From Farewell Rob Bell to Rob Bell’s Farewell

This was one of the biggest stories of the Christian world in 2011. Rob Bell wrote a book called Love Wins, for which he took an unending amount of crap from far too many smug, self-assured, self-proclaimed biblical scholars who – although far too many still haven’t even read the book – tried their best to skewer him. John Piper’s famous tweet “Farewell Rob Bell,” was the beginning of the criticism and, in truth, it still hasn’t stopped. Never mind that the book stays within the bounds of orthodoxy and really doesn’t say anything that wasn’t said by the church fathers, even the reformers and more contemporary favorites like C.S. Lewis. It’s a really good book & I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in something more enlightened than Left Behind. My guess is that love wins will still be in print and enlightening readers far after the right wing radio show host’s program has been cancelled. Here are the posts I did reviewing each chapter.

Chapter 01
Chapter 02
Chapter 03
Chapter 04
Chapter 05-06
Chapter 07
Chapter 08 & Summary

Then came the incredible news that Rob Bell had resigned from his church. More people jumped on him. Rick Warren fired a critical tweet off, assuming Bell was leaving for the spotlight of speaking tours. What we found out later was that Rob Bell left to try his hand at moving the culture at large. He is partnering with Carlton Cuse (you can read about it here), one of the writers from LOST to write and produce a new television drama called “Stronger.” My guess is that it will be amazing.

Rob Bell recently gave his farewell address to the Mars Hill Church which he planted and led for a decade. You can read it here. It reads like 2 of the best chapters from a book he has yet to write. Here’s a quick excerpt (below). Here’s hoping that Rob Bell keeps pressing forward in the new year, and that his critics will lose their ability to snark!

“…there is a meta-movement in the scriptures, an arc to the unfolding story of redemption. it is the movement from word to flesh… word takes on flesh. this is the story of Jesus, the word, the creative life force of the universe, taking on a body and moving into the neighborhood. so when Jesus talks about the kind of life God has for us, he talks about us experiencing in flesh and blood a whole new way of being. serving, caring, discovering, thanking, forgiving, loving, tasting, embracing, doing whatever we do for the least of these. it’s an embodied faith, one that’s dirty and bloody with sleeves rolled up and sweat on the brow. it’s one where there’s plenty of wine at the party.”

About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at TimSuttle.com

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of RedemptionChurchkc.com. He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • J. Albert

    While I respect your ability to have an opinion on how some have responded, but I would hardly call the likes of J.I. Packer a self-assured, self-proclaimed biblical scholar. the man has certainly done enough over his lifetime to put all of us to shame theologically, and if he's got an issue with Bell's theological stance, one should probably take notice. Not trying to change your mind. Just trying to give some perspective as to who really is having issues with Bell's book.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10974397437648079481 Tim Suttle

    Where have you seen J.I. Packer comment on Love Wins? I'd love to read it.


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