Farewell Rob Bell
[Update: Rob Bell is going all Hollywood with an ABC show loosely based on his life]
I’m not sure if you know who Rob Bell is. Within Christianity, he’s kind of a big deal (pretty much the inverse of Jason Berggren). Well, he’s jumping ship.
Most recently, he has gotten a lot of attention for his book Love Wins. I read it and had several problems with it, which I wrote about in my post Love Wins, Christianity Loses, and God Lies. Why? Well let me just let you read some of my summary points.
From reading Love Wins I gathered that apparently all us crotchety, outdated, grandpa-like Christians need to realize (or else!):
• When God says He will reconcile all creation to Himself, He means everyone can get into Heaven regardless of your belief in Jesus
• God will let people decide to accept Jesus even after death, if necessary He will take as long as needed to convince them to come in
• You’re making people think Jesus came to rescue us from God, whom you seem to think is hot-tempered, switches modes, and is inconsistent
• While there needs to be room in Christianity for a wide range of opinions and views, there just isn’t room for your finite views on Hell, sin, or salvation
• Don’t worry about confessing the name of Jesus to be saved, just make sure you are living His story out in your own life
• There is a vein of God’s story in every culture, so whatever that plan of salvation is, it is perfectly acceptable to God and don’t judge them either
• Jesus died on the cross because that’s what they needed and understood back then, and that wouldn’t need to happen today since we’re, like, way more smarter than that
• Being ‘spiritual’ is probably enough for God, so don’t worry so much about being Biblical
• The Hippies had it right because it is actually possible to meet Jesus through smoking pot
• If Jesus and Christianity have put a bad taste in someone’s mouth, God doesn’t necessarily need them to follow Him because wherever they find truth is fine with Him
These are some things I even wrote about in my own book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith:
Since discussing God and Jesus can so often be divisive, why not create a new secular humanist faith that avoids all that? One that’s totally dedicated to promoting good deeds and good will among all. This would probably be more readily accepted. Coexistence and harmony between all creation—man, animals, and environment—would create universal peace and a heavenly state. Who could argue with that? This less offensive, more congenial religion would probably have more impact on society and culture as a whole. All we have to do is leave God and Jesus out of the equation. No biggie.
>So why is Rob Bell leaving his church?
From the church’s own site it says:
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.
What do I think? I think it’s good and bad.
In a way, Rob has been part of my life for eight years. I have read nearly all of his books, used several of his NOOMA videos as a basis for small group discussions, and listened to hundreds of his teachings (I even explained why I stopped listening to him on July 29th, 2007, which is another story altogether). I have deep affection and great respect for Rob. It is hard not to.
But I’m worried.
Now Rob is free to go off the deep end. He doesn’t have the responsibility and role of ‘pastor’ to hold him accountable and measure his actions against. That’s not a good thing.
>Perhaps, since he doesn’t seem to hold to some foundational Christian doctrines, this is the right thing to do.
Of course, I wish him all the best. He is an amazing communicator. In fact, I am jealous of his ability. I guess I should think what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:8:
“The important thing is that in every way, whether for right or wrong reasons, they are preaching about Christ. So I am happy, and I will continue to be happy.”
I’m still worried, though.
Why? Rob has a lot of influence due to his gift of communicating. I am afraid that Rob will further present an application of Christianity that is some quasi-universalist, pseudo-Buddhist, completely indistinct Frankenstein of a religion in which, although it claims so, Jesus is not really essential.
I know I have many problems and likely have some of my interpretations of the Bible wrong. I’m human. That’s a certainty.
>I’m just worried that Rob will get away from the urgency and importance of knowing Jesus, that he died for our sins, and that we must believe, accept, and follow him in order to spend eternity with him.
So farewell Rob Bell. I do wish you well–with some caution.