Rob Bell has a new book coming out, and there’s a trailer that has emerged in advance of its release (see above). I’m personally of the opinion that Rob Bell is no longer relevant to the larger evangelical theological conversation. Yes, his book will probably sell a lot of copies. No, evangelicals by and large won’t mistake him for one of their own like they used to. Both Carl Trueman and Owen Strachan have offered appropriately trenchant commentary on the trailer. You should read both, but here’s a slice from each.
This kind of bullsgeschichtlich Abfall, to use the technical German theological phrase, is its own refutation and should be called out for what it is: laughable, self-important gibberish. To build on a phrase from Niebuhr, for these chaps “A God of their own invention brought people just like them into a kingdom without clear definition through the ministrations of a Christ who looks like an over-indulged American thirty-something.” So, yes, people will take it seriously and the book will no doubt sell in vast quantities. As the old song has it: Find out what they like and how they like it and let them have it just that way.
We’ll see what this book ends up doing. It looks like it will be another epistle for the “spiritual, but not religious” crowd, and at least the book trailer is–well, confusing. I’m guessing the book will be about getting in touch with God without all the trappings of organized evangelicalism, all the unpopular stuff.