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
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Wilson's Bookmarks
From the editor of Books & Culture.
Current IssueChristine Moseley
Subscriber Access Only
Christine Moseley
Her startup saves produce that would otherwise go to waste.
RecommendedGender and the Trinity: From Proxy War to Civil War
Gender and the Trinity: From Proxy War to Civil War
An explainer: the latest complementarian debate isn't over women’s subordination—but Christ's.
TrendingWho’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
Who’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
The Republican candidate finally names his campaign’s evangelical connections.
Editor's PickGo Ahead, Evangelicals: Use the P-Word
Go Ahead, Evangelicals: Use the P-Word
Only some believers are ordained. But all are priests.
%%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.