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Martin Bashir is a reporter impatient with evasive answers. He even quotes from Kevin DeYoung’s review and asks Rob Bell to respond. Bashir gives his own take on Bell’s book: “You’re creating a Christian message that’s warm, kind, and popular for contemporary culture. . . . What you’ve done is you’re amending the gospel, the Christian message, so that it’s palatable to contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of hell and heaven very difficult to stomach. So here comes Rob Bell, he’s made a Christian gospel for you, and it’s perfectly palatable, it’s much easier to swallow. That’s what you’ve done, haven’t you?”

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348 thoughts on “MSNBC: Martin Bashir’s Interview with Rob Bell”

  1. Jeff says:

    That is one of the best interviews by someone in the mainstream media I have ever seen. I don’t know if Martin is a Christian but he sure seems to understand what is at stake here.

    1. chris says:

      Bashir goes to Tim Keller’s church Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC.

      1. Victor says:

        How do you know that Chris?

    2. Dan says:

      If that’s true, that makes this even better.

    3. Stacy says:

      Agreed! Mr. Bashir got right to the heart of the issue…and Bell was not exactly comfortable with that. Methinks it’s because Mr. Bell knows he’s going WAY outside of the Bible’s teachings. Funny how we in the 3rd Millenium somehow think we know WAY more than the past 2000 years of teaching and studying of theologians and the like. Universalism has always been seen as a heresy, can’t believe Mr. Bell is trying to claim it’s been a part of accepted Christian tradition!?!?! He’s clearly grasping at straws because he knows the bible does not support what he’s teaching.

    4. Andrew says:

      I’m of two minds here. I think Bashir’s questioning was not out of line when compared with the more aggressive British style (think BBC and not NBC), but it’s hard for me to think that this style is actually useful for getting to the heart of the matter. Simply repeating an accusation twice doesn’t seem helpful (“your book is unbiblical and historically inaccurate isn’t it . . . .”). Journalistically it’s not a-typical, but that doesn’t mean it’s what a Christian should commend as a model for discourse.

      All of that said, I think it’s fair to press Bell here. I know there are strong feelings about this one and the fans of both sides seem to be arming themselves for battle. Can we all agree that Bell appears to be taking a minority position within the history of Christian thought? Not in itself a “deal breaker” but certainly a signal that we should proceed cautiously and go back to the original texts to see whether, in fact, the majority position of the church has got some things significantly wrong? My own suspicion is that we may need to adjust our understanding of both heaven and hell in some respects, but I have a hard time reconciling Bell’s views with scripture. In fact, I don’t think that some of his less cautious statements in the book can be defended.

      Also – everybody calm down a bit with the ad hominem stuff . . .

      1. Mike Johnson says:

        I agree with your sentiments here; Bashir was right to press Bell to answer his question, which Bell never did. However, just repeating the accusation, with a tag-on question is not of high journalistic value.

        Nevertheless, Bashir ate Bell’s lunch on the central question of the interview.

        1. J says:

          Bashir repeatedly presents false dichotomies (all powerful doesn’t care-no power; actions on earth determine eternal destiny-doesn’t matter at all) and insists Bell choose one of his pre-packaged categories. Also, couldn’t count the # of times he said “that’s true, isn’t it?” In other words, I already know the answer and am going to show that by tagging on the “isn’t it” bit, but I want it to seem like I’m asking you a fair question about what you think, and if you happen to say no, well then you’re a dummy because I’ve already established the right answer to my question by the way I asked it. Just detest it when people use crap logic to try and get their point across. If you’ve got a good point then don’t be afraid to present it logically. Bell was obviously uncomfortable and his responses sounded lukewarm at times and evasive. And, he was right to evade being required to affirm or disaffirm Bashir’s categorical claims. Haven’t read the book and it may very well be bad, but Bashir’s antagonism and bias really detracted from getting anything but a post “just watched a fight” high out of this interview. Too bad.

          1. Mike Johnson says:

            No, Bell wasn’t right to evade. He would be if the question was not a fair one.

            As to Bashir’s initial false dichotomy: What a great opportunity to affirm, “No, God is absolutely in control AND he cares for the people of Japan.” But Bell blew that one too.

            1. Bill says:

              So if God is absolutely in control which sounds like He is then controling everything, you are saying that God caused the earth quake and thus the tsunami killing an untold number of people because he desired to.

              1. Jonah Van Tuyl says:

                If your presupposition on the taking of life by God is “killing” is true, then God will “kill” every person on the planet.

                Death is the result of sin, whether we think it is premature or not. It is not God killing anyone.

              2. Gordon says:

                Bill how do you account for God claiming to control all things when He say in Isaiah 45:7 I bring prosperity and create disaster; I the Lord do all these things.”? How do you respond to Ex. 4:11 where it says, “The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?'”? What about 1 Sam. 1:5 where it says the Lord closed Hannah’s womb? What about Gen. 16:2 where Sarah said the Lord kept her from having children? There are other Scriptures along the same line that clearly designate God as the One who brings sorrow to people. There is also a difference between saying God chose to do this and your focus on God “desiring” to do this. Get a dictionary and learn the difference between the two terms.

                Do not make God in your own image as though He would act in a way necessarily acceptable to you. Read Psalm 50:21 and ponder its wisdom. God criticizes the people because they thought God was altogether like them.

                Read ISa. 55:8 where it says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways” declares the Lord. God does not think like us nor act like us.

                Ponder Rom. 11:33 “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out.” We cannot figure God out. We are poor finite creatures. God does not answer to our way of thinking. We answer to His. A little humility goes a long way.

            2. J says:

              The prob seems to be what you have just stated. Bashir doesn’t ask him a legit question. He tells him “affirm one of these answers I have already come up with to the question I am pretending to ask you”. I def agree that Bell missed an awesome opp. to appropriately evade/refuse to be put in Bashir’s box and state, “as long as we are wholly focused whether our/my works and words here on earth determine my eternal destiny, we are missing the point.” Its backwards logic. Christ moves in and transforms our heart and the “fruit” comes from that, not the other way around. Christ didn’t come so that we could enjoy Kingdom life after we die. He came to bring the Kingdom to the here and now. We are freed from having to consume ourselves with this point on which Mr. Bashir seems so stuck. What a revival the world would have if we stopped insisting on “I have to know that my works and statements include me in this group and that this other person’s works and words exclude them from my group. That’s God business. God have mercy on us for concerning ourselves with trying to make a decision that is ultimately His, whether it makes sense to us or not. I think Mr. Bashir demonstrated some poor journalism, and Mr. Bell demonstrated his humanity (which is lacking by definition). Certainly thankful for the interview though. It has sparked some great thoughts and discussions. God’s the redeemer of messes and orderer of chaos. As I read down through the responses I see He’s got plenty of material here with which to work. Peace.

              1. Susanna says:

                Agreed! Bad logic and argument tactics, Bashir. The debate was unfairly stacked, and Bashir was almost asserting his dominance by his repetitive speech patterns and aggresive tones. All of this made it difficult for either one’s point to be conveyed.

                I feel bad for Bell. but I do think he has some pretty important questions to answer – just maybe with a more sound and generous interviewer.

              2. ken says:

                Scripture may show that we can not figure God out by our own mental musings, but that does not preclude that God Himself will not and is not now revealing Himself to man through the raising man as THE Son raised by God. This son is raised according to the spirit {ways} of holiness. This is an inner spiritual work that takes place in our spirit in us.

                As scripture says, when the circumcision is done by God it is done in our spirit. The tares are “removed”, not man.

                Since death ends life in the world as we know it, it is the establishing of ETERNAL LIFE in us here and now that “slays” death. Life in Holiness with marriage to Christ’s way, truth, and life destroys or slays all the ways and mindsets of death that presently dwell within us. Life ends death and that is the only thing God slays.

                God does not slay His “creation” which is to become the way, truth, and life of HIS SON in the creation as Lord in it. Mankind is to become the gardener of all that remains to be done in the creation AFTER man himself is matured. {the harvest}.

                As scripture says, Jesus Christ is the BEGINNING, only the beginning, of the creation that God fulfills.

                God is NOT in control here any more than a human parent can control a baby or control their children when they reach a certain age where they believe they know it all.

                A parent can not make a child obdy them all the time UNLESS they “kill” them before they disobey.

                Try to make a baby make your choices himself to obey your desires. It is not possible for the baby to participate willingly and agreeably, until the baby understands what you want and that what you want is “good” to do in comparison to what is “bad” to do.

                So it is with immature mankind in relation with God. God has to WAIT until man is ABLE to become mature and understand what is desired of him, and then comply willingly. Love, which is God, does not “rape”.

                Recall, it is the “devil” that offers the kingdoms to Jesus in the wilderness. Also, recall that in Revelation it says the CHURCH dwells IN THE WILDERNESS for a long time.

                God bless, Ken

          2. Stuart Coleman says:

            During his interview, Bashir didn’t “eat Bell’s lunch” but instead force-fed viewers his own repetitious and somewhat superficial prejudices. He seems to be very arrogant and yet often doesn’t know the facts. In fact, during his interview with Michelle Rhee this morning, he rudely tried to contradict her several times, and she completely shut him down and refuted his insinuations with sound research. As a journalist, I find his mildly aggressive and arrogant style offensive and unprofessional.

          3. amock says:

            no kidding..that was a really attacking, unproductive way to interview. Rob seemed like he was in a “lose lose” situation. Why don’t we all just read the book and decide for ourselves.

      2. Elisa says:

        I find it truly ridiculous when people try to find within the Bible whether the Bible is wrong or not. People read the Bible literarily and tend to get caught up on the story rather than the message behind it. Sure there are 2,000 years of history regarding the message of the Bible and not too many refuting it but that’s because the church was a powerful state and none dared to contradict it. The Bible was not written while Jesus was alive but years after his death, by a group of man that never carried pen and paper, so everything was by memory, and that were terribly influenced by other cultures so they filled in the blank with their own bias and influences from the Greek culture mostly. People needs to understand that there is not absolute proof that the Bible is either 100% wrong or 100% right. No one has been to the biblical hell and back. NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE WHAT HAPPENS AFTER WE DIED, NO ONE. Yes I believe we’ll see God and I also believe that God will give us another chance because I, insignificant little me, would give people another chance and it is impossible that I’m more capable of love and forgiveness than all mighty God. I personally believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God but distorted and terribly biased. I have not read the book by Mr. Bell and I probably won’t because based on his defense of it during the interview he’s not sure of what he wrote either. He did not know how to defend his point of view. The presenter was a joke, he was terribly biased which to me discredited the intentions of the interview, biased journalism is not journalism.

        1. Tom says:

          You assume it is possible for a reporter to be unbiased. Even choosing which stories to cover and which experts to contact reveals a bias.

        2. Chadd says:

          Hey Elisha, I’m surprised that so many people have actually let your post slide. I want to respond, however. The first is that it’s dangerous to model how God would behave after how you would behave. Just because you might give someone a second chance doesn’t mean God should have to. What if, in the final account, you find that it would be wrong for God to give a second chance? I don’t have a huge problem with your belief in second chances.

          But, I wanted to make it clear that you, and every other person on earth, has already received a second chance and have blown it. If you so much as even took a breath after your first sin, then you have been given a second chance and as it stands now, Elisha, you have been given as many chances as you have sinned.

          God isn’t obligated to give one last chance after death–especially after the billions that you have already wasted. On the contrary, unless you repent and believe that Jesus is the Christ, that he died for your sins, and that he rose on the third day you will never have life.

          You are right that since I have never died, I can’t claim to have found out what happens after death. But that isn’t the point. Jesus Christ did die, and He does know. And He says in the Gospels that the only thing those who don’t trust in Him have to look forward to is His judgement. Don’t let that be you, Elisha.

          (p.s. the scriptures are reliable, but go buy a book for that)

          1. Chadd says:

            and sorry for calling you elisha the whole time Elisa. Auto correct. =(

        3. kath says:

          just wanted to pick up on Elisa’s comment All Scripture is breathed out by God Tim 2 Chapter 3:16, Hebrews 6:18 IT IS IMPOSIBLE FOR GOD TO LIE the opposite of lie is truth to be true things said or written have to be 100% accurate it is us in our intrepretation of the Bible that is wrong sometimes i couldn’t let your post slide thanks for your comment Chadd Jesus is the truth and the life the word we need to contend for the faith people are very confused about what is true and what is false Rob Bell is very confusing and does not give an out right answer to most of Martins questions

    5. Chris says:

      Excellent interview. Bashir did a great job. I applaud Bell’s bravery and exploration and challenges to christian doctrine, but question his conclusions.

    6. HW says:

      Excellent interview. I’ve read the book and agree with Mr. Bashir’s assessment (quoted above). He asks many of the questions that I wanted to ask Rob Bell myself and Mr. Bashir presses for an answer. Although none is given, I think this only shows how hollow his “new gospel” is.

    7. If by “best interview” you mean “worst journalism,” then I agree.

      Just because you dislike/disagree with the person being interviewed, if the interviewer is attacking, then he or she has failed miserably at his or her job. Bashir is on the attack of Bell from the very first question, which had nothing to do with the book. A journalist should, first and foremost, be involved in a search for truth. Bashir failed.

      Bad form, Bashir. Bad form.

    8. Yes, while we never “like” to see a debate, per se, Rob Bell’s promotion of his views as a mentor and guide met a ready interviewer in Bashir. Bashir was graceful enough to not totally hold him down to yes or no answers, but attempted to keep the interview relavant by giving him opportunity to address the critics, which Bell could not do.

      Even near the beginning (around 1:24), Bashir either confused Bell (or accidentally re-worded his own question) by giving him the option of agreeing that God “is all powerful and He cares” to which Bell indicated a paradox.

      While bigger question facilitating Bell’s visit of God’s love and eternal torment are a paradox in most minds, Rob Bell moves to “fix” the paradox to his own finite notions (and double-minded), and the interviewer catches him avoiding and working away from direct questions, contradicting himself, and working in circles…in the end gets him to admit he’s still a wanderer in his journey.

    9. Nancy Mills says:

      We lived in Grandville, MI and went to Rob Bell’s church for over a year before moving to Minnesota. At the time, Bell was a solid, fundamental person who lured us to his church preaching from Leviticus. Are you kidding me? Who starts going to a church when they are preaching on Leviticus? Inspiring, forced you to be a Berean-searching the Scriptures to see if what he said was true. However, over the years I have watched Bell change on many fronts through his books, Nooma tapes, etc. I even called the church office one day to see if they had become an Emergent church. I was told they were NOT one. Rob has a way of making you think about God and the Scriptures in a different way. He challenges you to discern and determine what you have always been taught to be true. We have friends who still attend there and have stayed. Sometimes I wonder if all the controversy is our deceiver’s way to undermine God’s work. I am pretty sure that is what Rob thinks.

    10. Jon Coutts says:

      Bashir falls back on the ‘palatable gospel’ critique without a thought about what the culture even finds palatable. Hasn’t he seen Toy Story 3? This is absolute journalistic hackery.

  2. Gary Horn says:

    This was hard to listen to, mostly because it’s so needlessly hopeless and sad. We have such a more glorious story to tell to the world than this.

    1. Stacy says:

      AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plus, I don’t think people of the other main world religions are buying this either. The claims and teachings of the Bible are unique, no other religion makes the claims Christianity does! Don’t think Osama would agree with Mr. Bell! ;)

      1. Brian MacArevey says:

        Stacey, That is a great point. You don’t think the the other main religions are buying this either. So you stand in agreement with the conclusions of the other world religions, while Bell stands alone. I guess the teachings of the bible really are unique after all :)

        1. Stacy says:

          Not sure what you’re getting at Brian. Jesus Christ is the One and Only way to the Father. He is “the way, the truth, and the life, no person can come to the Father except through Him.” Christianity is exclusivist, not pluralistic. Hope that clarifies.

  3. Ryan says:

    Great questions! Received no answers. He clearly said nothing.

    1. Raul Zamora says:

      Horrible questions great answer from Bell!

      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. I Love Christ says:

        What answer Raul? That’s called dodging the question bud.

        1. Regan Clem says:

          For you to claim he dodged the questions, you must just be really biased against Rob Bell and can’t hear what happened in the interview.

          I transcribed the questions and their immediate answers. He answered everyone except the one about Arius.

      2. Stacy says:

        Which questions were horrible? Which “answers” were good???

      3. Greg Long says:

        Great questions horrible answer from Bell!

        Greg Long

    2. Wes says:

      I take it you are being Sarcastic Ryan???

  4. The manner in which Martin Bashir (kudos) asked Bell some of those very probing questions was absolutely intriguing!

    1. Raul Zamora says:

      Disagree with your observation!!!! Bell did a great job.

      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. Dan says:

        @Raul: I don’t think he did. I think he said, “It matters how you respond to Christ, but ultimately, we just don’t know.”

        1. Elisa says:

          nobody knows, it’s all a great mystery so people should stop thinking they are right. I felt bad for Bell, he saw this as a great opportunity to promote his book and Bashir, as a conservative Christian, saw a great opportunity to make sure to promote the hate agenda of Christianity that there is no salvation for the infidels. God’s love, patience and mercy is limitless and there is no way in hell He will change his mind and save anyone from it. Too bad for those that never heard the message, if you don’t believe in Jesus, the cross and worship at church regularly you are condemned. Ok maybe he didn’t mean all that but you get the idea. People needs to understand that GOD IS LOVE is says it all over the Bible.

          1. Tom says:

            “people should stop thinking they are right”
            Are you right about that?

          2. Gordon says:

            Elisa I can think of 3 places in one verse where the Bible says God is holy but have trouble finding three places in the Bible where it says, “God is love” to quote you. In fact the adjective holy as describing God in the Bible is used more often that all the other adjectives used to describe God put together. Over 50% of the time when the Bible describes God it is says He is holy.
            It helps a lot when you read the Bible instead of listening to what people want God to be like.

            1. Elaine says:

              Great reply Gordon! God is Holy, Holy, Holy. The “God is love” crowd should go and find out what that means.

          3. Justin says:

            Yes God is love, but you must not forget, God is always JUST at the same time.

  5. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    I have to echo the comment above about Martin Bashir’s journalistic interviewing. Mr. Bashir did an excellent job of getting to the core and heart of the issue.

    1. Raul Zamora says:

      truth unites and divides

      I thought Bell did a great job of representing Christ.

      Raul Zamora Jr.

  6. Mike M says:

    Bell was clearly unprepared for this interview. Did he think his charm would convince Bashir to back off?

    1. Raul Zamora says:

      Bashir was frustrated because he was wrong about Bell.

      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. Stacy says:

        Wrong about what exactly? Charm, style, sincerity… not equal truth. You can be sincerley wrong about something. I’ll gladly stick to solid biblical teaching from “boring” people. At least I’m getting the truth, rather than a wishy washy feel good “gospel” that doesn’t have any real power.

      2. Mike M says:

        Bashir was frustrated because Bell wasn’t answering his questions, and Bashir has done enough interviews with slippery people that his guests should know that he’s not going to put up with their nonsense and side-stepping the questions. Bell paid Bashir a tremendous disrespect by showing up to the studios unwilling / unprepared to answer the questions that Bashir posed.

  7. Leslie says:

    Great interview. VERY interesting how Martin gets the whole concept-it is clear even to an unbeliever what is happening here. No clear answers and an unprepared RB.

    1. David says:

      I read somewhere that Bashir is a devout Christian. What you have in this interview is someone who’s gone off the rails getting schooled by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

      The hipster glasses and H&M clothes are cool, but the power is in the gospel not the relevancy of the message or the person. The Holy Spirit will lead those who are called.

      I think the “tears God is shedding” is over Rob Bell’s leading his flock astray.

      1. Michael DiMarco says:

        Article with references to Bashir being a devout Christian:

        1. David says:

          Thanks for the confirm Michael.

    2. You hit the nail on the head.

  8. maryE says:

    Martin just doesn’t get it. I really don’t think he wanted to listen to understand he just wanted to bash Rob. Martin asked a question 3 times and Rob answered the same question 3 times the same way.

    1. Brian says:


      If Rob was with Oprah receiving puff questions on higher consciousness, would you have said “great interview?”

      I would fully expect “would a loving God really send people to hell?” from Martin Bashir if he was interviewing John Piper or Al Mohler. It is called a tough interview.

      Martin Bashir, who likely is not a Christian, understands historic Christian better than Bell’s admirers.

      1. chris says:

        Bashir is a Christian who attends Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC

        1. Michael Dunlop says:

          Im curious where people are getting the info that Bashir is a Christian? This website says that he is an atheist and actually debated Tim Keller over Christianity in 2008. If he has since received Christ and now goes to his church, that’s awesome! …but where is this info coming from? Ive been searching the web and can’t find anything.

          1. Justin Taylor says:

            Michael, he is a member of Redeemer and has apparently been a Christian for quite some time. The reporter mistakenly thought he was an atheist, given the hard questions he gave to Tim Keller.

            1. I see. Thanks for the reply. I find the whole event kind of odd… (seems like a staged “debate” with two Christians.) By the way I found the video here:

      2. Timotheus says:

        Actually, Martin Bashir is a very solid Christian, from what I understand — hence his fire here. That’s what happens when you follow Jude 3 and go to contend for the Gospel.

        But in our liberal, man-pleasing American church, anything but spineless acceptance of false gospels gets everyone crying, “Foul!!” And then we wonder why so many people are abandoning “Christianity” here in America. :( Perhaps the Lord will mercifully raise up a generation who will stand firm for the unadjusted Gospel of grace that saves sinners.

        1. Stacy says:

          Amen!! Sad that in our day and age we can see how “good is called evil, and evil is called good”.

      3. Brad says:

        @Chris, I knew there had to be a Keller connection here. Love it.

    2. Barry says:


      I noticed that too. Bashir asked the question, “Is how we respond to Christ here on earth irrelevant or immateriel?” Rob Bell answered him 3 separate times.

      The way he asks questions, too, is infuriating. His first question: “Does God care and is not powerful, or is God all-powerful and doesn’t care?” Really? I wonder how any of the people who comment on this blog would field that question when he only leaves you with two responses?

      Then, he quotes someone(DeYoung I’m assuming) who says his use of scripture is indefensible. And then says, “This is true, isn’t it?” These are ridiculous questions, meant to infuriate the person he’s interviewing and get them to make mistakes.

      1. Pastor Clark says:


        I think Matlock called it leading the witness! “Do you beat your wife on Tuesdays or Thursdays?” Hmmm how about neither? How about your sad little tirade has got to about be over so you can run another commercial. I actually thought Bell did good under fire – these “questions” were commentary disguised as journalism.

        1. Jonathan says:

          I concur. I don’t agree with Bell on much of anything (I’m actually ex-Reformed and now an agnostic…I’m only posting because this quite pissed me off) and I understand a little bit of the frustration involved here, but seriously…chill the hell out. It’s pretty obvious that Bashir is a fundamentalist Christian trying to use his media presence to try to make Bell look ridiculous, but really just ends proving to be a completely intolerant asshole. He should be admonished and for all I care fired by MSNBC. This isn’t his job and I don’t watch the news for ignorant, biased reporting or interviewing. I hope Keller is proud. This type of BS makes me quite proud of the fact that I’m no longer apart of this crap.

          1. Phil Allcock says:

            Jonathan, hard questioning is used every single day in every single news programme in the western world. I wonder whether you’d be as angry if the questions were being asked by an agnostic news anchor to a more fundamentalist Christian?

            1. Marty says:

              I agree Phil. Bashir was just doing his job. I speak as a former press officer and front of camera contributor. It looked as if Bell was slightly out of his depth.

            2. Jonathan says:

              I think that it would be my inclination to be more amused than angry if the coin was flipped. Definitely. I would be foolish and naive to flatly deny that. But what I’m saying is that there should be a certain amount of respect given to other world views without condescension (i.e. Bashir’s twice saying “…this is what you’ve done haven’t you?”). I think that even if I have a hard time understanding why you believe what you believe (and God knows I have a difficult time with the Reformed crowd) I still very much stand behind the ideology that the human psyche is very complex and should be respected as such. So I would definitely fight my initial instinct to cheer on the agnostic and throw deprecating remarks at the Christian (like nearly everyone here has done), but I would do my best to reconsider and force myself to be as understanding as possible. There typically are at least two good sides to every problem and to treat other viewpoints in such a blatantly patronizing was is unfair and disrespectful. Yes, he made Bell look foolish. But he acted as though he expected clear answers to some of theology’s most difficult questions (i.e. the problem of suffering with the Japan example used) which just isn’t going to be possible in a seven minute interview.
              Bell seems to me to be a Kierkegaardian type of Christian existentialist and while I ultimately don’t agree with that, I understand it. While I ultimately don’t agree with the Reformed crowd, I understand that. Heck, I was that. I just think that the existentialists are much more palatable as they don’t tend to be as abrasive and ignorant. At least Bell sees a problem with this doctrine of hell that you uphold in which practically everyone that has ever lived or ever will live will go there and…oh…you probably (if a Calvinist) also believe that it is actually the plan of your God for it to go down this way. And then you want to claim to me that he’s benevolent and omnipotent. Please answer me that…in 30 seconds…oh and if I don’t like your answer I’ll just pretentiously laugh at you and ask it again…and then laugh at you again when you give me the same answer.
              I think Bell seeing this as a good question and prodding along debate is a good thing. It’s a good question. It’s ultimately the question that led to me walking away from the Christian faith. And treating Bell as some type of deceiving “wolf” because he’s being honest about this is offensive to me. I hope you can understand that.

    3. Raul Zamora says:

      Amen sister!!!!!

      Raul Zamora Jr.

    4. Stacy says:

      Umm, Mary….how exactly did Mr. Basir “bash” Rob??? He asked sincere questions that Rob just couldn’t give a straight answer to. Not much of a pastor….when he can’t go to the Scriptures and give you counsel.

      1. maryE says:

        Umm, Stacy…I used to think that way too but to me the Bible is the story of God’s people not a reference self help book or manual. I find a person can pick out scriptures and make the Bible say almost any thing they want it to say completely out of it’s historical content, but I could be wrong.

        1. Stacy says:

          Yes, the Bible is the story of God working in and through His people for His glory. But it’s not just a story. The Bible is not simply a great narrative of God working in history. It is actual history written by people inspired by the Holy Spirit. It contains the truths of God and how we as sinful humans can be redeemed and saved from eternal punishment for our sins through the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. What’s a Christian pastor for if he doesn’t point his people to the living Word of God??

          1. kath says:

            preach it girl could not have put it better myself

  9. D. T. King says:

    Thank you, Mr. Taylor, for hosting this interview. It was very telling.

  10. Andrew says:

    maryE – Rob Bell gave a “response” each time, but it was so incoherent and avoided the substance of the question so flagrantly that it had to be asked repeatedly. I think Martin realized he wasn’t getting a straight answer out of Bell finally, made that clear to everyone, and then moved on.

    1. Raul Zamora says:


      Bell made a clear and to the point answer. He stated that it does matter in this life if one accepts Jesus. Disagree with your view totally!!!

      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. Mike W says:

        “He stated that it does matter in this life if one accepts Jesus.”

        Are you defending that? If so, I urge you to please read the gospels. God bless.

        1. Mike W says:

          My bad. I thought there was a NOT in there.

      2. Mike Johnson says:

        If that were the question, then yes, Bell answered it. However you are leaving off a significant element of the question. The question is: what bearing does one’s response to the Gospel have to his eternal destiny? The part you left off is the part Bell sidestepped in his answers. Coincidence?

  11. Dave B says:

    Mr. Bashir is clearly a genius. I heartily agree with everyone who has commented. It’s great to be among such intelligent and coherent people. Isn’t it fun talking to ourselves!

    1. Garrett says:

      Oh cheer up Rob, you didn’t really get owned THAT bad. Well, on second thought . . .

      1. Raul Zamora says:

        He seem happy to me. Has a great book and is making great money. Also he is one of God’s faithful servants preaching the word!!!

        Raul Zamora Jr.

        1. Mike W says:

          What word are you referring to?

        2. Rapscallion says:

          Raul, c’mon now. Stop with the cheerleading. Bell got exposed and embarrassed, as he should be…

        3. Stacy says:

          Mr. Zamora, are you smoking the same stuff that Charlie Sheen is??? I think Mr. Bell may also have taken some of that, sadly. Rob Bell does not preach the true Word of God. Bell isn’t saying anything new for that matter either. Universalism and false teaching have been around since time began. In Bell’s “gospel” God is neither just nor loving, nor sovereign. Jesus’ sacrificial substituting death and propitiation for our sins means nothing. In Bell’s “gospel” Christ is unnecessary. Read your Bible again Mr. Zamora and Mr. Bell. God is completely Holy and Just, therefore He cannot stand sin. He is completely soverign and “has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and will harden whom He will harden. Shall the clay pot say to the potter, why have you made me thus??” God is not so impotent that it will take him millions of years to “soften” a human’s heart!! Bell is speaking pure rubbish. The interviewer asked the important questions and Bell just gave him more questions and vague comments rather than answering the questions forthrightly.

    2. BoMo says:

      Amen, Dave! Let’s let the fundamentalists revel in their rigid circle of certainty while we pepper them from the periphery with clever, passive-aggressive contempt…it’s so much easier than confronting facts, um, ya know?

      1. Dave B says:

        Don’t confuse cynicism with passive-aggressiveness. I was confronting the fact that this string of comments is basically a sycofantic feedback loop. Everyone has it all figured out.

    3. Raul Zamora says:

      Bashir asked Bell,”Is God all powerful and doesn’t care about the Japanese people or his he(God) caring but not powerful enough to help them” See something wrong with the line of questioning!!!

  12. Donahue says:

    Thank you Bashir for making this wolf look like the complete fool that he is.

    Rob Bell’s God and Christ are not worthy of our worship.

    1. Raul Zamora says:

      disagree with you totally!!!!
      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. Greg Long says:


        Disagree with you totally disagreeing with Donahue totally!!!

        Greg Long

        1. Kevin S. says:

          Agree with Greg disagreeing with Raul disagreeing with Donahue totally!!!!

          (added exclamation mark denotes extra agreement!!!!)

    2. Stacy says:

      Amen Donahue!!!

  13. Victor says:

    Thank God for Martin Bashir, he did better than most wishy washy evangelicals in questioning Bell

    All of you people who were cautioning against a rush to judgement when Justin Taylor posted his first post on Bell’s new book owe Justin an apology.

  14. Victor says:

    I remember when Bashir interviewed Michael Jackson and exposed him as a wacko. Now Bashir has exposed Bell’s teachings as nonsense.

    1. Raul Zamora says:

      Great example using Michael Jackson!!! Not!!

      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. Greg Long says:

        Great rebuttal, Raul!!! Not!!!

        1. Jeff Tigchelaar says:

          Greg, that’s getting old

          1. Greg Long says:

            I completely agree, Jeff.

            1. Your making fun of someone by lampooning their posts, I meant. Though maybe you knew what I meant and I’m misinterpreting your response. Sorry, if so…

    2. Victor, there’s also a lot of criticism out there of Bashir’s handling of that interview (smear campaign, yellow journalism, e.g.). And Bashir evidently later took back what he said about Jackson (“the truth is that he was never convicted of any crime, and I never saw any wrongdoing myself”.)

      Do you really want to — and it seems you do, of course; but nevertheless — do you really want to simply dismiss people, complex human beings, with easy, overarching words like ‘wacko’ and ‘nonsense’? It’s no credit to the ‘other’ or to yourself, doing that…

  15. Bashir made Bell into a squirmy snake.

    Correction: Bashir exposed Bell as a squirmy snake.

    1. Raul Zamora says:

      ouch!!! that seems a bit too harsh for one of God’s servants!!! I totally disagree with your view.

      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. Stacy says:

        How does one qualify as God’s servant? Let’s be sure that said servant is actually teaching the truth found in God’s own Word!! I fear he, as well as many other “Christian” pop pastors/authors/speakers…..are leadng people away from the true and incredibly powerful gospel found in the scriptures. Test everything people. Do NOT be sheep! Test what a tracher says and see iof what he/she is saying is really true, or whether it’s just what “itching ears want to hear”.

      2. Greg Long says:

        ouch!!! how do you know Bell is one of God’s servants when he disagrees with fundamental biblical doctrine???!!! I totally disagree with your disagreement.

  16. Victor says:

    Well put Stan, that is exactly what Bell showed himself to be.

  17. Brad says:

    Well, in writing his tome, Rob did want to have this fight after al. And well…he got it.

  18. Brian says:


    If Rob was with Oprah receiving puff questions on higher consciousness, would you have said “great interview?”

    I would fully expect “would a loving God really send people to hell?” from Martin Bashir if he was interviewing John Piper or Al Mohler. It is called a tough interview.

    Martin Bashir, who likely is not a Christian, understands historic Christianity better than Bell’s admirers.

  19. Joe says:

    RB said that God sheds a tear when we shed a tear….well I think God is shedding a tear about the pages that were wasted in this book to write about bad theology, instead of being used for printable March Madness brackets…..

  20. JW says:

    All this convinced me of was that Martin Bashir is a jerk. Why I am not surprised everyone here loves him?

    1. Victor says:

      JW, are you serious when did Bashir disrespect Bell? when he asked for clear answers. Obviously Bashir is not as “sophisticated” as you and your friends to understand postmodern thought.

    2. Brian says:

      I never liked Mike Wallace and Sam Donaldson either–they made leaders I liked squirm–but we really could use more journalists like them such as Martin Bashir today. Most of the media just cheerleads for their own advocacy. Ironically Martin Bashir is not likely a Christian and ironically he knows what is at stake better than squishy American Christians. Rob Bell can poke the “old kind” of Christians in the eye with his questions, but somehow he above taking tough questions? I would fully expect tough, probing questions of Christianity potentially rough edges for John MacArthur or Tim Keller. Rob Bell joins in asking these tough questions. He can dish it out. Why can’t it take it?

      1. JW says:

        Jesus asked hard questions, no doubt, but he never treated people with contempt.

        1. SVS says:

          There was nothing contemptuous about how Bashir handled the interview. Righteous anger maybe, because here we have a man that calls himself a Christian Pastor. Yet, in essence, questioning the very gospel Christians believe, in the name of becoming more forward thinking and progressive.
          As for Jesus and contempt, let us not forget the clearing of the temple. I’m certain, from what John 2:13–22 says, that He didn’t speak in soft soothing peaceful tones when He did this. We as Christians are required to have discerning minds and watch for false teachers- 2 Peter, 1 John. And yet another example for righteous anger Matthew 23:13–33. Read the scriptures to find answers about how we should act, not what is proper etiquette or “respectful”

        2. GT says:

          Except that time time he called a group of people “brood of vipers” and “serpents.” Or that time he walked into the temple and started flipping tables over.

          The thing with Jesus and his hard questions is that his hardest questions were for people who claimed to be spiritual leaders for his people. I think he would have been hard on Rob Bell to… I mean, why the hell did Jesus come and “bear the punishment that was due,” if there is, in fact, no hell?

        3. Brian says:

          See anywhere in the Gospels where Jesus is speaking to the Pharisee’s.

        4. Tom says:

          That’s right… Jesus tone changed regularly when addressing a certain class of people: religious leaders. Is Rob Bell a religious leader?

    3. David says:

      JW – The scrutiny that Bashir applied to Bell is nothing to the scrutiny that Jesus applied against the false teachers.

      1. JW says:

        Having watched it again I stand by my impression that Bashir acts like an @$$.

        1. Barry says:

          Totally agree JW. He ignores Bell when he responds, asks questions impossible to answer, interjects constantly and even makes it semi-personal at the end.

          Not every question Bell answered was clear, and at the beginning he did skid around the first one. But it was also a question without a right answer, like all the rest of them.

          This blog really supports this? I’m a little surprised. I may disagree with this blog constantly, but I’m surprised anyone wouldn’t take issue with Bashir’s methods. I wonder how this blog would respond if that was John Piper up there. Outrage, right?

          1. JW says:

            Well said Barry…better than I did. Thanks.

            1. Ryan says:

              Wow obviously you guys are new to public journalism. Its a little more direct than the hipster Christianity bubble that Bell is used to.

              If asking clear questions, and pushing for answers is wrong, than you guys should just avoid any interaction with both academics and the public square.

              1. Barry says:

                That would be true, except his questions weren’t clear, as I stated. He asked questions with only two answers, he formed his questions into assumptions and when Rob Bell answers (which he does, I don’t see how you can say otherwise), he continues to ask the question anyway, as if he didn’t.

                This is quite a different style from Anderson Cooper or Larry King. They ask hard questions but they don’t do what Bashir did.

              2. Brad says:

                He asked questions with only two answers….
                @Barry…kind of like: Is Gandhi in hell?

          2. Stacy says:

            You think Piper would shrink back from tough questions or give vague comments that don’t actually address the questions??? Piper would give well thoght-out and honest answers to tough questions, all the while using scripture as his main reference and not taking scripture out of context either.

        2. Hohn says:

          Barry & JW…

          Did you try contacting Mr. Bashir personally before posting this? Matthew 18

          1. steven says:

            Lol!!! Ah selective use of scripture. Good one hohn

    4. Raul Zamora says:


      Amen brother I agree with you!!!!

      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. steven says:

        @raul dude you are such a troll

      2. Greg Long says:


        brother I disagree with you!!!!

        Greg Long

  21. Ryan says:

    My question is will all the Rob Bell super-fans label Bashir like they have everyone else who disagrees or has tough questions for Bell?

    I guess Mr. Bell is growing up and learning that it is a much tougher world outside the friendly confines of the emergent Christian bubble. People actually want clarity and for you to answer their questions, and when you don’t you won’t have your blogging brigade to call them all meanies for wanting you to be honest.

  22. AStev says:

    Oh my. I hesitate to cheer the interview – its always sad seeing someone publicly rebuked, even when it’s necessary – but I do commend Bashir for making a firm push for truth and forthrightness, not ambiguous platitudes.

    On the bright side, whoever expected Kevin DeYoung would get quoted on MSNBC?

  23. Paula says:

    This media blitz by Bell is getting to be rather garish. He seems to be everywhere, making it appear that he is heavily invested in this emotionally. Or his publisher is making him do this heavy-duty promo tour. Either way, his overexposure is starting to look Charlie Sheen-ish.

  24. Doug says:

    What’s interesting, and I think refreshing, is that matters of faith are finally being discussed on television. I have listened to many of Rob Bell’s sermon podcasts for five years, and I challenge those who say he is not a Christian to do the same and make these statements. The truth is that much of what Rob Bell is saying was stated by John Wesley, founder of Methodism, in the 1700s. He stood up to the prevailing Calvinism of the day, which is now all the rage with the “doctrine police” who profess to have all the truth of Christianity. Folks, sincere Christians can read the same scriptures and interpret some of them differently. How do you think Jesus wants us to discuss these issues? By calling names? The interview was nothing more than an attack with one man’s interpretation of doctrine as the foundation. But for those of us who do not believe in predestination and believe in a loving God of grace who made us in the beginning “good” before we fell to sin, and who chooses to express his sovereignty in love instead of power by giving us the choice to reject him…understand this is a mainstream, evangelical Christian theology that is not just contemporary. Rob Bell is basing his message on the Bible as many Christians in history have interpreted it. Just because that is not the doctrine you espouse or have been exposed to does not mean that he is “wrong.”

    1. Ryan says:

      Might want to brush up on your historical theology Doug. Bell’s talk is actually much more in line with Karl Barth, not Wesley, Wesley would have been horrified at what Bell is teaching.

      Also, stop with the scare quote doctrine police stuff, this is just a smokescreen used by Bell fan boys to avoid actually talking about the issues.

      1. Dan MacDonald says:


        Ryan is right. Wesley would be denouncing Bell publicly if he could.

        1. steven says:

          Dan and Ryan are right. Also I am right. Wesley was not “standing up to calvinism” in his ministry, that was at best an incidental part of it. He was rescuing people from the place rob bell denies.

    2. Brad says:

      Wesley would have utterly rejected Rob Bell’s views of hell.

    3. Warren says:

      Doug said… How do you think Jesus wants us to discuss these issues? By calling names?

      Why yes, lets start by calling people the “doctrine police”. That should open the way to a friendly discussion.

    4. JT says:

      He who KNOWS EVERYTHINK FOR SURE….know the least…..We are each entitled to our own “Ttuth”…..our faith. The interviewer was way off base….knows the least?????

  25. Tom Cabral says:

    It sure makes you wonder why you’d want to sit under a guy who asks lot’s of questions and yet gives no answers. I ponder to think how he will be responding or respond when he too has to face some “hard life”, in the days to come. Will he still be throwing out the questions then??

  26. Brian says:

    Thanks for the heads up to all who have filled in the blanks on Bashir’s faith in Christ. That is exciting.

    That being said, he asks questions that would be tough for any tradition of Christianity to answer. Let’s be honest: the question on theodicy and the disaster in Japan would not be easy for any of us to answer.

    1. Ryan says:

      Not really. Obvious the emotional component should leave us in lament and going to the Psalms, but a Pastor should have the acumen to go right to Romans 8 and speak about how all of creation is groaning and waiting for redemption. From there your home free to share the Gospel.

    2. CS says:

      I disagree about the theodicy question–I actually thought that was the softball question of the interview. Given that it’s an extremely common question in apologetics courses/books, you would think that any pastor worth anything would be able to give a pretty good (or at least coherent) answer to that one, even if it caught them off guard initially.

    3. Jason says:


  27. Brian says:

    Followup to my previous comment: his tough question on theodicy makes it hard to accuse Martin of being a homer.

  28. Brian says:


    Wesley believed that everyone would eventually be saved? He rejected elements of Calvinism–no doubt–but he shared a similar outlook on heaven and hell with his Calvinist counterparts. John Wesley was no Rob Bell, and I am thankful for that. Your example does not follow.

    1. AStev says:

      Indeed – I may disagree with some of their conclusions, but Wesleyans are within the “broad stream of orthodoxy” that Bell mentions elsewhere. Ironically, Bell himself – at least on the topics of soteriology and eternity – is not.

  29. Hohn says:

    Rob Bell = master communicator?

    Media expert?

  30. Hohn says:

    Did Bashir read the book before bashing it?

  31. Joel Osteen says:

    That interview was a PR disaster!

  32. Hohn says:

    Would Jesus call people names like “doctrine police”?

    Its a mystery, a paradox, a koan.

  33. Hohn says:

    People are suffering in Japan…

    …yet here is Rob Bell on TV, promoting his book for profit…

    Maybe Rev. Bell should be in Japan loving his neighbor instead of shamelessly promoting a product?

    1. Mon says:

      Bashir a Christian? Are you sure? Just in 2008 he was considered an atheist.

      1. Justin Taylor says:

        What’s instructive about that conversation with Keller was that Bashir was actually a Christian at that time as well. I think he has a reputation for very strong questioning, even with those with whom he agrees.

        1. Mon says:

          I am not arguing that, but that article clearly states him as an ATHEIST.

          so, which is it?

  34. wow. this was extremely telling. thanks for finding and posting it.

  35. donsands says:

    “Either God is all powerful, and he doesn’t care. Or he does care and isn’t all powerful. Which is it?”

    Well, God is all powerful. Amen. the Tsunami was God’s tsunami. This is His earth, and oceans, and also the people are His; He created every human being in His image. So, although God is in control of everything in the universe, and the earth, he cares about the people of Japan, especially those who are believers in Christ Jesus, the Son of God.
    There is an infinite mystery to somethings in this life for us finite beings Mr. Bashir.
    So that was a loaded question, wasn’t it? Which is fine, for I’m here to do my best to answer every question biblically if I can.

    Next question please.

  36. steve hays says:


    “Having watched it again I stand by my impression that Bashir acts like an @$$.”

    For someone who touts God’s universal saving love, you, and other defenders of Bell, have an odd way of showing it. “Inclusivists” and “universalists” only love their own kind. They love “everyone” as long as everyone happens to be a like-minded inclusivist or universalist. The philanthropist who loves “humanity” in the abstract, but has a rather different attitude when dealing with concrete human beings.

    1. Jeremy says:

      If anyone has browsed the blogs that stand behind Bell and “Love Wins,” you will see that in their attempt to attack Piper and the Neo-Reformed for not being as loving as they think God is, they launch into pretty nasty rhetoric also. It is just as bad as anything some people say on this blog. I think they believe that since they have their theology right, they have the right do that. In fact, no one can. There is room for solid debate on this issue. I think Bell is wrong and collapses every attribute of God into his version of God’s love. That is wrong. Bell’s version of God looks like what Rob Bell would want him to be if he was God. And Bell isn’t. But both sides of the debate have to be careful that we don’t make ourselves look like idiots to a watching world.

  37. steve hays says:

    I’m confused. Why are Bell supporters so mad at Bashir? After all, Bashir is “just asking questions.”

    1. Victor says:

      Don’t worry Steve, Bell supporters are impossible to dialogue with, they are a strange squirmy bunch.

  38. Kim says:

    Wowww Rob Bell is a 21st century heretic.

    1. Raul Zamora says:


      Nope!!! your wrong

      Raul Zamora Jr.

      1. Jon B says:

        I’ve seen some of your comments and to be honest some of them don’t hold water. You simply comment “No. I disagree.” or “Nope you’re wrong.” and in conversation it means nothing.

        Give why you think their wrong and why you think that you are right.

      2. Warren says:

        Paul, Nope!! you’re wrong. (That was easier than I thought)

    2. Stacy says:

      That he does seem to be. I pray he comes under the Holy Spirit’s leading and conviction. He can change.

  39. steve hays says:


    “All this convinced me of was that Martin Bashir is a jerk. Why I am not surprised everyone here loves him?”

    But if God loves everyone so much that he’s going to save everyone, why don’t you love Bashir? Where’s the love, JW?

  40. EAJ says:

    Gary wrote: “This was hard to listen to, mostly because it’s so needlessly hopeless and sad. We have such a more glorious story to tell to the world than this.” And my response is – “Yes!”, yes we do and I agree it is sad to watch the pastor to thousands squirm in that interview seat. In some ways I felt a bit sorry for Bell as I watched it, yet I also feel he had it coming. And I pray, I mean I truly in my prayers about this, hope that with all the discussion about this on blogs and in the media that the thousands of impressionable youth and young adults that attend Rob Bell’s church see what how he, their pastor, is telling it wrong. And some little light goes off in their heads and they find another church where the gospel message is taught with both a bold and humble definitude, and magnificent understanding. If the churches that have the truth don’t equip their youth with better understanding then how will they resist future Rob Bell’s for they will certainly come.

  41. JephRBNY says:

    Great interview. I love how Bashir tries to expose the grievous wolves out of Rob’s sheep’s clothing. Those questions were really sensible.

  42. Katdish says:

    Um…huh? That cleared up absolutely nothing. They both seemed frustrated and I was frustrated watching it.

  43. Trex1946 says:

    There is a quite informative book on this topic written in 1992 by Jesuit author Francis A Sullivan called “Salvation Outside the Church? Tracing the History of the Catholic Response.” The book examined the controversy in 1949 when Leonard Feeney SJ accused the Archbishop of Boston of heresy for holding that Jews and Protestants could be saved. It is interesting to compare this Catholic experience to that of certain Protestants today who condemn the rest of the world outside their world view to damnation. I think that Reverend Bell is on to something here.

  44. EAJ says:

    And another thought comes to me as I read and consider all that is being said about Bell and I do have great concerns for the people who yearn for the better story than the one he is telling – which is the Gospel story. As I thought about this today I remember this scene from the TV Show ER. Other’s like Ray Comfort have referred to it and maybe that is why my mind keeps going back to it as I read about this book and Bell’s ministry. To me he is the woman in this scene from ER and his message is not one of hope or forgiveness.

  45. Mike says:

    What a great interview, I loved how he would not let up with the questions. I know Bell was digressing years ago; it is interesting to see the fuller results at this point. I wonder how many other Emergent guys will begin to “come out of their theological closet” at this point.

  46. Jason says:

    When Bell says, “No I am not a Universalist.” And, “Yes, how we respond to Jesus now is terribly relevant.” Are these answers not acceptable, because our interpretation of him tells us he is lying? I have read all the material. I get that DeYoung and others are saying Bell is a Universalist and his use of the bible is innacurate which is what Bashir is using as ammunition here. But, to his benefit, Bell keeps answering the question. “No, I’m not a universalist.” “Yes, it is terribly relevant.” Is his word not acceptable, because he has changed the definitions of those things? I haven’t read the book. But, honestly, this is one of the problems I have with the reformed crowd here. You guys tend to say, “but, let me tell you what doctrine is.” I read a comment above about how Bell isn’t really saying anything that new. He is really just riffing on some Barth and some NT Wright and some Weslyeyan/Arminian theology. Which, technically, is all evangelical. The reformed crowd would rather vote it out, but, technically it is still evangelical.

    1. Jeremy says:

      The reason Bell is attacked more than the people you have mentioned is that they defend their position far better and don’t evade questions like Bell does. The reformed crowd is much more content with a person who is straight forward, even if we disagree with them. I don’t know why Bell would write a book and then seem to kind behind it.

    2. Stacy says:

      But Jason, Bell states he’s “not a universalist”…but in his book states that everyone eventually gets to heaven. He is speaking out of both sides of his mouth! Bell si either a universalist, or he is a very confused man, according to what he’s written and said.

  47. GT says:

    Except that time time he called a group of people “brood of vipers” and “serpents.” Or that time he walked into the temple and started flipping tables over.

    The thing with Jesus and his hard questions is that his hardest questions were for people who claimed to be spiritual leaders for his people. I think he would have been hard on Rob Bell to… I mean, why the hell did Jesus come and “bear the punishment that was due,” if there is, in fact, no hell??

    1. GT says:

      oops… disregard; meant as a comment on an earlier post.

  48. Jeremy says:

    Boy I really did not like the way that Bashir did that interview even though I probably agree with Bashir’s theology. What kind of a journalist asks Bell a leading question like “Your book is full of bad theology and exegesis isn’t it?” But as you can see, Bell looks like he leans toward a form of universalism, but doesn’t want to say for sure he believes it. Bashir had Bell when Bell admitted he believes in some sort of post-mortem chance for “love to win,” but later says that we don’t know what happens in the afterlife. Bashir asked him if he affirms universalism, but Bell said it is one kind of Christian response. Super. But what do you believe Rob?

    1. Kevin S. says:

      It’s called playing Devil’s advocate (ironic in this context, I know). He was simply reading the objections of Bell’s critics and asking him to respond. That’s a very reasonable and typical thing for journalists to do.

  49. Sonja says:

    “All who don’t believe in this life will be won over.” I can’t deny that. And that would be the gnashing of teeth because in this life there is only one chance. Ask the rich man from Luke 17. I think he would raise caution against relying on second chances.

    Luke 12:4-5. My portion is with my Lord and King.

  50. steve hays says:


    “When Bell says, ‘No I am not a Universalist.’ And, ‘Yes, how we respond to Jesus now is terribly relevant.’ Are these answers not acceptable, because our interpretation of him tells us he is lying?”

    They are not acceptable because, in this very interview, he gives conflicting answers, dodgy answers, dances around follow-up questions.

  51. SVS says:

    Rob Bell is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Double talk, better than a poltitian. Can speak really well but doesn’t really say anything.

  52. Rapscallion says:

    This clearly exposes Bell as a fruit cake. He can’t even give answers that are consistent and make sense. I guess being vague is a virtue for Bell and his supporters. Sorry Rob, I’m not going to follow you on your little life journey to heterodoxy.

    Excellent interview. Bell made Joel Osteen look like John MacArthur in comparison…

    1. jason says:

      for his sake, i hope that was his last interview

  53. Rich says:

    I am not sure that Al Mohler could have asked better questions than Mr. Bashir. (Well, I’m sure he would, but you catch my drift.)

    I love that powerful question–“It’s true, isn’t it?” This could really come in handy.

    “You’re the devil. That’s true, isn’t it?”

    “You ate your mother for breakfast. That’s true, isn’t it?”

    See Bell smile. See Bell squirm. See Bell run from hard questions. The End.

    1. Ryan says:


    2. Rich says:

      Just to be clear, I did NOT mean to apply my silly questions to Bell. I am not implying that Bell is the devil, etc. I only threw out crazy questions in order to test Bashir’s style of questioning–“That’s true, isn’t it?” Have some fun with this question. My family and me have.

      I have NEVER seen an interviewer as direct as Bashir. Several have said he is a believer. Without knowing this, my wife concluded that he must be based on the good questions that he asked.

  54. truthmatters says:

    Bell, he’s just a pile of books with glasses, or well… is he?

  55. Treybear says:

    I thought Rob handled himself well despite the tough questions. I think he kept his cool. he is trying to promote his book by the way. I liked the way Martin asked questions they were to the point but given in such a way that anyway Rob would have answered wouldve been the wrong way unless it agreed with the way the question was put.. I still want to read his book and make my own decision.

  56. David Drake says:

    Man, is me or are RB supporters as hard to pin down as he himself. What they heck could they have liked in the interview? They just say again and again…that they like him and everyone is a big meanie. I swear to you an argument with my highly dramatic 11 year old about her bed time is more enlightening and productive and it has more logic and less whining!

  57. Godtears says:

    Rob Bell is a false teacher. That’s it

  58. Randy says:

    I have no problem with the questions in this interview. It is up to the journalist to decide what type of questions to ask and how tough or friendly of a tone he/she wants to set.

    The problem is not that Bell doesn’t answer the questions. The problem is that he never explains why. Martin gave him time to explain himself but Bell just wouldn’t do it.

    I want to know why Bell thinks he’s not a universalist. I want to know why he thinks our response to Christ matters if none of us are going to hell because love wins. If nobody goes there, then why does it exist? Why did Jesus spend so much time talking about it? These are all valid questions that I would ask him if he was my pastor.

  59. Rapscallion says:

    I thought the look on his face at the end of the clip was very telling.

    “Now where is the nearest exit? I’m going to need to call another special meeting at my church to explain this one.”

  60. JephRBNY says:

    C’mon people. It may be that Rob just wants to earn some money. The more controversial he would pose himself to be, the more people will but him.

    1. JephRBNY says:

      I mean “buy”, not “but.”

  61. Did Rob Bell quote anyone other than himself even once in this entire interview? Anyone like, oh, Jesus, for example?

    This interview did absolutely nothing to change my impression of Rob Bell. But it did make me a fan of Martin Bashir. I had no idea about his backstory. Very, very well done.

  62. Hillary says:

    Many of your harsh reactions and unproductive comments (that you’ve now made public) are why the world can’t stand us… all are embarrassing.

    1. nooma says:

      No, the world hates us just as Jesus promised.

      “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18

      1. Hillary says:

        Jesus also said that we will be known by our love for one another. I think there’s a difference in being hated for what Jesus was hated for and being hated for claiming Christ in one breath and slandering a brother in the next. People who don’t know Jesus want nothing to do with a group of people that treat one another this way. Disagreeing and strong concern are not what I’m referring to….it’s the anger and arrogance that embarrass me.

        1. nooma says:

          Feelin’ angry about that are ya?

          I just find it kinda funny how wound up folks get. Come on it was a terrible interview. I never heard of Bell before this and I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. I didn’t like the questions really, but I knew what he was asking.

          If Bell is going give such la la land answers, of course folks are going to hoot and jeer.

  63. truthmatters says:

    A moment of truth, a moment of nothing.

    1. David says:

      Thanks Hilary,

      Well said – have you read the book by Dan Merchant – Lord Save Me From Your Followers? Hits on the same issue – every single person he interviewed from whatever background professed interest and admiration for Jesus but virtually every one who was not a ‘believer’ had severe problems with the ‘Church’ or ‘Christians’

      This is more of the same embarrassing judgementalism that gives rise to these understandable reactions.

      Peace and Love

      1. Warren says:

        David, do you realize that you can accuse someone of anything without being guilty of it yourself, except when you accuse someone of judgementalism. In that moment you have just passed judgment. It’s kind of that splinter/log thing.

  64. Jason says:

    “I were handed things.” [6:33]

    A check from Rupert Murdoch, and his arse from Martin Bashir.

  65. David says:

    Thanks Hilary,

    I have stopped referring to myself as a ‘Christian’ though I am a follower of Jesus Christ because of the self-righteous we are right and all you condemned heretics are wrong attitude so prevalent today. Those who might be attracted to the Jesus I was attracted to because of his unconditional love for me and everyone who ever lived and will live on this earth are quite rightly put off by the lack of humility and grace shown by His supposed followers. Rob Bell is a man who has written a book that poses questions, does not claim to know all the answers but gives an alternative view, help by many throughout history that majors on the love of Christ. My bible also majors on the love of Christ and it is my prayer that that love will draw many people to follow Him. I suspect it will be more effective than telling people repent or burn in hell.

    Thank God for people like Rob – he is human, not right about everything but is entitled to share his honest perspectives. What are you afraid of – that if people believe what Rob writes it will undermine and invalidate what you believe? There needs to be far more openness and less controlling theology as it seems that not one of us has a corner on the truth or even what the bible actually means.

    1. Warren says:

      David, for someone who has no confidence in their beliefs you sure are adamant about what you believe about belief. Are you right about that? Why should I take your word since your only stake in the ground is that you…er…don’t have one.

      So what you are saying is that your controlling theology (i.e. that you have no corner on truth) is better than others here. You know you just invalidated your own argument.

    2. Truth Bear says:

      Does David even see the contradictions and irony in his post?

  66. Jojo Agot says:

    That interview kept me at the edge of my seat. Thank you Martin Bashir for asking those hard questions.

  67. Todd says:

    I don’t think Rob Bell wrestles with these paradoxes as much as he thinks. The questions that he calls the joys of life, well I don’t think he’s thought very much about these at all. A question isn’t a question if one is never seeking any answers. Rob Bell as has been said has made God into his own image, his god is exactly who he’d like him to be. There’s the rub isn’t, if God is God then he would never be as we would like him to be, he would be altogether different, “completly other” as many theologians have called Him. We can put God in a box and try to make sense of it all especially when we are disregaurding so much teaching from the scriptures, but in the end God becomes a much lessor, albeit more palatable God. Simply put, Rob Bell doesn’t love the God of the bible, for if he did he would want to know the God of the bible.

  68. Terrific interview, Bell gives so many nebulous answers we have to thank Bashir for nailing him to the floor to get the truth out of him.

    You know I got dragged into this debate by a particularly fundamentalist pastor who I would passionately give my life for… Never heard of this Bell guy or what the deal was with this book so I took an objective look at it. And honestly it amazes me when people lambast me for my opinion on the matter.

    What do I think of Bell? I think he’s had his finger on the pulse of America longer than in the fruit of the spirit. His theological position is a reconciliation of what he’s been taught with what he’s learned, which he’s admitted in the past he didn’t do particularly well in seminary because he spent more time trying to craft his speaking style than he did learning the message he was speaking. So when he says thousands and thousands of people have been taught this idea of “Jesus saving us from God,” I think he’s extrapolated that more from his interactions as a pastor than any sort of theological position- which he himself has admitted to. In the end “Love Wins” really has nothing to do with true Christianity and more to do with this wishful thinking of reconciling this very common non-belif rejection of God with what everyone would like to hear rather than any sort of Biblical truth. And that in itself is the sad part, what you end up with is this text from this very popular pastor, and as we all know very popular pastors tend to stand out as authority in the hearts and minds of the seeking Christian… and they find this book, not with the answers they need but the answers they want to hear.

    Which brings up another interesting point that I get hit over the head with… Is it the believer’s responsibility for taking away understanding from Rob Bell’s book rather than the Bible, or is it Rob Bell’s for corrupting them? Sort of like is it Judas’ fault for betraying Jesus or Satan’s for making him really like money? And you can’t say both because that’s cheating. :)

    I think in the end it’s an interesting discussion and it should be provoking all pastors to set the record straight with their congregations, because I would agree with Bell, this is a topic that should be discussed in church. I just don’t agree with his conclusions. Or at least what are understood to be conclusions as I haven’t read the book, and given the amount of controversy this has generated is probably going to make him a millionaire anyway, I can’t say I feel compelled to add to that. Which is another reason people disagree with me. I can’t win. Sorry Rob, Love Lost. *lol*

    1. I agree with most everything you said, and find you have a good analysis of what is going on, especially this opener: “Bell gives so many nebulous answers we have to thank Bashir for nailing him to the floor to get the truth out of him.”

      Rob Bell is getting into an area which is a paradox in human minds: A loving God who teaches us to love our enemies to be His children, and then he summarily sends most of them (and our friends, too) off to eternal torment. He really doesn’t handle it with integrity to Scripture.

      On the other hand, you will benefit from understanding paradoxes more. You pose a question about Satan and Judas, asking whose fault it was for Judas’ failure and conclude “And you can’t say both because that’s cheating. :)” On Satan and Judas, Judas will obviously take responsibility….and I’m not sure this one is a paradox where they are both fully to blame, but it would not be “cheating” to take such a stance. Rather, it would be entering into the area of paradoxes.

      Just like the question of whose effort gets us into heaven? 100% God’s and 0% our response and desire is hyper-Calvinism and easy-believism. 0% God’s and 100% our effort brings us to an Armeniaism excess and Catholicism. 50% God’s and 50% ours doesn’t square with Scripture, either.

      G.K. Chesterton, “the prince of paradoxes” once noted “Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites by keeping them both, and keeping them both furious.” Truth is not found in the middle, but fully at both extremes simultaneously. Our Salvation is fully God’s election and working and fully the response of those elect who can hear their own true Shepherd to receive that grace and who continue to work it out in faithfulness unto death.

  69. -Nas says:

    I agree, Martin Bashir asked hard questions, and some that were, in fact, leading. His first offered two false assumptions, and it would have behooved Bell to answer those questions with the true gospel, pointing to a sovereign God. However, by asking those questions, Bashir got to the heart of the matter, which is that Bell won’t state that God is sovereign or all powerful or all holy, or that even in destruction, God is no less glorified.

    Now, I think Bashir was very respectful of Rob Bell as a person, but clearly saw Rob Bell’s view as, at the very least, in conflict with traditional Christianity, and certainly a different gospel than the one preached by “mainstream” evangelicals. So the real point is if Rob Bell is indeed teaching a different gospel (And truth is objective), yet is NOT a universalist(Again, where truth is objective), then you have to make a clear choice: Accept Bell’s teaching of the gospel as the right one, and join with Paul in wishing “eternal” condemnation on those who promote a false gospel,(this option is logically impossible if you subscribe to Bell’s view) or condemn Bell for promoting a false gospel. (Galatians 1: 8-9) Because Bell’s gospel is, in fact, mutually exclusive from the “mainstream” evangelical gospel, and he says as much.

    Above all, love in this. That doesn’t mean “stroke and pamper”, that means “make a conscious commitment to uphold good for others”. Then figure out if pampering and stroking and letting people feel comfortable about a lie is for their good. My take: It’s not. Ever.

    To God be all the Glory.

  70. gus says:

    I think people are too hard on Rob Bell. He just wants everyone to get to heaven… any which way. Even if that means destroying the Scriptures and ushering people to Hell. He means well, though. And I do appreciate his honesty of late; it helps when wolves show the world their teeth.

  71. steven says:

    I heart this interview so much! A plain answer is asked for but can’t be found. Rob Bell’s little sayings sound cool but mean nothing. Bashir does in seven minutes what the evangelical world hasn’t been able to do in ten years…demand a straight answer to a simple question.

  72. LJ says:

    1 Peter 3 is a great passage which reminds us of what Christ has done, how to treat one another and the fact that we should be prepared to give an answer for the faith we have. We have a responsibility to be able to articulate that God is in control and gracious to those who don’t know him. It’s hard to keep all these things in balance but God has given us a helper and Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Let’s be lights that point to truth not create stabling blocks.

    Appreciate your thoughts Nas, you’ve articulated my thoughts in a clearer way.

  73. Mark says:

    Awesome interview! Thanks for posting this, Justin. Way to go, MB!

  74. Brian MacArevey says:

    It was interesting to hear of Bashir’s connection to the neo-Puritan movement; that made a lot of sense to me. It explains why he spoke as if the reformed tradition was the only legitimate tradition that has been around for the last 2000 years. It also explains why his questions exposed him as a full blown modernist who seemed unable to think outside of a logically deterministic box. The questions, from my perspective, revealed the naivety of the questioner, more than it did the “inconsistency” of Bell. This is a perfect example of what it means to put God in a box. Bashir is asking the questions of those who view God as a small God, who is no different from the tribal and pagan deities of the world. God bless.

    1. David Rondo says:

      Yeah, blah blah blah MacArevey, we already know what you think. We know your connection with the neo-fruitcake movement. I think you really are an emergent fundamentalist. You denied it before, but since there are many other “legitimate” traditions and ways of interpreting things, I think you’re an emergent fundy. Who are you to say that I’m wrong?

      Hey, I’m just applying your interpretive method.

      Bashir’s questions revealed the ignorance of the person being interviewed, who couldn’t make sense to a normal person for 5 minutes. But hey, press on serving your illogical, irrational, unreasonable, “outside of the box” version of God, brother!

      1. Brian MacArevey says:

        Thanks for your kindness. I hope you are blessed by your views of God. No sarcasm intended. Its just obvious that we don’t agree David.

        1. David Rondo says:

          Just asking you to make sense, bro.

          For some reason, Scripture can mean many things and it’s OK. But when your own words are interpreted this way, it’s not OK. But then, what does consistency and logic and reason matter? Do you see the gigantic problem with your position?

          And I’m not sure how believing that Christ died for those who trust in him, and who believe in a literal hell, makes God no different from a “tribal” deity. But I guess you get to make these statements without the benefit of argument, given your methodology.

          No sarcasm intended.

          1. Brian MacArevey says:

            Actually, I don’t believe that scripture can “mean many different things” at all; just to be clear. I also believe that “consistency, reason, and logic” really do matter. I think that our problem is that we begin with different presuppositions with regard to the nature of scripture, and thus approach it with opposing hermeneutics. This is a large discussion…to large for a blog comment.

            I absolutely believe that you have the right to question people like Rob Bell, as well as myself…I just think that we all need a little more humility when critiquing the theology of people who are honestly trying to know God, through Jesus Christ, and the scriptures; I don’t see that in either Kevin’s, or Justin’s, takes on this subject. If the man says he’s not a universalist, then he is not a universalist. You might think that he is being inconsistent in light of other things that he says, but that doesn’t really matter at all.

            He is approaching the scriptures from a position that he thinks is more in line with the way that scripture works, so while certain things appear “obvious” to you, the rest of us, who actually (at least in my case) have seen it from your perspective, and have believed that position and defended it vigorously, have begun to see things from what we consider, actually, to be a more biblical perspective. So whatever you say, it is not true at all that people like Rob Bell are moving away from scripture, because from his perspective (and mine), there have been historical and theological developments over the past century or so that have exposed the flaws and the all-too-intimate relationship between modernist thought and reformation teaching. The reformed tradition, especially the Puritans and Princeton, were way more influenced by modernist thought than you might realize at this time, but those presuppositions had a great effect on their exegesis and theology. That’s just one of the problems.

            People like Rob Bell are trying to think like a first century Jew, instead of as a sixteenth century Reformer. They are trying to understand the scripture, as best as they can. Once we strip away the modern assumptions in a (fallible) attempt to reconstruct a first century Jewish mindset, we believe that we will understand the scriptures better. I think that you need to lose the caricature that has been drawn for you of “emergent” type folks, because it is an inaccurate picture. They are not moral relativists, they do believe in truth, and they do believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, and the only name under heaven by which we must be saved. But they also believe that Jesus is a God of grace and love, who works in mysterious ways, and can’t be put in a box. They believe that Spirit filled men and women have been wrong at times, and correct at others. They believe that the creeds and confessions are not infallible, and that you don’t have to subscribe to any of them to belong to Christ.

            Finally, as far as the tribal deity thing goes; Jesus is Lord of the world, who overcomes the powers of this world through suffering and service, not wrath and destruction like the pagan Gods, and he does not favor one group of people over another, like the pagan God’s. His purposes are universal, His grace is unending, and His love is eternal. The reformed God often looks more like the pagan gods, even though you might call him Jesus; for he is just as exclusive, just as wrathful towards outsiders. I don’t see Jesus that way. There is a radical inclusivity about Jesus.

            1. David Rondo says:


              Based on what you have already posted prior to this comment, I don’t see how your first set of observations is consistent with them. People like Rob Bell are not honestly trying to know God through Jesus Christ, they are trying to make God into a Being that fits into their preconceptions about who God should be, and the gospel into something that is palatable.

              Just because Bell says he is not a universalist doesn’t mean he isn’t one. Just like some mobsters kill people and say they never hurt anyone.

              The Scriptures “work” by revealing truth consistent within itself, not by making contradictory statements that end up in incoherence. Indeed, there are mysteries in Scripture, some matters are more difficult to understand than others, but the Bible is understandable, logical, reasonable, and rational. While understanding the thinking of a 1C Jew helps in some regards, the Bible cannot be read and understood en toto from that starting point. That is Bell’s big problem, and yours as well if you take this approach. You need to see more of the big picture. In some important ways, 16th C Reformers understood scripture better than their 1C forefathers.

              You need to lose the caricature you paint with your “neo-Puritan” and “modernist” labels, also the caricatures of emergent types just trying to know God better. I have interacted with enough of them to see that for them, everything is on the table and generally speaking, they don’t like what traditionally has been taught and considered orthodox. So, when that is discarded, other positions have to be found. The result? Rob Bell and the like constructing a theological house of cards that doesn’t handle the text accurately so that it fits into their theological system. Ironic, isn’t it?

              Finally, Jesus is Lord of the World. The gospel is offered to all sinners. His forgiveness, grace, and acceptance is eternal. But He is also a God of wrath against sin and the unrepentent who reject His Son. Only those who are “in Christ” will be saved, and in that sense He is radically exclusive.

              1. Brian MacArevey says:


                This will be my last comment (though I have enjoyed the most recent interaction); feel free to have the last word.

                It seems as though you believe that Rob Bell is lying. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I’m not sure how you could consider yourself “consistent” otherwise. That is what I got out of your “mobster” analogy.

                Second, I didn’t mean to be condescending (sorry if it came off that way) with my language of neo-Puritan and modernist. They are merely descriptive labels, and I realize that they fail to grasp the entire picture. Anyway, sorry if there was an offense. To be clear, I know very well what Calvinists like those in the GC believe, because I wholeheartedly embraced their Calvinism, and them, for quite some time. I’m sure you won’t believe me, but it was the high view of scripture and Christ that developed while a member of the Reformed fellowship that eventually led me to depart from it (at least, these were 2 of many reasons why I left).

                Third, I believe that the scriptures point us towards a “consistent” God, but that does not necessarily mean that we will be able to systematize every aspect of the bible cogently, because they deal with very specific circumstances and situations, and though they speak truth, they are not necessarily “universalized” truths that are true in every situation. We must follow the Spirit, and no longer be bound by the letter.

                As you know, I had a problem with Kevin’s use of the 2 will theory. You say that it is a mystery, I say it is incoherent, illogical, and irrational. How do you decide what is illogical, and what is mystery? It seems rather subjective to me. How can God simultaneously ordain all things, and yet not be the cause of man’s sin? I recognize that Calvinists deny the latter; but I think that this position is more or less ridiculous. Yet, I try not to say that they believe what they claim they don’t. If I applied your methodology to Calvinism, I would have to conclude, logically, that you believe that God makes people sin. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and I think that the most kind thing to do would be to treat Rob as you would like to be treated.

                Lastly, when you said “16th C Reformers understood scripture better than their 1C forefathers”, I became confused. On what basis can you say this? If you say that theology is a process in development, then you really don’t have a leg to stand on when you argue that Rob Bell has departed from the teachings of the church…because you are arguing for the validity of the Reformers, who did exactly that! Also, the point of trying to understand the 1C context is to try to understand the context into which Christ came, and the scriptures were given. Whether you like it or not, you do not approach the scriptures objectively (nor do I); you approach it from a certain frame of reference that has been developed by your life experiences. I believe that we will better understand the text if we can somehow begin to see the things that we are presupposing better, so that we are not unknowingly reading things into the scripture that the authors would not have ever even thought about. If we ignore the fact that this is a problem for us all, then we will never know how much we are distorting the text itself.

              2. David Rondo says:


                I don’t believe Bell is lying, the mobster analogy was meant to illustrate an example of self-deception. He doesn’t “believe” he has hurt anyone, when in reality he has. Bell doesn’t think he is a universalist, but regardless of his protestations, he is–just not by his own off base definition.

                No offense on the labels, except to point out that labels work both ways. You probably don’t like labels when they are used to define you.

                Not being able to systematize every aspect of the Bible cogently is not the issue. Theology never fits perfectly in any particular system, but it does fit most comfortably in a Reformed frame work. I’m sorry you decided to leave this frame work and the fellowship in which you learned it. I don’t know all the circumstances, so I won’t comment on that decision.

                The 2 wills “theory” presents a biblical tension, but is not really illogical in my view. Is God’s will, as expressed in the moral law, ever done in this world? No. Is this the only will He has? How do you explain Providence, etc.? These distinctions are important as these types of issues are complex. If He only has one will, He is a very frustrated God.

                As far as how Rob Bell is treated, when he comes in and tells people that post-mortem repentance and salvation is possible, he is endangering the eternal well-being of souls. I don’t take that lightly. He is an unsafe and unsound guide, and needs to be exposed as such. No where in the Bible do you find light treatment of false teachers. It’s not the time to be nice.

                All scriptural knowledge is not tied up in the 1C. The Reformers and others had the benefit of hindsight. They understood better the issues with regard to justification by faith alone, for example. Doctrine doesn’t develop, but our understanding of it does. Rob Bell’s “developing understanding” cannot be proven or deduced from Scripture.

                As far as your comments on pagan or tribal deities, all the false gods of the pagan tribes were poor imitations of the true and living God of Israel. The devil always distorts God’s image. That doesn’t mean that God’s wrath, or His requirement for sacrifice (and human, at that) is particularly pagan in origin. All the false religions ape the real one. That doesn’t mean we abandon what God has revealed about His wrath against sin. God’s wrathe, unlike that of the tribal gods, is just, holy and righteous (not arbitrary and unmerciful).

                You imply that where you are at now theologically is an advancement from where you were. Fine. But don’t you see, given your ideals about making orthodoxy as wide as possible, your assertions of being “right” and the Reformed “wrong” are arrogant? I guess you haven’t shed your Reformed moorings…

                Thanks for the conversation

  75. John Read says:

    I think we’re all missing the point. The most important question of the day, perhaps to be answered by Rob in his follow-up book is: “Do all dogs REALLY go to Heaven?”. :)

    1. maryE says:

      Go to heaven? Where is it?

      1. Stacy says:

        Read your Bible Mary, then you’ll have a really good idea where it will be located.

  76. truthmatters says:

    Bell, he’s out to prove he’s got nothing to prove.

  77. Wes says:

    It is said that “ A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down……” but lately it’s all been sugar and no medicine!! someone tell it how it is!

  78. Matt says:

    What a gift. He asks great questions AND sound like Ravi Zacharias…

  79. steve hays says:

    Bashir: You ate your mother for breakfast. That’s true, isn’t it?

    Bell: I begin with the belief that when we eat our mother, God eats our mother. I begin with a divine being who is profoundly empathetic, compassionate and stands in solidarity with cannibals.

    Bashir: I get that. But did you eat your mother for breakfast?

    Bell: Eating your mother for breakfast is one culinary perspective within the stream of Christian cannibalism. There’s been within the Christian tradition a number of people who eat their mother for breakfast, but others eat her for lunch, or save her for dinner. Then there’s postmortem cannibalism. One of the things in the book I’m clear on and want people to see is that this tradition has all of these different opinions on the right time to eat your mother.

    Bashir: So did you eat or not?

    Bell: It’s a beautiful hope. We ought to keep that front and center.

    Bashir: You’re trying to have it both ways. That doesn’t make sense. Yes or no: did you or didn’t you eat your mother for breakfast?

    Bell: I think that’s a paradox at the heart of Christian cannibalism.

  80. Typical Bell Follower says:

    I’m absolutely certain there is no certainty.

    It’s the absolute truth; there is no absolute truth.

    Here I am, judging you for being judgmental.

    You &%$#%& jerk! Why are such a mean name-caller!

    My bible says your bible sucks.

    I know you are, but what am I?

    1. I agree. Your God is so huge right now.

      I’m sure all the narrow idiots who haven’t read the gospels will love this interview, but those of us who hate labels disagree with the fundie literalists.

      Bell did an excellent job moving beyond the binary questions. Binary is automatically bad. If you disagree with me you are a Bush Republican.

  81. Sarath says:

    Almost makes me think that Bashir is a Christian. Excellent questions. And Rob Bell seemed to be skirting around the questions rather than answering them head on.

    1. Scott says:

      Bashir is a Christian – goes to Redeemer PCA in NYC.

  82. Tony Romano says:

    Typical liberal who basks in the grinning irony of his own horrible inconsistencies. His entire premise is based upon the horrible notion that we’re dogmatic about what happens in the afterlife…while all the while being dogmatic about what happens in the after life. Bashir pointed this out. And Bell smiled. That’s what used car salesmen do. You can dress up what you think is the Gospel all day long…you can make it “palatable;” but the fact remains: some won’t believe even if someone were to rise from the dead. So don’t think they are impressed…no answers make people more angry than hard ones. The world may disdain dogmatic preachers who try to hold to the Scripture, but they loathe hucksters even more.

  83. Brian says:

    Thanks for the laughs with those have satirically demonstrated non-judgmental judgmental and the I am not certain but I am certain about you vibe. Those who are upset with the propositions of other tribes sure have their own tribal commitments, do they not? Funny to watch if it was not so sad.

    As for those who have tackled the theodicy question after I brought it up, I am pretty much in agreement with the answers given, and do agree that it is a question that must be tackled and can be tackled. However, I do stand by the thought that it is one of the tougher questions that pastor-theologians face and we don’t have all the answers this side of heaven. And of course, giving an implied open theist answer like Rob Bell did is no answer at all (he would never own up to the fact that he sounded like an open theist). If Rob Bell is flirting around with open theism, then how does he know that eventually “love wins?”

    1. matt says:

      your idea of open theism is incorrect. open theism says that God, being all powerful, has given freedom to humanity, and has chosen to create in the space/time continuum that we know as life. while God chooses to withhold some of His power within this continuum, there are certain things that He will do, regardless of humanity’s response/activity/etc. so the idea of love winning in the end is not at all opposed to an open theist’s worldview.

      not sure if RB would support open theism, but this view does have historical connection within orthodox christian history.

  84. Stephen says:

    Bell seemed to skirt around the questions and I kept wondering if Bashir was thinking “This is like nailing jello to the wall”

  85. Ted says:

    “As a communicator, Rob Bell is a genius. He is the master of the pungent question, the turn-the-picture-upside-down story, and the personal anecdote. Like Harry Emerson Fosdick, the paladin of pulpit liberalism, Rob Bell is a master communicator. ”

  86. Rob Schwarzwalder says:

    I am most impressed by Mr. Bashir and, as an Evangelical, saddened by my brother Rob Bell’s self-contradictory, emotion-driven presentation. God does not delight in punishment but is just, and cannot countenance our sin – thus, He has made the way of escape for us in the atoning sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, God’s eternal Son, yet born as a man in the flesh. He took the penalty He Himself imposed.

  87. truthmatters says:

    If Rob Bell believed John 3:16 and could understand it in reverse, he would solve his theological dilemma. A positive always infers a negative and visa versa.

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever disbelieves in him shall perish and not have eternal life.

    1. matt says:

      what you are proposing is not at all opposed to RB’s teaching/theology as put forth in this interview, or other interviews around this book. his question and struggle and discussion is built around what ‘perish’ means in the verse you quote. RB clearly stated that he believes in a hell in the present and a hell in the future (in the book he clearly states this). he just wrestles with what that is. as we all should.

      1. truthmatters says:

        @ matt,

        “Perish” is connected to ‘Eternal life’ and is based on belief—(faith)”also, “For by grace you have been saved through faith” This too in the reverse can be understood to mean: No faith, no grace.

        The Greek word for perish is; apolluon, which means, “to destroy fully”

  88. Rob Bell interview renamed: “Cat on a hot tin roof”.

    There is more dancing around on this interview then a Fed Astaire and a Ginger Roger movie.

    1. David says:


  89. ken says:

    I would just like to first point out that the interviewer, as he turns to Bell (whom I disagree with) begins with a false dilemma.. so all that would have to be done to refute this charge initially, is simply to point out that there is a tertium quid… note: its not necessary that the interviewer or anyone else agree to the third option, but pointing out that his dilemma is a false one does away with his objection from a strictly logical perspective. In any case he attempts to invoke Euthyphro’s and Hume’s discussion of evil, but through the work of Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga, it is generally understood, even by atheistic philosophers, that there isn’t anything inherently logically contradictory about the 2 propositions:

    an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God exists


    evil exists…

    William Lane Craig states that its possible that just as God cannot create a round square, yet this does not indicate that God’s power is lacking (not omnipotent)in some way, so too it may be the case that no world can be created in which some evil does not exist. Secondly, in terms of God’s benevolence, pain and suffering are sometimes useful to God to teach us… CS Lewis wrote “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – The Problem of Pain

    Again, this is just related to the logical problem of evil.. the probabilistic and the emotional aspects to the problem are different issues entirely. But however one answers this question, whats often forgotten is that EVERYONE, regardless of their worldview, has to answer this problem… the atheistic/materialistic secular answer is, (for them, given their inherent ethical relativism, they can’t — that is they don’t have epistemic grounds— to say that ANYTHING is evil in an absolute sense) for me, far less satisfying, both intellectually and psychologically, then the Christian/Theistic answer…

    I would add that Bell’s answer to this not only fails to immediately point out the interviewer’s improper invoking of a false dilemma, he also fails to answer the question from an orthodox Christian perspective, his answer is closer to Open Theist/Process Philosophy then to Christianity…

  90. Bashir hit him with LPoE right up front. All Bell could say to that was “It’s a paradox.”

    What a lightweight!

  91. Jeff says:

    My views of theology have been recently impacted by reading and thinking aobut the book of Job – in Job’s own words, he assumes God is judging him, essentially calls God unjust for doing so, and then is rebuked by his more religiously-minded friends who remind him repeatedly of God’s sovereignty and justice, etc. And then God speaks out of the whirlwind, and ends up upholding Job and rebuking his rebukers, “you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” In my view, Rob Bell isn’t Job, but I can’t help but interpret many of the comments on this blog as well as the American evangelical world, as just echoes of Job’s friends. Like them, thinking they are God’s mouthpieces, when the whirlwind comes finally again, I think many of these so-called theologians, amateur and professional, and bloggers too, will realize that they were not telling the truth about God.

  92. Jeff just rebuked himself.

  93. Rodlie Ortiz says:

    I agree with the main idea of Rob Bell’s book, that Love does win, but from a different perspective. I believe that the idea of an eternal burning hell fire where God punishes and tortures people for eternity (for some moments of sin) does make God out to be a scary monster. It’s been said that the doctrine of eternal hell fire has made the most atheists out of any Christian doctrine. Romans 3:23 says that the “wages of sin is death,” but many Christians have tried to make the issue of where you want to spend eternity–in heaven or hell, which is false. God doesn’t give you eternal life to spend where you chose. The Hebrew concept is that the wicked are destroyed. And that’s it. That is the end of it. This idea that there is a God of heaven and a god of the underworld (devil) is not based on Scripture, but on Greek and Roman mythology, that made it’s way into the church in the first few centuries as they were attempting to convert pagans. Just some things to think about.

    1. Rodlie Ortiz says:

      Oops. I meant to reference Romans 6:23, not 3:23. Sorry.

    2. David says:

      >>This idea that there is a God of heaven and a god of the underworld (devil) is not based on Scripture, but on Greek and Roman mythology, that made it’s way into the church in the first few centuries as they were attempting to convert pagans.

      Very true. Scripture teaches that hell is not a place that “Satan” rules, but where God rules and Satan, the false prophet, death etc are cast to live in torment forever. (Rev 20)

      Whether this is literal or not, the point is that the end is not good for those whose names are not written in the book of life.

      1. Rodlie Ortiz says:

        It’s completely true that the ultimate point is that the end of not good for the wicked, but how this comes to be is very important and should not be glossed over as it speaks directly to the character of God.

  94. Ryan Gear says:

    Bashir did not hurt Rob Bell’s argument in any way. I blogged about this today at; Bashir tried to back Rob into a corner that doesn’t exist.

    1. David says:

      In your blog you refer to the NT “hell” references but ignore the gist of what those references indicate about hell. If Jesus uses the term “Gehenna” for hell, we need to know why he would use that as a reference. You probably already know that it was the local garbage dump, constantly burning where all things “unclean” were dumped, even the bodies of executed criminals. Why would Jesus use this as a word picture for a people that knew exactly what that place stood for? Was it to scare them?

      “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell(gehenna).”

      And who is the “One” in this passage from Matthew?

      Does God destroy both body and soul?

      1. Billy Liu says:

        “Does God destroy both body and soul?”

        I’m sure God can destroy whatever He wants, no?

        1. David says:

          I completely agree. I’m pointing out that Jesus makes these statements, that he’s not the fluffy bunny nor is God the Father. As Jesus makes the point that we aren’t to worry about what “people” do, even if our lives are on the line.. Jesus says to his disciples to be afraid of the “One” that can detroy body and soul.

          If thats “God”, then Jesus’ God seems to be a different one than Rob Bell seems to be naming.

      2. Jeff says:

        David – The context of the ‘hell/gehenna’ passages is the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is teaching about discipleship to his disciples. Jesus is talking to the chosen ones already, saying they are in danger of hell for calling out a fool, committing adultery, etc. Matthew, like all the gospels, were written to established communities of Christian faith – When we are reading these passages, we should have our discipleship in mind, not anything or anyone else. Jesus is speaking to ‘Christians’, then and now … If we commit adultery … If we call out others as fools … then we will be in danger of hell.

        I think the issue is considering the hearer’s concept of gehenna. With the translation of the word ‘hell’, we have over 2000 years of church doctrine that we read anachronistically back into the text. So, what we think should be automatically assumed, isn’t the case, really.

        1. David says:


          The passage i referenced is from Matt 10. And it’s context is clearly about the division that was/is taking place between those that would hear the message of the disciples and those that would not.

          In this passage Jesus clearly had more than “our discipleship” in mind. Moreso, how we go into the world, the message we carry, the fear we might have, who hold the keys to “heaven” and “hell”.. etc. etc. etc.

          I think Peter sums it up well in 1 Peter 4, “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

          The only thing i would concede is that this may be translated in its more literal context that this only applies to the disciples and the “Lost Children of Israel” who may or may not accept their message.

          >>>If we commit adultery … If we call out others as fools … then we will be in danger of hell.

          Are you saying here that the only people who are in danger of hell are the Christians that commit adultry, call others a fool, etc.?

          1. David says:

            *”translated” meant to say “interpreted”.

            1. Jeff says:

              David –

              Well, first, you anticipated my contextual clarification that Mt. 10 refers to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’ – But, moreover, I think that the common 1st century Jewish idea of God’s judgment was that the whole world would be burned up in a cosmic firestorm, burning up even the dust of the earth. Which is why Jesus warns them to shake the dust off, lest the burning dust consumes the twelve in fire too. It’s not a reference to our idea of hell. Perhaps, it’s relavant that many ancient cultures had the general belief that the world would be consumed by fire or drowned in water (see Mircea Eliade for helpful studies on ancient cosmology and how they might apply here).

              Second, I think the word you’re using for hell (Mt 16) is the Greek Hades – Hades is the world of the dead, righteous and unrighteous. Again, it’s not the modern word-concept for hell, even if it’s unfortunately translated that way.

              Third, I think it’s ironic that Peter throws out a rhetorical question (I Peter 4:17), but Rob Bell throws out suggestive questions in like fashion, and he’s criticized for employing it. Again, judgment does not necessarily lead to hell or heaven for that matter; rather, krimatos (Gr) is something that everyone will be subject to…

              And about my comment on Christians being in danger of ‘hell’ – I’m saying that Christians need to realize that there are no ‘insiders’ to God’s kingdom. Because God is in the business of calling people who aren’t his people, his people.

              1. David says:


                Good discussion. Some responses:

                >>>But, moreover, I think that the common 1st century Jewish idea of God’s judgment was that the whole world would be burned up in a cosmic firestorm, burning up even the dust of the earth.

                Yes, i think that’s consistent with both Peter’s view and Jesus’ view in the gospels as well as his revelation to John (Revelation 20). I’m not equating the heavens and the earth being consumed with hell. Hell is entirely different. I think scripture is clear that the old “heavens and earth” will be replaced by the new heaven and earth. Not sure what point you’re making there. Can you explain more so i understand where you’re coming from as it relates to things i’ve said?

                >>>Second, I think the word you’re using for hell (Mt 16) is the Greek Hades – Hades is the world of the dead, righteous and unrighteous. Again, it’s not the modern word-concept for hell, even if it’s unfortunately translated that way.

                I’m aware of the various uses of hell, but in the case i mentioned, (Matthew 10) Jesus uses Gehenna as a place that God could send people if he wished. By using Gehenna Jesus is evoking a place that every Jew at the time would have considered as a place they didn’t want to be. Stinking, burning, and unclean. Again, i think its clear that Jesus is saying that God can do this if he pleases and that fire is the vehicle that God would use to destroy. At least thats the imagery.

                I don’t think i’ve used a verse yet that uses Hades or Sheol in the original.

                >>>Third, I think it’s ironic that Peter throws out a rhetorical question (I Peter 4:17), but Rob Bell throws out suggestive questions in like fashion, and he’s criticized for employing it. Again, judgment does not necessarily lead to hell or heaven for that matter; rather, krimatos (Gr) is something that everyone will be subject to…

                Yes, we will all be judged, that is quite clear in scripture, but Paul elaborates much on justification that i hope we don’t have to discuss here (ie. Romans 3).

                I think Peter (who i believe is writing to gentiles), if you read the rest of his letters has a developed view of the place for the unjust up until the final judgement and then implies that something terrible as a result. Peter’s statement is rhetorical, but implies a negative result for the unjust.
                Jesus makes the same implications in Revelations regarding what happens to those whose names are not in the Book of Life. No?

                Bell seems to want it to be a positive outcome for all.
                I haven’t read Bell’s book, but it seems there is an assertion that we all go to heaven after judgement. Am i understanding that correctly? I saw the video about Ghandi, but i think we all know Ghandi denied the atonement and ressurection. Essential i would think. Unless his works without Christ would justify him. If that is the case then Bell would be equating Ghandi with Christ? Ghandi, a perfect man?

                >>>And about my comment on Christians being in danger of ‘hell’ – I’m saying that Christians need to realize that there are no ‘insiders’ to God’s kingdom.

                I think i get what you are trying to say here, but i would say it differently and in a way that implies more what i think Jesus was getting at, that the Kingdom is not “closed”.

                Jesus chastised the religious leaders for “keeping” people out the Kingdom. Jesus turned the whole thing on its head by changing what it meant to be an “insider”. An insider is one who obeys him, the master, no matter what walk of life, place in the caste, color or creed. His only caviat was, “first for the jew, then for the gentile.”

                There certainly were insiders as he himself declared many as outsiders.

                >>>Because God is in the business of calling people who aren’t his people, his people.

                Yes, and he calls those that think they are his people, not his based on conditions. I think that is a real point to make. There are those that are not God’s and will never be God’s. But that may be a different discussion.

                One thing i think that we can agree on is that all who follow Jesus are supposed to be like cities on a hill. A place that a tired, lonely, broken down weary traveler will see from a distance and run to because they hope that rescue lives there. And when they arrive they see Jesus, and he offers them new life.

    2. David Rondo says:

      Right Ryan. Good one.

      And what exactly was Bell’s argument?

    3. David Rondo says:

      Also, I didn’t know you could get backed into a corner that doesn’t exist. Boy, he sure got backed into it amazingly well, for something that doesn’t exist

    1. Rodlie Ortiz says:

      Hey Donsands,

      Not sure that issuing quotations back and forth is the best way to “prove” this. To respond to the quote, though, the issue is not innocent suffering. I believe that those that will be destroyed in hell will all merit it, but I think it’s an issue of justice. Does a loving God inflict torture and punishment for eternities for 70 years worth of sin? That certainly seems like a non-commensurate over-reaction. If I grounded my son for 5 years, but for sake of him disobeying me for one day, he would probably think I’m a monster. And yet we’re making God out to do this for an eternity? Here’s a thought from John Stott:

      “Emotionally, I find the concept [of eternal conscious torment in hell] intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterising their feelings or cracking under the strain. But our emotions are a fluctuating, unreliable guide to truth and must not be exalted to the place of supreme authority in determining it . . . my question must be — and is — not what does my heart tell me, but what does God’s word say? (Evangelical Essentials, pp. 315-16)

  95. donsands says:

    “Just some things to think about.” Rodie

    Here’s quote for you to think about as well:

    ““No matter how we analyze the concept of hell it often sounds to us as a
    place of cruel and unusual punishment. If, however, we can take any
    comfort in the concept of hell, we can take it in the full assurance
    that there will be no cruelty there. It is impossible for God to be
    cruel. Cruelty involves inflicting a punishment that is more severe or
    harsh than the crime. Cruelty in this sense is unjust. God is incapable
    of inflicting an unjust punishment. The Judge of all the earth will
    surely do what is right. No innocent person will ever suffer at
    His hand.” -RC Sproul

  96. Maryanne Van Deventer says:

    Sad really….Christ died for a reason. If everyone gets in, in the end then Christ died in vain. You either take the Word of God as His Word or you don’t. Most people would say the Bibles messages got lost in translation along the way. However when God gave His words to the writers don’t you think he knew how to protect that from happening? We all want everything our own way, but as Christians the very heart of the gospel is not negotiable.

  97. Joel says:

    I’m not a fan of Bell, but I found Bashir’s line of questioning to be questionable. I’m not addressing whether they were hard or soft, but the content. His opening question was a false dichotamy, that any Christian wouldn’t be able to say either answer. We’d say neither option was true. When he said ‘that’s true isn’t it?’ to Bell’s use of scripture. Does he expect Bell to say “no, it’s not.” Of course not. So, if Bell says “no” as expected, it isn’t intellectually honest or creative to simply state that again. Most of his questions were half baked, and I wish he would’ve done a better job. His intent was to get Bell to address certain issues, and he could’ve done a better job. If he wanted Bell to admit to post-mortem salvation, rather than saying ‘immaterial,’ which universalist or not, Bell wouldn’t agree to, he could’ve asked whether salvation was tied to this life alone, etc.

  98. Ross says:

    You have made it so obvious that you dislike Rob Bell (the person, not the book). Your opinion has lost all credibility. The fact that you are using an interview from MSNBC to support your point of view is ridiculous.

    1. Brian says:


      “You have made it so obvious that you dislike Rob Bell (the person, not the book).”

      If you say so.

  99. Liam Moran says:

    Bashir did an excellent job with his questions. He fielded them in a way that appropriately addressed the concerns raised by the critics while exposing Bell as one who cannot defend his position. Bell did not reference Scripture once. That says it all. I think he proved what Bashir was saying was indeed accurate–he has made a gospel that is palatable to contemporary culture.

  100. donsands says:

    Rodlie Ortiz:
    You shared your thoughts. And so i shared Rc Sproul’s thoughts on hell. RC is quite an incredible teacher of the truth, and is well received in the Body of Christ.
    As is John Stott.

    John’s quote is a good one. His emotions struggle with the truth. And we all should. But the truth doesn’t depend on me or you. It is what God has spoken.
    I think it is unbelievable that a holy God would give this earth the time a day, let alone food and shelter. And what is most unbeliebale is for a Father to allow filthy sinners who hate Him, and His Son to torture His Son, and then murder His Son.
    Woudl you allow your son to be spit upon, and slapped, and mocked? Would you allow others to whip your son’s back until it was torn to threads, and then mock him, and then hammer nails through his hands and feet?
    I wouldn’t. And my grand-sons are wonderful, but they are bad.
    Jesus was all good and loving, and did nothing wrong, and His Father was pleased to crush Him; the love of His heart, a wrenched-heart I’m sure.
    This makes no sense, but we accept it don’t we.
    Hell is what the Bible says, and we need to trust God. He knows what is just, not us.

    1. David says:

      donsands- Good word.

  101. Matt says:

    Tim Keller has perpetuated the “gates of hell are locked from the inside” view of hell,which as far as I know is derived from C.S. Lewis. I like this, but even though Keller suggests that this view is much worse, or more awful than the fiery hell (Reason for God), it isn’t. It also, as far as I can tell, isn’t very scriptural. So, Keller has gone and created a much nicer more palatable view of hell, hasn’t he? Hasn’t he? Isn’t that what he’s done? Which of these is true? Either Keller has preached nice hell heresy, or Reformed people have revised orthodoxy? Which one is true?

  102. jonmarq says:

    Bell’s quasi-universalist take on salvation doesn’t concern me nearly as much as the narcissistic imaginations of his heart that enable him to make a god in his own image and likeness. If his version of love wins, everybody loses.

  103. Ernest Manges says:

    I’ve two bones to pick: one minor and one major.

    Bashir refers to Origen of Alexandria in his question to Bell where he is trying to get Bell to state whether there is any authority that determines what from Christian tradition is true. I like the question, but don’t appreciate the use of Origen – who is most likely NOT a universalist. That’s my minor “bone.”

    My major “bone” is Bell’s evasive answers. He dodges almost every single question.

    Bashir was just doing his job as a journalist. Anyone who’s watched British TV interviews knows that Bashir was actually not as hard on Bell as he could have been (and Bashir’s background is in British TV journalism).

  104. a silenced voice says:

    Really don’t appreciate Bashir’s tactics … leads off with there are only 2 choices given the tsunami … God is not all-powerful, or God doesn’t care. That’s a false dichotomy. If Bashir’s pastor is indeed Tim Keller, how would he have answered that question in 7 minutes or less? It was unnecessarily aggressive … “you’ve twisted Scripture, isn’t that right?” Cmon ….

    1. Ernest Manges says:

      I’m sure Bell wasn’t forced to do this interview. Bashir is known for hard-hitting interviewing. If you publish a book that calls into question the way the vast majority of scholars and theologians have understood final judgment, you should be willing to face some hard questions. I do give kudos to Pastor Bell for doing this interview. I don’t give him kudos for his very inadequate answers.

  105. Carlos says:

    Bell was exposed…

  106. Whether in normal conversation or as a reporter … asking a question in the way Bashir did is childish. He asked his questions in such a way to try to force the answers that he wanted … “aren’t you?” “Isn’t it?” “Right?”

    How childish!

    As for Bell … I think he did extremely well considering the pressure he was put under. I assume there are many viewers who never heard of him before that will now pick up his book … because he said enough to offer glimmers of hope that Christianity is broader than it’s being painted by many people.

  107. Todd says:

    Don you said, “Hell is what the Bible says, and we need to trust God. He knows what is just, not us.” There it is, the argument always comes back to God’s justice because man thinks he knows better than God Almighty. Ridiculous isn’t it? This arrogance is the very sin that will condemn all those who will not place their trust in Jesus’ propitiating work on the cross. Rob Bell’s most basic problem is that God will condemn him to hell if he will not place his trust in Jesus. Sounds so archaic and so horribly unfair unless you consider that Mr. Bell is stepping all over Jesus and his cross, he is belittling it whether he is ignorant to it or not. The price that was paid for our sin is far greater than any of us can comprehend and the price for unbelief consequently will be far worse than we can even imagine. God have mercy on us all, for in the end we are all beggars at the foot of the cross, we are only worthy of condemnation, but God being rich in mercy …

  108. Bart says:

    As a survivor of Evangelical Christian education (high school & college) I’ve managed to avoid many of these pointless debates in the last 15 years. Then came Facebook, and all my “friends” from Christian college – the ones who abandoned me during my crisis of faith – wanted to be FB buddies. And now I’m seeing posts about this Rob Bell in my news feed all week.
    And I’m glad. I’m glad Bell is out there, stirring it up, as he should. I love when these Christo-Intellectual Gen-X’ers turn off the Mumford & Sons and U2 long enough to get pissed by a new radical idea. Which isn’t new at all. Remember a huge best seller in the 90’s called Conversations with God which proposed the theory that even Hitler went to Heaven, because everyone does? No, you probably don’t. You probably discounted it and didn’t get your holy knickers in a twist because Neal Donald Walsh didn’t put Pastor in front of his name.
    And I love the accusation that Bell is making Christianity more palatable. Why is it bad that he does it, but Bill Hybels and a thousand other mega-church gameshow hosts, I mean pastors have been doing it for decades?
    You’re all ridiculous? This is what you’re upset about? Have you seen what’s going on outside your bubble??? Wake up and find a real issue . . . and a clue.
    P.S. I am a Christian, and God is love. And there is no guy in a red suit and horns with a pitchfork. Hell was created by men to control the masses, and I see by your anger it’s still working!

    1. Mike S. says:


      I am sorry that your so called friends failed you during your crisis of faith. I know i can be hard to deal with doubt, anger, wonder, and confusion over why things are the way they are. At least that is what I struggled and continue to struggle.

      You appear to still be angry over that event/time in your life and with people you equate with those who let you down. The last time I checked, human being fail. And they fail spectacularly in spectacular ways. That is why the gospel is desperately needed, if humans were capable of following God without help, God in Christ would not have had to come to earth.

      But we do need Him. Because we cannot fix ourselves and God grants us the holiness we need through the love of Christ in His life, death, and resurrection. It is only through Christ that all the suffering in the world makes sense and we get to be part of the relief of it instead of the cause.

      May God bless you all riches of glory in Christ,

      P.S. I am a Christian and God is Love, Holy, and Just. There is no guy in a red suit with a pitchfork because that is a gross misrepresentation of the devil and his ultimate fate. Hell was created by God for the future destruction of the devil, his followers, and death itself. I see that you are still angry by those who you judge to be less than worthy of your picture of Christianity presented to you by those who failed you in the past.

  109. donsands says:

    “Hell was created by men to control the masses, and I see by your anger it’s still working!”-Bart

    So Jesus made it up?

  110. PvR says:

    I do not agree with Bell.

    Having said that I think Martin is very harsh at times. I wish the questions could’ve been asked with more love instead of attacking him. Either way Rob would’ve been exposed if the same questions were asked. Especially the last three questions could’ve been asked differently.

    Also I feel like this format might have not been the best format to create a dialogue and discuss theology. I agree that Rob Bell needs to be called out on the things that are not correct but like I said not like the way Martin did it.

  111. Norma Andersen says:

    LOL I Love Martin Brashir! I was mad at him over the Michael Jackson thing but he has now redeemed himself in my eyes. He made Rob Bell answer questions. He was trying to be so evasive and Martin says ANSWER QUESTION.

  112. Norma Andersen says:

    Martin Brashir will expose all the quacks out there for sure.

  113. bah says:

    As a christian journalist I was disappointed with both men. Brashir was not seeking the truth-he was trying to aggressively corner Bell into saying what he wanted or discrediting him completely–evidence of poor journalism-the right questions will be innocent and leave all the guilt to be found in the answers. I was disappointed in Bell-because if you are christian pastor writing a book about doctrine then you need to have some confidence-in yourself and in the message God gave you to spread. I haven’t read the book-but his lack of confidence reminds me why I didn’t attend his church in Michigan and I can say with confidence I won’t be reading his book.

  114. Ryan says:

    I know people who will never, ever, step foot in a church again because of this whole debate. They have been actually spiritually and emotionally scarred because we Christians are exactly the opposite of what Christ calls us to be when it comes to disagreements about doctrine. Something to think about …

    1. -Nas says:

      Hi Ryan,

      Romans 8:38-39. It is God that saves and keeps His own. Be comforted that He will not lose any He has called because of these arguments. That said, we would all do well to love one another carefully in our disagreements, being firm and reasonable but never cruel.

      Peace. If possible.

  115. donsands says:

    “I know people who will never, ever, step foot in a church again because of this whole debate.”

    The Church isn’t perfect. Christ is. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
    Tell these people you know that the good news of Christ is that He has forgiveness for their sins, and that the church is made up of a lot different sinners, who struggle in this life, and yet when this life is over, which is like a vapor really, these sinners who are forgiven will be in glory with Jesus, and not have to answer for their sins, and be judged and feel God’s holy wrath.
    That’s what I would tell them Ryan.

  116. Brian says:


    I imagine you are speaking in generalities. This present debate is not causing anyone to shun stepping foot in a church unless they were well on their way to that conclusion before this. I would imagine that those who flooded this board attend church. They are either from new kind of Christian types of churches or they are from old kind of Christian types of churches. It takes two to tango. If the new type of Christian person is not supposed to argue about doctrine, tell them to stop arguing if that is what it means to be like Jesus. Bell’s publishers with Bell’s help knew they could pick a fight by seriously questioning the traditional doctrine of hell. Bell, do not kid yourself, is engaged in arguing about doctrine.

    I would examine the your underlying premise. Jesus at times massively offended people (not just the religious leaders) with his words. Often the conflicts reflected a major divide in doctrine.

    How was Jesus’ brother not like Jesus here?:
    “Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 11-13). I am sure Jude turned some people off.

  117. Jeff says:

    >>>i think that’s consistent with both Peter’s view and Jesus’ view in the gospels as well as his revelation to John (Revelation 20) … Can you explain more so i understand where you’re coming from as it relates to things i’ve said?<<>>I don’t think i’ve used a verse yet that uses Hades or Sheol in the original.<<>>I think Peter (who i believe is writing to gentiles), if you read the rest of his letters has a developed view of the place for the unjust up until the final judgement and then implies that something terrible as a result. Peter’s statement is rhetorical, but implies a negative result for the unjust. Jesus makes the same implications in Revelations regarding what happens to those whose names are not in the Book of Life. No?<<>>Bell seems to want it to be a positive outcome for all. I haven’t read Bell’s book, but it seems there is an assertion that we all go to heaven after judgement. Am i understanding that correctly? I saw the video about Ghandi, but i think we all know Ghandi denied the atonement and resurrection. Essential i would think. Unless his works without Christ would justify him. If that is the case then Bell would be equating Ghandi with Christ? Ghandi, a perfect man?<<>>There certainly were insiders as he himself declared many as outsiders.<<>>One thing i think that we can agree on is that all who follow Jesus are supposed to be like cities on a hill. A place that a tired, lonely, broken down weary traveler will see from a distance and run to because they hope that rescue lives there. And when they arrive they see Jesus, and he offers them new life.<<<

    Agreed! But, what about the weary traveler who never gets to see that light? This is Rob Bell's basic question. Paul claims that Israel failed her commission to be the light to the nations – Has the church really fared any better? Already, billions of people have died in their sins – as well of being victims of sinners and some of them 'Christian' – without ever seeing the light of Christ. This is unacceptable to me, and I can't see how it would be acceptable to God.


    By the way, I appreciate your points and your fair Christian attitude in this discussion – It’s been constructive … But, I also can’t spend my time blogging/commenting too much; so, this will be my last reply. Please know that I will read your response should you spend the time to write one. Thank you!

    “Let us who are Christians not condemn one another, but, if we are wiser than they are, let us also be better and more merciful." – Sebastian Castellio.

    1. Jeff says:

      David, for whatever reason, the site deleted 70% of my comment when trying to give you some responses.

  118. donsands says:

    “Already, billions of people have died in their sins”

    And we all could have died in our sins really, if not for the mercy of God.
    That’s what we all deserve. Yet God is going out, through His church and seeking and saving rebels.
    What an awesome God!
    Satan will hinder us at times, but God’s kingdom will not fail, but will go forth, and “the gates of hell will not prevail.”

  119. andrew says:

    this was a really unfortunate interview for Bell. Bashir owned him and when it was clear Bell wasn’t actually there to answer any questions, except by way of fluffy evasion, Bashir let fly that incredible accusation at 4:34 and then again at 5:40 and 5:56. C’mon Bell, answer the question he has now asked four separate times!

  120. Mike Moses says:

    Paul Edwards interviewed Martin Bashir today regarding Rob Bell:

  121. sal says:

    This interview was excellent. Bell gulped b/c he knew he was cornered and Bashir did an excellent job using facts and pushing the questions that were avoided. Bell’s doctrine is clearly a product of his own speculation.
    For a very good program exposing many frauds similar to Bell, I recommend the FightingfortheFaith Podcast. The last hour has a sermon review from the likes of Bell and other bible twisters; which happens to be most of the mainstream church.

  122. Patricia says:

    Martin, you don’t understand what are you asking Rob. You set up this premise that God either cares and is incapable of intervening in our lives, or He is capable but just doesn’t care. Martin, He cares very much and sometimes He chooses the suffering. Read your Bible my friend. He doesn’t chose the suffering as humans would choose- for vengeful purposes. He chooses to bring humanity to Himself in His time and His way. Go to the website and find out the Lord loves ALL and will bring All to Himself by Way of His Son. Sounds crazy but it’s not. If some of you will seek this out you will find the best news possible- not so we can “sin so grace may abound” but because Jesus came to be the Savior of the Whole World and that includes all of you.

  123. J. Mason says:

    Martin Bashir forcefully accuses the author, Rob Bell, of being disingenuous and quoting selectively from texts to support his point at the expense of the whole truth. Further, Bashir cites his Living with Michael Jackson documentary as an example of his own fidelity to (his words) ‘the essence of the journalistic process is to tell the truth’. Actually, the Jackson program was carefully shaped for marketing to American news organizations at a time of very high anti-Jackson sentiment, NOT the Jackson-is-Messiah climate Bashir claims he was duty-bound as an investigative journalist to examine in the interests of truth.

    Bashir’s unlimited access to Jackson’s home and daily life for many months produced a ratings blockbuster program for ABC and a profitable career move for himself. BUT what did the viewing millions, hungry for information, actually see? They saw bits and pieces of a life — rumors, facts, and lies — skillfully strung together to support the prevailing and very profitable Wacko Jacko myth – the freak-weirdo-shopaholic with sinister feelings for kids. Viewers DID NOT see the whole truth of Michael Jackson – truth that Mr. Bashir says he seeks as an honorable investigative journalist. Viewers were unaware of, and deliberately deprived of, the footage which (if included) presented a more balanced picture of Michael Jackson – artist, humanitarian, father, visionary, puzzling, curious eccentric, — and definitely NOT a child abuser. As they say, the Devil is in the details. In Martin Bashir’s documentary, the Devil was in the editing.

    Mr. Bashir’s goal was practical and profit-driven – far removed from the lofty, honorable, journalistic truth-seeking he ascribes to this project. He opted to Jump on the Wacko Jacko bandwagon in pursuit of a career upgrade in the American news business. Bashir was successful.

    Mr. Jackson’s goal was to displace or at least balance the Wacko Jacko caricature so carefully constructed and nurtured by the tabloid press over the years. Jackson was unsuccessful — not because his goal was false or unachievable – but because the journalist was false to the principles of his profession and failed his responsibility to the public as a news gatherer and reporter.

    Here is a link to Living with Michael Jackson as broadcast on ABC – Mr. Bashir’s version of truth.

    Here is the link to Living with Michael Jackson Take Two – a rebuttal documentary, hosted by Maury Povich, which includes footage, including Mr. Bashir’s own statements, left out of the original program.

    Both versions were presented at Mr. Jackson’s 2005 trial, lest the jurors see only Mr. Bashir’s inflammatory yet profitable documentary. Let the viewer, reader and listener come to their conclusions based on all the information. Otherwise, we are all cheated.

  124. shem says:

    Did you folks watch the same interview I did?

    Rob Bell answered the questions directly: How we respond to Jesus Christ in this life is ‘exremely relevant’
    (should he have said the only thing that’s relevant?)

    If you could sum up Rob Bell’s theology in one statement:

    There is a God, I am not Him. I don’t know how it all it works but it does!

  125. LibelFreeZone says:

    Patricia wrote above: He chooses to bring humanity to Himself in His time and His way.

    This premise is thoroughly discussed in C. S. Lewis’ book, “The Problem of Pain.” I highly recommend it.

  126. Jonathan says:

    This is the best interview I have ever seen! Well done Martin!!!

  127. Tim says:

    I find it interesting to observe the disposition of these two during the interview. One is very aggressive and the other is relaxed on almost non-responsive. It reminds me of when the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in the act of adultery and tried to corner Jesus. And Jesus simply was non-responsive. He scribbled in the sand. Which one does Martin more closely resemble and which one does Rob more closely resemble?

    1. Gordon says:

      If you read the entire story in John’s Gospel about the woman taken in adultery you will discover that Jesus, though subtle, makes all the Pharisees confess they are sinners, and that in public! They went out with the oldest first, presumably because they had more time in life to commit sin and therefore felt their sins more. Certainly Jesus responded and in a devastating manner. Jesus responded all right and humiliated the Pharisees in public. Rob was non responsive because he did not know what to say. Jesus knew exactly what to say.

      Jesus and Rob could not have been more different. Both Martin and Jesus embarrassed their audience.

  128. Arthur says:

    Bashir did an excellent job asking pertinent questions to an evasive Rob Bell. Bashir hit the nail on the head; Bell was twisting the Gospel to make it more acceptable to modern people who find the idea of “hell” hard to swallow. But we are not called to do this as Christians. We are called to preach the whole council of God, and if that offends then so be it. But woe to anyone who attempts to change the Gospel in the way Bell has done. Bell has clearly gone heretical but is trying to hide it.

  129. J Jutras says:

    I don’t think Rob Bell did a good job responding to the interview, but I also don’t think the Bashir was very good either. Forcing a yes or no question without creating dialog, which is what Bell is good for, was misleading. I think either way, Bell would have looked bad because Bashir was trying to pin him in a box. He only quoted one thought from the book and then relied on a external critic to form the rest his argument(which was not sourced either). It looked like Bashir never really read the book and formed his whole interview around a critic article he read.

    Don’t get me wrong Rob Bell is not perfect, but to say that his theology is heresy is wrong. When you do an interview based on a book you should at least quote 3-4 portions to back up your claim. Anyone and misquote one portion and drive an interview to the ground to prove your point.

    This was just a bad interview. The whole bit about choosing one author’s view in history and not another was just ridiculous.

    1. Ernest Manges says:

      In reply to J Jutras: I agree Mr Bashir should have cited more from the book. Some advance copies were available (Kevin DeYoung’s review was based on one).

      However, Mr Bashir’s question where he mentioned two early theologians was actually an excellent question. In effect he was asking Pastor Bell to declare upon what authority he would prefer Origen’s theology over that of Arius, especially since both theologians were declared heretical by Church Councils. (Note: IMHO Origen’s condemnation was not fair, and it was done centuries after his lifetime, unlike the condemnation of Arius, which took place while he was still alive, eg, at the Council of Nicaea, 325).

      Another way to put it: Mr Bashir was asking if Pastor Bell followed the principle of sola scriptura (whereby the Bible is the only final authority, not the only authority).

  130. Matt says:

    Point 1: Bashir asked a ridiculous question right off the bat in order to throw Bell off balance and hit him with other “questions” that were basically rhetorical. It was poor “interviewing.”
    Point 2: Anyone who has heard Bashir’s pastor talk in public about Hell has heard a more palatable version than what most would call “traditional.” Taking it a step further, traditional (Augustinian) Hell includes any unbaptized person including infants.

  131. Jacob says:

    That just utterly confused me. First his book sounds like life doesn’t matter because everyone wins, then he says life does matter. Explanation of how it matters maybe??? All I can say is that it seems like his arguments are not fully formed because he has a case of “doublethink” going on. All I have to say about this whole affair is Ugh!

  132. I have posted what I think Here:

  133. ken says:

    Hello Fellow Christians.
    There is a lot left to say yet about the actual accomplishment of salvation. The scripture says, as most know, that ALL must appear at the judgment seat of CHRIST. I hear that Christ said, father forgive them, they DO NOT KNOW what they are doing. I also hear and read, HE CHANGES NOT.

    Self right ideas about what the judgment God gives through Christ may become very troublesome for people who are not understanding that if we do not forgive men ALL their trespasses, neither will we be able to find forgiveness “in our selves” because of our inability to even accept the possibility of forgiveness to “all people”.

    This does not mean that anyone can do anything they want which is what many think salvation allows if it is to all. In other words, what is entailed and written of in the scriptures about the ACCOMPLISHMENT or fulfillment of the “condition” of eternal life is not understood by most who believe “they” are saved just by saying a few words. That in fact is only the beginning of salvation unto the establishing of eternal life in each one.

    We have to be a believer first of course, and all who are saved SHALL believe FIRST. But that is not the end of the matter, even for those who are presently what we understand as Christians in the world.

    Whether anyone dies or lives we ALL shall stand before and at the judgment seat of Christ. ALL.

    It is at this judgment seat that we actually become able to STAND {resurrect}. The belief that simply saying a few words relating to belief in and about Jesus Christ is not what salvation is. As we know, Jesus said, if we hear HIS WORDS and do not do them, we are built upon the sand.

    In Noah’s day those who were told how to survive the flood, by getting INTO the ark, but did not believe, eventually believed when they actually began to see and receive the flood upon themselves. Scripture says it will be the same today. The “flood”, and also the coming of Christ in actuality, will and does remove the “UNBELIEF” in the coming, wouldn’t it.

    When Christ comes to one THEN they become a believer. Without HIM we can do NOTHING.

    There is real positive and clear answers for pretty well everything today, this being the time when there is nothing that has not been revealed or understood is being revealed and understood. There is still only salvation in Jesus Christ, but as John says in 1 John, we SHALL {and in fact must be} LIKE Him when we finally see and understand him as he really is.

    We are said to be given the gospel of the SPIRIT that GIVES life, and not the letter that kills or speaks of killing and affliction and sorrow and death. Why would that be so if God causes affliction and so on?

    The answers are available. If any one thinks so and wants to talk about them, then feel free to ask and see what is presented. These things are taught by God within each person and not taught by natural minded or natural men. As scripture says, we are {now} to be taught personally by the Spirit and need not that any man should teach us. We can share perhaps, but who confirms the truth IN US is OUR father.

    The scripture does say, when we pray we are to say OUR father. Everyone must be fathered by God personally. That is when salvation actually begins to become a fact.
    In 1 Corinthians 3, where it says that EVERY PERSONS work shall be tried by the fire and there may be a suffering of loss during that time, but that will also be how one is saved, that is only true if the fire that does the burning up of “our” works is GOD. We read that God is a consuming fire and it is the fire of His INDWELLING love as we become that very same love that removes all the works of wood, hay and stubble, while erecting the way, the truth, and THE LIFE of Jesus Christ in us as our own life.

    Indwelling eternally FELT love that can not be “dethroned” in us swallows or burns up all hate, anger, greed, envy, unforgiveness and all other like emotions and attitudes. Along the way as these things are burned up with us as the tares among our beliefs, the works they produce “die”, which is the death of the ways of death and the works of hell that presently dwell within us along with the love of God.

    God bless in the love of Christ.

    1. ken says:


      When Jesus came to Israel, he was doing and speaking about life and being good. The people of the day did not like it that what Jesus was saying was only good and that he was also going to go {give life} to those who did not believe in that particular day.

      We want to recall the Israel did not have the Holy Spirit in that time, as the scripture says, the Holy Spirit was not yet given.
      John 7:39.

      All things happened to Israel for our admonition, the scripture says. In other words, we are to learn from their example and not make the same mistakes. 1Co. 10:11.

      As I said in my last comment, the answers are already here, it is necessary that we have the “oil” that gives us light in “our lamps” or temple of God. What is the oil??

      In Jesus was Life, and it is THE life that is the LIGHT of men. In other words, it is the lifestyle of Jesus IN ONE, that begins to give the light of what kind of person and lifestyle and motives an desires he really has. We come to know this by being exactly like Him and his desires and ways, never mind what is going on in the world right now.

      Without supporting and believing Him and His lifestyle over all other teachings, including the letter of scripture that kills, we will not have light in our vessels.

      Most Christians sincerely and honestly believe that the actual salvation process includes the establishing of God’s righteousness IN US before we are actually “saved” from death. We ALL, those who sleep and those who do not, MUST appear {stand} at the judgment seat of Christ, and this has to happen while one is IN THEIR BODY.

      I believe most biblical based Christians are familiar with the fact that it is the Man of Sin that Jesus comes to destroy. This is done by the spiritual understanding of his words. {the spirit of HIS mouth}. As we grow in the nature and obedience of the spiritual meaning of his word about the father, we begin to GET THE LIGHT that shows us all these things. There is NO OTHER WAY. All must come the same way. God’s judgment finally establishes His wisdom in us as our own wisdom, and then we HAVE JUDGMENT in our vessels so we may “judge the world and angels” as we judge ourselves into the Kingdom or rule of God IN US as we “marry” eternal life.

      The answers are present today, just not well understood. Many speak before they should, meaning well but not able to discern the tares and their WAYS from the wheat and the ways of God well enough to reply with wisdom.

      God Bless. Ken

  134. J. Mason says:

    Martin Bashir has deftly escaped his crimes against journalism — the profession he claims to honor — and has even been rewarded for his transgressions. Now he appears reborn, wrapped in his faith du jour, and eager to engage a new (for him) audience. Having followed his exploits with interest over the years, I see this repackaging as the same old quick change artist selling a new brand of flam-flam. Bashir, the investigative journalist who needs to be seriously investigated.

  135. Paul Rodden says:

    I like Bashir’s question about why Bell should take Origen seriously and not Arius. You ought to ask Albert Mohler why he picks and chooses from the Fathers, too.

    In fact, Protestantism, to avoid sawing off the branch on which it sits, has to pick and choose from the Fathers or else it shows every Protestant denomination to be a false Church. It’s an Ecclesiological perspective called Ecclesial Deism. That is, one has to concoct some form of apostasy in the Roman Church to justify why one’s not Catholic, or reject everything after the last apostle died as apostate: i.e., take the Mormon view.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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