Rob Bell Continues to Sadden Me

Rob-BellI am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. -Rob Bell

I used to be a huge Rob Bell fan.  In fact, he was my “pastor from a distance” for a while.  A few years ago, I was working at a church and not feeling very spiritually fed on Sundays, so I would listen to one or two Rob Bell messages each week.  It was great.  I really enjoy his style.  And I feel like I was challenged and grew spiritually.

When his first book, Velvet Elvis, came out- I LOVED it.  I still think it’s a great book.  Over time though, it seemed like Bell was pushing the boundaries of Christian Orthodoxy.  Finally, when his book Love Wins came out- I knew that I could no longer be a fan.

In that book, Bell challenges orthodox teachings on a literal, eternal hell and the exclusivity of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.  He also spreads the idea that people will get a second chance after they die to choose Jesus- something that is explicitly denied in Scripture.

There are many great Christian leaders that I admire and respect but don’t agree with everything they say.  Guys like Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and N.T. Wright.  However- there are other leaders who go places where I just can’t follow.  Guys like Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Greg Boyd, and now Rob Bell.

Bell, the former pastor and founder of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, made the comment from above during a guest appearance this past Sunday at The Forum at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to discuss his new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God.

Bell went on and defended his comments on marriage by stating: “The powerful revolutionary thing about Jesus’ message is he says ‘what do you do with the people who aren’t like you? What do you do with the other? What do you do with the person who is hardest to love…?'” Bell responded. “That’s the measure of a good religion. You can love the people who are like you, that’s kind of easy. What Jesus does is take the question and talks about fruit, he’s interested in what you actually produce and that’s a different discussion.”  You can read more about Bell’s interview HERE.

I am saddened by Rob Bell.  I know I don’t have all the answers and don’t ever want to be so arrogant that I think I know all about God, but I really think that Bell has now gone outside the boundaries of Christian Orthodoxy- those beliefs that believers have agreed on for 2,000 years.

3 comments

  1. John G. miller · March 19, 2013

    Yeah, man – what am I missing? The consistent degradation of societal values … and lead straight downhill by a “leader.” Excellent piece, Erik.

  2. Frank · March 21, 2013

    “In that book, Bell challenges orthodox teachings on a literal, eternal hell and the exclusivity of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. He also spreads the idea that people will get a second chance after they die to choose Jesus- something that is explicitly denied in Scripture.”

    Maybe some direct quotes and Scripture references to show where some of these ideas are explicitly denied in Scripture.

    And by the way, what do you think of C.S. Lewis?

  3. Frank · March 21, 2013

    I just want you to be fair.

    The world does not consist of 100 per cent. Christians and 100 per cent. Non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position. And always, of course, there are a great many people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent beliefs all jumbled up together. Consequently, it is not much use trying to make judgments about Christians and non-Christians in the mass. – C.S. Lewis

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