Rob Bell returned to the pulpit at Mars Hill Bible Church this past weekend as guest preacher. And according to an article at MLive.com, he really wants to clear one thing up: He was not forced to leave Mars Hill.
Bell says that a profile written on him in November in The New Yorker contained a quote from his wife… a “misquote of the highest order”. We quoted the New Yorker article here.
Here’s what the New Yorker quoted Rob’s wife, Kristen, as saying:
“There was a cost… And part of the cost was, we couldn’t keep doing what we were doing at Mars Hill.”
(She was talking about the aftermath of the publishing of the book Love Wins).
Rob Bell now says that “The people at Mars Hill were unbelievably supportive and encouraging… Even when we said we were leaving they were incredibly gracious and kind and loving and cheered us on: ‘Go do it.’
(The New Yorker article also claims that Mars Hill lost about 3000 members in the aftermath of Love Wins).
“Some idea that we were forced out is absolutely untrue… Kristen and I had a profound sense of calling that there was the next chapter of our lives ahead of us… And that the next stage was, how can we talk about the Jesus message to a world of people who aren’t currently listening.”
So… what really happened?
My guess is that it very well may have been Rob Bell’s choice to leave, but if the church was really down 3,000 people, it may have been in his best interest to make the choice when he did (or it might have been made for him)
And we all realize that ‘profound sense of calling’ sometimes coincides with times when current situations force us to think about what’s next.
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