Rob Bell Resigns from Mars Hill

The elders at Mars Hill Bible Church have announced that Rob Bell is resigning from the pastorate of the congregation he founded 12 years ago. Sarah Pulliam Bailey has the scoop. Here’s a bit from the statement that the elders posted on the church’s website:

Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell, has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God’s love with a broader audience.

It is with deeply mixed emotions that we announce this transition to you. We have always understood, encouraged, and appreciated the variety of avenues in which Rob’s voice and the message of God’s tremendous love has traveled over the past 12 years. And we are happy and hopeful that as Rob and Kristen venture ahead, they will find increasing opportunity to extend the heartbeat of that message to our world in new and creative ways.

You will remember that we had quite a bit of discussion about Bell earlier this year concerning his controversial book Love Wins. The book was a heterodox take on the doctrine of hell (among other things), but there is no indication from the elders that Bell’s departure has anything to do with the book.

According to the elders’ statement, Shane Hipps will take the reins at Mars Hill after Bell finishes his series in Acts this December. As of right now, the Mars Hill website is down, so if you want to read the rest of the statement from the elders, go take a look at Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s article.

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[Here are some links to previous discussion on this site about Love Wins.]

“Rob Bell Outs Himself”

“Revising Hell Into the Heterodox Mainstream”

“Mohler Leads Panel Discussion of Love Wins”

“On Doctrinal Controversy”

“Martin Bashir Takes on Rob Bell”

“Bell Says He’s Been Slandered”

11 Responses to Rob Bell Resigns from Mars Hill

  1. Sam September 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    A non-story. I read a long time ago that Bell’s involvement with the church had dwindled down to very little other than his corporate preaching (ie, he wasn’t involved in day to day ministry operations of MHBC). Given his heigthened profile it was a matter of time until he focused on other things.

  2. Michael Templin September 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Hopefully the church repents on its error and comes under Godly shepherds.

  3. Lorelei Hillman September 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    “Shane Hipps will take the REINS”

    Wishing Pastor Bell the best – he has touched so many hearts for Christ, even as far away as Arizona.

  4. Don Johnson September 23, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    I hope he is still connected to a local congregation and is being sent out by them and to which he returns, which I see at the model in the Bible.

  5. Gabe September 23, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Good for him, now maybe by being away from a believing community, hopefully he can break free from it altogether.

    • Paul September 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

      stay classy, Gabe.

  6. Pastor Matt September 23, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    I posted on it today. I share Don’s concern. I don’t care for Bell’s theology but I have met him a few times and he seems like an affable person. I think life outside of a church structure may be dangerous.

  7. Chris Blackstone September 23, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Here’s the headline from the Detroit Free Press “Trendy Grand Rapids pastor leaving church he founded to pursue ‘strategic opportunities”

    While a true headline, it’s very sad that you could replace “pastor” with businessman and “church” with business and the headline would work. The calling of a shepherd is much higher than that and shouldn’t be so comprehensible to the outside world.

    I wonder if Bell leaving his church will make it easier him to continue on his trajectory of bad theology since he will no longer be an overseer of a local congregation.

  8. Dillon September 23, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    ” Given his heigthened profile it was a matter of time until he focused on other things. ”

    Nothing against this quote but I was thinking about it yesterday as James MacDonald was defending Perry Noble on his blog.

    I know there are important things to do in God’s Kingdom but isn’t the most important serving on the front lines of ministry? Writing is great, making short films is great, defending the faith is great but doesn’t God call us, ministers and non ministers alike, to a higher calling, serving our neighbors?

    • Paul September 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

      Isn’t making those films, writing books that everyone talks about and defending the faith part of being on the front lines? I would say that it is.

  9. donsands September 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Bell is such a bad pastor and teacher of the Holy Writ. he is more like a Dr, Phil to me. he will have tons of people follow him and like him, as he teaches a humanistic gospel. maybe he will come to the Word, and be broken and see the truth for what it is, and not what he wants it to be.

    have a great Lord’s day!

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