Rob Bell: The Bible is a human product?

bell.jpg In a November 2004 Christianity Today article entitled The Emergent Mystique, influential pastor Rob Bell and his wife were interviewed. They had some very eye-opening things to say about the Bible.

“This is not just the same old message with new methods,” Rob says. “We’re rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life. Legal metaphors for faith don’t deliver a way of life. We grew up in churches where people knew the nine verses why we don’t speak in tongues, but had never experienced the overwhelming presence of God.”

In fact, as the Bells describe it, after launching Mars Hill in 1999, they found themselves increasingly uncomfortable with church. “Life in the church had become so small,” Kristen says. “It had worked for me for a long time. Then it stopped working.” The Bells started questioning their assumptions about the Bible itself—”discovering the Bible as a human product,” as Rob puts it, rather than the product of divine fiat. “The Bible is still in the center for us,” Rob says, “but it’s a different kind of center. We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it.”

“I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible,” Kristen says, “that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again—like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color.”

Read the whole article here.

8 thoughts on “Rob Bell: The Bible is a human product?

  1. if they want color they should do what we did when I was a kid.

    back in the 60’s we owned a black and white TV. Around 1969-1970 my brother brought home from the local electronics store a neat enhancement for our life. It was a color plastic screen that was rolled up like a window blind. You taped it to the top of the TV and rolled the plastic down. It was blue on the top 1/3, yellow (or red, I forget) in the middle 1/3, and green on the bottom 1/3. It gave the impression of a blue sky, yellow face and green grass. We had our first color TV!!

    side note: as I type this, it is interesting to notice that if I type tv with small letters, it acts like it is a misspelled word, but if I capitalize it to TV it accepts it. Kind of like it is God or something. hmmm, to many people it is god!!!

    We need to be careful to take those parts of the Bible that are clearly defined as black and white. Sin and Repentance. When we put color into it, we redefine what the Bible says sin is.

  2. “Life in the church had become so small,” Kristen says. “It had worked for me for a long time. Then it stopped working.”

    I can almost hear him whining as he said this. “We weren’t getting anything out of it” Wahhh wahhh wahhh. It’s all about us, ain’t it Robbo?

  3. These commenters are so mean. And they wonder why people don’t want to fellowship in church with them? The whole issue is way more complicated than this excerpt of an interview allows it to be.

    The bottom line is that the very churches that used to be on fire for truth and mercy and justice are now lukewarm, overlooking sin (even in leadership), and focused more on growing more disciples LIKE THEMSELVES than they are following the example of Jesus Christ. The blind leading the blind.

    Thankfully, not all churches have gone this direction; and God will preserve His truth, no matter what the cost.

  4. jude newman says:

    Yea, he didn’t get that feel good buzz when he jumped out of bed every morning, so it’s got to be the Bible’s fault.

  5. Bell’s approach, and by extension that of a major portion of the Emergent “Church”, is annoyingly selfish.

    “It had worked for me for a long time. Then it stopped working.”

    So what? God’s Word is God’s Word, whether it works for you or not!

    Actually understanding what God said is life in full-color – because its no longer up to you.

  6. Bell’s approach, and by extension that of a major portion of the Emergent “Church”, is annoyingly selfish.

    “It had worked for me for a long time. Then it stopped working.”

    So what? God’s Word is God’s Word, whether it works for you or not!

    Amen, Douglas! My thoughts exactly.

  7. greg whicker says:

    To say it wasn’t working could indeed mean it had stopped being stimulating for them personaly…however, I hear it as describing a spiritual awakening to the difference between doing church and being the church–which is actually a rather UNSELFISH point of view. When you acknowledge that the Bible IS in fact a human product (as God has always used humans to bring about His will here on Earth…HELLO!?!) You recognize that we are the hands of God as well. What wasn’t working, its more likely, is how internally focused Christianity can be (and commonly is), vs the itinerant, “outward” nature of “New Testament” ministry. God is bigger (yes, its really true) than our Bible, and being the church is more than a having a nice, neat club membership with all its fringe benefits. To really know Him is to realize how “not about me” its supposed to be, and that truly doing God’s work means stepping outside of our comfort-zones and into the trenches. Remember, He did not come for the healthy, but for the sick, and, the first shall be last… Perhaps THAT is what they were actually referring to instead…? If you are holding on tightly to your own salvation with both hands, you can’t reach out to others, now
    can you? …Just a thought.

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