Sunday, March 06, 2011

Rob Bell on/in hell; Crises and sex sell books/Jesus

Now that the whole world is googling "Rob Bell" and "hell,"
I fear folks will miss the best quote ever by Rob Bell with the word hell in it,  It's here.

Onto the topic, though..with all the craziness surrounding Bell' s upcoming's good to read a review by someone who has actually
uh, read it (and not just seen the attention-grabbing video above, or the already infamous
John Piper tweet, “Farewell Rob Bell.” ) So here's Paul Wikinson:


Then see Kurt Willems' "If Rob Bell is a Universalist, then maybe I am – along with many prominent evangelicals? (A response to Justin Taylor)".


I also really loved Tim Neufeld's response to the PR and interwebs riot  of recent weeks;  his post is a very important read.  For example, I had not realized how

John Piper (let alone John McArthur)


Rob Bel

can ironically, if unintentionally, fall into the same trap.   That Tim commented on megachurches reminds me how gunshy I am about any of our network's churches getting over 120  (that's a megachurch!..see "St. Mike and Megachurches of 120") in attendance.. I also really worry about the celebrity culture and "controversy culture" machine* that fires up to sell books/movies/hell/Bell/ Jesus.  

Also, don't misss Tim's analysis of  the role that "crisis manager" leadership style plays here.  Tim once lauded me for "pushing toward the unobvious"  but here I had missed an obvious just one except on that below:

Those who study leadership models know that a common style is that of "crisis manager." The advantage of this leadership style is that the leader is often very good in crisis environments and can make appropriate decisions when under pressure. Crisis managers help people navigate confusing, difficult and uncertain situations. However, the downside of this leadership style is that crisis mangers always need to have a crisis to feel valued and effective. If no actual crisis exists, these leaders will manufacture one, often unknowingly. Both Piper and Bell are, at least in part, crisis managers. People have gravitated to them because they have provided answers for those in theological crisis. Bell appeals to liberal Evangelicals, Piper to the conservative. The danger is that in order to stay relevant to their followers, each will need ongoing crises to manage. Thus, the debate over universalism (or anything) is not unexpected   -Link, Tim Neufeld, full post :Why I think Rob Bell and John Piper are more similar than not

A pastor friend of mine often quipped, "No crisis in the church?  Force a  crisis!"

Crisis sells.
Like sex.

"Force a sex crisis!"

Though not usually directly sexual, there is often a sexing-up of Christian ads (oxymoron) and promo videos
that sucks especially the pastor of any church into the sexed up vortex .
Tim has inspired me on that topic a few years ago.  See:

*"Art/Empire/Industry & "AntiMechanistic Gospel"

"You only love me for my machine."


Later note:

There are a few early reviews of the book:


  1. I've never seen universalism so sexy.

    Thanks, Dave!

  2. sells anything..
    Tim, love to have you follow up your comment on the "heretical use of the word 'heretical.'"


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!