The Gods Aren’t Angry?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything substantial on this thing. been going through some stuff that I may or may not blog about, we shall see. I’ve also been considering finally writing about some the of the challenges of stepping into a church the way I did. I think it’s been long enough now. I didn’t want to do it right away because I didn’t want to sound critical of the previous pastor. So perhaps that series will pop up soon.

But that’s not why I’m writing this right now.

I just got the latest “buy stuff from us” flyer from Christian Supply, a Portland-area chain of Christian bookstores. In it there is a blurb for a Rob Bell video called The Gods Aren’t Angry. Here is what the blurb says;

Following on the huge popularity of his Everything Is Spiritual lecture DVD, Rob Bell examines “where did religion come from?”. Where did the first caveman get the idea that somebody, somewhere, existed who needed to be worshipped, appeased and followed? Another amazing exploration led by a gifted communicator.

It’s no secret that I’m not a big Rob Bell fan. In an interview with beliefnet.com he said that all truth is God’s truth, and that when Jesus said that He was the way, truth, and life that it didn’t really have anything to do with salvation and eternity, but the way to live life the way God intended. In his Everything Is Spiritual video Bell goes out of his way to dismiss Genesis as a historical myth, a story that met a need but didn’t actually happen as written. Now Bell’s low view of God’s word further leads people astray from the truth of their own origins as well as the origin of their relationship with God.

Granted, I have not seen this video. But let’s just look at this blurb and assume it accurately reflects what is communicated in this video.

“Where did religion come from?” If you mean by that, “where did man’s attempts to reach God come from?”, the answers is that they came from man sometime between no and about 6,000 years ago. If you mean by that, “where did man’s need to have relationship with God come from?”, the answer is it came from God Himself in the Garden of Eden some 6,000 years ago. God initiated this relationship by created humans. God wants relationship with people. It’s really not all that complicated. Things get weird when mankind decided to get weird about it. That’s what the rest of the Bible from Genesis 4 and after is about.

“Where did the first caveman” (sound effect of car screeching to a halt) The first caveman? Seriously? Once again this demonstrates Bell’s low view of scripture. There never were any cavemen in the Geico commercial sense. There may have been a short period of time when completely intelligent people lived in caves until they were able to build tools then house-like structures after the flood. It would have been like Gilligan’s Island. But beyond that, there was no such thing as cavemen. The Bible completely contradicts this statement.

“get the idea that somebody, somewhere, existed who needed to be worshipped, appeased and followed?” (sound effect of another car screeching and crashing into the first one) It really is unbelievable. I really am trying to be civil here. Bell has been delivered a tainted view of scripture and that is sad. But what is more sad is that he is passing it on to others. Where did this idea come from? God Himself. This too is painfully obvious if you just take the Bible at face value, exactly as it was intended to be taken. The idea of God didn’t not evolve just as people did not evolve. God revealed Himself to humanity. God showed Himself as someone to be worshipped. God showed Himself as someone to be followed. As far as appeased goes, what is it that God really wants? David puts it fabulously in Psalms 51:16-17. He wants our hearts. he wants a broken and contrite spirit. That’s what God wants from us.

Having said that, is God angry? Yes. At what? Sin and rebellion. Does that need appeasement? Yes. The rebellion can be appeased by humility, repentance, and love for God. Sin is another matter. We cannot make appeasement or atonement for that. It wasn’t our idea that sin needs to be paid for, it was God’s. He told us this. How is God appeased when it comes to sin? How does this happen if we can’t do it? Simple; God does it for us. How? Via Jesus on the cross and in His resurrection.

So this whole God thing is not something that humans came up with. Humans didn’t make up stories about our origins to meet a cultural need. God revealed Himself to us. He spoke to us. He gave us His laws and commandments. He gave us His prophecies. He gave us His promises. On the hand, “For the wrath of God is revealed form heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18) God is clearly angry. He does and He will express His wrath on those who reject Him. On the other hand, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God is clearly looking to forgive those who would stop rejecting Him and instead love Him.

Again, I have not seen this video. I’m going off of a blurb. A blurb says a lot. It’s designed to. Rob Bell would have us believe some things that are contrary to what the Bible actually says. I have a problem with that. That, combined with the amount of influence he has, makes me sad. A lot of people will take what he says and run with it, not knowing the truth of God’s word in these areas. Be a Berean (Acts 17:11). Don’t take what I say or what Rob Bell says without comparing it to what God says. Then, go with what God says.

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There are 5 comments on The Gods Aren’t Angry?

  • You Wrote:
    “Having said that, is God angry? Yes. At what? Sin and rebellion. Does that need appeasement? Yes. The rebellion can be appeased by humility, repentance, and love for God. Sin is another matter. We cannot make appeasement or atonement for that. It wasn’t our idea that sin needs to be paid for, it was God’s. He told us this. How is God appeased when it comes to sin? How does this happen if we can’t do it? Simple; God does it for us. How? Via Jesus on the cross and in His resurrection.”

    I never quite heard of sin and rebellion being separated like that. Did you derive that from a specific Systematic Theology book, or some part of Scripture? It was a very interesting thought, I’d like to see how it was derived.

  • Hey Greg. No, I didn’t derive that from a systematic theology book or specific part of scripture. Having said that, now that I think through it, I have to say that I never thought of them as specifically or uniquely linked. While a thing can be a kind of sin, sin is also the source of a thing.

    Using this as an example, rebellion is a form of sin, just like adultery, murder, etc. Sin is also the source of rebellion, adultery, and murder. Looking at it from that perspective means that there are two components; sin, which is the root/source, and the specific manifestation of sin, be it rebellion, etc. I

    I think passages like Psalm 51 (quoted above) and Titus 2:11-14 bear this out. Our sin nature needs to be dealt with, and sins need to be repented of. (How’s that for ending statements with prepositions?!) I would add Romans 6 to that list as well. As I said, Jesus deals with our sin nature, while we need to walk in the Spirit so as to not give place to the flesh (Galatians 5:16+).

  • Thanks for the Clarification Corby. I Think what struck me most about what you wrote in the article, Is how Rebellion is dealt differently than Sin
    (in a sorts). I think of the prophets of old, and King David in Psalm 51. How are they made right before God, before Jesus came in the flesh. Obviously, it is only the Finished work of the Christ on the cross, That can take away their sin (Predestination/Grace/Faith), yet it is there humility, repentance, and Love for God that appeases their rebellion (Choice/Act). I am in no way insinuating that it isn’t God who is involved in both these circumstances, but just an interesting example of God’s Sovereignty and our Choice/response to him.

  • Greg, exactly. Well put. Personally, I don’t like an overemphasis on either predestination/grace/faith or choice/act. Simply put, it’s both.

    To me, arguing about the mechanics almost reduces it to mechanics when that isn’t the point. The point is communion with the Father through Jesus by means of the Holy Spirit. It’s about relationship. God related to us so that we could relate to Him. That just blows my mind!

    When I sin, the act of sin is/was/will be removed before the foundation of the world. Yet, in the present, I need to repent and reconcile, just as if I had done something to offend my wife, a friend, a parent, etc.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. How did you find this anyway?

  • I am actually a huge fan of David Guzik. I have listened to nearly every sermon he has ever preached (Including audio from his Bible commentaries (and use his commentaries everytime I lead a Bible Study), and his lecture to his German students when he was a professor at Calvary Bible college. It usually takes twice as long, because I would have to listen to the German translator translate his talk into German). I live in Connecticut, and go to a local non-denominational Church. But If I lived on the West coast, anywhere Close to Santa Barbara, I would be at his Church in a Heart Beat.
    So I saw an article talking about Rob Bell’s New book, and just searched for the tags “Rob Bell David Guzik”, to see if Pastor David had wrote about it. (Although I pretty much know how he stands on the debate Theologically, and practically) And you were one of the Sites that came up with that tag. Interestingly enough, He did write a rebuttal, although very grace filled and fair, on one of Brian McLarens books. I saw that you were a pastor and talking about Rob Bell, and just read what you wrote, and for some reason the idea of sin and rebellion distinction/link just struck a chord. You are a very talented writer, I look forward to reading more of your articles when I get some time.

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