Wheaton's Rob Bell and Bilezikian's Bill Hybels; and a warning against idolatry...
(Tim: For days now, I've received more recommendations of this video clip than I can count. Thanks to all of you. In a little while I'll post more on it, but first this. NOTE: This post has been changed to correct my error in saying Pastor Bill Hybels went to Wheaton College. His mentor has been now-retired Wheaton Bible Prof. Gilbert Bilezikian, but that relationship began when Bilezikian was teaching at Trinity College--not Wheaton.)
On MSNBC, Martin Bashir does the nasty job the elders of Mars Hill Church apparently can't summon the courage or insight for. He takes Pastor Rob Bell by the scruff of the neck and peels his adverbs off his verbs and nouns long enough to expose the deceptions that make him so much money. Bell's nothing more than a peddler of emotive words and idolatrous images, but many are fooled. His toxins go down smoothly and Baylyblog's warned readers against this hireling time after time.
Pastor Bell's the product of Wheaton College. Take a look at the job Wheaton didn't. Or maybe did?
When I first entered the ministry, there was another gifted prophet prophesying against the parts of historic Christian faith he judged old and in the way. His name was Bill Hybels and he studied under Gilbert Bilezikian at Trinity College (now Trinity International University) just prior to Bilezikian moving to Wheaton's Bible Department. Christianity Today fawned over Pastor Hybels, too, and my church mailbox was filled with offers to "Rev. Timothy Bayly" promising if I sent my money to one of Pastor Hybels' corporate enterprises, some of his churchly success might rub off on my ministry. Then maybe I could afford a similar campus, staff, hairdo, glasses, and jet. Think of it--my own private jet! Then I could pick up and minister internationally. Maybe even galactically!
So what is it about Wheaton--particularly its Bible and theology departments--that their best and brightest become advocates of the heresies that old curmudgeon, the Apostle Paul, condemned? And don't tell me you don't believe in guilt by association. If the former Wheaton was known by Billy Graham and the Auca Five, this present Wheaton is rightfully know by Pastor Bell and the many years Bible Department Prof. Bilezikian presided there as Pastor Hybels' mentor.
Thankfully Prof. Bilezikian is no longer deforming the souls passing through Wheaton, but back then he was in his prime and misleading everyone he could get his paws on. He promoted feminism and browbeat pro-life students in the campus paper, but Wheaton's trustees and presidents couldn't marshall the faith or mercy to fire him?
Please don't complain that I'm speaking too strongly against people who make a lot of money for Evangelical colleges and publishers. What do you think the Apostle Paul would say to a man who denies Hell and mocks the substitutionary atonement? Who turns God's Order of Creation on its head?
Remember how the Paul described his pastoral work--that he warned the Ephesians "day and night, "from house to house ...with tears?" Remember how he resisted the Apostle Peter to his face and publicly? How he warned the Ephesian elders of the wolves who would arise from among their own number seeking to devour the souls of God's sheep?
How do you think the Apostle Paul would deal with Pastors Hybels and Bell? Would he rebuke and warn against Pastor Joel Osteen, then salve his conscience that dealing with Pastor Osteen was all anyone could expect of him. Wheaton, Barrington, and Grand Rapids weren't his responsibility? Would the Apostle Paul rebuke the gauche while neglecting to rebuke chic Wheaton, Fuller, and Trinity grads?
There's no better place than Wheaton for Pastor Bell to come through four years of college with such a massive ego intact and apparently not a speck of self-critical capacity. Pride is Wheaton's forte.
I listened to a sermon preached in chapel by one of Wheaton's Bible profs recently while driving home from visiting family in Wheaton. The message was selected at random although the title was a bit of a tickler to me.
It was endless fawning over the students telling them how sophisticated they were, and bright, and wise, and discerning, and how no one out there in radioland had anything like their knowledge and discernment and how sophisiticated and bright and wise and utterly fantastic they were. The prof assured the student body that he was so privileged to have them as students because they were so bright and gifted. It was clear their post-graduate lives were going to give birth to such a mass of excellence that they would be the ones to change the world. Why, with just two or three of them unleashed to do their full bit of excellence on AIDS in Africa, Sting would be left scratching his head wishing he'd gone to Wheaton, too. And so on--you get the patter, right? Wheaton students get the themes and conceits of a typical commencement address in chapel every day for four years; and when Wheaton's done with them AIDS, malaria, earthquakes, tsunamis, poverty, homophobia, poverty, and thin glasses frames are history.
Abortion's still here, but hey: isn't there some woman from USC or UCLA or Stanford working on that? Can't remember her name but there's always the Catholics for babies and childbearing.
The chapel message was revolting, yet helpful in making it eminently clear where Rob Bell came from.
Back to the MSNBC interview: notice during the interview that MSNBC cycles through the movie clip of Bell giving us the rainbow. It reminds me of the Sandy Patti concert I went to back in about 1991 (don't ask) where Ms. Patti told us how very much she was committed to her husband and children as smoke enveloped her on the stage. What's my point?
Smoke and fire communicate--they're not passive--and there's a reason they're a staple of the pure idolatry of rock concerts. The musician is one of the gods.
So a rainbow comes out of Pastor Bell's hand--what's that supposed to mean? That Pastor Bell's gay? That he's tolerant? That he loves beauty? That he has the power of God? I think Pastor Bell wouldn't mind if we thought all of the above.
Wolves are never innocent in their use of the idolatry of images, and certainly not Pastor Bell. He's made his fame and fortune off images and every last one of them communicates precisely what he intends.
For now, that's it on this priceless interview. More on it later when we've finished cleaning up the transcript.