What can be learnt from Rob Bell?

Rob BellThe logic thought of great twentieth century evangelical intellectuals such as Francis Schaeffer, Herman Dooyeweerd, E. L. Hebden Taylor etc… was very modernistic in it’s outlook. They argued till death with modernism and it’s thinkers but they did it, ironically and probably unknowingly, in a modernistic way. They all, of course, loved their saviour, but their word view, one could argue was not a Jesus follower one but a modernistic one and they battled against modernism using modernism’s own intellectual tools rather than a humble Jesus from Nazareth way.

Rob Bell by going down a different route to the last generation of evangelical thinkers is not a heretic just for coming up with new post-modern approaches to intellectual dialog. He is simply doing what the previous generation did and what, of course, Paul did at the biblical Mars Hill! (Acts 17) One must engage the thought of the day to present Jesus as a personal saviour and as a universal redeemer.

I have been very much influenced by Mark Driscoll’s sermons since I first listened in 18 months ago. But if I think about it he doesn’t introduce any different ideas or emphasis from the emphasis I was taught growing up in a Conservative Evangelical Church here in Aberystwyth. He does it in a more cool/hip/rad/street-cred/cussing way, but content and emphasis wise it’s nothing new for me.

Rob Bell 1

Bell on the other hand balances me off nicely from an emphasis that was missing in my conservative evangelical upbringing. I became a Christian around the age of 14 I think – but for many years after that I didn’t grow in the faith because the only thing I was taught was sin management theology – I already got that and what I needed was a deeper understanding of the Cross, a deeper understanding of the restoration through Jesus, a deeper understanding of His Kingdom. From the age of 18 onwards I saw that there was more to Christianity than sin management theology and by the age of 23 when I first got hold of books by people like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell I discovered that there were other Christians out there who had been through the same journey as me!

Sure, some things Bell says I don’t agree with but are there any people out there who would agree that men like, say, Martyn Lloyd-Jones got it right on every single issue? Of course not.

Ok. Testimony over. Thanks for listening!


5 Responses to “What can be learnt from Rob Bell?”

  1. David Ceri Jones Says:

    Glad to see you reading Rob Bell, I’ve been grappling with him the last couple of weeks to. I’m mulling over some comments for my new blog (http://davidceri.blogspot.com)

  2. Cliff Martin Says:

    Interesting observation about Shaeffer et. al. and modernism vs post-modernism. My response to Rob Bell mirrors yours. He definitely speaks to our culture.

  3. Steffan Says:

    Having read Brian Mclaren and Rob Bell, I fear that they’ve abandoned too much to try to find answers to their questions.

    You said that “I already got that and what I needed was a deeper understanding of the Cross, a deeper understanding of the restoration through Jesus, a deeper understanding of His Kingdom.”

    Are you saying that these aren’t part of the teaching of reformed evangelicals? It might be worth listening to people such as Don Carson, John Piper and Tim Keller, and even Gwynn Williams in the Aber Conference ’07. They teach these truths without undermining, or even denying, absolute core truths which are of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15).

    It’s interesting that Mark Driscoll has said with sadness that he could not have fellowship with Rob Bell or Brian Mclaren (who has the same view of the atonement as Steve Chalke) because of their beliefs:


    Worth reading Don Carson’s “Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church”, which deals with the modernity stuff you mentioned at the beginning, and engages directly with Mclaren and Chalke.

  4. Jo Fisher Says:

    Your first paragraph here reminds me to some extent of Radical Orthodoxy and what they are attempting to do in the post-modern era. Unsure you would ever describe them as ‘evangelical’ but perhaps an interesting comparison.

  5. facebook zynga Says:

    i was beginning to presume i would probably end up being the sole man that thought about this, at the least now i realize i’m not loony 🙂 i will make sure to pay a visit to a handful of several other threads immediately after i get my morning caffeine in me, it is rough to read without my coffee, I was up late last evening jamming facebook poker and after having a few brewskies i ended up giving up all my facebook poker chips take care 🙂

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