April 27, 2011


See MacArthur's recent discussion of Rob Bell - here, here, here, and here.

Rob Bell's Questions (Velvet Elvis, 26-27)
"What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births?
But what if, as you study the origin of the word ‘virgin’ you discover that the word ‘virgin’ in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word ‘virgin’ could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being ‘born of a virgin’ also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse?"
(John MacArthur) Bell compares the Christian faith to a large trampoline, with its cardinal doctrines (truths evangelicals have historically deemed essential) functioning like the springs that support the jumping platform. The individual springs aren’t absolutely essential, Bell says—including the virgin birth:
What if that spring [the virgin birth] were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart? . . . 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?” (26-27)
To synthesize the above rambling questions into one coherent inquiry you might say Bell is asking the following question - "Does the disproving of any of the the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith mean that it, as a functioning belief system, becomes invalid and untruthful?" Bell allows his artistic rhetorical questions and flair for mysterious meaning answer the question with a negation. However, I must side with Paul (1 Cor. 15:17-19) and answer thusly, "Yes."

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