinging of the pendulum. It is the kingdom of God and it transcends all of the ways we try to divide ourselves. The beautiful thing here is that truth and love seem to be winning. I would beg this community to consider that when Jesus is fully on display, it won’t fit ANY of your boxes, so just toss your boxes out now. I am only trying to come from one perspective: Jesus. NOBODY will co-opt this stage or this community or hijack the agenda, which is that jesus would be put on display for the whole world to see.

I would beg this community to consider that what we are doing here is inviting ourselves to be a part of something our culture has not seen: ‘OK, it’s nice that you have that disagreement, and it’s nice that you have that ‘thing’, but let’s take communion together and then let us break ourselves open and pour ourselves out for the world. So, I would beg our community to have no fear. There is nothing to fear – Jesus can be trusted, so let’s go…

It is pretty clear that MHBC and its preaching pastor are pretty aggresive at being non-partisan, as the church should be, taking the individual issues of the day and applying Godly, scriptural perspective to them – whether the issues have been co-opted by conservatives (abortion, micro-finance, justice, etc.) or liberals (caring for the poor, the environment, etc.).

Truth belongs to God, not a political party or movement.

Rather than deal with what is ACTUALLY being taught at Mars Hill Bible Church, though, ODM’s looking for a quick score, regardless of it being at the expense of truth, honed in on one sentence from the entire context of the conversation -

Jesus was killed because of how He confronted a particular socioeconomic religious system. He’s a first-century Galilean revolutionary who proclaimed a Kingdom other than the kingdom of Herod.

- and ran with it, declaring to the world “Rob Bell, Your Liberalism is Showing“. [Merry - if you're reading this, please insert it as Exhibit 9,999 of "an uncharitable reader"] In doing so, though, the author shows more about his own ignorance of Biblical history and exegesis than a presence of ‘liberalism’ in Bell or his teaching.
As most serious students of scripture know and understand, there are a number of levels of answers to questions raised in scripture. The question being raised – Who killed Jesus, and why? – is one of them.

On one level, we can view Isaiah 53, in which it is clear that it is the Lord’s will that it would happen in order to take on the sins of the world.

On another level, we can point to the gospel accounts who identify “the Jews” (or, more correctly, from the Greek, “the Judeans” – the Jews from Judea, who tended to be more secularly oriented, or were oriented with the Sadducee party). We might, as well, observe that this was corroborated by the Romans who carried out the crucifixion.
On yet another level, we can point to Paul, who pointed to “the rulers of this age” as the culprits (I Cor. 2:8).

Paul, though, also indicates that all of us are complicit, through our sin, in the death of Jesus.

In truth, it all depends upon the context of the question “Who killed Jesus, and why?” of which answer is best suited – because all are facets of the truth. In this particular case, Bell is answering a question on politics, so he gives an answer that is based on the political truth of Jesus’ death.

In the first century, the Sadducee party was beholden to Rome for the power they held in the Temple. The writings of Josephus, the Essenes of Qumran, Rome itself and other sources bear this out. The Sadducees, who were of the priestly line, were in charge of the Temple and its rites, from which they gained vast amounts of wealth. Jesus’ cleansing of the temple and his teachings about the kingdom were very much a threat to their way of life.

The religious Jews who followed Jesus believed that he was to be the Messiah – expecting him to be an earthly conqueror who would overthrow Roman rule and bring the physical kingdom into being. This was a direct threat to the Romans.

Politically, it was the Sanhedrin (made up of 65 Sadducees and 5 Pharisees (at least 2 of whom were sympathetic to Jesus)) and Herod which launched the plot to kill him, out of a motive of self-preservation, both physical and economic. It was the Romans who carried out the execution, in order to prevent an uprising (noting that the Romans killed scores of individuals identified as ‘Messiahs’).

So, again, Bell’s statement is one of fact, not of partisan politics or belief.

What is sad, though, is just how belligerantly dishonest some Christians can be when the importance of slander, profit and pride (all in the guise of “discernment”) outweigh the need for charity and the truth.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 at 2:58 pm and is filed under Hypocrisy, Ken Silva, Misuse of Scripture, ODM Responses, ODM Writers, Original Articles, What Can You Say?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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99 Comments(+Add)

1   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 16th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

It’s really just sad. Sometimes I wonder why anyone takes this stuff seriously anymore.

Basically, I’ve found that the word “liberal” has almost no meaning when used by an ODM, except as a way to basically be a guilt-by-assocation tactic. “Don’t listen to him! He’s a liberal!” Basically anyone who doesn’t agree with their very narrow interpretation is a liberal.

BTW, when I saw your post title, I thought for sure it was going to be about this post. Seriously, it takes some convoluted logic to link Matthew McConaughey to the Emergent Church.

2   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 16th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

BTW, when I saw your post title, I thought for sure it was going to be about this post. Seriously, it takes some convoluted logic to link Matthew McConaughey to the Emergent Church.

Yeah, I scratched my head long and hard over that one. A bunch of Googling yielded a photo of Mr. McConaughey in swimtrunks, reading “A Case for Christ” and a factoid that his parents are Christian.

3   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
January 16th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

I read this article. I am seriously concerned for the state of some of these ODMs. It’s amazing what they have to twist to get their point across. AMAZING!

4   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
January 16th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

To be fair, the C?N article is talking about theological liberalism, not political liberalism.

Also to be fair, it should be noted that they long ago demonstrated that they don’t see any difference between the two.

5   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
January 16th, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Darn it, Phil. Why’d you have to point that out? My hair had just stopped bleednig!

6   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 16th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

That McConaughey post shows that there’s some secret ODM language.

7   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 16th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Brendt,

How exactly does one’s hair bleed? Is this a Southern-ism that we uncouth Northerners just don’t comprehend or what?

8   Christian    
January 16th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Chris,

Excellent post. You always amaze me with the amount of work and research you put into your posts. You are a better man than I.

However, Phil distracted me with the McConaughey stuff. So I read that at C?N. I’m confused. How far off the path have they gotten so as to post something like that? I thought I wasted too much of my time on stuff that doesn’t matter. I mean, even if you ignore all the references to the emergent church (which I pretty much do anyway) what are they reading to come up with this stuff?

9   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
January 16th, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Chris, no it’s a Brendt-ism. It’s just code for something that is so maddening, frustrating, or confusing that it causes unnatural bodily reactions.

10   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 8:27 am

I’ve read the interview in the magazine, and frankly it was…well…something. Not sure my hair was bleeding, but the old noggin was scratched a few times.

Not going to get into everything that seemed puzzling or double-talking here, but here’re a couple of things that bothered me.

–There is an absolutely mind-blowing passage in Isaiah 19 where God calls Egypt His son and Assyria His beloved. Egypt and Assyria where the enemies of Israel. Today, that passage would literally be “Taliban My son, Al-Qaeda My beloved”.–

Expressing my true feelings about him saying that would probably get me booted, so let me say first that it is a completely horrible misrepresentation of what Isaish 19 is saying. The chapter is some prophecies mostly concerning Egypt, at first they are hard and speak of judgment against that nation, but at the end they speak of a time when Egypt, Assyria, and Israel would be right with God and in that way united and a blessing.

For Bell to substitute out real nations for terrorist organizations is rather mind-boggling. If instead he had said “Nazis My son, KKK MY beloved”, would anyone take him seriously? But how would those example be any worse then the one he really gave?

But real point is, God made to prophecies to real nations, not to any “plug in” anyone wants to put in.

The second thing that bothered me we this…

–The central Hebrew prayer, Deuteronomy 6, says, “Hear O Israel the Lord you God, the Lord is One,” so we live with the awareness that all of reality is one. We are connected with all thing everywhere…–

I’m not sure how saying “the Lord is One” can lead us to the conclusion that “all of reality is one”. This comes rather close to some kind of new-agey thought, or some things taught by someone like Ken Wilbur (who Bell said we should study in-depth, at least one particular of his books) (and if you must know, yes, a couple of weeks ago I did read “A Brief History of Everything”, and while it does have some interesting insights on a few cultural things, concerning religious ideas it is completely whacked and not even close to being biblical).

I can’t recall anywhere in the Bible where there is even a hint of an “all of reality is one” teaching. God is both transcendant and eminent, both high above us and near to us. Humans have been given responsibility for creation, but not as some kind of “we are all one” thing, but as those who have dominion over it, to use and to care for.

I suppose I could do much worse then leaving you with this little chestnut of ‘wisdom’ from the interview…

–because diapers are an assault on the earth–

…and leave it at that.

11   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 8:45 am

Jazz,

As I read your thoughts above I just could not see what you are saying as truth at all… I see you are missing the point…

Jesus stated: “Love your enemy” and the Bible give example after example of God telling the Jews and then us to do so.

In fact if you read the book of Jonah, that is the point of the whole book! The Ninevites were the enemies of the Jews and both hated each other… yet God sent a Jew to them out of compassion… and you state the “who” is to be so specific?

Jesus pointed to the Samaritans who were considered not pure… and stated that the true “good” neighbor who loved others was this hybrid Samaritan… Jesus talked to the Gentiles as (gasp) humans and no just “dogs”… and even joked with the gentile woman over this…. and you state we should not just insert anyone in place of the Assyrians… but in that miss the major point that we are to “love our enemies”.

As far as the

“I can’t recall anywhere in the Bible where there is even a hint of an “all of reality is one” teaching.”

Note these verses…

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

And note what our “reality” is…

These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

So more accurately is all reality is One… Jesus Christ.

To me this is basic stuff and you seem to have twisted these truths to be wrong and to make such a literal sense of some verses to miss the lesson within them…

iggy

12   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 8:53 am

Jazz,
I think you’re doing the same thing here with Bell as what you did with Velvet Elvis. You take one statement, and totally neglect what he says after that statement to qualify it.

Obviously, Bell isn’t supporting some sort of pantheism. After saying “all of reality is one”, he goes to explain what he means by that. He means everything is connected. What we do here effects people across the globe in ways we don’t realize. Heaven and earth are interconnected. It’s a very Jewish way of looking at the cosmos, actually.

Also, as far as the diaper thing. He’s not the first person I’ve heard being it up. Disposable diapers are pretty environmentally un-friendly. They don’t decompose very quickly, and I don’t see how pointing that out is a heresy.

13   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:23 am

–I think you’re doing the same thing here with Bell as what you did with Velvet Elvis. You take one statement, and totally neglect what he says after that statement to qualify it.–

Except that isn’t what I did with that book. I took everything in context, even gave the context. Sorry, but I must disagree with you that I totally neglected anything in what I wrote concerning that book, or about the interview.

But at the moment, I don’t have the interview with me, so I’ll have to respond a bit later to such an accusation.

14   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:25 am

Jazz,

You are ignoring plain scripture I presented…

iggy

15   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 9:35 am

Jazz,
OK, to speak more specifically to your first post, I’ll say this. The Jewish would be offended that God is speaking any type of blessing over Egypt and Assyria, regardless of the context. It would have been offensive in the same way Jesus using the Samaritan as a positive examply would have been. Samaritans were largely viewed with the same amount of hatred we view the KKK and Nazis. That’s Bell’s point. God wants to bless our enemies.

That doesn’t mean He condones sin, but it means that only He is able to fully deal with sin. When humans take in their own hands, it becomes a big mess. We are called love our enemies, and bless those who curse us. It seems to me, that’s what Bell’s getting at.

16   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:36 am

–Also, as far as the diaper thing. He’s not the first person I’ve heard being it up. Disposable diapers are pretty environmentally un-friendly. They don’t decompose very quickly, and I don’t see how pointing that out is a heresy–

If you read what I really wrote, you will see that I did not call it a heresy. I called it a “little chestnut of ‘wisdom’”.

17   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:42 am

–Jazz,

You are ignoring plain scripture I presented…–

I have ignored nothing, iggy. You’re just going to have to wait your turn.

18   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:55 am

The Jewish would be offended that God is speaking any type of blessing over Egypt and Assyria, regardless of the context. It would have been offensive in the same way Jesus using the Samaritan as a positive examply would have been. Samaritans were largely viewed with the same amount of hatred we view the KKK and Nazis.

Just a note on the Samaritans:

According to first century records, and Josephus in particular, just a few years prior to Jesus’ ministry, a group of Samaritans brought bones, human ashes and other remains – possibly from a Jewish burial ground – and scattered them within the Temple grounds. Apart from sacrificing a pig or a human on the altar of the Temple, this is about the most abominible thing that could be done to infuriate the Jewish people.

Jesus’ choice of a Samaritan in his parable would have been the modern equivalent of us putting a KKK member in the modern retelling of the story with the dying man in the story as an ethoipian (black) Jew.

19   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 17th, 2008 at 9:59 am

At some point ODMs move from incompetent researchers to malicious, perpetual liars.

20   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 10:09 am

Jazz,

what scares me is that you are falling in line with the ODM’s misuse and abuse of scripture… that instead of taking what it teaches, focusing on points that do not matter.

In fact the worst enemy at the time of Jesus was the Romans… and Jesus stated to “Go the extra mile” and in the case of “loving your enemies” was talking of the Romans. Many were taking the Law to use it so that they could justify taking an eye for an eye against the Romans… there were certain sects that literally slashed Roman soldiers as they passed them in crowds in retaliation and justified it by the Law…

In that atmosphere we have the Messiah, who is to come and drive out the “enemies of God” by war, declare, “Love your enemies.”

So, I see what you stated above as the misuse and abuse of the scripture so that one does not need “love your enemy” unless God does not name them specifically… We are to love the Assyrian, but hate the Nazi… sorry it does not teach that at all…

This should send us to our knees as we realize we cannot do this… and it should send us to Jesus so that He will do it in and through us by His Power…

iggy

21   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 10:50 am

At some point ODMs move from incompetent researchers to malicious, perpetual liars.

I think that the most charitable reading would be to assume the former and to allow them to be convicted of the latter, if it is the case.

22   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 11:40 am

–Note these verses…

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.–

In regards to this verse, Iggy, I would point out that “you are all one in Christ Jesus”. For example, “you” is referring to believers, or more exactly believers in the church being addressed–there are no second-class Christians, all are a part of one body, though they are many members. That does not include non-believers.

–So more accurately is all reality is One… Jesus Christ.–

Do you wish to rephrase or clarify this? Because as it is, this is only pantheism, and it is very much like Bell was saying.

–what scares me is that you are falling in line with the ODM’s misuse and abuse of scripture…–

So, let me get this straight–Bell can plug in any X he wants into a prophecy addressed to certain peoples, and I’m the one misusing and abusing scripture when I expressed serious disagreement with him?

–So, I see what you stated above as the misuse and abuse of the scripture so that one does not need “love your enemy” unless God does not name them specifically–

And you come this conclusion…how??? Seeing as I didn’t even come close to any kind of “hatred” speech, I find your conclusion to be not just a stretch but not even connected to anything I wrote.

I pointed out Bell’s misuse of the prophecy of Isaiah 19, and using his own method, plugged in two other groups to show how bad his interpretation is. At no point did I hint that people in any of those groups should not be loved, though it is a stretch to call those groups themselves God’s beloved and son.

23   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 11:49 am

Thanks for clearing that up, Jazzy

Ignatious, you have two minutes to respond:

24   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 17th, 2008 at 11:58 am

My wife has posted her thoughts about Ken’s take here.

25   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Jazz,
So, are you really saying that Bell advocates pantheism? It’s just unbelievable to me if that’s what you’re saying. You cling to the one statement, and ignore the rest of the context.

A case could be made that Bell advocates a type of panentheism, that God is in and working in and through everything (which isn’t heterodox at all). But I just don’t see how you can back up what you’re saying.

26   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

A partial repost of a comment from another thread (dealing with “oneness”):

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Paul is using similar language here, and elsewhere, that are in line with the teachings of his first rabbi, Gamaliel, regarding the concept of “tikkun olam” – the repairing of the whole world (which includes, as Paul notes in your citation, ALL things that were created). All of creation groans for the repair of the world, which was cemented through Jesus’ blood on the cross.

It is this concept – that the world and everything in it was created in it was once in shalom with God, and that His plan is to return it to that state – to which Paul refers, and which Bell and others reference. It goes beyond a statement of belief to a statement of action as a response to that belief. It also fits right in with the teaching of grace – we are saved so that we can do the mitzvot which move us in the direction of tikkun olam.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works [mitzvot], which God prepared in advance for us to do.

So this “oneness” that Bell refers to is not a “universalism”, but referencing that all things were created by God and that all things will be reconciled to Him through Jesus’ blood, so that the world and everything in it will again be in shalom with God.

27   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

–So, are you really saying that Bell advocates pantheism? –

Here is what I wrote in my first entry to this discussion.

–I’m not sure how saying “the Lord is One” can lead us to the conclusion that “all of reality is one”. This comes rather close to some kind of new-agey thought, or some things taught by someone like Ken Wilbur –

Looking at that entry, I don’t see where I used the word “panthiestic” in it. I do say it’s “close to some kind of new-agey thought”, and it is. I also bring up Wilbur, because Bell does advocate for his book, and because I recall Wilbur having “we are all one” kind of ideas.

Do I really think that Bell is panthiestic, or panenthiestic?

Look at his support for the idea that “all of reality is one”. He refers to the Shema, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One”. From that, he jumps to the “all of reality is one” conclusion.

Now, if saying “the Lord is One” means “all of reality is one”, what does that mean? Where is God in all of that? Is it all of that much of a stretch to say that such a conclusion is saying that God is all of reality–all of the material and the spiritual world is really God?

Phil, I’m really not trying to stretch things here, nor am I trying to reading something into this that isn’t there. But the basis (the Shema) and the conclusion (all of reality is one) are Bell’s, not mine.

Let me ask this, if I may–do you or anyone else here agree that saying “the Lord is One” means “all of reality is one”? Even if you think that statement “all of reality is one” may have some sense to it (we’ll leave off discussing the ins and outs of that statement for the moment), is it a good conclusion drawn from the premise?

28   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Let me ask this, if I may–do you or anyone else here agree that saying “the Lord is One” means “all of reality is one”?

What Bell is doing here is pretty common for most people I know who work with Jewish teaching techniques – that is, he ties teaching back to Deut 6:4 – the shema. Everything that exists came from God. So, everything that exists is connected to each other through Him.

Sin has broken or distorten many of those connections, but Jesus’ death made it possible for those connections to be repaired. This ‘repair’ is accomplished by God through Jesus’ equipping of His kingdom…

29   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Jazz,
Well not to be Clinton-esque, but it really depends how we look at the word “one”. It seems clear to me that Bell is referring to it the interconnected sense from the following sentences. The interstate highway system is “one”, it’s all connected, but it’s not a singularity.

I think also, when Bell mentions the Shema, he probably is think of the rest of that passage. What is the reason God is telling the Israelites this? It’s in Deuteronomy 6:20-25:

In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”

It’s so they remembered their dependence on God. It was God who literally kept them alive. Thus, in a very real way, they were interconnected with God.

30   amy    
January 17th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Regarding Bell’s interpretation of the Shema, it looks like he had an agenda, and tried to find a verse to fit it.
______
Jazz shared this quote:

The central Hebrew prayer, Deuteronomy 6, says, “Hear O Israel the Lord you God, the Lord is One,” so we live with the awareness that all of reality is one.

.

and made this remark:

I can’t recall anywhere in the Bible where there is even a hint of an “all of reality is one” teaching. God is both transcendant and eminent, both high above us and near to us. Humans have been given responsibility for creation, but not as some kind of “we are all one” thing, but as those who have dominion over it, to use and to care for.

To me the following statement also demonstrates a lack of seeing God as transcendent, in describing how God’s Word came about:

We believe the Bible to be the voices of many who have come before us, inspired by God to pass along their poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God.

(Mars Hill Covenant site).

I could talk about God “inspiring” me to write a letter to someone in the same way that inspiration seems to be used above. I don’t see the statement stating or even implying that the ” poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God” are “inspired” by God in any way – rather that God “inspired” as in “led” folks to pass them along.

And I can’t help but wonder if the inspiration statement is somehow also demonstrating a belief that God is not transcendent, in this case, that His Word is just part of the story, words that aren’t really different from my words, except that they were written a long time ago . . . and, can now be considered “theology.”

There’s more following the statement, all copied below. I’m not trying to take it out of context, just don’t think the rest of the context makes any difference in the meaning.

http://www.marshill.org/believe/

We believe the Bible to be the voices of many who have come before us, inspired by God to pass along their poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God. These words have been used to describe God and his character for thousands of years, and we call this theology. Theology is one of the best ways we can come to know and love God; it is also how we understand who God calls us to be and what he calls us to do. Theology comes from the Greek words “theos” and “logos.” Theos means God, and logos means word. Words about God.

My question about the rest of this would be this: If God “inspired” me to write a letter to my church, about what I think about God, could it, say, in 1,000 years be considered theology, by the underlying meaning of the Mars Hill statement?

31   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Phil,

Excellent observation! As Jesus noted, the shema is the greatest command, and everything else flows from it.

Bell picked the right verse to quote, but did so in a more Hebraic manner than a Western one…

32   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Amy I agree…

Rob, isn’t theology the study of God rather than words about God? or is Biology words about life? So Jesus spoke biology? (words of life?) HUH?

I think we better investigate Rob’s use of greek in ALL his messages.

33   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

He’s writing that in a very simplistic manner, on purpose, to reach a broad audience. You need to ask yourself “Does this church honestly believe that the Bible is not the inspired inerrant Word of God?”.

They’re just using a different writing style in their beliefs, a more narrative way of writing, rather than the standard point by point analysis of church beliefs that many churches have, but wouldn’t work well in the cultural setting of Mars Hill.

They still believe the same things we do about the Bible.

You also have to ask yourself is “We believe the Bible to be the voices of many who have come before us, inspired by God to pass along their poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God.” A false statment in reality? Are you making an argument from silence that just because the words “inspired inerrant Word of God” aren’t in there, that they don’t believe that or imply that?

I think what they’ve written there is a true statement, and just a different way of stating the Truth of what the Bible is to us. Restated truth is still truth. And from a human perspective, isn’t this what God did? Inspire sinful men to write down their interactions with God, what they learned about God, what God said to them (including Jesus, because He is the Word, and God), etc etc.

I think it’s a different way of saying things, that we’re not used to maybe, but no less true. What do you think?

Joe

34   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Joe,

What it comes down to, really, is probably even simpler – are you a charitable reader, or are you looking to find specks in your brother’s eye?

35   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 17th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

He didn’t write it.

36   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 4:23 pm

He didn’t write it.

Well, there is that, too…

37   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Am I a charitable reader…? Or did you mean “Are you [everyone]…”

As for me, God’s changed me considerably, though I still mess up pretty badly when I’m reading things, but I used to always look for the bad, the speck. Now, thanks in large part to this site’s ministry, God’s helped me with that. It’s great. Grace is always so much more vibrant, alive, and joyful than condemnation. By saying things like that…I give my newfound ‘enemies’ fuel against me, but I don’t care anymore.

“Who” didn’t write it? I was just saying “this church” or “Mars Hill” says this. I was defending what they wrote as true. Because what they said about the Bible is true.

Joe

38   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

I find it quite interesting that a man like Ben Witherington III, can basically stick up for Rob Bell in his new book, but random critics on the internet parse Bell’s sentences in the worst possible light.

BWIII is more knowledgeable in the New Testament than almost any other contemporary author I can think of. If you doubt that statement go read his commentary on Acts to start. Come back after three months, and then tell me what you think. He’s definitely no theological liberal.

39   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Thanks for the link Phil, I’ll check that guy out for sure.

When I read the fullness of Rob Bell’s statements, I’m impressed. It just depresses me to see people qoute-mine him and troll his statements, even if unintentionally.

Joe

40   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Sorry, Joe – yes, you are – that should have been you=everybody…

41   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Stupid English language with you=singular&plural

*mutter*

42   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 17th, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Joe C,
It has been my experience that anything and everything that happens here at the church is credited to Rob. I’m saying he didn’t write the Narrative Theology piece. I’m not saying that he doesn’t stand behind because I am sure he does. I stand behind it. I signed my name to live in covenant with these people around that document. It just cracks me up how everything gets assigned to him.

43   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 17th, 2008 at 4:41 pm

I’ve actually come to place where often I enjoy the people who troll his stuff (not saying that anyone here has done that in the past or is doing that now) but it provides a wonderful source of amusement for my friends and I around a cold beverage and other joyous activities.

44   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Jazz,

Do you wish to rephrase or clarify this? Because as it is, this is only pantheism, and it is very much like Bell was saying.

What I did was quote you scripture… and you made it mean something entirely else… so I will add one more scripture to clarify so that you might understand how YOU are twisting this to mean what YOU want…

For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Now, the context is the judgement when Jesus is putting “…the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

So, “everything” includes His enemies here… so All will be under the reign and Kingdom of Jesus and in that of God.

Do you not see that?

Now, we also see in Hebrews10, “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves.”

Notice also in the context of Hebrews 10 that there is no mention between saved and unsaved… as the writer goes on to state that, “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Now the argument that it is only the redeemed cannot be made from the context as the writer starts our with the shadow of the Law… this same Law that was given to reveal man is dead in their sins… all men… not must some… and as Jesus being our High Priest gave himself as the sacrifice… set aside the Law to establish the New Covenant… for “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Yet, Jesus did the will of the Father and “by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

All mankind has been set aside to be Holy… and that is why the rejection of Jesus is the unpardonable sin… and they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Yet, they are still all “in Christ”, “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

At the resurrection all will be raised “alive” even the unsaved… but the destination of the saved and the unsaved is different. All are restored to Life, but some go on to eternal life and some to eternal death.

For…

“Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”

What you are doing is stating that this is pantheism or panantheism and it is all about the Resurrection of the dead to life and then the judgement in which all are place in Christ… either in eternal life or the second death…

It is all about God being God of all and in all in His Kingdom…

iggy

45   amy    
January 17th, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Is anyone able to look at the Mars Hill statement as if it came from Mars, not Mars Hill? Just, simply, out of nowhere, not connected to anyone you want to protect or damage . . .

and then would anyone care to look at it just as it stands, without any fancy parsing, and tell me why I can’t answer “yes” to this?

If God “inspired” me to write a letter to my church, about what I think about God, could it, say, in 1,000 years be considered theology, by the underlying meaning of the Mars Hill statement?

Also, the Mars Hill Covenant does not make it clear that the CONTENTS of the stories, poems, etc were inspired by God in any way, as you all realize I believe. If the goal of the narrative is simply clear communication in a simple way, and if inspiration of the contents is an essential truth, why was it left out? Arguments from silence are not simple, they are complex, Joe C. Why claim to communicate simply but then use some kind of argument in which one has to guess at the implied information.

We believe the Bible to be the voices of many who have come before us, inspired by God to pass along their poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God.

46   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 17th, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Amy,
You can make anything out to say what you want it to. In fact, you can look for what you believe is missing. You are picking! Trying to find something wrong! Good luck with that.

47   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Amy,
Your question seems a bit of a non-sequitor to me. That paragraph your quoting isn’t even part of the official statement. The more applicable paragraph is this:

We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative narrative communally and individually to faithfully interpret and live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God.

It seems pretty clear they’re only referring to Scripture, which is pretty much universally recognized as the 66 canonical books of the Bible.

48   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 17th, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Amy,
Perhaps you should write a letter to the elders. The address is :Mars Hill
3501 Fairlanes Ave. SW
Grandville, MI 49418
or you can email them by going here
Blessings on you and yours

49   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 17th, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Thank you Phil!

50   amy    
January 17th, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Phil,
That statement is from the Mars Hill statement of beliefs, isn’t it? I’ve believe I’ve seen it before, and wondered what it really meant.

It seems that an “official statement” as you call it and a statement for people to read before the signing of the covenant should simply support each other. I would take the Mars Hill Covenant narrative as simply trying to make this “official” statement more readable.

Here they are, side by side:

We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today . . .

We believe the Bible to be the voices of many who have come before us, inspired by God to pass along their poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God.

Are you saying they mean something different?

51   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Amy…..

My question about the rest of this would be this: If God “inspired” me to write a letter to my church, about what I think about God, could it, say, in 1,000 years be considered theology, by the underlying meaning of the Mars Hill statement?

This does go much deeper than you are realizing…

What sets Paul apart from Ignatius or Polycarp?

I think it is in that even in the writings of the two disciples of John the Apostle set themselves apart by stating in their letters that they were not writing under inspiration the same as Paul… Paul was chosen and give the ministry to reveal the mystery of God to the Gentiles… that they are also to be saved by God!

Yet, you seem to want a complete answer to sound bite sized “statement of faith” which I am sure if I looked at your churches statement could do as you do to Bells… up to the challenge… give me the link to your churches web site and i will judge it the same way you are doing with Rob Bells…

i double dog dare you…

LOL!
iggy

52   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Amy,

Oh, and if you are not up to that challenge then I challenge you to stop criticizing others if you are not will to submit to your own standard of judgment.

iggy

53   Neil    
January 17th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Amy: And I can’t help but wonder if the inspiration statement is somehow also demonstrating a belief that God is not transcendent, in this case, that His Word is just part of the story, words that aren’t really different from my words, except that they were written a long time ago . . . and, can now be considered “theology.”

Amy: …it looks like he had an agenda, and tried to find a verse to fit it.

I love irony.

Neil

54   amy    
January 17th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Joe and Erica,
In the broad scheme of things my attitude as perceived by you – you believe I am just being picky- is irrelevant to your well-being. Your church’s views of inspiration are critical to your spiritual well-being.

I don’t expect you to believe me, but I am not trying to find something wrong. I don’t have to read and reread the statements, especially the narrative one, because it’s so simply written, to think that something is missing. Certainly I am not the only one who would find these statements lacking or at least confusing. I find that neither of these statements are clear as to whether or not the content of scripture is inspired. It seems like you could be more concerned about that possible lack of clarity, instead of just thinking that I might be being picky.

If someone told me they found my church’s statements on inspiration lacking, I hope I would not brush them off and tell them to write the elders. I hope I would listen to their concerns and and even take them to the elders myself. Because my topmost concern would be that the statement was indeed miscommunicating. I would think that it was important to communicate clearly that the content of God’s Word is inspired, and want to do everything I could to make that clear to readers, even readers outside of my church.

I wonder, even if I were writing on here for the first time and you had no prior whatever it is you have towards me, if you would be able to hear any critique of Rob Bell or Mars Hill. Are either of you able to listen to criticism of Rob Bell or Mars Hill, coming from anyone? Do you actually have an open mind? Or is part of being part of the Covenant surrendering your willingness to critique?

I don’t believe it’s healthy to have an attitude of “there’s no need to explain, there couldn’t possibly be a problem” about any church, school, club, etc. Maybe that’s not what you’re intending to communicate – but that’s how I perceive your relationship to Mars Hill.

55   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Amy,
I really don’t know what else to say. When the statement says “Scripture”, I take it to mean the Bible. The Bible is made up of poems, stories, and historical accounts. What else would you call the literature that makes up the books of the Bible?

If you have a problem with it, take Joe’s advice and write the church. Although, I don’t why they should feel any obligation to listen to anyone who’s not a member of the community.

If you want a good overview of narrative theology that’s a quick read, I would suggest The Last Word by N.T. Wright.

56   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Amy,

In the broad scheme of things my attitude as perceived by you – you believe I am just being picky- is irrelevant to your well-being. Your church’s views of inspiration are critical to your spiritual well-being.

Then submit your churches statement of faith… so we can pick it apart like you are doing here… Are you afraid?

iggy

57   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Amy,

Do you not believe that “Scripture” means “bible” in the context you are reading? RB is not talking about the Hindu scriptures or the Mormon Scritpures… or the…

Submit your churches statement of faith… and let us jduge it as you judge others… let us hold you to your own standard as “Your church’s views of inspiration are critical to your spiritual well-being.” and if they are off, you need to know…

iggy

58   amy    
January 17th, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Neil,
The irony is that you, debator of “inferred” and “implied” would not actually admit that these statements don’t address the inspiration of the content of the Bible.

Why can’t you take an honest look at the Mars Hill Narrative and the questions I asked and try to answer my questions fairly?

And as to this:

Amy: …it looks like he had an agenda, and tried to find a verse to fit it.” — do you actually agree with Bell’s interpreting the shema in the way he did?

59   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Amy,

The irony is that you, debator of “inferred” and “implied” would not actually admit that these statements don’t address the inspiration of the content of the Bible.

The irony is your own hypocrisy that you judge others but are unwilling to allow others to judge you the same way…

iggy

60   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Joe & Erica,

Bless you for your patience when folks outside of your community criticize and mock. The statement of faith is pretty clear, as we’ve discussed in previous posts. It just isn’t organized in bullet-point, definitional fashion (in the Western/Greek tradition).

Well done, and blessings to you and your community!

61   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 17th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Amy,
There is so much I could say about your assumptions about my wife and I but I will not. Instead I will once again offer blessings on you and yours. Please feel free to write the Elders if you would like. If you are ever in Grand Rapids, drop us a line and we’ll have you in our home for dinner.

62   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Iggy,

Titus 3:10 may be the best course in this particular case.

You know you won’t get a statement of faith, so why draw it out? And even in the end, it has been demonstrated that nothing will satisfy, so what really is the point?

63   amy    
January 17th, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Phil,
I asked the question “Are you saying they mean something different?” because you presented the “official” version as somehow being different than the narrative version. You said it was more applicable. I see the two statements as saying basically the same thing (Scripture/Bible being interchangeable) so really didn’t understand what your point was.

The main thing is, I don’t think that either of them makes it clear that the content of scripture is inspired. They only make it clear that the sharing, handing down of that scripture was inspired.

Maybe a simple way to look especially at the narrative version would be to imagine that one were to write it as one’s own view of inspiration for a Bible/theology class. What questions would the Professor have about my views of inspiration?

He could ask, “Well, what do you mean by “their” stories? Did God have anything to do with the actual writing, or was it only the poets, story-tellers who did the actual thinking, writing, then somehow felt “inspired” to pass their stories on?

64   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 17th, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Amy,
Philemon 1:3
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

65   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Amy,

We have all answered your questions clearly here and in other places on this website. If you won’t listen to what has been said, then yes, it’s perfectly normal to refer you to the church elders, so that maybe they can answer your questions to your satisfaction. I personally have NO problem understanding their statement on the Scriptures, and know that they believe what I believe about them. I don’t go to Mars Hill, nor do I live anywhere near there. Nor am I a huge Bell fan (yet), or anything like that. But it’s not that hard to understand. Everyone here is saying you have an agenda, perhaps you should seriously consider if you do have an agenda, and if I might add, possibly a vendetta? You’re acting quite oddly, going against what I find to be a clear statement on the belief of the Inspired Scriptures. Just seems overkill to me.

Like Joe M said, if you have further problems, contact the church. Ask the leaders straight up if they believe what all other Christians have historically believed about the 66 books, poems, historical accounts, parables (etc) of the Bible.

Thank you.

Joe

66   amy    
January 17th, 2008 at 9:54 pm

it has been demonstrated that nothing will satisfy

How funny Chris. Indeed in my last long discussion “Loving Our Community” “nothing” indeed had to satisfy since my questions were never answered by the person I addressed them to (Tim) on the grounds that “I don’t generally converse with people who claim to have special knowledge as you have. ‘

And the only answer I ever got for why “I Am Malice” is not sin, and glorifies God was . . . NO ANSWER. By anyone.

All the complaints I hear about ODM’s not answering questions . . .

67   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Maybe you should be asking yourself…what am I doing/saying/coming across like…that is preventing me from getting answers..? Who knows?

68   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 10:00 pm

I’m going to bow out for a while guys. See you.

PS Amy, I’m not trying to be mean, just a little devil’s advocate…=)

69   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 17th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Joe C,
See ya later! Thanks for your thoughts! You were not mean at all. You brought up some excellent points!

70   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Chris L,

You know you won’t get a statement of faith, so why draw it out? And even in the end, it has been demonstrated that nothing will satisfy, so what really is the point?

Two points really.

1. Amy judges others by a standard she will not hold herself to.

2. Amy picks and chooses things, even people to listen to and then ignore things and people she “feels” like it. She has placed herself above reproach and does not take rebukes as Scripture states she does…

In the end Amy does not practise what she preaches on and on and on and on and on…. here… so I hope that if she is not willing to lay in out there for us, we then can collectively see she is not authentic in her beliefs and a reason to ignore and possibly ask as a group to have here heavily moderated as she seem more here to cause descent and division than to discuss.

iggy

71   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Amy,

And the only answer I ever got for why “I Am Malice” is not sin, and glorifies God was . . . NO ANSWER. By anyone.

This is a lie… we all answered you over and over and you posted the same thing TWICE!

So please do not lie… and do not judge… but please submit your churches (or your own) statement of faith…

iggy

72   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 17th, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Amy,

He could ask, “Well, what do you mean by “their” stories? Did God have anything to do with the actual writing, or was it only the poets, story-tellers who did the actual thinking, writing, then somehow felt “inspired” to pass their stories on?

do what the bible states…

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

Please stop bring what you see Rob Bells faults to us… go to him as the Bible teaches…

If you keep on bringing your grievances against Rob Bell here, then I think you do not even believe the scripture you are fight are so inspired… if so inspired, then obey them…

Otherwise you are gossipping.

Note, I have brought my grievances to John MacArthur and to Ken and many others by email… so please do not state that I need to also… if you have not attempted to contact Rob Bell you have not done so.

The rest of us read and see that the bible is what is meant…

iggy

73   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 17th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Amy,
I’m just going to post one last time, then off to bed for me. I guess you seem to think that a church statement of belief should leave all potential readers with no questions. The thing is that often times when I read the Bible, I leave with more questions than when I started. It’s frustrating sometimes.

Why should church be any different? Should people come to a church service and expect to have all their questions about life and creation answered? Or should they leave with more questions on their mind? Personally, I think it’s healthy to leave a service a littel unsettled. Maybe God wants to get us to the point where we’re more interested about Him than having all the right answers.

74   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 8:14 am

–Obviously, Bell isn’t supporting some sort of pantheism. After saying “all of reality is one”, he goes to explain what he means by that. He means everything is connected. What we do here effects people across the globe in ways we don’t realize. Heaven and earth are interconnected. It’s a very Jewish way of looking at the cosmos, actually.–

I think now that you are right, in regards to panthiesm. Though panenthiesm may still be on the table.

I’m not saying that I agree with him–some of his language in the interview concerning end-times and rapture views strikes me as being over-the-top. I’m not saying he must agree with such views, but calling them “horrible” and “toxic” is a bit much. Still, that may be something for another time, and for now, I’ll agree that at the most his views have a panenthiestic side to them.

75   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 8:28 am

–What I did was quote you scripture… and you made it mean something entirely else…–

Iggy…

Lose the tough guy act, ok. I was trying to give you a chance to clarify what you were saying there, on the chance that you may not have put your thought in the clearest way.

76   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 18th, 2008 at 9:08 am

my website is http://www.riveroflifealliancechurch.org if anyone wants to ‘pick apart’ our statement of faith or mission statement….

77   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 9:28 am

PB,

Great.. I will take a look at your “Statement” but really Amy casts accusations right and left and is given direct answers and ignores them… she might accept one out of ten… but it is the other nine she never stops answering and just accepts that she might disagree.

So far though I see that most of you do not read and understand as you “question”, you seem to filter through other people instead of doing direct research… especially as I pointed out to PB who over looks direct quotes from people for reinterpretations of peoples words.

Jazz, it was not a tough guy act, I want Amy to do what is biblical… don’t you? If we believe it should we not also do it?

iggy

78   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 9:34 am

Jazz,

BTW, why is it not a “tough guy act” if you guys question over and over the same old things and get the same old answers and then reject them? You seem to not accept the answers… and if they are truth, then you are rejecting truth… if not then as scripture states, dust off your sandals and move on…

Now, I am not saying leave, but move on to another topic that actually moves us forward.

iggy

79   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 9:59 am

–Jazz, it was not a tough guy act, I want Amy to do what is biblical… don’t you?–

What does what Amy has been saying have to do with what I’ve been saying to you? I was addressing you’re statments to me, not whatever you’ve said to anyone else. Perhaps that will come about later, but that is not what is going on right now.

–Now, I am not saying leave, but move on to another topic that actually moves us forward.–

Sorry, iggy, but there is no moving forward while this is hanging over our heads. That’s not how things work.

Not doubt you and I do agree on many things, iggy, and many important things, too. That doesn’t mean these things we obviously seriously disagree about can be simply shunted aside. They are important, too.

80   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 10:19 am

Jazz,

I thought part of that was becuase of what I was saying to Amy… sorry,

YET!!!! now you have a worse issue!!!!

Then do not take scripture and twist it to mean what it does not mean as you did… that is not a tough guy act… that is just being smart. Do you think you can twist the word of God to just mean what YOU want it to mean?

Again, if that is a tough guy act. It is having integrity and being true to the teachings of Christ Jesus.

iggy

81   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 10:33 am

–Then do not take scripture and twist it to mean what it does not mean as you did… that is not a tough guy act… that is just being smart. Do you think you can twist the word of God to just mean what YOU want it to mean?–

Iggy, you should know by now, that simply because I haven’t yet answered you, doesn’t mean that I will not answer. Sorry, but some things take time.

But for now, I will say this–I deny with all of my being that I am twisting God’s word, and your accusation that I am is offensive and without any support. If my interpretation is wrong, I am open to being corrected on it, but your accusation goes too far.

Tone it back, iggy, now!! We can disagree, we can make our cases, we can even use sarcasm, but don’t accuse me of things you can’t prove.

82   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 18th, 2008 at 10:34 am

OK, maybe Jazz and Iggy need a time out from each other.

83   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 10:48 am

Jazz,

I can back what i stated… but really you need to tone it down yourself.. I quoted scripture that showed you how were were all one in Christ… Jesus is “all reality” so in Him “all of reality is one”. Yet, you state to me that I am being a “tough guy”…

In that again all I did was quote you scripture and you disagreed with it… it was not me being tough. If you have a problem with scripture, that is your problem and it is not about me at all.

Joe,

I am not angry at all, I am a bit shocked that Jazz ignores scripture though…

iggy

84   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 11:07 am

To answer you, iggy, I want to repeat the verse you gave.

–There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.–

I did a search here…

http://bible.christianity.com/search/default.aspx?keyword=in%20christ&type=bible&translation=niv&bookgroup=nt

…looking in the NT for the phrase “in Christ”. Actually, the search engine did the words separately, not as a phrase, but the phrase did come up. Here are some of the results I’ve found.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Romans 12:5 NIV
so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

I did this search because verse you gave says “you are all one in Christ Jesus”. II Cor. 5:17 says “if anyone is in Christ”, which leaves open the possibility that there are people who are not in Christ.

You have yourself affirmed that a person can reject Christ, iggy, as you say here…

–All mankind has been set aside to be Holy… and that is why the rejection of Jesus is the unpardonable sin… and they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.–

…and saying this, how can anyone who is “in Christ” also reject Christ?

Let’s look at your verse again, in some context. Galatians 3

26. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
27. for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

All of this is about those who are believers, those who are “in Christ Jesus”, those who “belong to Christ”, those who are “sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”.

I do not nor have ever denied the resurrection of the saved and the lost, nor the judgments coming to each.

85   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 11:09 am

–OK, maybe Jazz and Iggy need a time out from each other.–

Not an unreasonable suggestion, Joe.

86   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 11:51 am

Jazz,

First off, I want you to know I do like you… I am not angry or get hot under the collar… I am passionate.

I think then you need to realize that the Lake of Fire is still under Christ… as “all things” is clear. Are they saved? No, but the idea is that God is bringing all things together in Christ so that God will be “all in all.”

Now, most miss this fine line… Even Christ’s enemies will bow to him as Lord. The issue then as He is Lord what to do with those who deny not only forgiveness, but also salvation. If they are in Christ… or as Rev states under His reign that, there will be those who are not “in Christ” but will later, be deceived when Satan is released. This means that even though Christ reigns, not all will call Him their Lord and savior… but will still be in rebellion so that Satan can deceive them.

Yet, to be in Christ is also to be in God’s Kingdom. I hope you agree… yet, within God’s Kingdom is something called the Lake of Fire that God still rules over.

So all will be “in Christ”, yet not all will be saved…

Now,

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Yet, if one is a new creation it is because of the cross and resurrection that already happened… if one denies these they are denying their own salvation… It is not that God never gave it to them… they never received it in themselves.

Romans 12:5 NIV
So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Now, take a step back and look at the bigger context… start in Romans 11 and read how the Jews are now blinded, and in fact now enemies of God, yet still according to the promise of God, will be saved. So, you need to realize Paul is contrasting what a believer is like verses what one is not like… and that is arrogant. Paul is warning against arrogance and ignorance. Arrogance that the gentile is saved now because of the Jews blindness and ignorance as Paul has revealed the mystery in how the Gentiles are being saved because of this blindness…

the point is that this is a bit of a bigger context than “in Christ means to be saved” … BTW, we reject Christ all day long in how we live… so to say one cannot be in Christ and reject Him is a error.

Now, let’s look at Galatians 4 as Paul is explaining himself what he meant so neither of us need conjecture.

Galatians 4
What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son God has made you also an heir.

Notice that salvation is working in those under the Law leading them to Christ? Though one is under the Law, they are not saved yet… but salvation is working in them. They are still under (as we all are) the subjection of Christ Jesus. To separate that those who are not saved yet, will not all be in Christ later, is missing that God will have us all under Him… be it willfully and as Sons, or as rebellious sons that are in the Lake of Fire. Some will reign with Christ as we LIVE in Christ… that is the point here… are we abiding in Christ or are we not accepting that all will be in Christ… including those who will one day bow a knee though they do not love Jesus.

Ephesians 4:4-7
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

God is over all an d through all and in all, but to each of us grace has been given… and it is what we do with that grace that matters. For we are saved by Grace through faith.

iggy

87   amy    
January 18th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Phil,
Just want to say thanks for being nice – for discussing without getting personally combatative.

I guess you seem to think that a church statement of belief should leave all potential readers with no questions.

I don’t think a church statement of belief can answer all questions for all readers. But I think it should clearly address essential issues. There’s lots of disagreement on what is essential – for myself, I can’t see how leaving the inspiration of the content of scripture ambiguous benefits anyone. And it’s difficult to not question why so many people would sign such a statement without questioning what is missing.

I have had to pick my way through a number of doctrinal statmements – in deciding to join, not join organizations, churches, etc. I know how important they can be in actually showing what is important to a congregation. One’s view of scripture affects so many things – view of God, obedience, and so forth. May main problem with the Mars Hill Narrative statement is that it IS beautifully dynamic, simple – qualities that show that whoever wrote them is truly trying to communicate well. Because of that simplicity and effort to communicate I wonder even more why something that is so important was left out.

Anyway, I have no more need/desire to discuss this unless someone brings up some new aspect.

88   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 18th, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Amy,
I did read it, I am in full of agreement with it. And I am blessed beyond imagination to be a part of Mars Hill Bible Church!

89   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 18th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Amy,

May main problem with the Mars Hill Narrative statement is that it IS beautifully dynamic, simple – qualities that show that whoever wrote them is truly trying to communicate well. Because of that simplicity and effort to communicate I wonder even more why something that is so important was left out.

It is as if they wanted you to read it… and once you get a taste, go the the scripture and learn more! LOL!

iggy

90   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 12:14 pm

–Now, most miss this fine line… Even Christ’s enemies will bow to him as Lord. –

I have not missed that, iggy.

–If they are in Christ… or as Rev states under His reign that,–

I think this is where our main disagreement at the present is located. I don’t see where “under His reign” necessarily equates into “in Christ”.

For example, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, the “in Christ” is given with the conditional “if”, “if anyone is in Christ”. The language of the verse also supports the claim that “in Christ” is something that is not universal–”the old has passed away, and all is new”.

So, from that verse, I think it is fair to say that there are people “in Christ” and others, shall we say, “not in Christ”. That doesn’t mean either is not “under the reign of Christ”, because everything is under His reign, as you pointed out.

I think that Romans 12:5 also supports that view. It is only those who are “in Christ” who are a part of the one body.

91   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Jazz,

Do you see that “in Christ” is the same as being in “God’s Kingdom”?

92   Neil    
January 19th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Amy,

Bell apparently said; “Deuteronomy 6, says, ‘Hear O Israel the Lord you God, the Lord is One,’ so we live with the awareness that all of reality is one. We are connected with all thing everywhere…” I think it a rather long leap from that Scripture to that conclusion.

So, no, as it is written here I do not agree with Bell’s use of the Shema – but I believe you have as much of an agenda to pursue as you accuse Bell of…

Neil

93   Neil    
January 19th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Amy,

RE: We believe the Bible to be the voices of many who have come before us, inspired by God to pass along their poems, stories, accounts, and letters of response and relationship with each other and the living God. These words have been used to describe God and his character for thousands of years, and we call this theology. Theology is one of the best ways we can come to know and love God; it is also how we understand who God calls us to be and what he calls us to do. Theology comes from the Greek words “theos” and “logos.” Theos means God, and logos means word. Words about God.

I see nothing “wrong” in this statement. You may complain it’s not overt or specific enough – but being vague or a different issue from being wrong.

It appears to me that your maxim is: If it’s too vague for me, it’s must be saying something wrong.

Maybe they are using “inspired” in the Shakespearean way – maybe not …but when you assume they are, you are adding your own assumptions of meaning.

Neil

94   Neil    
January 19th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Amy,

One more thought – similar to what pastorboy posted regarding his church’s statement.

No matter what a church posts as their doctrinal statement, some could accuse them of being too vague.

Neil

95   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Jazz,

Also, as far as Romans 12:5, you need to take it in the bigger context of Romans 11

” For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!” Amen.

Then we go into Romans 12… with a “Therefore”…

I think you are missing that the difference is…

It is that we who believe are not conforming any longer to the pattern of this world, but being transformed by the renewing of your mind… as in verse 2.

Otherwise God is still King… and this is His Kingdom… and it is that one believes that and that God reconciled all things to Himself in Christ (at the Cross) or they reject that. If they reject that, they are still reconciled… but do not accept it.

It is like me giving you a new car and hand you the keys… you take it and may even state to others “look at my new car” but if you do not sit in it and drive it and possess it… you are still conforming to the world before you received the car and have not transformed your mind to believe you have a new car…. you are still walking in the belief you do not have it…though it sits in your driveway.

An unbeliever still has all the finished works of Christ at the Cross at their disposal, yet do not accept it. That is why it states “if”… it is not conditional as in I’m in and you are out… but as in “if” one believes the truth, they will be set free… if one does not believe truth, they are still in bondage to error (sin and death).

iggy

96   Neil    
January 19th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

The irony is that you, debator of “inferred” and “implied” would not actually admit that these statements don’t address the inspiration of the content of the Bible.” – by Amy

I’m not sure what the “inferred” vs “implied” discussion has to do with what I think of MHBC’s doctrinal statement but… there is not much to admit.

I will admit the statement in question is not be worded as I would word it, it may be a bit too open to misunderstanding (as you have so aptly shown it can be) – but that said, when I read it I took it at face value. And that face value sees them say “God inspired…”

Until such time that I see something that contradict that, I choose to NOT pout any contrary meaning into it that is unwarranted by the context.

When you say it does not address the inspiration of the content of the Bible – I say, you’re wrong, what it does not do i address the content the way you think it should. 

I don’t suppose that’s the admission you wanted?

Neil

97   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 19th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Pastorboy

Looking at your statement of faith I found:

4. The Old and New Testaments, inerrant as originally given, were verbally inspired by God and are a complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men. They constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice.(15) ([15] 2 Peter 1:20–21, 2 Timothy 3:15–16)

Does this mean that you do not believe that they are inerrant now as we have them? Also, there is scripture that states God wrote with His finger… then those are not inspired? I mean you just state it is verbal and that exclude what was written.

5. Man was originally created in the image and likeness of God:(16) he fell through disobedience, incurring thereby both physical and spiritual death. All men are born with a sinful nature,(17) are separated from the life of God, and can be saved only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.(18) The portion of the unrepentant and unbelieving is existence forever in conscious torment;(19) and that of the believer, in everlasting joy and bliss.(20) ([16] Genesis 1:27, [17] Romans 3:23, [18] 1 Corinthians15:20–23, [19] Revelation 21:8, [20] Revelation 21:1–4)

So you believe we look like God? So, being like God, then if we fell He fell and is also separated from life? This is how it reads…

8. Provision is made in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ for the healing of the mortal body.(25) Prayer for the sick and anointing with oil are taught in the Scriptures and are privileges for the Church in this present age.(26) ([25] Matthew 8:16–17, [26] James 5:13–16)

So all are healed? I have diabetes and wear glasses… and I have had lots of prayer… so then I am not redeemed?

9. The Church consists of all those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, are redeemed through His blood, and are born again of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church, (27) which has been commissioned by Him to go into all the world as a witness, preaching the gospel to all nations.(28) The local church is a body of believers in Christ who are joined together for the worship of God, for edification through the Word of God, for prayer, fellowship, the proclamation of the gospel, and observance of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.(29) ([27] Ephesians 1:22–23, [28] Matthew 28:19–20, [29] Acts 2:41–47)

So you reject that there are local churches? You dismiss that Paul address local fellowships as churches and only believe in the Universal church?

Now John, I really have no problem with your statement of faith… it is actually really good, but we can pick apart anything if we want to. As written I know what you mean… but as I just read it not knowing you or if I was not a Christian, I would assume what I did… And in that case you may want to clean your own statement up a bit… Now this was a quick 2 minute look at your statement and this was what I found… I could dig deeper for you to make sure the scriptures you use are in context and such… but again, this is a Statement of Faith and not a Doctorate thesis. Also, I am sure you elaborate more in your teachings.

iggy

98   amy    
January 19th, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Neil,

I don’t suppose that’s the admission you wanted?

but I believe you have as much of an agenda to pursue as you accuse Bell of

Regarding your answer to the question, I appreciate your answer. But could you please give such answers without statements such as the above? Is that really you writing or are you picking up that attitude from someone else?

I asked questions, which demonstrate that I can not know, from this statement, what Mars Hill believes. I asked questions that, if this were a theology class, or if this were with a different group of people, would be taken as legitimate questions to be asked about the statement.

If I saw this doctrinal statement, or an interpretation of shema as given by Bell, anywhere, I would have questions about it, regardless of the author/pastor. I have always liked discussing what things mean and don’t mean. It’s been part of my job. Does that mean I have an “agenda?”

Why must I be seen as “having an agenda” to ask questions or come to certain conclusions or tentative conclusions? Another way of looking at it is, well don’t we all have some bias, some agenda? But to accuse others of “having an agenda” is essentially saying that their reasons for commenting are not legitimate.

99   Neil    
January 19th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Amy,

My comments about you having an agenda was based on the corpus of your posts here – you appear to me, to have already made up your mind about MHBC, which would render your questions agenda-bound.

If that is not the case, you have my apology.

Neil