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The Subversive Art

Drawing from the prophets, the rabbis, and Jesus to confront the culture.

Rob Bell will tell you his style is unorthodox. He planted a church by preaching through Leviticus. His teaching is a mix of images and personal stories and exegesis and some perspectives you probably haven't heard in church before. The message, however, is orthodox, biblical, and well informed by history. The whole package, Bell says, is subversive. Like Jesus.

Whatever it is, it works. It connects with crowds totaling 10,000 most weekends at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, the church 33-year-old Bell founded five years ago. It connects, we've seen, with students at his alma mater, Wheaton College, and emerging church leaders at national conferences, where Bell is likely to teach using a big chair, Jewish prayer shawl, or a live goat. "Animals, whatever. Whatever it takes," he says. "No rules." These days he's talking a lot about the rabbis.

Ed Dobson says of Bell, "Rob is driven by a passion to teach the Bible, shaped by understanding the Bible in its context, then applying ...

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