The Question Not Asked of Rob Bell

I’ve watched a couple of interviews on Rob Bell in recent days and have downloaded Love Wins on my Kindle.  I actually plan to reference it in this week’s sermon on the doctrine of glorification.  Some of the interviews with Bell have been done very well (I especially fond of Martin Bashir’s interview).

Honestly, though, I’ve had two surprises related to Bell’s interviews.  The first is what appears to be a complete ineptitude and lack of preparation on the part of Bell to answer questions that he must certainly have known were coming.  When asked if he had “Amended the gospel,” Bell simply has no coherent answer.  For a man as often in the public eye and who writes so readily, it is almost unbelievable to me that he has no better answers to his interviewers than I have seen provided.  Certainly his publishers and even his media-savvy staff could have helped him to be better prepared.

The second surprise for me comes on the part of the interviewers.  Take Bashir, for instance.  He is very pressing in his questions to Bell, but the one question for any universalist is this, “Is Hitler in heaven?”  It is encouraging for many to believe in a God who forgives everyone, until the one given the free pass is a mass murderer, a pedophile, or a rapist.  There is no justice served in Bell’s universalism/inclusivism.  Perhaps Bell has refused to answer that question in an interview, perhaps interviewers do not want to hear an answer to that question…who knows.  Either way, I find it incredibly ironic that Bell has not been pressed with that question.

What other questions are begging to be asked but have been ignored by interviewers?

Monday Amusings: Stephen Colbert the Apologist

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Bart Ehrman Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest


Copied from Denny Burk:

For those of you who may have forgotten, Bart Ehrman is a New Testament scholar at the University of North Carolina. I have written about him numerous times on this blog. He’s the guy who used to be an evangelical Christian but who left the faith some years ago. He is now writing popular level books trying to convince others to leave the faith as well. I wrote a review of one of his books that you can read here.

I am not sure why Ehrman would subject himself to this, but I don’t mind that he did. Colbert is actually pretty effective at poking holes in his arguments.

Favorite line: “What’s the son of a duck? It’s a duck.”

Book Review: Christianity and Liberalism

Recently, I posted a review of Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity.  In that book, Horton makes many references to liberalism and to J. Gresham Machen’s classic book Christianity and Liberalism.  Horton inspired me to pick up this nice little book by Machen, and I am indebted to him for doing so. 

The blurb on the back cover of the book describes well Machen’s reason for writing this book:

This book, written in response to the liberalism that arose in the early 1900’s, is a classic defense of orthodox Christianity.  TO expose the fallacies of liberalism and strengthen the orthodox position, Machen establishes the importance of scriptural doctrine and contrasts the teachings of liberalism and orthodoxy on God, humanity, the Bible, Christ, salvation, and the church.  These issues remain in conflice today, testifying to the continuing relevance of this important work.

The most shocking aspect of Machen’s work, is that it could well be a book that was written in the last five years rather than nearly a century ago.  Machen’s attention to the declining orthodoxy in the church was a warning in 1923 and can be seen as prophetic words looking back upon the demise of the mainline church in America and the world as it’s leaders left the religion of Christ and embraced instead the religion of humanism that revels in human ability known as liberalism.

Machen speaks of the dangers of liberalism this way:

In the sphere of religion, in particular, the present time is a time of conflict; the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian … Continue reading

Interview With Michael Horton Pt. 1


Today and tomorrow we will be sharing a recent interview that Passion for Preaching (P4P) held with Michael Horton, author of Christless Christianity, which we reviewed here recently.  Dr. Horton has some wonderful insights into the world of popular American Evangelicalism. 


1.     What prompted you to write Christless Christianity


Michael Horton (MH): Lots of conversations with believers—pastors and parishioners—across a wide spectrum over many years, as well as my own growing sense that it’s tough to find churches where Christ is clearly proclaimed in his saving office, from Genesis to Revelation.  This provoked me to investigate the state of things by reading popular sermons and books on ministry, as well as sociological analyses.  Unfortunately, this research confirmed my suspicions about a creeping fog across the ecclesiastical spectrum, which I nickname “Christless Christianity.”


2.      Near the beginning of your book you write, while the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, the assimilation of the church to the world silences the witnesses (p. 16). How do you suggest the church contextualize the communication of the gospel without compromising the message of the gospel? 


MH: I think that we often assume a pretty naïve view of the cultural … Continue reading