If you’re like me, you watched the trailer for The Heretic, the upcoming Rob Bell documentary with an unintentionally accurate title.  The fact that you watched it may be a mark against your (and my) ability to manage time. However, you’re at least smart enough to have found several things Mr. Bell said very disturbing.
Here’s an example of a bothersome quote: “The Bible has caused so much damage.” I find this statement bizarre because Bell works so hard to teach people his (errant) way of reading and understanding the Bible. He even wrote a book on the subject. If the Bible causes damage, shouldn’t we turn away from it entirely? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say “People have caused so much damage by misinterpreting and misapplying the Bible”? If so, I completely agree with him; I just happen to think he’s one of those people.
But the most important and troubling quote in the trailer, at least to me, was this:
I actually think that Jesus would be absolutely mortified that somebody started a religion in His name.
Read that again. I’ll wait.
What I find disturbing here is not that whole discussion about whether Christianity is a religion or not. I think it is, but that’s beside the point. What I find disturbing is those words “would be.”
What does that mean? It means Jesus isn’t. What isn’t he? Mortified. About what? That somebody started a religion in his name.
Is that because Jesus wanted somebody to start a religion in his name? Not according to Bell; to him, religion is the worst thing that ever happened to Jesus’ teachings.
No, Jesus isn’t mortified about this development because he doesn’t know about it. That’s the only inference we can make.
So why doesn’t he know about it? There are two implications here, and neither of them is good.
The first implication is that Jesus doesn’t know everything. That would mean that he’s not God, because God by definition knows all. He created it, he ordained it. This means Jesus is just a man in that instance and thus incapable of being our mediator. Westminster Larger Catechism question 38 addresses why our mediator needed to be God:
It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death, give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure his favour, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation. 
Simply put, it’s impossible for a mere human to do any of those things. A mere human can’t save us. So if Jesus isn’t God, to quote a certain golden protocol droid, “We’re doomed.”
The second implication might be even worse: Jesus doesn’t know about this because Jesus is still dead.
Paul addressed the problem with this view in 1 Corinthians 15:14–19:
[I]f Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (ESV)
He then adds in verse 32, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'”
Translation? If Jesus is still dead, we have no hope. We are going to die and God will judge us for our sins eternally, and there is absolutely nothing that will change that. All of this life is meaningless, and we may as well do whatever we want.
Prostitutes? Sure, why not?
Your neighbor’s dog keeps using your yard as its bathroom? Shoot it. Who cares? Or better yet, shoot your neighbor. It makes no difference!
You see, the ironic thing about all of this is that, in Bell’s quest for meaning, and in his desire to instill hope in people, he has kicked out from under himself the only reason any of us can have hope or find meaning. It’s gone. Kaput. There’s nothing there.
Now, I’m no expert in Bell. He’s written ten books, put out over 150 podcast episodes and numerous videos and sermons, and I’d rather watch, read, and listen to edifying things. So I don’t know if he’s ever denied anything I just wrote. But, as I’ve said before, words matter. And these words betray a serious flaw (or at least inconsistency) in his theology that puts him completely and utterly outside of anything even remotely resembling something that may come even slightly close to Christianity.
(Not that most of us would have put him in the fold in the first place.)
So, leaving Bell’s heresy behind, we need to ask the question: what is our hope?
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to the right hand of God the Father almighty, and from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
That’s our hope. That’s the gospel we desperately need.
 I used the linked article to copy and paste the quotes from the trailer throughout this post.
 “Westminster Larger Catechism with Proof Texts.” Reformed.org. http://www.reformed.org/documents/wlc_w_proofs/ Accessed February 19, 2018
 Attentive readers will know I’m quoting parts of the Apostles’ Creed. I found this particular version in this ebook of the Three Forms of Unity. Accessed February 19, 2018.