Critique: Rob Bell…Velvet Elvis (movement 3)

Rob warns the readers,

“Do that to this book. Don’t swallow it uncritically. Think about it. Wrestle with it. Just because I’m a Christian and I’m trying to articulate a Christian worldview, doesn’t mean I’ve got it nailed.”

However, I think Rob really did nail the following:

“Just because it is a Christian book by a Christian author and it was purchased in a Christian bookstore doesn’t mean it’s all true or good or beautiful.”

Ironically, I couldn’t agree more! However, in Rob’s eyes it would be just as probable for me to find a good Christian book in a Hindu bookstore than in a Christian one — to Rob, being a Christian is all about embracing truth wherever we find it. The main point of the entire chapter could be summarized with the following quote,

“Jesus takes us into the truth and not away from it. He frees us to embrace whatever is true and good and beautiful wherever we find it.

Does truth exist which is not found in the Bible? Yes. There are many facts and areas of truth which the Bible does not discuss — take for example, physiology. Nowhere in the Bible does it explain that an artery carries blood away from the heart. However, if the Bible does mention a topic in physiology, it must be accurate!

Here is the problem with this chapter — it is another attack upon the Scriptures! The Scriptures, as breathed out by God, are the only authority on spiritual truth; they are sufficient for doctrine (what we believe) and for a godly life which pleases God. There is no other source! Two distinct possibilities arise when one finds some sort of spiritual truth in other religious writings or practices.

1. Satan has infused the religion or system with some biblical truth in order that the naive will fall prey (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). As I will show in #2, Satan abuses general revelation; he doesn’t infuse with toxic poison alone, he adds several drops of real, spiritual truth.


2. God has given all men a natural ability to discern moral truth (Romans 2:14). This allows for other religious systems to contain elements that are true and moral.

Apparently Rob is in the habit of having spiritual discussions outside the realm of God or Jesus or the Bible. He talks about a wedding that he conducted for some friends,

They had been together for a while and decided to make it official and throw a huge weekend party, and they invited me to be a part of it. They said they didn’t want any Jesus or God or Bible or religion to be talked about. But they did want me to make it really spiritual. The bride said it in her own great way, “Rob do that thing you do. Make it really profound and deep and spiritual.”

I guess Rob is in the habit — it’s that thing he does — of making things really spiritual without ever discussing God or Jesus or the Bible.

Rob writes,

“So as a Christian, I am free to claim the good, the true, the holy, wherever and whenever I find it. I live with the understanding that truth is bigger than any religion and the world is God’s and everything in it.”

He then applies this understanding to the Muslim culture of Turkey and their inability to acquire financial loans. The people build their homes as they have the financial ability to do so. Rob writes,

“Having less debt is a better way to live. I affirm this value of the Muslim people of Turkey because it is true, it is good, and it is a better way to live. It doesn’t matter where I find it, who speaks it or lives it, or what they believe, I claim and affirm the truth wherever I find it.”

The problem is this: apparently this is the first time Rob has found this truth. Has he ever read Proverbs?

Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Of course life is easier when you aren’t in financial bondage to anyone — but why was this truth not gleaned from Scripture and instead gleaned from the Godless Muslim community? It seems as though Rob would almost rather find truth apart from things like the “church” or the “Holy Bible” — those things are all already labeled as “Christian,” whereas Rob would rather come along with his arbitrary, non-authoritative sharpie and duct tape and label things “God’s truth.”

***I have some more things to say about this chapter — but they are even more controversial and I do not want this thread to be hi-jacked by discussions on music or movies.

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