Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rob Bell and the Gospel

Anything that happens that involves Rob Bell usually gets our attention around here. Several members of his church are co-workers of mine and I’ve enjoyed many conversations about what is happening at Mars Hill. Recently Bell did an interview with Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today magazine. One response to this interview was by Greg Gilbert, senior pastoral assistant at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D. C., on the 9Marks blog.

In particular, Galli asked Bell “How would you present this gospel on Twitter?” Bell answered, “I would say that history is headed somewhere. The thousands of little ways in which you are tempted to believe that hope might actually be a legitimate response to the insanity of the world actually can be trusted. And the Christian story is that a tomb is empty, and a movement has actually begun that has been present in a sense all along in creation. And all those times when your cynicism was at odds with an impulse within you that said that this little thing might be about something bigger—those tiny little slivers may in fact be connected to something really, really big.”

Gilbert responds, “Really? That’s it? That’s the gospel?” He continues, “Bell’s answer to Galli’s question is sub-Christian. It is not the message of Christianity. It is not saving. It is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not even anywhere near it.” These are strong words. I encourage you to read the entire interview, Gilbert’s response and especially the comments that follow. Defining the gospel and its framework are increasingly a topic of conversation. See the recent editorial by D. A. Carson on the gospel in Themelios.

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