• Christianity

    Dear Rob Bell: The Church Isn’t Giving an Inch on Gay Marriage

    Former pastor Rob Bell recently stated that the church is on the cusp of embracing gay marriage. Owen Strachan has penned an open-letter responding to that claim. Strachan writes: Rob, you’re a gifted communicator. You drew many folks to your church in Michigan, and now you have a show on Oprah’s network. It’s clear that you’re charismatic, funny, and adept at making complex realities simple to understand.But—excuse my own attempt at brevity—you’re dead wrong on the church and gay marriage. The church isn’t giving an inch on this issue. Sure, there are scattered congregations who are moving in this direction. But in terms of tens and tens of thousands of…

  • Book Reviews,  Christianity,  News

    Rob Bell’s new egalitarian book on marriage

    Rob Bell and his wife Kristen are set to release a book on marriage next month. The work is already being touted as an egalitarian alternative to Mark and Grace Driscoll’s Real Marriage. The title is The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage. Zimzum is a doctrine that comes from Kabbalah—a kind of new age Jewish mysticism. The Bells are accessing the teaching as a paradigm for understanding marriage. From the publisher’s description, In marriage, zimzum is the dynamic energy field between two partners, in which each person contracts to allow the other to flourish. Mastering this field, this give and take of energy, is the secret…

  • Christianity

    Rob Bell has left the church for a “quasi-intentional spiritual community”?

    Jim Hinch argues in The American Scholar that evangelicalism is on the decline in America. This thesis is not new. He’s accessing trends in polling data that evangelicals have been aware of for years. The article focuses on the demise of Robert Schuller and his Crystal Cathedral as a parable of what’s happening in evangelicalism writ large. Hinch then argues that Rob Bell’s flight from the pastorate and from his own megachurch is a leading indicator of where younger evangelicals are trending. In short, they’re leaving the movement. And in Bell’s case in particular, they’re leaving the church altogether. Hinch writes:

  • Christianity

    Rob Bell comes out in favor of gay marriage

    On Sunday, Rob Bell spoke at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and announced in no uncertain terms his support for gay marriage. Anyone aware of Bell’s career of late will not be surprised by this announcement. In his own words: I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are. The Huffington Post has a report on his remarks here. You…

  • Theology/Bible

    A brief postscript to my earlier critique of Rob Bell

    Peter Enns admonishes Carl Trueman, Owen Strachan, and yours truly for critiquing Rob Bell’s forthcoming book before even reading it. I would agree with Enns that it is unwise and unfair to criticize a book that one hasn’t even read. But since not one of the three of us has actually criticized the book, I have to wonder why Enns’ has said that we did. All three of us were explicitly offering brief commentary on the trailer, not a definitive analysis of the book itself. Enns appears to be under the impression that evangelical reviewers are chomping at the bit to give nasty reviews of Bell’s book. But I don’t…

  • Christianity

    I don’t think Rob Bell is relevant anymore

    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.

  • Christianity,  Entertainment

    Rob Bell To Produce TV Show Based on His Own Life

    When Rob Bell left Mars Hill Bible Church, he said that he was leaving because he felt a “calling to share God’s love” in new ways. Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports that one of those “new ways” is to produce a television drama about his own life. Bell has joined-up with Carlton Cuse—one of the creators of the TV series Lost—to produce a television pilot, and ABC has already bought the rights to it. New York Magazine has a brief report on how Cuse and Bell got together and what the show will be like:

  • Christianity,  News

    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…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Adrian Warnock Debates Rob Bell

    The British radio program “Unbelievable?” hosted a fascinating discussion between Rob Bell and Adrian Warnock. This program may be as close as we’ll get to hearing Rob Bell debate his book with an evangelical. I think Warnock does a good job of engaging Bell with tough questions, even though Bell’s responses still leave much to be desired. You can download the audio here or listen below. [audio:http://media.premier.org.uk/unbelievable/57af5a35-8b49-4c58-b283-fe25e4fe2d97.mp3] One item of note: Reviewers have criticized Bell’s book for not citing sources for his exegetical and historical claims. In this interview, however, Bell cites Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament for his definition of the Greek word aiōn—that it does not…