My Top 10 Favorite Rob Bell Quotes
Captain Obvious statement of the day: Rob Bell is a polarizing figure. Because he’s so controversial it’s important I be clear about my intentions and perspective, so here’s a series of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ statements that could hardly be more clear:
• Yes, I like much of what Bell has to say.
• No, this post isn’t to be understood as some sort of wholesale endorsement.
• Yes, I think Bell genuinely means well.
• No, I don’t think he has always selected the wisest illustrations.
• Yes, I’ve read all of Bell’s books.
• No, I wouldn’t recommend all of them.
• Yes, I think Bell often leads more with his heart than his head.
• No, I don’t think he should be stoned for being more F than T on the ol’ Myers-Briggs.
• Yes, I share many points of doctrinal alignment with Bell.
• No, I don’t affirm all of his theological beliefs or methodologies.
• Yes, as an Anglican whose faith is rooted in church history I have serious concerns about Bell’s commitment to historic orthodoxy.11.Please don’t presume I was careless with my word choice. I wrote “commitment to” rather than “adherence to” for a reason. Big difference.
• No, I don’t think he’s a heretic.
• Yes, I think Bell has an important ministry to the twin demographics of the “de-churched” and the wounded “churched.”
• No, I don’t think everything he has written or said has been helpful to them over the long-term.
• Yes, I appreciate Bell’s unique style.
• No, I don’t necessarily resonate with his aestheticism.
• Yes, I think Bell needs to be read critically and discerningly.
• No, I don’t presume he’s innocent until proven guilty nor guilty until proven innocent.
• Yes, Bell is a Fuller Seminary guy.
• No, he isn’t “good, safe, and conservative” nor a raging liberal.22.I’d much prefer to avoid having a hell debate just now, but if you want to read my take on the book here’s a link: A Moderate Evangelical’s Assessment of Love Wins.
• Yes, I’ve grown weary of the sloppy assertions and brazen ignorance voiced by Bell critics and supporters alike.
• No, I don’t anticipate this trend abating any time soon.
I know it can be hard to believe that such a perspective exists, but when it comes to Rob Bell I’m neither an ardent supporter nor an impassioned critic. I’m a hardlining moderate as per usual. All of that having been said, here are my Top 10 Favorite Rob Bell quotes:33.I’ve tried to set this up in a “Bellian” manner. I hope his fans will appreciate the nod to both his content and style.
“The problem… is that the phrase ‘personal relationship’ is found nowhere in the Bible.”
“‘Christian’ makes a poor adjective.”
“The really warped thing is when the church is where secrets are kept and not unloaded.”
“The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God.”
“I’ve heard pastors answer, ‘[Heaven] will be unlike anything we can comprehend, like a church service that goes on forever,’ causing some to think, ‘That sounds more like hell.’”
“Most of the Bible is a history told by people living in lands occupied by conquering superpowers. It is a book written from the underside of power. It’s an oppression narrative. The majority of the Bible was written by a minority people living under the rule and reign of massive, mighty empires, from the Egyptian Empire to the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire to the Assyrian Empire to the Roman Empire.
This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citizen of the the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Without careful study and reflection, and humility, it may even be possible to miss central themes of the Scriptures.”
“But sometimes those individuals’ rejection of church and the Christian faith they were presented with as the only possible interpretation of what it means to follow Jesus may in fact be a sign of spiritual health. They may be resisting behaviors, interpretations, and attitudes that should be rejected. Perhaps they simply came to the point where they refused to accept the very sorts of things that Jesus would refuse to accept.”
“Often the people most concerned about others going to hell when they die seem less concerned with the hells on earth right now, while the people most concerned with the hells on earth right now seem the least concerned about hell after death.”
“Often times when I meet atheists and we talk about the god they don’t believe in, we quickly discover that I don’t believe in that god, either.”
“The thought of the word church and the word marketing in the same sentence makes me sick.”
In my opinion, all of these are