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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.

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  

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 What do you think? Rightfully fired?

Can I make a confession?  I’m about Rob Bell’d out. But this interview has been the best, or at least the most engaging yet.  Take a look… Was the interviewer too harsh, or was he pushing in the right direction? Actually… this turned more into a debate than an interview.  Who got the upper hand on this exchange?

Rob Bell has a new book coming out on March 29, and it’s already stirring a lot of controversy. Even the title of the book is provocative: Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. As you can tell from the book promo from the publisher, it raises some very important questions.  Even before Bell gives his answer to the questions he raises in this video, people are taking sides: Justin Taylor has a not so good feeling about the book, that he blogs about at The Gospel Coalition. John Piper tweeted the following:  “Farewell Rob Bell” with a link to Taylor’s post. But another blogger, Scott McKnight thinks all the jabs at Bell may be a little premature… especially since we haven’t seen exactly what he has to say about universalism… at least not yet.  McKnight is quoted at Christianity today as saying:
Justin may be right about what Rob believes, but if he is wrong then he owes Rob Bell a huge apology. I want to wait to see what Rob Bell says, read it for myself, and see what I think of it. Rob is tapping into what I think is the biggest issue facing evangelicalism today, and this fury shows that it just might be that big of an issue.
I think we’ll have to wait and see. But until then… what’s YOUR view of the video?  Is it just a great promotional video, or is Rob Bell really going to reveal his universalist theology? Leave a comment with your thoughts… Todd