Ernest Hemingway penned the novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls”; a story set in the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. The main character is an expert in the use of explosives, and is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack behind enemy lines. I don’t often think of Hemingway or his famous novels, but that title and the plot came to mind as I watched a series of video links to another “Bell”; Rob Bell, author, creative video communicator and Founding Pastor of Mars Hill Church. His new book “Love Wins” was recently released to much critique and divisive drool. You’ve likely come across or even participated in the many conversations in the blogosphere that either blast him or praise him. This blog is my response to the unfortunate, yet responsible need to call him out.
For context of my statements, feel free to watch the video linked here. Tim Schraeder was live in audience and provided not only the video, but a great summary of statements. Kudos to his diligence! Here it is. Rob Bell in his own words. It’s long… and telling.
So… Hemingway… why did I make the connection? Two reasons, first the play on words “Bell”. Cute, but then to the more telling reason: Rob Bell through his words I heard and the notes I took sounded like an expert in the use of doctrinal explosives on a mission to blow up the tradition of Christian faith. I was watching and listening to a colleague in ministry, a fellow pastor and professed Christ follower speak to the issue of hell and God’s love, spinning the Good News, defining Universalism in a convenient strain of thought that removes him from carrying the label, all the while partially answering, and at times never answering, very good questions about very real issues without once clearly stating that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. This one answer is the most non-negotiable piece of the Good News and Bell waffled not only in his lack of statement, but was clearly uncomfortable when pressed for a response in another interview done with MSNBC’s Martin Bashir. Take a look at the body posture and listen to his response here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg-qgmJ7nzA&feature=player_embedded Martin Bashir is a professed Christian and has some comments about that interview. Listen here: http://www.godandculture.com/ra/bashir_edwards.mp3
My conclusion as to why I am not purchasing the book nor recommending it is based on my responsibility to be “Berean” with everything taught regarding Christ. As I take what I’ve witnessed from Rob Bell to the Word of God, I come away disheartened knowing a man with influential presence in Christendom has betrayed, whether wittingly or not, the biblical instruction Paul gave all pastor/teachers through Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely…” Bell has planted a bomb in the ranks that has the capacity to do much harm to the essentials of the Christian faith and worse, to cause many to stray from the Truth to which we cling.
I am praying for my brother in the anticipated hope that he will see the error of his teaching and will Reclaim Leadership, seeking true spiritual leadership grounded in the Truths of Scripture. May we all watch our lives and doctrine closely in the midst of the temptation to breathe fresh perspective into the age old truths of God’s Word. I fear Rob Bell has veered off course in his attempt to breathe fresh perspective into an already vibrant and alive Word of God.