Rob Bell’s Farewell to His Church

Trevin Wax has linked to Rob Bell’s lengthy farewell letter to his church. I got the sense as I read this that the faith he’s promoting is much less grounded in the eternal verities of scripture than it is in the human creativity that gave birth to Mars Hill church. Read it here.

48 Responses to Rob Bell’s Farewell to His Church

  1. Mike December 27, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Indeed. I was left with this conclusion: human experience > God’s Word. At one point, Bell’s letter equates “belief” with nothing more than “getting the words right.” I was reminded of Matthew 6:7 and the phrase “meaningless repetition.”

  2. donsands December 27, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Too heady for my pea-brain; but for the intelectuals I’m sure these kinds of lengthy sermons are fun. Too human-centered for me as well. I like more Christ-centered pastors, who also speak to the people of God with love and truth; a lot of truth from Scripture; not just nice portions.

    That’s my take on Bell. May our Lord bless him, and help him eat the Word more than he ever has; the whole Word of God, which includes sin, holiness, godliness, death and hell, heaven and life, pain, suffering, wrath, along with love and niceness.

    have a great New year Denny in Christ and His steadfast love! All for the Cross! Gal. 6:14

  3. Paul December 27, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Denny – I really think that you’re reading negative into it due to your thoughts on Rob Bell. Let’s face facts here: God is our Father, and He is the reason for church. The Church is Christ’s bride. But it’s still a human entity. Started by humans. Run by humans. Human interaction has a huge part to do with why we pick a certain church to attend and be a part of. So, to then complain that a goodbye letter is human-centric is silly. A human is going to remember the trials and travails that he and his human counterparts went through in the process of building that church. And it’s not at all as if God, or Christ’s redemption is absent from that letter. It’s not.

    I suggest reading it again. There’s more to glean from it than you’re letting on.

  4. Dan Phillips December 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    So, in one year:

    From “Farewell, Rob Bell”

    to

    “Farewell” – Rob Bell.

  5. yankeegospelgirl December 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    What’s with the all-lowercase?

    Typically rambling, self-absorbed and agenda-driven.

    • Dan Phillips December 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      he’s channeling his inner ann kiemel

  6. donsands December 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Here’s an article to set beside that of Bell, if you’ll permit me. I read Bell today, and was left without any essential truth really, but simply words. Then i read this today, and it lifted my soul, and convicted, and brought into me life with the truth of God, through one of his genuine ministers.

    Enjoy and be built up: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/holy-people-are-happy-people/

  7. ndefalco December 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    I was going to read it and then saw that he still refuses to use proper punctuation and capitalization. It was an insult to my intelligence to even view that letter with my own two eyes. It is also an insult to his English teachers. I read “Velvet Elvis” and had trouble keeping my lunch down because of it. He is the epitome of the “hipster writer” and his post-modern tendencies in his writing are instant turn off to me.

    • yankeegospelgirl December 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

      it’s authentic.

      honest.

      real.

      you obviously don’t

      get it.

      • Derek December 27, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

        good one, ygg. 🙂

      • dennis December 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

        EXACTLY…. the bashing and heresy hunting is getting tired and heckaboring!

        • yankeegospelgirl December 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

          Um, that was a joke. I was making fun of Rob Bell. Were you taking me seriously? LOL.

  8. Don Johnson December 28, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I admit that the stream of consciousness free form verse aspect of the letter was very offputting to me. It came off as pretentious.

    • ndefalco December 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Dennis, it was more than a letter. It was a sermon. So, yes it was a theological treatise. So, you are wrong when you say it shouldn’t have to do with God. And what love letter from a pastor to his church wouldn’t include theology? Well, certainly not the dozen or so in the New Testament…

      And don’t act like you’re not reading this. You know you totally are. Good luck not being tempted to write back.

  9. Daryl Little December 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    The line about the ancient midrash (who knew that Genesis was an ancient midrash? I always thought it was Scripture.) was typical “I am a scholar…no really, I am!” Rob Bell-ness.

    Goes right along with the pretense Don mentioned.

    Very hard too read…and not because it’s deep either.

    • dennis December 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      Yawn… It’s a love letter to his people not a theological treatise… My God! Grow up!

      • Jim W December 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

        Please don’t use God’s name lightly. Perhaps it is you who should grow up.

        • dennis December 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

          Jim. If you think that’s what taking God’s name in vain means, we got bigger issues to deal with than Rob Bell. So relax… and go pluck the sliver out of someone elses eye.

          • yankeegospelgirl December 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

            What do you think it means?

          • Jim W December 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

            Yes, I do believe that. It’s telling that you don’t. So, don’t talk to me about slivers, while your own lack of understanding is so obvious.

          • dennis December 29, 2011 at 11:03 am #

            Jim, if I thought for one second that you were a teachable person or even had and ear to hear, I’d spend the 30 seconds explaining why “My God” isn’t breaking the 3 commandment. But you’re so busy telling everyone they are wrong, I’d be more productive casting my pearls before swine.

          • yankeegospelgirl December 29, 2011 at 11:40 am #

            Dennis, let me put this delicately: The “I am an internet troll” tattoo on your forehead is beginning to glow. We’d appreciate it if you moved on. Thank you.

          • Jim W December 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

            Go ahead, Dennis, explain your “reasoning” why using God’s name lightly isn’t an offense. I’ll wait. If God strikes down people who lie (Annanais and Sapphira), strikes down people who attempt to do good, but in the process, actually do wrong (righting the Ark of the Covenant when told not to touch it), keeping Moses out of the promised land because he hit the rock, etc, etc, your feeble attempts to explain your own man-made theology strike me as nothing but hot air. That’s all they are, your own made-up theology. Go ahead, explain away. Or, you could do like YGG said, go away. You’re a boil, infecting all around you.

          • dennis December 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

            Sorry you feel that way yankeegospelgirl. I’ll leave you to yourselves to flame on Rob Bell. It’s gotta make you all feel good about yourselves. I see how it works here. You all can call him anything you want until someone calls you on it and then, they are labeled a troll and asked to move on.

            Blessings to you all!

          • dennis December 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

            Thanks Jim, since you already made your mind up that no matter what I say, I am “a boil” and my theology is “man made” (since you know nothing about me or my theology, my pedigree, experience or education). I will leave you to yourselves. Flame on brother! I can tell it makes you feel really important.

            Blessings…. DL

          • Jim W January 1, 2012 at 10:50 am #

            You’re the one who started all the animosity, Dennis. You were practically foaming at the mouth displaying your vituperative spirit. You made your theology clear when you wrote your first statement. You don’t care about God, or anyone but yourself. Your strikes back at anyone who try to correct you show you to be the unteachable one, not me. And, further, since you are claiming to be a Christian, you are spreading your man-made religion like a festering boil. So, the shoe fits. You wear it far too proudly. And don’t call me “brother” You have made it clear that we aren’t.

          • yankeegospelgirl January 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

            Shhhhhhh. Don’t feed the trolls. I think he may be gone now, but don’t provoke him to come back.

      • ndefalco December 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

        Dennis, it was more than a letter. It was a sermon. So, yes it was a theological treatise. So, you are wrong when you say it shouldn’t have to do with God. And what love letter from a pastor to his church wouldn’t include theology? Well, certainly not the dozen or so in the New Testament…

        And don’t act like you’re not reading this. You know you totally are. Good luck not being tempted to write back.

        • dennis December 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

          Did I ever say I wasn’t going to read this? That’s just weird and show’s you can’t even read a simple thread. Very strange!!! Keep alienating and fanning the flames brother. You gotta feel good. Funny how on this thread, you can’t simply disagree, you gotta send Bell straight to hell or you’re condemned right along with him. Thanks ndelfalco! Have a nice day!

          • ndefalco December 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

            You said, “I will leave you to yourselves.” Guess you couldn’t, could you? So, you DID say you would leave and you didn’t.

            I never said Rob Bell was condemned to hell. Somebody else did. And thanks for not correcting your false assumption that it was just a letter. Appreciate you actually responding to something I wrote. See? I can be sarcastic, too!

            Now, let’s see if you can actually set your record straight. Follow me on this: Rob Bell’s letter is a sermon. It is therefore a theological treatise. Even if a sermon isn’t a theological treatise, a love letter from a pastor to a church should at least make Christ the focal point, which he does not. There, now do you see?

          • dennis December 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

            Ok ndelfalco, I only responded because you asked me to and made some kind of bazaar challenge out of it. What I did say is I would leave Don and Yankee to themselves, not that I would quit reading or responding to other posts. I’m sorry you took offense, up until that time I had never responded to you on any level directly. I apologize if I broad brushed too widely, up until that last post your comments were never even on my radar.

            You’re correct it was a sermon and a letter both. However, I do see Gospel weaved in and out of the stories. If you can’t see it, I am saddened that because Bell can’t say it the way you like, he gets condemned.

            I can’t say it any straighter than that and yes, earlier I was being sarcastic hoping someone would see how nasty and unloving many of the comments about Bell really are…

            Peace to you!

            Dennis

      • Dennis January 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

        Jim, your sick sense of self-righteousness oozes out. Your lack of love and your condemnation of anyone who disagrees with you is all one needs to see, Go get some help for your NPD.

  10. Don Johnson December 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Bell is referring to a Jewish midrash (explanation) on Genesis. The point of the midrash is that Jacob got to experience God up close and personal. So while there was a downside with the limp, there was an upside. And Bell then says this has happened with congregants, they went thru things that had a downside and an upside.

    If one goes thru the story of Jacob, the wrestling is a turning point.

    • dennis December 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      Thank you Don! People running around saying that this story of Jacob is not found in the midrash and Bell just said that to look impressive would do well to go back to Hebrew history 101 and glean as much as they can again. There’s no shame in not knowing something, but calling someone else’s motives into question without knowing the facts is quite sad.

  11. Justin F December 28, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed his work and teaching. In all things that I’ve observed, he has conducted himself as a true man of God. I wish him well in his service to God.

    • Jim W December 29, 2011 at 7:25 am #

      “he has conducted himself as a true man of God.” You mean except for when he teaches unbiblical principles and fails to ever actually preach the gospel? Or do you mean when he tries to use mid-3rd or 4th century Jewish writings and say that those were the thoughts of Jesus’ era? Or what exactly?

  12. Justin F December 29, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    Having never met him, but only what I have observed in interviews and by reading his books to the best I can observe he has faithfully displayed the fruits of the spirit. The fruit of his teaching is the fruit of the spirit. Service to the poor, water for those without clean water, caring for the people who have been abused, etc. You can disagree with his doctrine, but he conducts himself with integrity and encourages people to live like Christ.

  13. Jim W December 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Yeah, but Justin, plenty of athiests do those things also. He teaches a false gospel. That is heresy and deserves the hell he claims isn’t real.

    • Tyler December 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

      Jim W,

      ‘That is heresy and deserves the hell he claims ins’t real’

      Those are really strong words. Do you think Bell is not a true follower of Jesus?

      I think Justin F is merely trying to make a point to the fact that Bell has conducted himself with honesty and charity towards others throughout his ministry.

      FYI: Bell believes in a hell it just doesn’t look like the one you are used to.

      • Jim W January 1, 2012 at 10:43 am #

        Bell doesn’t believe in the Hell that Jesus described. Had a chat with a couple of Mormons yesterday. Bell sounds far more Mormon than Christian.

  14. RN December 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    I read through the letter, but it must have been the wrong one, because I didn’t see anything about “rank heresy” mentioned…

    • Ray December 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

      RN, you left the same comment at the other blog. Heretics rarely self-identify as such.

  15. yankeegospelgirl December 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Well, if glibness is a fruit of the spirit, the boy’s sure got it in spades!!

    • dennis December 30, 2011 at 1:01 am #

      If you don’t see the irony in your statement, there’s really nothing anyone can say… Very Sad!

      • yankeegospelgirl December 30, 2011 at 10:03 am #

        Drat, I see we haven’t gotten rid of you yet.

        • dennis December 30, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

          Well, when you say something that dumb, someones gotta hold you accountable 🙂 j/king! Have a good day!

  16. kevin s. December 31, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Can we dispense with the notion Rob Bell is a gifted communicator? That thing reads as though it were written by a stoned 11th grader after he just attended his first Unitarian church service.

    I suspect the only people paying any real attention to what Rob Bell says are those who reject his theology (such as it is). Those who embrace him need no convincing. They follow the idea of Rob Bell.

    I put him in the same category as the televangelists. He meets a need and does so profitably. Was there every a serious argument on behalf of Tammy Faye Baker’s theology in the 1980s?

    Bell will go around the country with his stand up act, depriving well-intentioned, albeit largely self-satisfied, folks to part with $35 to get the Rob Bell goosebumps. So let him.

    I’m a big basketball fan, but I don’t get upset when the Harlem Globetrotters charge fans for their apocryphal crusades against the nefarious Washington Generals. I don’t go to their games and heckle the refs for failing to call traveling.

    The ship has sailed on the whole “ignore Rob Bell and he’ll go away” concept. But he is of a type. Pseudo-contrarian charlatans have been preaching their gospels for millenia.

    So when the next Love Wins comes around (and it will… hint: it involves a feminist and a baby think-it-over”) let’s do what film critics do with Air Bud sequels… Bury them with our indifference.

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes