He writes good, speaks well, loves God and others. So why do so many Evangelicals distance themselves from Rob Bell? The answer lies in his unconventional style of teaching.
The big difference between Bell and other Christian pastors is his tendency to question the obvious. Traditions of Christianity are the main target of his more “controversial” teachings. Unfortunately, many have seen this as an attack on the church. As a result, Bell is becoming a more polarizing figure.
In the past, some pastors have called him emergent for his views on the Kingdom of Heaven and the church. More recently pastors like John Piper and David Platt have accused him of universalism. Even Billy Graham’s son called him a heretic on national television.
Despite this, Bell rejects the idea of being called an emergent leader or universalist. Instead he prefers to be simply called a pastor. He doesn’t like the idea of being controversial either. Rather he wants to be different, and this has caused the backlash.
Enduring the negativity
The negative comments towards Bell seem to be a result of his unique style of teaching. However, it doesn’t seem right to think of him as a false teacher. Maybe “misunderstood” is a better way of describing Bell’s teaching. After all he does believe in heaven and hell.
If we really want to fight heresy then the best way is to read and study the Scriptures. If Bell and his teaching appear unsound then it’s great believers and pastors are speaking up. However, if we think he is unsound based on the way he teaches then it might be helpful to reexamine our perspectives.
Ultimately, truth always prevails. The worst thing a believer can do is pass false judgement on another believer simply because they don’t fit a traditional view of what’s acceptable or not acceptable as a Christian pastor.