Sunday, March 27, 2011

Checked Your Balance Lately?

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV


Have you ever suffered from the embarrassment of bouncing a check? I think for one reason or another most of us have and I'm sure just like me, you did not enjoy the feeling that came with the knowledge that you had made a serious mistake. I'm sure as well, we all share a typical response to that event by learning to check our balance often to be sure we have more than enough money in our account.

Most of us are probably familiar with this passage, but like I always say, if you look a little closer at the familiar ones you usually can find something new you may not have seen before. This passage is no exception so I think I will share some thoughts that I have learned from it that have truly changed my thinking about the most important account we possess. I think I will do that by focusing on three aspects of this passage concerning our accounts, and we will call them the where, what, and why of heavenly deposits.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal”

Ever hear the saying; location,location,location? At first glance I had the feeling we were being told it was wrong to try to save up or seek to gain wealth, but that is not what we are told here. Rather we are told that “where” we seek to invest is the important thing. Now I'm sure we all spend a great deal of time watching our time cards and figuring out how much we will have in the bank by the end of the pay period, but how closely are we watching and working to fill our account in heaven? Did you even realize you had an account there? Jesus makes it plain that not only do we, He is keeping an eye on the balance. One thing God makes perfectly clear in this passage is that earthly “deposits” do us absolutely no good at all. Any treasures we accumulate here will eventually be destroyed, or stolen, but whatever the outcome they remain part of this world and not the next. The only “safe” place to make deposits is in God's domain, and the place where we will spend eternity with Him.

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV


"but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,”


The next question that should come to mind is how do we make deposits in our heavenly account? Jesus seems to make it pretty clear that the “what” we seek to deposit is a result of our works or service for Him. When you become a believer in Christ you make a commitment in love to serve Him. Our actions here on earth should reflect not only our desire to serve God, but our awareness that what we do here on earth for Him is being added to our heavenly account. Do the choices you make every day show you are focused on your heavenly account, or are you more concerned with spending time adding to your earthly account? One of the best lines I have heard on this subject came from a sermon by Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship when he said “you can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead”. The smallest effort done in the name of God for His glory makes a deposit in our heavenly account. We often see people doing great things for God and think that we could never do that, but in God's eyes it is not the size of the gift, but the giving that matters. If we do anything for the glory of God, it counts in God's eyes.

"And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."
Matthew 10:42 NKJV


"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

A question that anyone who has ever had children can relate to is “why”? It seems children are always asking that question in response to practically anything they are asked to do. Something I learned early on in my study of scripture is that God anticipates His children asking that same question so He always tells us the reason we are told to do something. Here we are told that first of all, our “treasure” has a very powerful hold upon our “heart”. Have you ever found yourself consumed by the desire to acquire something? We often go to extremes in order to save enough or budget enough to get whatever it is our heart desires. Be it a car, a house, a vacation in an exotic location, whatever, we can at times be consumed by the “desire to acquire”. So the question God is asking us here is do we have that same desire and commitment to deposit into our heavenly account? Now here is a surprise. If you look up the definition of the word treasure in this verse you will find that it does not mean “what” but “where”. That's right, the word th─ôsauros means “the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up”. So what God is telling us is that because our heart determines our focus, we need to make sure our hearts desire is to deposit in our heavenly account because we can't do both!

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 NKJV


Is this difficult to do? Absolutely! Most of us live a comfortable life in a nice house with a nice car, and take a vacation every year. God's question to us is just how much time and effort did it take to get that and maintain it? Is our focus on this life and the “things” it has to offer, or is our heart focused on serving Him and making deposits in heaven?

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Matthew 19:21-22 NKJV


How easy it is to become attached to the things of this earth to such a degree that we are consumed with getting and keeping them and maintaining a lifestyle that the world would approve of. The question here is how many of us are going to arrive in heaven only to find our heavenly account is overdrawn? Have you noticed lately how many people are jumping on the “end times” bandwagon? I am amazed every day as I read accounts where people are starting to ask the question and speculate about the possibility that we actually are approaching the end of this age. I certainly believe we could see the rapture of the church at any time, so it goes without saying that if you believe as I do that the end is near, don't you think it's a good idea to check the balance in your heavenly account? We don't have much time left to make our deposits, so join me in doing as much as we can in the short time we have left.

Keep watching.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Apocalpse?

THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.
Revelation 1:1,2 NKJV


After the events of the past few weeks, I wonder if you have heard the word “apocalypse”, or “apocalyptic” as many times as I have while listening or reading the news? At least once in every report you find yourself hearing the reporters use this word to describe the events which have occurred in just the past few weeks. I especially hear it a lot while watching programs on the History Channel that concern the end of the world. Yet, if you look up the meaning of apocalypse in the Greek, this is what you find;

apokalypsis:
1) laying bare, making naked
2) a disclosure of truth, instruction
a) concerning things before unknown
b) used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto
withdrawn from view are made visible to all
3) manifestation, appearance

Now do you see anything there that talks about the end of the world? How about disasters that threaten the existence of mankind as we know it? Nope, not there. So how or why does the use of this word always seem to be referring to events of this nature? Consider the possibility that the world knows more about the last book of the Bible then they would like to admit, and it's continual use proves the awareness of what the message contained in the Revelation of Jesus Christ is really all about.

If you choose to study the Bible at all, you soon realize that it is a history of how God chooses to reveal Himself to mankind, and at intervals directly exhibit His omnipotence in the affairs of this world. Although the Bible makes it clear that man has the freedom to choose his own path, God certainly does not hesitate to assert His power when the occasion demands. When I stop to consider this, I can't help but think back to the time I taught my daughter how to ride a bicycle. Now if that sounds strange to you, let me try to explain my thinking.

If you think about it, learning to ride a bicycle for the first time is really not that much different than many other things we learn as we grow. It is a process where you first instruct, then assist, and then allow to perform all on their own. When they fall, or appear to be headed for danger, you assert your power by interfering with the process by correction and instruction, then begin the cycle again. If the individual demonstrates the competence to perform, you don't interfere. However if it becomes necessary, you have the power to do so.

Can you now look at the history of man that we find in the Bible and see how God has done this very thing? The Bible is full of examples of how God has instructed, allowed to perform, and then had to interfere to correct when man makes their inevitable mistakes. The book of Revelation is the revealing to mankind by Jesus Christ the previously unknown particulars as to how God plans to assert His power for one last time in order to not only judge, but to allow the world an opportunity to accept Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Revelation 1:8 NKJV


The Bible begins with God creating this world, and ends with the judgment of this world followed by the creation of a new one. The book of Revelation is simply Jesus telling us what God revealed to Him about how He is going to accomplish that. Yet the book of Revelation also reveals something else as well, and that is the role played by Jesus Christ in the history of this world.

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 1:5,6 NKJV


Before He even begins to reveal the fate of this world, God reminds us that because of the sacrifice made by His Son, Jesus Christ, we can escape what is to come.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16,17 NKJV


The book of Revelation, or “apocalypse” is only the story of what happens to those who choose NOT to accept the salvation God has provided. As Paul tells us;

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Thessalonians 5:9 NKJV


Why does the world choose to use the word apocalypse when describing catastrophic events which seem to be occurring with greater frequency and intensity? I'm not exactly sure, but there is certainly no reason why it can't be a reminder to those of us who believe and choose to watch that not only do we know what to expect, but we can also expect it much sooner than others might think. There is no question in my mind, and that of many others, that what we are witnessing right now is the beginning of the process whereby God chooses to once again exhibit His power as the God of all He has created.

If you have never taken the opportunity to receive Christ as your personal Saviour, I would encourage you to make that decision right now. The events we see happening all over the world at this very minute were predicted by Jesus two thousand years ago as a sign for us to watch for. The time for God's final judgment is rapidly approaching and the deliverance of His believers from that judgment could happen at any moment. Simply pray to God and acknowledge your sin, ask Him for His forgiveness, and then ask Jesus to come into your life and receive the gift of salvation God has provided for us.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
John 1:12 NKJV


Keep Watching

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Are You Ashamed?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Romans 1:16 NKJV


ashamed: feeling shame; distressed or embarrassed by feelings of guilt, foolishness, or disgrace.
unwilling or restrained because of fear of shame, ridicule, or disapproval
dictionary.reference.com

Have you ever been ashamed to share what you believe with someone else? Have you ever found yourself talking about God with a fellow believer and then change the subject when someone else walks up? I think it is fair to say that at one time or another we all have suffered from feelings of embarrassment when trying to share, and also been afraid that we would be ridiculed or made fun of because of what we believe.

I find it interesting that Paul even brings up this subject considering his personal experiences as an apostle. I find it hard to believe that he ever suffered from an acute case of embarrassment while sharing the gospel with others. Yet he does choose to address it, so I think it might be beneficial to examine this passage and see what we can learn to help us avoid the possibility of being ashamed.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word ashamed is that the focus is on what other people think. In other words I am not worried about what I think, or what my convictions may or may not be, but rather I am worried about what others might think. Yet the Bible makes it clear that as believers our first and only thoughts should be about what God would want us to do, and pleasing Him.

Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;
1 Thessalonians 4:1 NKJV


Not only has God commanded us to share Him with an unbelieving world, it pleases Him to see us do it! Are you concerned with pleasing God, or is your focus on what someone else might think of you? I believe Paul is reminding us that we need not be ashamed to share what we believe if we remember we are following the instructions of our heavenly Father. The disciples were in this position right after Jesus commissioned them and returned to Heaven, and their response to the high priest was this;

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men.
Acts 5:29 NKJV


I think this makes it perfectly clear where they placed their priorities; they were much more concerned with what God would think than what the people might think. I somehow think as well that they were remembering something Jesus said during His ministry when He was sending them out to share the gospel for the first time.

"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 10:32 NKJV


So it would appear that what Paul want us to know is that there is no reason to be ashamed when we are doing the will of our Father in heaven. Yet Paul goes one step further in this verse which not only sends a message to the people of Rome, but to those who choose to listen today. Notice if you will the reason Paul says he is not ashamed; it is because of the power of God! Paul was writing to the Romans, who at that time in history were the most powerful people and nation on earth. Yet what does Paul say to them but that as powerful as they were, there was a greater power that they did not possess and that was the power to give eternal life!

If you stop to think about it, how many different ways can you think of where people are trying to exercise or obtain power? It shows up in practically every situation you can think of from who gets the best toys to play with in preschool to the person who cuts you off in the parking lot trying to get to the empty spot before you do. The world seems obsessed with the idea of power, and who has the most. From athletics, to business, to politics, to your boss at work, everyone at one time or another likes to exhibit their power. So when Paul takes his ministry to the most powerful nation on earth, rather than being ashamed as if he were representing a weaker authority, he boldly states there is a greater power than even Rome could wield. Only God has the power to give eternal life, and this is the message of the Gospel of Christ which Paul, and we the church, are commissioned to proclaim. The world needs to know, however, that this is only one of the ways God has chosen to exhibit His power.

It comes as no surprise that the events of this past week have produced questions concerning the nearness of the rapture of the church. Many have asked me for my thoughts on what occurred and if these are indeed signs of our impending departure. One of the subjects I have discussed in the past with others who share my convictions is when the rapture might happen in relation to the start of the tribulation period. In other words, does the rapture itself start the tribulation, or is there a period of time, long or short, between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation? My personal feeling is that there is a short period of time between these two events, and that it occurs for a very specific reason. What is that reason? I believe so that God can begin to demonstrate who really has the power in this universe.

Most often when studying or considering the subject of the tribulation, many would look at it in light of God's “judgment” on an unbelieving world. I would certainly not disagree for the Bible makes it clear that it certainly is all of that. But something that often gets lost in the discussion is just what else God might be trying to accomplish at the same time. My firm belief is that He chooses to shake the foundations of the earth in order to show the world exactly where the ultimate power of the universe lies. Does that sound so strange? Consider this;

What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Romans 9:22 NKJV


We find here that Paul suggests God has a plan to show the world His power in just this way. I believe that God's plan is to first demonstrate His power through those who believe, and as we approach the time of tribulation begin to show His power through the shaking of His creation. Anyone who has even a basic knowledge of what occurs during the tribulation understands that God is going to exhibit His power through natural catastrophes that devastate the earth. Are we seeing the beginnings of that process even now? Is the rapture of the church imminent? Many of those who choose to watch faithfully as Jesus commanded would answer that question with an emphatic “yes”!

As disturbing as the images we have seen this past week in Japan are, we know from the Bible that it is nothing compared with what is to come. As even more events such as this begin to occur, will you boldly proclaim the power of the Gospel or be ashamed and afraid of what others will think? Pray for boldness with the knowledge that more is to come, and we will have even more opportunities to share the message of Jesus in the short time we have left. Remember what Paul said; only God has the power to save.

Keep Watching.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Watching For Apostasy

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 NKJV


apostasia:a falling away, defection, apostasy

When the subject of watching for signs of the approaching tribulation comes up, most believers immediately think of the list of natural disasters listed in Matthew 24, which is known as the Olivet Discourse. Here Jesus answers questions by the disciples concerning the end of the age, and shares with them some of the signs that would announce His imminent return. There are, however, numerous other signs given us in other passages in the Bible that are just as important as the ones listed in Matthew.

One of these is the above passage from Paul's letter to the Thessalonians where he addresses the concern many of them had that the time of tribulation had already begun. Paul takes this opportunity to not only reassure them that it had not, but also reveals an interesting sign that many are not familiar with, and this of course is the prediction that many will fall away from the faith.

Most of you know by now that there are times where I share other blogs with you, especially when I feel it's obvious they are being led by the Lord to address a subject of importance to the body. Today is one of those times, and I would like to share two commentaries on the subject of apostasy written by two individuals that I highly respect.

The Great Apostasy: Lost Forever
An apostate soul is lost forever. There is an abundance of Biblical proof that shows anyone that apostatizes cannot repent – and even stronger – has been given a reprobate mind and will not repent. The Greek word apostasion means a divorcement. The apostate person has divorced the truth of God and has been divorced by the Holy Spirit. They are lost forever. There is a multitude in today’s church, which are so captured by the watered down message that they refuse to even believe “plain truths” from the Holy Scripture.

Please consider what is evident in the very term apostate. We are not discussing someone going back into sin or simply ceasing to walk with the Lord. That is backsliding and we see a clear picture of that in the prodigal son in chapter fifteen of Luke. He left the Father’s House and wandered far from home, but he came to himself and returned. I have often said that there is a little of the prodigal in every one of us. We have all had to repent because we failed to be fully obedient. This state of a soul has no real kinship to apostasy.

Apostate people are more religious than the true saints. They have departed from the great principles and established doctrines of the Holy Bible and are committed to guaranteeing that everybody else does the same. Apostasy is a departure from truth while being convinced that they have discovered greater truths. It is the replacement of the eternal truth with religious human imagination. The book, The God Chasers, by Tommy Tenney is an excellent case in point. He states that the Bible is where God has been and the new revelation is where God is now at work. Rick Warren is clearly at the same point. He has replaced the Born Again life by the Holy Ghost with a “purpose driven life” of psychological relativisms.

In the apostate world there are many paths to God, and Jesus Christ is only one of them. The absolute teaching of Jesus Christ about an eternal Hell and eternal Lake of Fire is now to simply lie in the grave and fail to enjoy God forever. The Bible can be pen-knifed by the apostate church and almost every truth can have varied meanings. Separated living is a relic of the past and the Christian is free of all restraints in the Ten Commandments, etc. A ballgame on Sunday night is just as spiritual to this company as a great sermon from God’s eternal truth. Romance music has replaced the music that lifts the spirit of man into the Holy of Holies, where God’s Spirit sanctifies and purifies the soul.

The Holy Bible warned us of this End Time phenomenon. The most powerful Scripture about apostasy is in the great book of Hebrews. This passage has been almost ignored by most Bible teachers because it upsets their weak theology. “And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall “Fall Away,” to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:3-6).

Apostle Paul does not just suggest the end results; he proclaims without question that this state of apostasy cannot repent. Please note the words, “fall away,” which identifies the apostate person and states that they were once partakers of the Holy Ghost, were once enlightened, and had tasted the Word of God and the world to come. But, now, they have turned from all of that great life and cannot return to their former spiritual state. The term “fall away” is from a unique Greek word that applies to the person that is part of the “falling away” or “apostasia” we see in II Thessalonians chapter two, verse three.

The prophecy of II Thessalonians is a clear companion to the truth in Hebrews. As the apostle writes about the coming Antichrist and the Day of Christ, he warns us of the “falling away.” “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (II Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Again, we see “falling away” from the two Greek words, apostasia and apostasion. These are very religious persons who have turned to “another gospel.” They did not love the pure word of God and were wise in the flesh to create their own theology. They watered down the truth to draw the crowds into their great fold. And, then, they must keep compromising to keep the crowds.

The Holy Ghost takes the apostle right down to the fine point of what the results will be, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:7-12).

God’s omniscient Spirit warns them that He will give them “strong delusion,” and “that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned.” It is not the truth that saves the soul. The world is full of people that know the Bible. Many souls study the Bible just to argue their deception more successfully. It is the “love of the truth” that saves the soul. Now, we are discovering the real heart of apostasy. It is to reject the truth for error and our highly intellectual church world is fulfilling this prophetic design to a tee.

There is clear evidence that this condition of apostasy is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of Truth is absolutely the Holy Ghost. To reject truth, to change truth, to water down truth is to grieve, quench, and blaspheme the Spirit. The whole matter of apostasy is the forsaking of truth. The Holy Ghost inspired every Bible writer and they wrote as “they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21). There is no way you can blaspheme Him more readily than when you attack His revelation. From Moses, the writer of the Pentateuch, to John, the writer of the Book of Revelation, the Bible is the pure Word of God.

The final proof of apostasy is found in Revelation chapter twenty-two. The Spirit said, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). When you alter the Bible, you are an apostate person and will be eternally lost.

Joseph R. Chambers
jrc@pawcreek.org


Universalism as a Lure? The Emerging Case of Rob Bell
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

As is so often the case, most of us first learned of Rob Bell’s new book by means of Justin Taylor and his blog, “Between Two Worlds,” at the Gospel Coalition. Justin reminds me of the steady folks at the National Hurricane Center. He is able to advise of looming disaster with amazing calmness. That is why I took special notice of Justin’s stern warning: “It is unspeakably sad when those called to be ministers of the Word distort the gospel and deceive the people of God with false doctrine.”

Why would Justin feel the need to issue such a warning? He was writing about Rob Bell’s forthcoming book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, due to be released on March 29 by HarperCollins.

The publisher’s statement about the book is clearly intended to provoke controversy:
Fans flock to his Facebook page, his NOOMA videos have been viewed by millions, and his Sunday sermons are attended by 10,000 parishioners—with a downloadable podcast reaching 50,000 more. An electrifying, unconventional pastor whom Time magazine calls “a singular rock star in the church world,” Rob Bell is the most vibrant, central religious leader of the millennial generation. Now, in Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing that a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering. With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly optimistic—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.

Now, Rob Bell and others within the Emerging Church movement represent what can only be described as a new form of cultural Christianity. Bell plays with theology the way a cat plays with a mouse. His sermons, videos, books, and public relations are often more suggestive and subversive than clear. They are also artistically and aesthetically superior to most of what is to be found in the video section of your local Christian bookstore or on the Web.
Time is running out on the Emerging folks. They can play the game of suggestion for only so long. Eventually, the hard questions will be answered. Tragically, when the answers do come, as with the case of Brian McLaren, they appear as nothing more than a mildly updated form of Protestant liberalism.

The publicity surrounding Bell’s new book indicates that he is ready to answer one of the hardest questions — the question of the exclusivity of the Gospel of Christ. With that question come the related questions of heaven, hell, judgment, and the fate of the unregenerate. The Bible answers these questions clearly enough, but few issues are as hard to reconcile with the modern or postmodern mind than this. Of course, it was hard to reconcile with the ancient mind as well. The singularity of the person and work of Christ and the necessity of personal faith in him for salvation run counter to the pluralistic bent of the human mind, but this is nothing less than the wisdom of God and the power of God unto salvation.

Universalism and the various inclusivisms are exactly what Justin Taylor suggests — distortions of the Gospel that deceive the people of God (and non-Christians as well).
But what if all this is just clever advertising? What if Rob Bell’s book turns out to be an affirmation of the truth? Did Justin jump the gun?

There is good reason to doubt this. The most powerful argument about the book comes in the form of a video offered by Rob Bell himself. In the video, he pulls no punches. In his clever and artistic way, ever so artfully presented, he affirms what can only be described as universalism.
We must await the release of the full book in order to know what Rob Bell is really saying, but his advance promotion for the book is already saying something, and it is not good. The material he has already put forth does demand and deserve attention.

The Emerging Church movement is known for its slick and sophisticated presentation. It wears irony and condescension as normal attire. Regardless of how Rob Bell’s book turns out, its promotion is the sad equivalent of a theological striptease.

The Gospel is too precious and important to be commodified in this manner. The questions he asks are too important to leave so tantalizingly unanswered. Universalism is a heresy, not a lure to use in order to sell books. This much we know, almost a month before the book is to be released.

http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/01/universalism-as-a-lure-the-emerging-case-of-rob-bell/

There is no question in my mind that the apostasy Paul warns us about is happening right now. If that indeed is the case, just how close is the rapture of the church and the revealing of the man of sin?

Keep watching.