Rob Bell’s Editor Speaks Out

Mickey Maudlin, HarperOne

Mickey Maudlin, Senior VP and Managing Editor at HarperOne (and a former editor of Christianity Today) has spoken out about his satisfaction at seeing Love Wins do so well in sales — but also his “deep sadness about the book.”  With as many as six condemning books being rushed to press, the Southern Baptist Convention passing a resolution against Bell, and many evangelical leaders joining in the condemnation, Maudlin writes,

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. [READ THE REST]

(Mickey fails to mention in his post the last line of the book in its first print run.)

  • Troy

    “With as many as six condemning books being rushed to press,…” ??!!

    wow tough crowd!

  • http://adammclane.com adam mclane

    Cough. Francis Chan. Cough. Cough.

  • http://www.sandrobaggio.com Sandro Baggio

    Post-modern Christians love to press their views about how the “classical-conservative-Reformed-fundamentalist-whateverothertypeof-Christians” got it all wrong. They do it, sometimes, without any grace, making those look like weird and ridicule people simply because they believe certains things in a certain way. And yet, whenever someone tries to respond to their critics, they get all upset and defensive… Grow up, children!

  • Andrew

    I think the portion that Tony highlighted is one of the most disturbing truths about our theological landscape today. It now seems normal to begin ones theological thoughts by attacking and demonizing those you disagree with. There are lots of pastors/theologians that I disagree with but I do not think my call as a Christ follower is to do all I can to point out how wrong and bad those people are. I just choose to not read their dribble.

  • Kenton

    Damn, Tony, you’re a real Tom Hagen when it comes to that last line.

    Tessio: Can you let me off the hook? For old times sake?
    Tom: Can’t do it, Sally.

    • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

      Tell Michael it was only business.

      • Kenton

        He understands that.

  • http://brandyglows.com Brandy

    Thank you for sharing this, Tony. It was brave of him to write this. My heart goes out to Rob.

    I believe deep in my heart that if someone decides to make you an enemy, then you have been given a beautiful opportunity to love them.

  • SuperStar

    Of course, one can always wonder if Rob’s own editor could have saved him some grief. But maybe this forthcoming LOVE WINS COMPANION will help: http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Love-Wins-Rob-Bell/?isbn=9780062122803

  • http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/16/we-have-seen-all-this-before-rob-bell-and-the-reemergence-of-liberal-theology/ John Edmond

    I think some people think the topic of salvation is at the core of a Christian’s belief.

    You ought to read just how hateful that demonic SBC’ite Albert Mohler was towards Bell. Might as well have had Hitler writing a review.
    http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/16/we-have-seen-all-this-before-rob-bell-and-the-reemergence-of-liberal-theology/

    • mandie

      seriously? demonic and akin to hitler? really?

  • http://www.tuesdayafternoonwithraygryder.blogspot.com Ray Gryder

    Yes…thanks so much for sharing this very nice and well thought out letter. Congrats to you and Rob! I look forward to more dynamic thought provoking work. Christianity for me is about spiritual growth and if we can’t grow spiritually, even if we disagree with someone or an opinion, then what’s the point? Sadly, there will probably always be people, so-called Christians, that are disrespectful and very un-Christian in their attitudes toward those they disagree or differ with.

  • David Bunker

    As someone who vocationally thus daily traverses the confines of Christian media, Maudlin seems to have had the same sorrow arise as I have in my heart. Regardless of the issues , regardless of the seeming heretical or wrong mindedness attributed to some authors, the vitriol and the ganging up fevered pitch of responses has made me question my own position within the so called ranks. What mis-step, what misunderstood interpretation, what significant difference surrounding a long held perspective allows and creates this growing culture of character assassination that more often than not generates such dismissive and mean spirited pronouncements? Regardless of what others may regard as Bell’s theology, the idea that you are called to warn Christendom and do so with such grandiosity and rhetorical flair sounds & looks more like spectacle & less like deeply felt convictions. The lines are being drawn, the differences represent access to the flock and their dollars, and the power in the end is more about personality than principle. It is sad.

  • Matteo

    It goes to show that nothing’s changed in the last 2000 years with the exception that a civil war won’t break out and Rob Bell won’t be executed. Thank God for this secular government. Doesn’t it seem that many Christians feel they’re doing their part for the kingdom by damning others. N.T. Wright is right about American Christians talk too much about Hell to begin with. Is that ALL the Good News? Thank God Rob Bell has some integrity to refuse the agenda to some extent.

  • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

    Attn Ken Silva: until you allow comments on your blog, you are not allowed to comment on my blog.

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  • http://www.progressivechristianitybook.com Roger Wolsey

    ..Both conservtive and progressive Christianity feed people’s souls. Both are “bread” — even if they’re on different ends of the table. It’s not an either/or situation, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. Both perspectives have their strengths and they each have certain dangers… Progressive and conservative Christianity share common ground in that we all place our hope in something greater than ourselves. We hope in a God Who loves, cares, and intervenes on our behalf, and we hope in a God Who loves us enough to show us an alternative way of connecting and living. So it’s not conservative vs. liberal. It’s not “Right vs. Left.” Perhaps it’s combined Left and Right = L-IGHT, and does this world ever need more of that. Amen? p. 355-357, Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity, http://www.progressivechristianitybook.com

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