Taking Away Linus’ Blanket
Christian Pastor, Rob Bell, is the “Founding Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. He graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.” Bell has a new book coming out in a few days, which hasn’t even been released, yet the book has thrown gas on the kindling for many evangelical Christians, who just happen to have lighters in-hand. I’d guess it was the same people criticizing Steven Hawking’s newest book before they opened it, and will probably never entertain idea of actually reading it. Bell has my attention. I might just have to pick up a copy for myself. Here are a few key-words floating around the shamayim: “Heresy”, “False Teaching” and even “Universalism”. *Home Alone Face* Lions and tigers and bears, oh my !! (Christian Fear Tactic #001, oldest trick in the book, just ask Paul)
First let’s see what Bell has to say, then we’ll look at what a few evangelical Christian mouthpieces are saying about him and his yet unreleased book:
CBN chaplain and Regent University theology professor Joel Palser says Bell’s book compromises what’s taught in the Bible.
“Apparently this is a pastor who has written a book who has grown uncomfortable contending for the faith,” Palser argued. “He is no longer able to defend what the Bible says and has endeavored to make that more palatable to modern culture.”
“It may be trendy and it might sell a lot of books, but in fact Jesus speaks very clearly about heaven and hell,” Palser added.
Mars Hill pastor Rob Bell drew significant attention on Twitter and blogs today after Justin Taylor penned a blog post titled “Rob Bell: Universalist?” on Bell’s upcoming book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.
Taylor, vice president of editorial at Crossway, has not seen Bell’s book (though he read some chapters that were sent to him), but he expressed concern with a video. “[T]his video from Bell himself shows that he is moving farther and farther away from anything resembling biblical Christianity,” Taylor wrote.
Taylor’s claim ─ based on a description of the book released by publisher HarperOne and a promotional video ─ ignited a wave of criticism against, and a counter-wave of support for, Bell. Some critics went so far as to label Bell a heretic. Prominent evangelical pastors on both the right and left rushed to condemn or defend the Michigan pastor.
Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called the promotion of the book the “sad equivalent of a theological striptease.” Brian McLaren, who has also been branded a heretic in the past, marveled at the fact people would throw around the “h” word “without actually grappling with the issues and questions the books raised.”
It’s gonna be fun !
Kudos to Bell. Give ’em Hell.
- You: Pastor Stirs Wrath With His Views on Old Questions (nytimes.com)
- Pastor Preaches There’s No Hell (abcnews.go.com)
- rob bell attacks hell? (jude3project.org)
- Let’s Freak out about Rob Bell! (onthebema.com)