Well after years of hearing a lot of people bashing on Rob Bell (myself included) as to why he is a heretic, why he is going to Hell, how he is leading people astray etc. I actually decided to get some first-hand insight and I started listening and reading his stuff.
When I first became a Christian seven years ago I remember watching Bell’s “Everything is Spiritual.” At the time I thought it was brilliant (I still do). Since then I’ve only been in circles where people have said nothing but negative things about Bell and to be honest I sort of struggled reconciling what I first watched and what a lot of people were saying….. but these were smart people so they must have been right. Seven years later I decided to read one of his latest books “What is the Bible?” and…I…loved…It.
Yes, I loved it. I totally get why people are attracted to what he has to say. Bell asks a lot of good questions and challenges a lot of things the average Christian would consider sacred and necessary. I resonate a lot with what he talks about. But. Yes… there is a but. Bell’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. After putting down his book and taking that deep breath of fresh air I couldn’t help but realise how time and time again Bell would throw the baby out with the bath water. In Bell’s attempt to rethink sacred cows within the Christian religion, it seems to me that Rob also rethinks things which have been the most fundamental to our faith for thousands of years (God, the nature of Scripture, sin etc.). Bell rethinks everything from humanity and its collective meaning all the way through to the very person and nature of God…. and…this…matters.
Should we be asking questions, wrestling, shaping our thinking? Yes. Should we be challenging, pursuing, and sharpening our iron? Yes. But we cannot let our desires to be thinkers, to be edgy theologians or philosophers crumble the walls of authentic, thought out, Spirit-filled Christianity. God is who God is. We can question and wrestle with that as much as we like but at the end of the day, Scripture has some pretty clear things to say about who He is (have a read).
So would I recommend the book? That’s kind of a weird question. Read. Read everything. I love books. I love knowledge. I love understanding. I loved this book. I love Rob Bell. It’s a great book but with bad theology which is why he is my favourite heretic.