End of the week and I didnt buy the book. YEAH!

The end of the week has come about and I have successfully resisted the urge to buy Rob Bell's Love Wins book. [!!!! hallelujah chorus !!!!!]

But I did follow the conversation and I was impressed that my son was talking theology today on his facebook page in relation to the Rob Bell controversy.

Wow – Martin Bashir seemed really harsh on Rob Bell in his MSNBC interview [partial transcript here] which I found painful to watch and have not yet shown my wife. As one twitterer suggested, Martin repeatedly insulted Rob and then asked him to confirm the insults – "Its true, isnt it?" 

I was wondering if it was because Bashir attends Redeemer Church in New York and was bringing in some attitude from Tim Keller's belief on hell, which is not uncontested in emerging church circles. But then after listening to Martin explain that interview to Paul Edwards, he appears to be actually very neutral and desires to be a journalist who brings out the truth rather than take sides in squabbles.

And he had a problem with Rob Bell apparently misquoting Martin Luther – fair enough.

Martin Bashir also mentioned that his daughter attends an emergent church in England called the Edge. Probably this one in Bristol, but there are now 3000 fresh expressions [as they call them in England) in the UK, according to Bishop Graham Cray, so there might be a number of them called The Edge. But as a parent with a child in another country, like Bashir, I can imagine a little anxiety in hoping that they will come under good spiritual teaching in the absence of a caring parent.

The panel at Southern Seminary happened [audio here] but it was quite congenial, not heated at all really. Actually it got terribly boring so I stopped listening. I dont think they got around to talking about the various nuances of the word "hell", as I had hoped but maybe another day? Sounds like Al Mohler is priming the pump for a book on the subject of universalism. Hopefully I will resist that one also.

Sometimes I wonder whether the Christian church in our western countries has become, quite regrettably, a book club.

Wife went to a movie tonight with a friend and kids went to a Christian youth group so, for the first time in a while, I have a quiet night.

Might watch an action movie and go to bed. Good night.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Simon says:

    y’know Andrew, I really didnt think Bashir was too tough in that video, it’s just classic British journalism, and Bell came out quite well really, a bit fidgety but didnt disgrace himself. I don’t know the culture in America so well, but as you know we in the UK have a tradition of giving people a hard time in interviews, and compared with many, Bashir is a pussy cat.

  • Kingdomrev says:

    Hey Andrew
    well thats two of us who didnt buy it

  • Joel says:

    I bought the book – the Kindle version, anyway. Does that count? It’s my first Rob Bell book – I guess I’m a sucker for marketing. It’s a quick read compared to say Andrew Perriman so I’m half-way through. My suspicion at all the fuss is that Rob is a big picture guy making some off-limit questions accessible to a reader that isn’t likely to pick up the latest NT Wright. I find the book inspirational if not always convincing in the way Andrew meticulously weaves his arguments. But for what Rob seems to be trying say – by challenging the reader to follow Jesus now – to work to bring in the Kingdom now – to turn away from sin that results in pain and hell now (and later)… I’d say from a big picture point of view it’s pretty challenging. Not new, but accessible.

  • steve says:

    if the church in western countries = book club, then perhaps emerging church = chat room? 🙂

  • Adam Fontana says:

    I bought Surprised by Hope instead. The important question is: which action movie? follow up: was it good?

  • Christina Sharp says:

    I think it’s funny how everyone has so much to say and yet most haven’t even read the book. Sadly, the “Truth” is less important than the drama. So typical. Blah blah

  • andrew, i would agree with simon.
    as someone who regularly views multiple news channels including the bbc, i found Bashir to be classic and obviously a very professional journalist and an interviewer who had done his homework. I felt bad for Mr. Bell that his publicist had not better prepared him for an interview in the real spotlight of the mainstream media. with the way the publisher is really trying to ‘sell’ this book, you’d think they would have some better publicists to prepare and do media training for mainstream media.
    it’s not like it’s Rick Warren interviewing former President Bush.
    it’s great for Rob Bell to have this opportunity. I’m rooting for him as our brother to find his way through this… it’s an interesting part of the journey….

  • Nice comment Steve!!

  • Simon says:

    yeah decent media training for people in his position is vital really. You cant expect deferential treatment from interviewers, this is not the 1950s.

  • You wisely said,”Sometimes I wonder whether the Christian church in our western countries has become, quite regrettably, a book club.”
    It’s certainly true in the Christian blogosphere, but the circle of accepted authors is fairly small. Bell makes the mistake of being outside that circle.

  • Mark E says:

    Bashir harsh? I would expect hard questions. I dont think he was personal or harsh, but I did think Bell would make a good rugby player, with all that weaving and ducking.

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