“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” That was Jesus’ admonition to us in Matthew 7:15. Yet many of us ignore Jesus’ teaching, because it is hard to call someone a false teacher. It’s not very “accepting” or “tolerant.” The issue is pride, ultimately. Our pride. We want to be loved and respected, and challenging someone will usually invite the vitriol of the world. We want it easy. So we hide our pride behind the “judge not, that you be not judge” part of Jesus’ teaching, which, ironically, Jesus talks about at the beginning of the same chapter where He admonishes us about false prophets. Somehow, the two concepts were not mutually exclusive to Jesus.
So, do you dare make Jesus a liar? He says, “Beware, they’re out there they come in disguise.” “Sure,” you say, “there are some out there.” But who are they? Have you identified any recently? Jesus tells us they are here. And we’re not talking about some crazy person who is completely unbiblical, like that guy who says he is the second coming of Jesus. We are talking about those “wolves in sheep’s clothing” about which Jesus warned us. We are talking about those teachers with the subtle, slightly Biblical, emotional appeal. The ones who claim they are just “adding to the conversation,” but who make people feel so good they don’t even realize they have abandoned Christ. You can sell thousands of books that way.
These are the teachers that Paul talked about in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, when he said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth. ” Notice how the false teachers do not arise on their own, imposing a foreign view on us. They come from the desires of our own heart. “We the people” lifting up for ourselves someone who will tell us what we want to hear.
That is why we should be wary of those trying to adapt the Word of God to “current times.” We want to apply God’s principles to modern culture, sure, but we must never change them to satisfy the culture’s fleeting appetites. Molding Truth to fit personal desire is the essence of the false teacher.
That seems to be what famous author Rob Bell is doing with his recently developed teachings on homosexuality. Bell’s inch-deep conviction on the topic was clearly exposed by author and theologian Andrew Wilson in an interview on the podcast, “Unbelievable?”
Bell could not have looked more uncomfortable discussing his support of homosexuality. “This is a part of life in the modern world,” he proclaimed. “That’s how it is. cultural consciousness has shifted.” Wilson gracefully asked for the “grounding for that statement.”
WILSON: “Would you say, ‘I don’t think that a guy having sex with a guy is sinful?'”
BELL: “I would begin with, I am for monogamy. I am for fidelity. I am for commitment. And I think the world needs more of that. And I think promiscuity is dangerous. And promiscuity is destructive. And some people are ‘gay’ and want to share their life with someone. And they should be able to. And that’s how the world is, and we should affirm that, and we should affirm monogamy, fidelity, and commitment, both ‘gay’ and straight.”
WILSON: “Is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?”
Bell goes on to evade the question numerous times throughout the interview. He can never muster enough courage to give a straight answer. And there is a simple reason for that. He knows deep down that homosexuality is sinful. He knows in reading the Word of God sincerely, one cannot come to any other conclusion.
And he admits it in a way. “Times have changed” is the mantra. You would not need that argument if you could discern the answer appropriately from the Word of God. It is that societal pressure that has forced him to go back and find a way to fit this practice within the Christian worldview. That is why he labors hard to remain in the Bible somehow with his references to monogamy, fidelity, and commitment. He wants to retain Biblical authority, while rejecting clear Biblical principles.
Why does he affirm monogamy? The Biblical underpinnings are the same. Perhaps it is only because the culture has not yet embraced polygamy. A cultural shift is the only reason he gives for his departure from the Biblical admonition on homosexuality.
Bell says that “gay” people just want to share their lives with someone. But who says they can’t? No Christian says a “gay” person cannot share their life with someone else. Must you have sex with someone in order to share your life with them? That’s what we’re talking about, the homosexual act, which the Bible calls a sin. A Christian who struggles with same-sex attractions, yet decides to remain celibate and shares his life in other ways is not violating God’s law.
Wilson, struggling to get an answer from Bell, asks if he thinks Jesus and Paul just were not referring to homosexual relations when they talked about sexual immorality or if they were referring to it but were just speaking to that specific time and now we can move from that teaching. Bell’s answer, again, is very telling: “That’s a great question. That is a great, deep, thick, complicated question. I have to think about it more.”
It is revealing, because you would think Bell would have thought about this very deeply before he decided to contradict solid Christian theology and lead people down this new-found path. Remember, we are talking about actual lives here. This theoretical, philosophical, theological discussion has real life consequences. If Bell is wrong, as we believe he is, then he is leading thousands of people (judging by his book sales) astray.
The issue is not homosexuality, really. It is about the authority of God’s Word and our sincere, humble, reverent approach in reading it. No one can read the Bible and say that God has blessed the union between two men. It’s just not there. The blessing of the union between one man and one woman, on the other hand, is explicitly established and blessed by the Almighty. It was actually chosen by God to reflect the relationship between Him and His church.
Bell knows this, and that is why he desperately wants to talk about something else. He knows his capitulation destroys everything he says he believes. You can see in the video how annoyed he is with the topic and, at one point, he even calls it “B—s—.” It is not.
The Christian belief stands on the Word of God, the Bible. When you start choosing the parts of the Bible you want to consider true and the parts you want to “adapt” to fit what the culture wants to do, you open the door to all kinds of unbelief. The truth is Bell may be appealing to a larger audience by doing what he is doing, but he is not leading them into Christianity; he is leading them into something else. His theology has “a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). The Bible says “from such people turn away!”
Bell’s is a theological shell game, with which I could deny the resurrection and remain a “Christian brother.” I need only use his own arguments. Example:
Today, in 2013, we know that people don’t come back from the dead. The scientific evidence is overwhelming. That’s just the way the world is. So something else must have happened. Jesus might have appeared to the disciples in a vision or something, but He, of course, did not rise from the tomb; it is scientifically impossible. Oh, I still believe in everything else. I still say Jesus is the Son of God, but we are more advanced now. The culture has change. Science has come a long way since the disciples said what they said. But we agree on everything else! Why do we need to focus on that little part?
And so, homosexuality and its inherent sinfulness, is not the problem here. Instead, the issue is that Bell is ultimately undermining the Scriptures and, therefore, the God of the Scriptures.
Brothers and sisters, beware.