I found this book "Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith" in a used book store for very cheap, it is the quintessential "Emergent" book, written by Rob Bell.
It is a few years old, but I am going to use it as a template to describe the lies that are being pushed down the throat of millions. The Emergent movement wishes to circumvent biblical Christianity in the service of Rome. While this was a "fringe" movement when the media a few years ago wrote of its darkened rooms, lava lamps, ancient church, love for liturgy and experiential worship, one can tell it's flavors have edged their way even into the more "conservative" denominations. What Rob Bell is selling in this book is being sold and push all over Christendom NOW.
As this blog entry outlines "Emergents Remind me of Unitarian Universalists" but they also remind me what the Catholic church teaches and where they desire people to go.
The cover of Velvet Elvis with no Elvis to be seen, is an interesting view, a young woman in jean jacket and white dress probably meant to symbolize purity, is FALLING through the air with streak lines right on her. It basically is a rendition of a modern "FALLEN ANGEL". My copy had a lady on it, but other versions of this book have FALLING MEN. Why is everyone falling? That is not a good sign.
Where do they want to take people in this destruction and "reformulation" [cough- REPAINTING like the title states] of Christianity that is happening now? Well this is the over all plan to bring confusion and worse to the churches, and haven't we seen this advanced all over?
1. They want people to believe the Christianity is supposed to CHANGE with the times.
The subtitle of this book points to that "The Repainting of the Christian Faith". What is repainting something but to CHANGE IT? Along with this "repainting" of Christianity is an "out with the old, in with the new and young" attitude. The concentration on rock bands and youthful things are paramount. Bell tells us of his story of a young 28 year old pastor already with his own mega-church in Grand Rapids, Michigan which he calls Mars Hill.
We are seeing that all over in the churches, with almost an over-obsession with what is "hip", "modern", and "with the times." Older people pushed aside for the glorification of "youth". Here this operates against biblical edicts for the more wise "elders" to lead the young, ever wonder why so many of the pastors are becoming younger by the day? There are other young pastors even in their late 20s being blessed with their own giant mega churches. They know the future is in deceiving the young. It's the complete opposite of what the Bible teaches:
1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
The theme of everything CHANGING is really brought to the forefront.
Rob Bell writes in Velvet Elvis:
"The challenge for Christians then is to live with great passion and conviction, remaining open and flexible, aware that this life is not the last painting." [p.11]
He goes on to comment about the reformation, but in a giant twist in what the Reformation was about connects it to a "changing" of the Christian faith instead of what it really was, a departure from the falsehoods of Roman Catholicism.
"But that wasn't the end of it. Luther was taking his place in a long line of people who never stopped rethinking and repainting the faith. Shedding unnecessary layers and at the same time rediscovering essentials that had been lost....[snip] Because of this movement the churches he was speaking against went through their own process of rethinking and repainting, making significant changes as well.."
In that last sentence, he obviously is referring to the Catholic counter-reformation, as something POSITIVE. Obviously we get the feeling he sees himself as part of a movement to CHANGE things.
2. They want people to reject the notion of absolute truth.
We know moral relativism is growing and situational ethics, one can find snarky anti-fundamentalist websites where they deem even belief in absolute truth as a laughable premise. That is the conclusion the world often comes to, there is no truth, and those who have arrived at the place of knowing there is absolute truth, are "bigots" meant for condemnation. Confusion, and doubt is the name of the game instead of what we are instructucted in the Bible as in Luke 4:1. "That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." Remember 'the words have no meaning" crowd really can lob bombs of endless confusion to throw up billows of smoke and fog, to make people lose direction.
Rob Bell writes in Velvet Elvis on this theme of confusion:
"Our words aren't absolutes. Only God is absolute, and God has no intention of sharing this absoluteness with anything, especially words people have come up with to talk about him". [p.23]"
He furthers the confusion during page 26 and 27, downgrading doctrine itself saying so what if a brick or two is removed in the "doctrinal wall" so what? I am paraphrasing here, but he goes on to say...
"But if the whole faith falls apart when we reexamine and rethink one spring then it wasn't that strong in the first place was it?"
"This is because a brick is fixed in size. It can't flex or change size, because if it does then it can't fit into the wall. What happens then is that the wall becomes the sum total of the beliefs and God becomes as big as the wall. But God is bigger then any wall. God is bigger then any religion. God is bigger then any worldview. God is bigger then the Christian faith."
This goes against teachings about biblical doctrine in the Bible and against God's absolute truths:
Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
The "God is bigger then that" word game, is one I have heard myself in many places, it is just the typical promoting the "god" of all religions stuff where they want to supplant trust and belief in God's Word. It basically means "God" operates in other places which would mean other religions and other religious books. It reminds me of this cartoon I saw the other day, on a more liberal preacher's website.
Click on this one to make it bigger, you will note that this cartoon is a slam against those who point to God's truth and revelation in His Word. The little person is squeezing a figure of "jesus" into the Bible, shouting, "Come on God! You just HAVE to fit in there! The message is, How dare you try to squeeze "God" in to the Bible? Which brings me to the next point....
3. They want to bring doubt regarding God's Word, and to teach that truth and revelation can come from other places.
We see this all over the place, belief in God's Word is relegated to the fringes called "fundamentalist" in a derogatory way as people are marched off to seek "truth" in many other places. The Bible is to be tossed aside or its importance diminished, while people seek after "God" every other place.
Rob Bell writes in Velvet Elvis this humdinger:
"Which for me raises one huge question: Is the Bible the best God can do?" [p. 44]
This particular chapter is full of endless confusion, he goes on about how people misinterpret the Bible which really is no evidence of his claims. One thing I noticed was the absence of the mention of the Holy Spirit teaching the Christian believer. He goes on about the "word" love and debates the many different ways it is defined. and tells us on page 46,
"and that's because the Bible is open ended"
Debating the meaning of words--remember what I said about the "words have no meaning" crowd?
He states his point again on page 46,
"once again the Bible is open ended, it has to be interpreted", he then goes on to bring up rabbis and their quibbles about scripture which he favors, and comes to this odd conclusion:
"Notice what Jesus says in the book of Matthew, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven"
What he is doing here is significant. He is giving his followers the authority to make new interpretations of the Bible. He is giving them permission to say, "Hey we think we missed it before on that verse, and we've recently come to the conclusion that this is what it actually means."
God's Word says differently...
1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
This reminds me of my days on Catholic and Christian message boards, the Catholics would tell us, "Call no man Father" and rather direct messages from the Bible really did not mean what they said, so we know this one definitely can be used to bring in nothing but confusion. As I read this chapter, still no mention of the Holy Spirit. Also note how this ties into the change theme. Christians have the Holy Spirit to teach them, they do not need false preachers with their new supposedly "improved" and "changed" religion to offer.
1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
The quibbles about the "meaning of words" are all the same lies I was told in the Catholic church, just reformulated for the young evangelical hordes.
After all isn't scripture alone vilified in the Roman Catholic church? Well he manages to do that too just as strongly as any gung-ho Jesuit could manage on page 67:
"This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that "Scripture alone", is our guide. It sounds nice, but is not true. In reaction to abuses by the church, a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only need the authority of the Bible. But the problem is that we got the Bible from the church voting on what the Bible even is"
One thing to note here he defines "church" in a way that includes the Catholic church, all through out this book, including implying on page 172, that the true Christian church was behind the Inquisitions.
4. They want people to see God as a "force" not as having personhood.
This flavor is all over this book, "God" is seen as a "force" and promoted as a force permeating all things and "creation" itself. To advance the "god" of all religions, the personhood of God, is something that gets in the way for these types. There is even other stuff, with that pantheistic New Age flavor tossed in within the book. Focusing on the idea that "something holds this all together" he speaks of a couple he is friends with getting married and sums it up as a "picture of something much bigger" [p.77]
"I then asked, so today, your wedding is about something more significant than just the two of you become husband and wife"? They then said they would call this glue, this force, "God".
5. They want people to see truth in other religions in support of the one world religion.
We know that is happening all over the place, churches pointing to Allah as "God", pluralism, interfaithism. The Catholic agenda for the one world church, they know they must get the evangelicals on board and the Emergents have helped this along. This too includes seeking for truth in OTHER PLACES and moral relativism themes.
Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis writes...
"So as a Christian, I am free to claim, the good, the true, the holy, wherever and whenever I can find it. I live with the understanding that truth is bigger then any religion and the world is God's and everything in it." [p. 80]This of course goes along with the 'Anonymous Christian" theme I wrote about here where "God" is deemed present even among those who know nothing of Jesus Christ, and they are supposedly "Christians" without knowing it. This too ties into the Catholic program of joining all world religions under the "cosmic christ".
"I would ask them if people in China and India and Chicago are eating and laughing and enjoying things and generally being held together? Because if they are, then Jesus, in a way that is difficult to articulate, is already present there." [p.88]This book is one example meant to instill a new world view, and its out there. Published in 2005, with the views more on the fringe, 6 years later, many of the so called conservative evangelicals have adopted them. I suppose even with Bell's new "universalism" and "no hell" message that given enough time, that poison will infuse further. This is how it works. I will be doing essays on other books in the future meant to "influence evangelicals". This one definitely has done a number on especially young people and one can see the themes advanced for what they are. I certainly did not have the room or space to point out everything false in this book, but wanted to show the general agenda. This agenda is being played out in many other avenues. "Christianity" is indeed being reformulated and REPAINTED.