Guest / Limited Access /
Rob Bell's 'Ginormous' Mirror

As far as I can tell, any classic, middle-of-the-road Christian can offer a hearty "Amen" to a great deal of Rob Bell's theology.

The former pastor of Mars Hill Church believes God exists and can be experienced and yet cannot be contained by rational explanations. He affirms the divinity and humanity of Christ, as well as the Resurrection. He believes the Spirit is active in our lives and in the world. He believes the Bible is authoritative at some level—that is, he always tries to understand his life in light of his reading of the Bible. He is indignant about self-righteousness and injustice, and contrary to popular opinion, he actually believes in a judgment: He says people who abuse and exploit others and creation will not participate in the glorious restoration of heaven on earth. Yes, he holds out hope that perhaps everyone will someday be saved, but in one sense, so do many evangelicals. Even God is said to wish that no one should perish.

So unlike some of my other fellow believers, I cannot say, "Farewell, Rob Bell." Instead, I think of him as my brother in Christ.

This may surprise readers who believe I wrote God Wins to refute Bell's controversial theology. Only in part, though that part is not insignificant. I mostly stumble over his epistemology—his understanding of how we come to know what is true, and by what method we determine how to live authentic lives. As I argued in the book, this is precisely my concern about evangelical faith as a whole. The thesis in my book and in this essay is that in this respect, Rob Bell is not only an evangelical, but an evangelical's evangelical, the evangelical par excellence.

This is admittedly a sweeping and dramatic assertion, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Subscriber Access Only Does Plan B Cause Abortion?
The "morning-after pill" is the center of healthcare reform fight and a federal judge's order that it be available over the counter.
RecommendedWhat an Obscure Old Testament Figure Reveals about Us Gentiles
Subscriber Access Only What an Obscure Old Testament Figure Reveals about Us Gentiles
There's more to the story of Obed-Edom.
TrendingChristians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
Christians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
Consider the missional implications before you boycott.
Editor's PickReading Esther in the Shadow of ISIS
Reading Esther in the Shadow of ISIS
A Jewish philosopher’s perspective on how God delivers his people from radical evil.
%%var.bookTitle%%
What We Talk About When We Talk About God
HarperOne
2013-03-12
240 pp., $19.98
Buy %%var.bookTitle%% from Amazon
Christianity Today
Rob Bell's 'Ginormous' Mirror
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.