The Filter for December 10 – cell phones, Rob Bell, Ken Ham, conflict, and WWJD?

It’s time for our weekly look at what’s happening in the ministry world with my good friend Matt Steen and myself. This week, we talk about all kinds of current events and happenings in the church and ministry world.  Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy while you’re multi-tasking today: SHOW NOTES: 44% of cell phone owners have slept with their cell phone (0:05) Depression  Adolescent Sexual Activity in Romantic and Nonromantic Relational Contexts: A Genetically-Informative Sibling Comparison (5:45) Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” book resulted in a 3,000 member decrease at Mars Hill...
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Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” book resulted in a 3,000 member decrease at Mars Hill Michigan

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...
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New book about Rob Bell asks as many questions as Bell would himself

Just found this new book that just came out about Rob Bell.  It’s called “Rob Bell and a New American Christianity, by James K. Wellman (who is a professor at Jackson School of International Studies).  Here’s a preview: It’s available now at Amazon. Is this a book that you would read? Why or why...
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Rob Bell: Working on a new faith-inflected talk show he would host

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...
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Shane Hipps on Rob Bell’s Departure

From Shane Hipp’s blog… I learned when I become a pastor that it is a unique vocation.  Becoming a leader in any profession can be a lonely experience.  This isn’t always bad, in many ways it forces you to grow up fast.  In time you learn to allow the loneliness to become a divine ingredient in cultivating depth and resilience. Over the years I learned to befriend it as a teacher.  And as I’ve said here before, there is a difference between being alone, and being lonely. When I accepted the call to become the co-teacher with a beloved friend it was a strange experience.  We were...
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Rob Bell’s Last Sunday

Rob Bell’s last Sunday at Mars Hill in Michigan at the end of last year.  According to, the Sunday services wrapped months of transition for the church following Bell’s September resignation and subsequent move to the Los Angeles area to create an ABC television drama with ‘Lost’ producer Carlton Cuse, loosely based on Bell’s life. It was in a final sermon in December that he shared with the church what he called a confession — his last message: “I feel like I’m just getting started, like I’m a rookie, a freshman, a newb,” he told a gathering of several...
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Rob Bell’s Good-Bye Letter

dear  mars hill, to all the brothers and  sisters of this church to those who have  been  here from  the beginning—who remember the  old building, who braved that one ten foot wide hallway, clogged shoulder to shoulder with people leaving the  hangar to pick up their children who had  spent the  previous hour packed into oxygen  deprived classrooms to those who hiked  through the snow and  slush and  mud  that first day to sit on the floor who idled  in long traffic jams to listen to sermons from the book of Leviticus on blood and  guts and fire and  then  to those of you who...
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Can Mars Hill ‘Thrive’ Without Rob Bell?

Mars Hill Bible Church pastor, Rob Bell told his congregation last month that he was leaving the ministry after 12 years of service – a move that has many questioning whether the megachurch can “thrive” without its founding pastor. “You’re going to be fine. You’re going to be great. You’re not just going to survive. You’re going to thrive,” Bell told his Grandville, Mich., 7000-member congregation, according to “A church is bigger than one person,” he added. However, Todd Cioffi, professor of congregational and ministry studies at Calvin College disagreed, the...
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Bell’s Editor Speaks Out

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...
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Baptists: There IS a Hell!

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...
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