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Former megachurch pastor Rob Bell, founder of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., recently shared how his 2011 book, Love Wins, led to a fallout with the congregation and forced him on a “search for a more forgiving faith.” Bell told The New Yorker that the book caused attendance at Mars Hill to plummet by 3,000 people.  According to the New Yorker: “The book put pressure on the people around Bell, who found themselves having to defend statements they might never have heard, let alone approved,” The New Yorker writes. “Congregants reported that friends and family members were asking why they were allowing themselves to be led by a false teacher,” the magazine continues. Wife of the megachurch pastor, Kristen Bell, remembers staying home from service for some weeks because she could not stand the criticism her husband was receiving for his book. “There was a cost,” Bell told The New Yorker. “And part of the cost was, we couldn’t keep doing what we were doing at Mars Hill,” she added. // Read more here:  Rob Bell Tells How ‘Love Wins’ Led to Mars Hill Departure.
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According to a new article about Rob Bell in the New Yorker… here’s the teaser: In 2011, Bell left Mars Hill, in part because of the controversy surrounding his book, and also because he was becoming less interested in the rigid structures of a church. He now lives in Orange County, California, and is developing a faith-inflected talk show he would host. From a certain evangelical perspective, Bell’s life can look like a cautionary tale: his desire to question the doctrine of Hell led to his departure from the church he built. But it’s also possible that his new life will end up strengthening many of his old convictions. Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/11/26/121126fa_fact_sanneh#ixzz2CmTLVWCf Question… would YOU watch this new show?  Why or why not?  
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Controversy
Rob Bell’s editor (and Senior VP at HarperOne) Mickey Maudlin speaks out on the book he helped publish:  Love Wins:

As a young evangelical, I was socialized to see the biggest threat to the church as theological liberalism. But now I think the biggest threat is Christian tribalism, where God’s interests are reduced to and measured by those sharing your history, tradition, and beliefs, and where one needs an “enemy” in order for you to feel “right with God.” Such is the challenge facing the church today and what the reaction to Love Wins reveals. So the success of Love Wins fills me with both hope and fear. But it has also made me thankful that I work for a publisher that is independent of these church wars and allows us to concentrate on books that offer hope and light. Because, with Rob, I really do believe that love wins.

You can read more here... What do YOU think?  Is ‘tribalism’ a big concern for you? Todd  
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Current Events
Southern Baptists recently called hell an “eternal, conscious punishment” for those who do not accept Jesus, rebutting a controversial book from Michigan pastor Rob Bell that questions traditional views of hell. Citing Bell’s book “Love Wins,” the resolution urges Southern Baptists “to proclaim faithfully the depth and gravity of sin against a holy God, the reality of hell, and the salvation of sinners by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.” OK… I get it.  Affirming hell.  A good thing. But did anyone question whether Southern Baptists didn’t believe in Hell?  I’ve definitely never heard anyone say that. So, the statement, to me, seems to be totally reactionary to one book published by someone not in your tribe. Which begs the question to me… who was this statement for? If it was for Rob Bell, then I’m not sure what it accomplishes, other than to say that you have profound impact on the Christian community, especially our own SBC pastors. If it was for the SBC pastors, then it says that you need to preach against hell.  Most do, as far as I can tell. If it was for the SBC congregations, that’s good, but I don’t know that Rob Bell’s book was read by tons of congregational people.  Their too busy reading Stephen King and John Grisham. And if it was for the public at large, I don’t know that it will have much of an effect.  It could be seen as ‘we still believe in hell and we still believe you’re going there’. I’m not trying to be too harsh… I’m just wondering what the real purpose of the resolution was.  Was it necessary?  And should resolutions by such a large body be made over one isolated published work? You tell me. More here… Todd
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Controversy
Of all the newspaper headlines covering the death of Osama bin Laden, the most provocative may have been the New York Daily News. Their “Rot in Hell” Monday headline, with a full front-page photo of bin Laden, was mentioned by the cable news networks and generated buzz on the on-line social networks. So do Americans think that the founder and leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network is now in Hell? According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday, 61% of the public says yes 10% saying no The rest are unsure. via CNN Poll: Majority in U.S. say bin Laden in Hell – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs. What do YOU think?  And does this poll surprise you? Todd
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Controversy
When Chad Holtz lost his old belief in hell, he also lost his job. The pastor of a rural United Methodist church in North Carolina wrote a note on his Facebook page supporting a new book by Rob Bell, a prominent young evangelical pastor and critic of the traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment for billions of damned souls. Two days later, Holtz was told complaints from church members prompted his dismissal from Marrow’s Chapel in Henderson. “I think justice comes and judgment will happen, but I don’t think that means an eternity of torment,” Holtz said. “But I can understand why people in my church aren’t ready to leave that behind. It’s something I’m still grappling with myself.” via KansasCity.com. What do you think? Rightfully fired?
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