Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


Martin Bashir's 'interview' with Rob Bell

Armed with one scathing review (any guesses which one?), MSNBC’s Martin Bashir entered into dialogue with Rob Bell like he was Jonathan Edwards and Bell was a spider. Martin dangled Bell over his theology as if to tease him with the flames of shock media.

Bell was obviously unprepared for this six-minute interrogation.

And Bashir is the reformed bloggers (among others) new hero!

But seriously, what was Bashir’s problem? I mean, was he being fed the questions by a producer? Is he really that passionate about hell? About Christianity? I don’t know Bashir’s religious background, but either way, he showcased poor journalism here in my opinion. And yes, I would say this even if it was Franklin Graham sitting across the table from him…

The real beef I have is with HarperOne setting up this sort of interview. A five-minute interview is no way to discuss a theological topic. I know they want to sell books, but this is pretty ridiculous. Nobody wins when discussing God and hell with an arrogant MSNBC journalist who just wants somebody to watch his show.

Well, at least for today, his viral ratings are predestined to be huge.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(143)
post a comment
Kyle

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm


It’s my understanding that Bashir attends Tim Keller’s church in NYC. Shocking??



report abuse
 

    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted March 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm


    SERIOUSLY?! That explains a lot.



    report abuse
     

      Matthew Paul Turner

      posted March 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm


      Actually, it wouldn’t make sense at all. This is nothing like Keller’s approach. Where does your “understanding” come from, Kyle? According to this blog, recounting a panel discussion between Bashir and Keller, it says

      …Walton concluded his preamble and introduced the principal panelists of the evening: Martin Bashir, 20/20 and Nightline anchor and atheist; and Timothy Keller, impresario of Manhattan’s Redeemer Presbyterian Megachurch and author of The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.

      And it makes no sense to me at all why people think this is a good interview. How many of the reformed bloggers applauding this accept the premise behind the first question of the interview?



      report abuse
       

        Matthew Paul Turner

        posted March 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm


        I just meant it made sense from a “he has some sort of Christian angle” going into this interview… and is probably a fervent reader of the Gospel Coalition blogs… :)



        report abuse
         

          Sarah Mae

          posted March 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm


          It makes more sense to me that he is an atheist coming from an angle of “let’s screw with the Christian.” Just a thought. :)



          report abuse
           

        Kyle

        posted March 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm


        My “understanding” comes from here http://www.orangecountypastor.com/2011/03/rob-bell-on-msnbc.html
        Or this: http://twitter.com/#!/GodandCulture
        though I couldn’t find it on the stated blog.
        Not the best of sources I understand.
        And this blog says he is an atheist http://bwog.com/2008/02/20/lecture-hop-the-veritas-forum/
        I guess we really don’t know. My bad if I said something untrue in a forum. That would be an internet first…



        report abuse
         

          david

          posted March 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm


          there is a guardian article on him from a few years ago that claims he is a Christian..
          lots of conficting info out there.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/jan/22/broadcasting.g2



          report abuse
           

          Kyle

          posted March 16, 2011 at 11:44 pm


          I would trust the Guardian over some blog post.



          report abuse
           

          Kyle

          posted March 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm


          Bashir himself confirmed that he goes to Redeemer on a radio interview yesterday. Sometimes the internet chatter has it right…



          report abuse
           

        John Lockie

        posted March 17, 2011 at 11:45 am


        Bashir is angry because Rob Bell is making Christianity look more interesting or accepting than he knows it is. As an atheist it’s his duty to shoot down Rob Bell by showing him that his own belief system does not tolerate this kind of thinking about Jesus.

        This is a presuppositional approach on Bashir’s part, only he’s probably too dumb to even know it. He is de-constructing Christianity to show Rob Bell is a fraud.

        His first argument is one of the most public use of a logical fallacy I have seen in years. I laughed out loud at how low brow his argument was. “Evil exists, so if God allows it He is either evil Himself or not all powerful, and therefore not God”. This is either/or fallacy – and no Christian would even take this approach. It’s an atheist way of thinking – not to mention he backed off this argument and moved toward the “your own Scripture doesn’t jive with this” presuppositional approach.

        Either way, this was a disaster and Christians who are lauding the interview are in it for the blood. We need to step back and see this for what it is – two people reasoning in the flesh, and disregarding Scripture as the authority of God.



        report abuse
         

          Bruce Nuffer

          posted March 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm


          Yeah, I laughed when he asked that first question too. I was so hoping b
          Bell would just dismiss it as a false dichotomy and move on.



          report abuse
           

      ETS

      posted March 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm


      Keller would never respond to Rob Bell like that. While I’m sure they disagree on more than I can name, that’s not Keller’s approach. #allcalvinistsarentmean #allarmeniansarentnice



      report abuse
       

    LRA

    posted March 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm


    Hey! Ohmygosh! Redeemer is the last church I attended before I quit Christianity. How weird!



    report abuse
     

      Sarah Mae

      posted March 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm


      Did Keller ever try and answer your questions/did you talk with him? So curious…



      report abuse
       

        LRA

        posted March 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm


        No, I didn’t talk to Dr. Keller in person, but let me tell you… he was good! Made so much sense to me often… way better than what I had dealt with at my previous church (Prestonwood, Dallas). One thing I liked about him was that his messages were complex and full of information, rather than dumbed-down guilt-prodding.

        I eventually left because I couldn’t accept the whole pre-destination thing and talking about it at my home group made it clear to me that I had significant problems with the concept. Really, there were significant cracks in my faith at that time already, so this was just kinda a straw that broke the camel’s back.

        (I did try to go on with some kind of faith on my own for a while. I read the Bible on my own but that actually harmed my dying faith rather than helped it. About 5 years later, I found myself in the agnostic camp.)

        I don’t really have any negative feelings toward Dr. Keller or Redeemer. I just couldn’t do the whole pre-destination thing.



        report abuse
         

          Sarah Mae

          posted March 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm


          Gotcha – thanks for answering. :)

          I like that as well about Dr. Keller, he doesn’t just glide on the surface, he dives in. He isn’t trite.



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted March 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm


          Totally. I used to take copious notes during his lectures and found it quite interesting. I would get disappointed when other pastors would “guest pastor” because Dr. Keller was off church-planting. That was back in 2001, before the fit-hit-the-shan in September.

          Gosh! It’s been 10 years already! Where does the time go?



          report abuse
           

          Justin

          posted March 17, 2011 at 6:27 am


          “I eventually left because I couldn’t accept the whole pre-destination thing and talking about it at my home group made it clear to me that I had significant problems with the concept.”

          Welcome to the club. :)



          report abuse
           

          GW

          posted March 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm


          @LRA If there is no God, then how did all of creation happen? If there was nothing, then where did matter come from? Did it just spontaneously appear? I hope that you will find that God must be the answer.

          John6:29 says “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” You don’t have to believe in pre-destination (though I do and it is hard to ignore in the scriptures)… everyone needs to believe in the good news that changes every thing.



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted March 18, 2011 at 8:12 am


          Gee, GW… I never thought of that before! I mean, when I was reading Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” and Brian Greene’s “The Universe in a Nutshell” it never occurred to me that matter has to come from *somewhere*…. that matter popping into and out of existence as an observable phenomenon might explain such questions to some extent… that positing a pre-existing “god” only pushes back the causality problem by one more link in the chain and violates Occam’s razor at the same time!

          C’mon! Drive by evangelism is bad form.



          report abuse
           

kim

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm


I totally agree. I was stunned by what seemed to be raging un-professionalism on Bashir’s part. Asking the same question 3 times, as if Bell hadn’t answered it clearly the first time… very antagonistic style of questioning. Bad form.



report abuse
 

    Jace

    posted March 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm


    I suppose that was part of the problem. Rob didn’t answer them clearly at all. He either redefined the question and answered under his own terms or gave it a partial answer.

    Bell has a history of doing this, it was nice to see someone try to actually get him to answer something instead of getting away with it.



    report abuse
     

Haley

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm


He falls victim to a false dilemma. ‘god is either not all powerful or not caring’ (paraphrase) um… what?



report abuse
 

    Micah Redding

    posted March 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm


    He’s giving the traditional “Problem of Evil”, and as such, it’s a valid objection to Christianity. There really has never been an answer from within Christianity to the question.

    The Christian response has always been: “…and yet still, I believe”.



    report abuse
     

      Matthew

      posted March 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm


      Micah, it is only “traditional” insofar as it is modern. It is not ancient. Rather, it is a modern dichotomy posed by philosophies (often of the sublime) that are built on ahistorical readings. The ancient world would not have posed the question this way.

      Point two: “there really has never been …” is not quite true. Here are a few modern responders to this modern rendering of the question: Swinburne, John Hick, Anthony Kenny, Plantinga, Davies, et al. Whether there answers are sufficient to the question or to you is another matter.

      Point three: irrespective of the supposed existence of such a dilemma, there have been ancient and modern responses to the questions of the existence and nature of evil raised by Christians and non-Christians. Those responses have not been as irrational and fatalistic as you imply.



      report abuse
       

        Haley

        posted March 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm


        Point 4, Philosophically, false paradoxes are just weak arguments in general. Usually when you suggest the possibility of a third option, it is disregarded.



        report abuse
         

Jonathan Sargent

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm


I really think the interviewer soft-balled some of the questions to him intentionally and that he kind of swung and missed. The first question was a false dichotomy, but its such an obvious one and pretty easy to answer: “Neither.”



report abuse
 

kim

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm


also just gotta say, it sure would be fun if someone interviewed Charlie Sheen this way. Rather than sticking to the stilted-attempts-to-be-diplomatic-in-the-face-of-crazy style.



report abuse
 

Aideen

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm


“I’m not asking you what happens when you die, I’m asking about how we respond in this life.” – umm I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what you did ask!?

That interviewer is horrendous!



report abuse
 

Haley

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm


I honestly thought I was listening to a Jon Stewart do a British impersonation of Glenn Beck, it seems just so much like a parody. I half expected someone to accuse Bell of Communism…



report abuse
 

WJS

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm


From what I understand, Bashir is a Christian, or at least was raised in a Christian home. Either way, what’s the big deal? So he asked Rob tough questions in a short interview. I’d rather see something like that rather than the Livestream interview. While it wasn’t poorly done, Lisa Miller let him off too easy when he danced around many of her answers.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t be sniping at Reformed people. Sure, their collective voice has been loud in this debacle (or whatever you choose to call it). But there’s plenty of people across the Christian landscape that are truly concerned about this.

Let me be clear, no one should call Rob’s salvation into question. That’s not anyone’s place. But if we can’t debate, discuss, ask tough questions of Rob in relation to this book and interviews surrounding it, then there isn’t much of a conversation to be had, is there?

Again, people need to be careful, because there is a fine line between attacking him and calling his teachings into question. It’s something the church needs to do with all her leaders, especially those who hold great influence.



report abuse
 

    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted March 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm


    Furthermore, you shouldn’t be sniping at Reformed people.

    Which is why I included the words “among others” in the post. Still, it’s the well-known reformed bloggers championing this cause…



    report abuse
     

      WJS

      posted March 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm


      My apologies, I missed those words. I was too busy trying to figure out if I’m still predestined or not depending on how much I agree with Bell ;)



      report abuse
       

jason

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm


wow, no comment on Rob Bell at this point… I’m waiting to read the book.

But this interviewer is an a-hole. “that’s what you are aren’t you?” “that’s what you’ve stated, isn’t it?”



report abuse
 

Rob Stennett

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm


Thanks for posting this. Can’t believe it. Totally agree, how is this supposed to be discussed in 5 minutes with one shock value question after another.

And Bashirs first question is just unreal.



report abuse
 

Kevin

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm


I’m not reformed or anything by any means. I generally like Rob Bell’s NOOMA videos. Haven’t read any books yet. That said, I thought Bashir (who is a devout Christian) did a great job. He, for one, is pretty firm in his interviews anyway. The questions were certainly questions that needed to be asked, for the most part. If Bell can’t handle it, then he needs to think through his beliefs more.



report abuse
 

    Charlie's Church of Christ

    posted March 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm


    I think Bashir was asking very Americanized romans road sorts of questions and Rob was trying to show him thats too a narrow a framework and that God’s salvation isn’t confined to that system – and Bashir wasn’t getting it which is why he asked the same question three times.



    report abuse
     

Brian Estabrook

posted March 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm


While I agree that Martin Bashir should not have taken a stance on whether Rob Bell uses scripture well.. and he CERTAINLY shouldn’t have kept saying ‘that’s true, isn’t it?’ … I still think this was mostly a fair interview and full of the types of hard questions that should be asked of Rob Bell.

He still hasn’t resolved for me how he is both an ardent evangelical (someone who believes Jesus is the way and we must spread the good news in THIS life) and a person who argues that believing in and following Jesus in this life is not necessarily correlated with whether or not an individual gets into heaven.

Those don’t line up, no matter how you slice it. I’m all into holding paradoxes in tension and I’m way more progressive spiritually and politically than most… but there’s a fine line between a paradox that has to be held in tension and a logically untenable position. I think Rob Bell has crossed that line here.



report abuse
 

    Brian Estabrook

    posted March 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm


    To be clear, I’m neither questioning Bell’s salvation nor calling him a heretic. But I would argue that he is outside of the mainstream in terms of how the Christian church has interpreted the Bible and the words of Jesus for going on 2000 years now.



    report abuse
     

    david

    posted March 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm


    i find the approach of rob and others like him to be much more ‘logical’ than a christian who on one hand would declare that it is only by intellectual belief in Jesus as Lord that we attain salvation and on the other hand make excuses for why every child that is stillborn will somehow “get there” as well.



    report abuse
     

      Brian Estabrook

      posted March 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm


      Well, David, I think you’re setting up another false choice there. Certainly there are more positions than simply those two, right?

      All I’m asking is for Rob Bell to explain why Jesus is important if everyone gets to heaven anyway. And that’s two straight interviews I’ve seen with him where he has worked hard to avoid addressing that question directly. That concerns me.



      report abuse
       

        Sara

        posted March 17, 2011 at 6:52 am


        I think if you have read Velvet Elvis (haven’t read the new book so can’t comment)you would see that Bell strongly believes that a life living the way Jesus lived, following him and basking in that freedom and love and even the hardship that comes with it, is the best life available to us. In that way he would believe that making a choice here on earth to know and follow Jesus would be very important because it would give a person the best life possible.

        I guess the question is, do you think the journey of life is important? We can’t be sure what kind of impact our current life will have on the afterlife, so wouldn’t we want to have the best one possible? Jesus seems to imply that our lives on earth will impact our lives in heaven therefore choosing the best life on earth would be very important.

        Honestly, the idea that Christians consider their belief to be a terrible burden they have to bear so they can avoid hell really disturbs me and makes me think that something is very wrong. If the only reason you are following Jesus is for a “Get out of hell free” card I’m not convinced that’s a good reason.

        Also, I agree that a 7 minute interview is a pretty rough arena to try to tackle deep, complex theological ideas. Bell was obviously overwhelmed and Bashir worked to keep it that way. You can get made at Bashir but that’s what journalists do so I was not surprised.



        report abuse
         

    Sarah Mae

    posted March 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm


    I wonder if he only gets into details of what He believes when he is one on one with someone in private…over coffee (there must be coffee involved). I’d like to have coffee with Rob Bell.



    report abuse
     

Janet Oberholtzer

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm


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.



report abuse
 

Lj Gay

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm


I think everyone is entitled to their opinions. Whether harsh or graceful. Sometimes we come across harsh when it comes to something we’re passionate about. Doesn’t make it right, yeah but this is a subject that many find offensive which is sad really. My thoughts on all of this is on my blog here http://jamesegiii.tumblr.com/post/3905951260



report abuse
 

Sam

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm


The interviewer is hostile & aggressive. He tries to give Bell the answers to the questions. As an example on the Japan question: Is it this or this. That’s called “the horns of the dilemma”. The answer is: It is neither. I’ve seen very aggressive attorneys in court use similar heavy-handed tactics. I thought Bell did very well. If I had been in his chair I would have asked the interviewer “What is the source of your hostility? Who has been feeding you these questions? What are your trying to prove? When you are ready to ask reasonable questions, I will be ready to proceed with the interview.” The interviewer is 100% a jerk.



report abuse
 

Eric

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm


Definitely enjoying the diversity of opinion in these comments! I’m tired of reading the comments sections of blogs where only one view is presented and then the rest affirm it… Let’s get some more constructive dialogue like this comments section has! Great stuff!



report abuse
 

    JP

    posted March 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm


    I agree. I must admit I usually get nervous with Jesus Needs New PR because I tend to expect it to be all Reformed bashing and Bell loving. Glad that MPT’s readers are more diverse than I thought.

    And btw, why is it wrong to question someone’s salvation? I’m not saying we should come to conclusions about whether someone isn’t saved – or saved, for that matter – but what’s wrong with saying, I’m not sure that this person believes and lives the Gospel as defined by Scripture? If anything, I think scripture encourages us to do that.



    report abuse
     

chris miller

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm


I’d love to see Stephen Colbert interview Rob Bell.



report abuse
 

    Brad S

    posted March 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm


    I’d love to see Stephen Colbert interview Martin Bashir. lol



    report abuse
     

K

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm


Dude, I love Rob Bell. I love his vision, his work so far. I align with much of his theology… but for crap sake, when you are in the public eye, give a response to the questions you are being asked. I am tired of being humiliated by Christians in the public eye who don’t have answers for interviews like this. Bashir’s tactics were hardball and rude, but this is MSNBC, they aren’t treating him any differently than a senator who is trying to affect just as much change. In the two interviews I have watched he dodges and evades real questions that people are reasonable in asking. I just can’t understand it. Say what you think, answer the question… it it might be unpopular with agnostics or evangelicals, tell us what you think Rob Bell. “I think God sheds a tear with us” is not an answer. Ether God is active in the world or he isn’t. Which ever you believe I really don’t care, but be bold and answer a question.



report abuse
 

    Nala

    posted March 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm


    Welcome to Rob Bell 101.



    report abuse
     

Sarah Mae

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm


I thought Rob Bell did a good job…he still didn’t answer some questions, but I think that’s his schtick anyway, right?



report abuse
 

    Grace

    posted March 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm


    Yes, exactly. The comments about Bell being evasive strike me as rather silly – a huge part of his point is that the Bible is full of nuance, ambiguity, mystery, and even contradiction. He’s quite clear that he believes this, but some people keep insisting that he’s being insincere and slippery – no, he sincerely doesn’t think orthodoxy or biblical Christianity mean having doctrine completely hashed out, and he sincerely doesn’t think certain doctrines can ever be completely hashed out in this life. It’s one thing to disagree with that perspective, but another thing entirely to paint him as deliberately avoidant or even deceitful given that from everything he’s said, he clearly believes it.



    report abuse
     

Kevin

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm


1. Welcome to the real world Bell. When Christians write books on controversial subjects and try to use the secular media to sell books, they are not always going to get fawned over. Surprise, the broadcasters like controversial interviews just like some like controversial books, IT GETS RATINGS.

2. Bashir at the beginning of the video had little tolerance for Bell’s book tour talking points aka BS. Bell sounded very much like a politician in this interview. He doesn’t want to upset his base so he uses vague platitudes hoping he doesn’t get asked about specifics and he counts on the fact that his fans will spin everything he says into a positive.

3. Bell comes across as a ‘persona’ not a real person in some of these interviews. He KNOWS what people are asking and the specifics that would clear up controversy, but he chooses rather to be cute & coy, theologically. I’m amazed that so many think he is being elightened and prophetic, when he is just repackaging liberalism.

4. Bashir was tough at the end and did come across as someone defending the faith. I don’t know his story, but BRAVO!!



report abuse
 

Kevin

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm


@chris miller. I would love to see him on Colbert. I truly think he would get a tough interview, and probably some questions similar to Bashirs



report abuse
 

Kevin

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm


@MPT reformed folks aren’t championing this “cause” they are championing the gospel. If what we do with Christ in this life isn’t ultimately determining (which Bashir was trying to get a straight answer on), then why did Jesus die such a horrible death?

When Bell was asked at the book review party about how we make sense of God’s justice and his love. I was HOPING he would brag on the cross, but he didn’t mention it.

Bell ‘seems’ happy to pit one attribute of God against another. For him, love wins over God’s holiness or justice.

But the glory of the cross is that you can see both God’s holy hatred of sin and his love for sinners at the cross.

“The wisdom of God has found a way for the love of God to save sinners from the wrath of God, while maintaining the righteousness of God.”

It isn’t love or holiness its love and holiness displayed in the death of Christ. Romans 3:23-27



report abuse
 

    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted March 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm


    Bell promotes the gospel, too, Kevin. You believe in a very small god to suggest otherwise.



    report abuse
     

      Sarah Mae

      posted March 16, 2011 at 5:44 pm


      I guess the question is, “what is the gospel?”



      report abuse
       

        Jace

        posted March 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm


        Traditionally the Gospel looks like this:

        Humans in their natural state are born into sin which leads them to live sinful imperfect lives.

        The consequences of sinful imperfect lives is eternal seperation from God.

        The good news is that God loves us and has grace for us in that by the sacrifice of his sinless and perfect son, Jesus, we now have a way to be reconciled with God in spite of our sin. Jesus covers our sin with his righteousness.

        All we have to do is believe in God and Jesus’ sacrifice. It really seems to be the only stipulation. Easy huh?

        Is Rob Bell preaching a Biblical view of Heaven and Hell? Probably not. Will believing Rob Bell’s interpretation of what happens after we die cost someone their salvation? Doubtful.

        So why does it matter?

        I think it’s because there are people who have specific personalities that drive them to search for “accuracy” above and beyond being “nice” or “popular.”

        Rob Bell isn’t one of those people, many of his critics are.



        report abuse
         

          LRA

          posted March 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm


          “Easy huh?”

          Not really or else everyone would do it.

          “I think it’s because there are people who have specific personalities that drive them to search for “accuracy” above and beyond being “nice” or “popular.””

          Haha! I can sort of relate to that just a little bit, maybe…



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted March 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm


          kinda sorta… hmmm….

          :D



          report abuse
           

          Jace

          posted March 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm


          ;)

          Easy compared to someone who would try to push an overly moralistic mandate on someone.

          “Great, you’ve walked the Romans Road and have asked Jesus to come into your heart. Now all you have to do is become a Republican, stop watching Rated R movies, quit socially drinking and change your entire weekend wardrobe to suits, ties, and dresses!”

          Ultimately you’re right though. Becoming a Christian is not easy even though it could be concidered simple.

          Even that could be argued, because we’re Americans damnit and thats what we do. Argue!



          report abuse
           

          LRA

          posted March 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm


          “Even that could be argued, because we’re Americans damnit and thats what we do. Argue!”

          Hee hee hee! So true! :D



          report abuse
           

          Sara

          posted March 17, 2011 at 6:56 am


          Nicely said Jace.



          report abuse
           

          James

          posted March 17, 2011 at 7:31 am


          Jace,

          If by “traditional” you mean Protestant and specifically Evangelical, then sure, that’s what “Gospel” means.

          For many others, Gospel means a whole host of other things that have nothing to do with penal substitutionary atonement. I’m not quibbling that many people agree with you on what the Gospel is, or even that it is a valid point of view. Please just refrain from speaking as if it is the only way of viewing the Gospel.



          report abuse
           

          Jace

          posted March 17, 2011 at 10:44 am


          sigh…

          No, I didn’t mean Protestant and specifically Evangelical. I meant traditionally and originally. Even the earliest members of the church including Catholicism referenced the Gospel as what I described.

          There is a difference between “The Gospel” and “Gospels.”

          The term “gospel” wasn’t used to reference a body of writing until the second century, long after the established meaning of what the Gospel was.

          I don’t know what kind of sources you have available to you, but even a simple Wikipedia search on Gospel will validate this. I’ll even quote the pertinent text for you.

          “Originally, the gospel was the good news of redemption through the propitiatory offering of Jesus Christ for one’s sins, the central Christian message.”

          I understand that there is debate about substitutionary atonement, but I don’t want others to think I misrepresented the core origin of the phrase either.

          What the Gospel may mean to Christians now is totally a discussion that I’m comfortable with having or watching others have.



          report abuse
           

          James

          posted March 17, 2011 at 11:40 am


          Jace,

          Thanks for responding. I’m glad to see a little more into your perspective. Please don’t hear me saying that your description of the Gospel is wrong or non-existent in early Christianity. That’s not what I intended and I hope it didn’t come across that way.

          What I did intend to say is that your description of the Gospel is essentially identical to the Evangelical definition, and that this is not the only way to define the Gospel. I assure you that I know the difference between the Gospel and the gospels (though I’m not clear why you think that’s relevant).

          As to your claim that this definition is the “original” definition of Gospel, I’m sorry, but that is simply not the case. And as for the resources at my disposal, I think 3 graduate degrees in the study of NT and early Christianity qualifies me to make claims without citing wikipedia. Sorry to play that card, but you kind of asked for it with the tone of your response.



          report abuse
           

          Jace

          posted March 18, 2011 at 11:17 pm


          James,

          Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately because of the medium theres a good deal of anonymity between the two of us. In my concern of not wanting to sound persumptious I instead came across as belittling. That wasn’t my intent and I want to apologize.

          If you have any information on an original definition of the Gospel I’d love to learn more about them. I have a decent personal library and access to others and though I’ve never done a personal focus on the specific origins of the Gospel, it is something that I think could be useful to be aware of.

          The sources that I have are what lead me to respond with the answer I did (and no, it wasn’t wikipedia ;) ). I’m always open to read other sources though!



          report abuse
           

          James

          posted March 19, 2011 at 7:17 am


          Jace,

          Thanks again for your response. I also apologize for sounding pretentious in my response.

          One resource I would suggest perusing is NT Wright’s “New Testament and the People of God.” If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, just skim the chapter near the end about his “sketch” of earliest Christianity and note the diversity that he suggests in early perceptions of Jesus.

          My answer (not necessarily Wright’s) to the question of the “original” meaning of the Gospel is what Jesus expressed in Lk 4. That is, I think Jesus preached good news that turned the social reality of 1st century Palestine upside down. And then, after Jesus died, when his followers sought to make sense of his death, one of the interpretations was sacraficial atonement through the lens of Israel’s story. And I would also argue that Jesus’ sacraficial death as a replacement for the Jewish sacraficial system could not truly take root until after the destruction of the temple in 70 when sacrifices ceased.

          That’s my short answer.



          report abuse
           

      Brian

      posted March 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm


      “You believe in a very small god to suggest otherwise.”

      Umm…that sounds rude.

      What makes this a “small god” idea?



      report abuse
       

      ETS

      posted March 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm


      MPT, you spend a lot of time challenging those who think they have a monopoly on who God is. It is unfortunate that you think someone who believes the ‘gospel’ that Bell teaches is inconsistent with the Gospel as defined by Scripture believes in ‘a very small god.’



      report abuse
       

Brad S

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm


It seemed to me that Rob was thrown a huge curve-ball with the first question. He came to talk about eschatology and soteriology and Mr. Bashir throws him a huge theodicy question. “Can you sum up theodicy question that theologians and thinkers have struggled with for two millennia, in the context of this new and raw disaster, in 10 seconds?” Even in that question Bashir gave him a false dichotomy. But Rob needed to say that, this is not a black or white, either/or question. I am quite sure that Rob was not expecting that kind of hostility on MSNBC and perhaps thought this was going to be a softball interview.

That being said, Rob has to be prepared to answer the tough and yes, even hostile questions. If you are going to put out a book that you know will stir up controversy you have to be prepared to deal with hostility. I don’t think Rob answered the questions well, I kept wanting him to say something definitive, but he just squirmed in his seat.



report abuse
 

Marilyn

posted March 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm


Somewhere, we’ve forgotten the mystery that dwells within Christianity. There’s so much that we can’t understand, but we still have faith. Why do we have to be so extreme? This was a painful interview by someone who had obviously already made up his mind about the book and Bell. This topic has been debated by the church for centuries and it will continue to be as long as people die.



report abuse
 

Ty

posted March 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm


Hmm… either God is all powerful or doesn’t care.

I suppose that would depend on what your conception of “all powerful” actually is. Many people today view it as the ability to force people’s actions or direct every minute detail of existence. However I think that if we look to Jesus as the full expression of God, we see that God’s expression of power comes in the form of service and self-sacrificial, other-oriented love; instead of a tyrannical iron fist to squash his subjects.

His ideas might not be our ideas…but what do I know.



report abuse
 

Greg Smith

posted March 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm


I think the questions Bashir asked were fair, and they caused Bell to squirm because he simply didn’t want to admit that what he advocates in this new book amounts to universalism (That’s my take, now that I finished reading the book). In such a short time to talk, you have to get to the bottom of the issue, which was exactly what he did. However, Bashir had to ask and reword his questions many times to demonstrate that Bell wouldn’t give him a straight answer. It’s not a good sign that Bell doesn’t want to make himself clear but instead layer his answers in ambiguity.

I love Rob Bell, still consider him a brother in Christ, and can see how passionate he is in his love of Christ, but bad theology can and will hurt real people and it makes me sad that this what he is advocating. (That said his encouragement in the book to co-labor with God to bring heaven to earth through our actions is spot on!)



report abuse
 

Brandon Mouser

posted March 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm


I gotta hand it to Rob. He maintained his composure much better than I would have.



report abuse
 

Chris

posted March 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm


If you’re going to write something controversial, expect tough questions. And if you’re not going to answer in a direct manner, expect to be asked again (and again, and again).



report abuse
 

    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted March 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm


    Tough questions is not the problem here, Chris. It’s Bashir’s tone and approach. It’s possible to ask hard questions and still be respectful/professional.



    report abuse
     

      Silica

      posted March 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm


      But then who would watch it?



      report abuse
       

      Manner

      posted March 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm


      Respectful and professional are relative. Surely a Bell fan would embrace that concept. ;)



      report abuse
       

Kylie

posted March 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm


Note about the interviewer: He’s the same guy who did the infamous Michael Jackson documentary. This could explain his shock journalism.

According to his wikipedia page, there’s nothing of note about his personal faith other than he was born to Christian parents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Bashir



report abuse
 

macphoenix

posted March 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm


I, for one, am VERY impressed with how Rob Bell dealt with this interview. He was verbally attacked, and responded with laughs, and patience. He wasn’t NOT answering questions, he was avoiding pitfalls meant to drag him into an un-winnable debate.

The one clear message he managed to deliver is God loves people and wants to redeem us. And he ended the interview with a smile on his face.

I would much rather have this guy representing Christians than someone who would dogmatically engage in theology right there.



report abuse
 

Christian Farris

posted March 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm


Like Bell or not… this made him look foolish. I don’t care how long or short the interview process was Bell skirted some direct questions. This reminded me of the Osteen interview a while back with Larry King. This was pathetic.



report abuse
 

    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted March 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm


    I disagree.

    But I’m glad you’re excited about it.



    report abuse
     

      Allen

      posted March 17, 2011 at 1:26 am


      Actually, Martin is one of the most respected members of the news media. Christian or not, he is the most prepared and most direct journalists in the business and will press on certain questions and that is well documented in past interviews he has done. Being direct looks to be a problem for Rob. Working in the media, I can tell you that Bell handled himself as one looking for softball questions and no challenges. I see it all the time from politicians and those looking to make platitudes instead of engaging in actual debate. Its also glib to say those who disagree with Rob’s book of believing in a small god. How does one make that assertion? I believe in a small god? Really? Is this according to your opinion or a larger standard over yours and my belief? I’m just asking questions, like Bell.



      report abuse
       

nazani14

posted March 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm


I have only seen Bashir a few times now, but he seems to be a Miss Cranky-pants. While no replacement for Olberman, his petulance is fun (and easily imitated.)



report abuse
 

Jonathan

posted March 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm


Argghhh thank you! I somehow ended up seeing this on Justin Taylor’s blog (which I never visit anymore) and was positively outraged. Bashir was pompous, patronizing, and belligerent. Even more outraging was the fact that everyone on the blog thought that this was the greatest piece of reporting they had seen in a long time. God, and to think a year ago I would have been saying the same thing. Our psyche is complex, no?



report abuse
 

Jonathan

posted March 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm


Lol oh and one more thing… I know it’s supposed to be the “Christian” thing to do to be patient and understanding even when under fire (I guess for a little clarity of my perspective I’ll throw in that I’ve been more in the agnostic stream for the last 6 months…mostly because of this question Bell is addressing), but wouldn’t it have been great if Bell would have flipped the table over and pulled out a whip and just beat Bashir’s ass? I mean really.. And then he could have pulled that anti-pacifist BS line that we always get to here from the Reformed people: “What about Jesus passionately defending truth in the temple? Huh? Huh? Huh?” Oh and maybe end with like a..”What now, bitch?? Was that answer clear enough for you??” I for one…would be flying wherever this man was to give him a jumping high five. *sigh* Ok that was a good laugh. Anyways.



report abuse
 

FDR

posted March 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm


Dear Rob Bell,
Just answer the questions. Simple.



report abuse
 

    Elle

    posted March 17, 2011 at 1:08 am


    Some of the questions can’t simply be answered “yes” or “no” like that. I wish doctrine were that simple. I think he did pretty well attempting to at least articulate some of his views while being continuously interrupted by the interviewer.



    report abuse
     

PvR

posted March 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm


I agree that the interviewer was “harsh” at times but that still does not explain Rob’s answers. There seems to be too many holes in Rob’s story. Holes that can only be filled by coming up with a post-mortem salvation theory. Again I wish Rob would stop speculating (as he said in the interview Christians shouldn’t do when it’s not clear in the Bible) and stick with what the Bible actually says.

Rob is allowed to speculate and I hope I will be surprised by how many people (people that I might not even have thought would be there) are in heaven. But right now I know faith in Jesus is the only way and therefore I should reject the idea that it is possible for people that do not believe will end up in heaven too.

Will I ever judge out loud and intentionally where people end up in? No. Will I ever tell someone where their eternal destination is? no. I can’t judge people’s hearts and can only go by “what ifs” scenarios. What if a person does not believe and dies will he/she go to heaven? According to my understanding he/she will not be in heaven. Rob hasn’t really convinced me otherwise.

Of course you might argue that my understanding is wrong*…but I really think the scripture is quite clear there is only one way right now. It’s possible that God might provide another way in the future. But if we argue that way like Rob does then we can come up with a lot of ideas that might happen.But that is speculation and quite moot.

*which is quite possible but that probably means that you don’t have the same presuppositions that I have as an orthodox Christian. Which if you are, for example, an atheist then of course everything I just said is crazy cuckoo talk



report abuse
 

Kent

posted March 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm


This interview was the best example of modernism vs. post-modernism I’ve ever seen. Either/or questions vs. both/and answers.



report abuse
 

    Jess P

    posted March 17, 2011 at 8:36 am


    Agreed. I’d like to see Bashir interview Zizek.



    report abuse
     

Kyle K

posted March 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm


This is like Religulous to me, if you have already decided you against Bell (or in the case of Religulous, Christianity) then you are really fired up by this. Or there are some who probably just aren’t able to see through the petty tactics Mr. Bashir employs, will be swayed by this.

If you can remain at all objective and pull back from it, I would hope that one could see it for what it is. Piss-poor journalism, that, in the end, gives no insight into anything, but wastes 7 minutes of our lives.

I do feel bad Bell got set up like this, I wouldn’t have been as gracious. I probably would have interrupted him and told him to let me finish my answers, and said something when he basically called me a heretic/liar.



report abuse
 

Adam

posted March 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm


I have to agree with



report abuse
 

craig gross

posted March 16, 2011 at 11:45 pm


Well – I can tell you Martin is a believer not an atheist and Rob Bell is a believer as well. I know both of them…. Martin goes to Keller’s church and is very educated on the church, history and modern culture. I like both these people. I tend to talk about porn not theology so they both are smarter then me in that regards. Rob wrote a book that has trended on twitter because of the controversy.. Martin asked him questions that you expected him to ask. Did anyone watch martin interview p diddy? michael jackson? I can keep going.. He is tough guy. THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS REFUSED TO BE INTERVIEWED BY MARTIN. I think Rob handled things well and think Martin read the whole book and had some questions.

Thats all I got…



report abuse
 

    brandontheguy

    posted March 17, 2011 at 10:38 am


    Porn?!? That’s gross!

    I’m sure I’m not the first to make that joke.



    report abuse
     

    Brad S

    posted March 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm


    I am currently reading Rob’s book and the more I read the more I truly think that Martin Bashir did not read a word of it. He read a negative review and went from there.



    report abuse
     

Phil (NZ)

posted March 17, 2011 at 2:37 am


I have to say – Martin makes a massive assumption around 5.50. His journalistic style is VERY rude and is about trying to confront Rob Bell, not understand him – what is more ‘Christian’, to come with pride and questions, or humility and questions?



report abuse
 

Adam

posted March 17, 2011 at 5:32 am


I have to agree that Bashir really seemed to be attacking Rob Bell instead of giving him proper time to discuss his book. What was his motivation in trying to get Rob Bell to agree with his opinions? Drama does sell.

I am hesitant to simply judge Rob Bell and the teachings in his book from this video interview though. I highly respect some of the people who are making claims about the problems in this book, but I think we’d be better to wait and read it ourselves before making assumptions. Sure Rob talked about the book, but how do you clearly explain things when you’re simply defending yourself from focused questions based off controversy? I respect both him and the people who are finding fault. His book will answer some questions.



report abuse
 

j.r. mahon

posted March 17, 2011 at 6:33 am


Martin knows the Lord.



report abuse
 

Rick

posted March 17, 2011 at 6:37 am


Apparently Rob Bell needed a whole book to get his views across, with all the necessary nuances. If he could have said it all in a few minutes, he might have made a NOOMA video about it. It’s rediculous to force someone to reduce a whole book into a few ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. This is simply very bad journalism. This supposedly objective Bashir hiding behind some anonymous criticaster and repeating his illogical questions over and over. It’s not like Bell is some kind of lying politician, he’s a pastor trying to deal with existential questions. You may not agree with him, but I thought he did a good job here, staying polite, trying to explain the complexities of his faith. Faith is always complex, it cannot be explained by saying yes or no to some suggestive questions in a five minute news item. And in the end, Bell managed to get some nice comments about God’s love in there.
As a European Christian, I’ve been following this whole Bell-soap in pure astonishment. As have my Christian friends. People are dying in tsunamis and being killed by dictators, and this is what American Christians are concerned about? Wow. Must be a cultural thing.



report abuse
 

Rick

posted March 17, 2011 at 6:48 am


I didn’t mean to sound arrogant, by the way. No offence meant. :)



report abuse
 

FDR

posted March 17, 2011 at 7:43 am


Craig Gross,
Thank you for your comment. No agenda. Thanks.



report abuse
 

Kevin

posted March 17, 2011 at 7:58 am


Why is it that so many assume the gospel is really complex and nuanced. From Christ’s own words, to apostolic preaching it really wasn’t that complex.

Bell seems to do his followers a disservice by pitting God’s love against his other attributes. You don’t have to do that!

God holiness required punishment for sin. God love compelled him to find a way to rescue sinners from the punishment they deserved. The cross is the beautiful harmonization of both. In the Cross we see that God Holy hated for sin, and his holy love for sinners.

Just look John 3:16 “For God so LOVED (God’s is Love) the world,that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish (perish = condemnation under God’s holy wrath)” see also Romans 8:1

If you doubt that PERISH means judgement under God’s holy wrath, just look a few verses later in John 3. REMEMBER, THIS IS JESUS TALKING….

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

The good news about God’s love is that He loved people who deserved hell and He gave His own son to perish on the cross, so that those who believe in him will not perish.

For some, not all, it seems the problem is that they just don’t like the gospel as it is presented in the new testament, it doesn’t fit with their post-modern sensibilities.



report abuse
 

    LRA

    posted March 17, 2011 at 9:20 am


    *sigh*

    Here we go again.

    American anti-intellectualism is going to destroy this former beacon of enlightenment called the USA, not post-modernism.



    report abuse
     

      ETS

      posted March 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm


      I think they both are destroying America to be honest …



      report abuse
       

altsarah

posted March 17, 2011 at 9:19 am


If Rob Bell is going to write a book he has to be prepared to answer questions about it. It’s a book that deals with a serious issues and if he can’t handle questions then he shouldn’t have written it. Clearly he had nothing of substance to say in this interview, everything he says is based on feelings and not on scripture. You have to have respect for both sides and people that disagree with him have the right to engage in dialogue about it. You can’t jump on everyone that disagrees with him and say they are narrow minded.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

I usually don’t land on the conservative side of issues as a gay woman in canada but in this situation I cannot stand the fact that people that are all up on the Rob Bell bandwagon are just bashing and nitpicking everything that people that disagree with him say.



report abuse
 

    Jonathon

    posted March 17, 2011 at 11:59 am


    The issue isn’t so much much the disagreement, but how the disagreement is handled. This questions asked in this interview are quite outrageous. They seem almost to the level of questions such as “Have you stopped beating your wife.” – It can be hard to come up with a good answer when you aren’t expecting that. The interviewer was quite antagonistic in his wording.



    report abuse
     

Caleb

posted March 17, 2011 at 11:59 am


If I were a blogger I’d probably be considered a “reformed blogger,” but I still think Martin Bashir was a complete ass during this interview. It doesn’t matter the topic or the background of the interviewer, Bashir should have been professional. I felt like I was watching an interrogation.

“That’s true isn’t it?”



report abuse
 

Rocco Capra

posted March 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm


I think Bell knew he was being ‘picked on’ and handled it pretty well. Bashir was a dick. imo.



report abuse
 

Carole Turner

posted March 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm


I was shocked at how mean and rude Brashir was.



report abuse
 

    Billy Wallace

    posted March 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm


    Brashir certainly did not throw softballs to Mr. Bell, but I don’t think he was rude. I think he was started to get frustrated because Bell would not answer the questions.
    I just wish that Bell would have answered the questions right out instead of dancing around the subjects.
    He seemed to not want to give an answer.



    report abuse
     

bill

posted March 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm


It would have been nice if Rob Bell just answered the questions. I thought it was honest and pure journalism, just unexpected on a national news show, especially related to the topic of Christianity.



report abuse
 

Nish

posted March 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm


Pardon me, while I go whack my head against the wall, in hopes of banishing this interview from my memory.

Bashir? WAS TERRIBLE.

His questions were awful, his tone was accusatory and rude. Rob Bell did pretty well, considering what he had to sit through.



report abuse
 

John Lussier

posted March 18, 2011 at 1:51 am


Find out the answer to this vital question http://www.isrobbellauniversalist.tumblr.com ??



report abuse
 

Brad S

posted March 18, 2011 at 8:07 am


I love reading the comments. If you don’t like Bell and his book it was “pure journalism” and “Martin knows the Lord” and if you like Bell and his book Bashir was “mean”, “rude”, and generally a ginormous douchebag. Me, I lean to the latter.



report abuse
 

    Bill

    posted March 18, 2011 at 8:22 am


    I’d have to disagree. I didn’t know anything about Rob Bell prior to the interview I just watched last night and thought he did a horrible job answering the questions. I didn’t really know of Bashir except for vaguely remembering his interview with Michael Jackson. I watched the video only because I happened upon it on my Facebook Wall.

    Besides being absolutely surprised such an interview was on national television, I thought Bashir asked tough questions. That’s it. Often, when people ask tough questions, it’s perceived to be mean and rude, but is not actually. Maybe sometimes, but who cares. I don’t. If you’ve ever watched Chris Matthews, he asks questions the same way. Is he “mean” sometimes? Sure. Are his questions good? Absolutely.



    report abuse
     

      Grace

      posted March 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm


      I thought Bell did just fine answering the questions he was asked. Bashir just wasn’t satisfied with them because they weren’t the black and white, clear-cut answers he wanted. I say props to Bell for not letting himself be pushed into a statement that doesn’t reflect what he actually believes – i.e., that there’s a lot of ambiguity, contradiction, and mystery to the gospel. I’m not a Christian, but I can respect Bell for at least acknowledging that clarity isn’t exactly the Bible’s strong suit.



      report abuse
       

        bill

        posted March 19, 2011 at 6:26 am


        Hi Grace,

        While I just simply disagree that Bell did a good job answering questions I have a question about one of your statements. You stated there is contradiction to the gospel. What exactly is that contradiction?

        Cheers,



        report abuse
         

          Grace

          posted March 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm


          I didn’t say there’s “a” contradiction – I said there’s a lot of contradiction in it. One example Bell gives is the question of whether the gospel is radically exclusive or radically inclusive. “no one comes to the father but by me” and “narrow is the way” vs. “the renewal of all things,” I will draw all men to myself, and many other verses that suggest a more expansive view of who will be saved. That’s just one example of a question with huge implications for Christianity that’s difficult to pin down a straightforward answer on. A related question would be whether the church (or the family, or marriage) is meant to be hierarchical or egalitarian. People claim to have definite answers, but the truth is that the Bible can be read in all sorts of different ways, depending on different emphases and different philosophies of reading and interpretation.

          And honestly, I think that’s what really pisses some people off about Bell – he is using scripture. He quotes the Bible all the time. It baffles me how people can either be so blinkered by their bias or so dishonest as to claim that he doesn’t care about scripture. He clearly does. He just reads it differently than reformed evangelicals do.



          report abuse
           

          Bill

          posted March 21, 2011 at 9:07 am


          For anything to have meaning, the definitions of words must be consistent. I’m a bit confused by what you are suggesting are “contradictions.”

          What is the “renewal of all things” you are referencing and where is this notion in the scriptures? I just ask so I can be sure to understand what it is you’re talking about.

          “I will draw all men to myself” – key word there – “draw.” Does it mean “be saved for eternity?” I think you would be hard pressed to find it definition that way any where. On the contrary, evaluating how that word is used in similar contexts, you’ll come up with a very different meaning.

          You haven’t demonstrated at all how it’s difficult to pin down a straightforward answer on the topic of salvation. What is straightforward is that “he who does not believe on the son is condemned already,” a fact that Bell, it seems, wants to overlook.

          The more I am reading and hearing about Bell, the less I agree with your last paragraph. Just because someone quotes the Bible does not necessarily mean one cares about the scripture. For example, here is a classic example.

          “Judas hung himself.” “Jesus said, ‘Go and do thou likewise.” Jesus also said “What you do, do quickly.”

          Obviously construing the scriptures in this way is ridiculous because it’s taking all those phrases out of context – but hey! that’s what the Bible says!

          There are irrefutable standards of interpretation if one is to take the scriptures as the inerrant word of God. But according to what you just stated in the last paragraph, someone is justified if they want to go and hang themselves.

          Sorry…but that’s nonsense.



          report abuse
           

theofish

posted March 18, 2011 at 8:34 am


Good interview with Bashir here http://networkedblogs.com/fxXwm that answer a number of questions.

I have been captivated by the publicity of this book release and the banter surrounding it this week. If Love really wins, then Rob and Albert Mohler would join each other on stage to discuss their differences. As brothers in Christ restoration and reconciliation are absolutely crucial. So far it looks like more stone throwing and defending of position than anything else. A more divided Christianity is not what the world needs!



report abuse
 

    Jace

    posted March 18, 2011 at 11:08 pm


    This was an excellent interview. I like that he puts an emphasis that he actually read the book and calls out the lob ball easy interviews Bell got previously to his.

    Bashir did a great job with this and the Rob Bell interview. I think it’s almost absurd that people have tried to colour Martin as a bully simply because he asked Rob Bell hard questions on his book and didn’t let him wiggle out of it.

    Thats not bullying, thats being a good interviewer.



    report abuse
     

      Grace

      posted March 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm


      Interrupting and saying “this is what you’re doing, isn’t it?” isn’t good interviewing.



      report abuse
       

        davepettengill

        posted March 23, 2011 at 11:14 am


        @Grace that was the part that I had a hard time with in the interview. I didn’t mind Bashir’s forward questions or even asking them again after he didn’t feel Bell had answered them but I didn’t think it was good interviewing when he would make a statement and say “this is what you’re doing, isn’t it?” He was almost coming across as a prosecutor not an interviewer. I will freely admit maybe I don’t understand what an interviewer is suppose to do in a situation like this but that is just my point of view. I am saying this from the perspective of someone who has read the book and appreciates very much certain aspects of the book and other parts I very highly disagree with.



        report abuse
         

JCharters

posted March 18, 2011 at 8:45 am


Bashir was pretty aggressive … but for me the sad part was that Bashir really gave Bell a soft ball question to begin the interview (any 1st year philosophy or theology student works through this question … as does any pastor in the first year of ministry!).

It was an opportunity for Bell to offer hope in the midst of a brutal crisis. Rob has been given an opportunity because of the book to be heard by millions and he had to figure that at least one person would ask him, as a pastor, about the horrible disaster in Japan. Not a huge fan of Piper but the dude rocked the same question in an NPR interview about the last tsunami. The interviewer was much kinder than Bashir (but anyone who has seen Bashir should have known it was not going to be a fluffy love-fest, ask no hard questions interview like Good Morning America!) but she still asked hard questions about God’s power and his love. Google it – worth the listen.



report abuse
 

JCharters

posted March 18, 2011 at 8:53 am


One more thought … if people are shocked and offended by Bashir’s interview style they need to watch him more. This was not an individual attack of Rob Bell .. this type of aggressive style is Bashir’s shtick. It would be like being upset that Larry King never asks tough questions, or that Colbert and Stewart ask too many hilarious questions. Did Bell’s PR team not look into who Bashir was?



report abuse
 

Michigan Highland

posted March 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm


Bashir clearly did not read the book fully. He was aggressive, and that much is ok. But he also was very manipulative. Not only did he phrase the questions in ways that it was impossible to answer, he did not give Bell ample opportunity to answer. Bell was interrupted several times, and the questions that Bashir asked were no-win questions. Bashir staged a question by offering two answers and asked Bell to choose the best of the two, but both answers were garbage. When Bell tried to answer the question differently than it was phrased, Bashir attacked him for doing it. This is absolutely poor journalism, and Bashir made himself look like a jerk.



report abuse
 

    Jace

    posted March 18, 2011 at 11:10 pm


    What did Martin say that could possibly lead you to think he didn’t read the interview. He seemed to be very well informed on “Love Wins.”

    Bell was only interrupted when he was trying to steer an answer away from actually answering a question, and that may bother you, but thats being a good interviewer.



    report abuse
     

      Michigan Highland

      posted March 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm


      The way he framed the questions indicated that he did not read the book. It’s not that Bell was steering the answer from the question, it’s that the options presented in the question were unacceptable, and Bell had no other choice but to present a third option.

      BASHIR: Which of these is true: Either God is all-powerful and does not care about their suffering, or God is not all-powerful. Which is it?

      That’s a trap. That’s terrible journalism. Bell HAS TO create a new answer.

      Furthermore, “that’s what you’re doing, isn’t it?” (asked later in the interview) is NOT a question, it’s an accusation. “What are you doing?” or “Is this what you’re doing?” are questions.

      BASHIR: But you’ve just indicated one of the problems with the book, which is in a sense you’re creating a Christian message that’s warm, kind and popular, for contemporary culture but it’s, frankly — according to this critic — unbiblical and historically unreliable. That’s true, isn’t it?

      That is a pointed accusation. Bashir had an agenda. That’s not trying to uncover the truth – as a journalist should do – that’s trying to create your own truth.

      Bashir came off to me as a bully with a score to settle. I also question whether his unfamiliarity with the book plays into the reason he was a bully – so he could keep from looking ignorant. MSNBC needs to yank the guy – we don’t need another bully newscaster. We already have enough Bill O’Reilly’s and Glenn Beck’s.



      report abuse
       

        davepettengill

        posted March 23, 2011 at 11:23 am


        I am not a Bell apologist but I have seen the nooma videos and read “Velvet Elvis” along with “Love Wins” and can agree those were loaded questions and were garbage. I have read the book and definitely don’t agree with everything written but I thought the way Bashir worded those questions was junk and honestly I would have done the same thing as Bell.
        That is like someone asking you, “Do your friends know you crap your pants?” If you answer yes you are freely admitting that yes you do crap your pants and you are pretty proud of it and you let people know :) If you answer no your friends don’t know you crap your pants you are admitting you crap your pants but you just aren’t spreading the word about it. Sorry for the lame illustration but I kind of felt like that is what Bashir was doing with those questions.



        report abuse
         

Hashman

posted March 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm


@michiganhighland

BASHIR: Which of these is true: Either God is all-powerful and
does not care about their suffering, or God is not all-powerful. Which is it?

Any pastor that goes on tv after a disaster like Japan is going to be asked that kind of question, its not a novel question or a trap, this question been around for a while, its called the classic “problem of evil”.

Pastors should not be caught off guard by that question, if they want to meaningfully serve in a fallen world.



report abuse
 

    Michigan Highland

    posted March 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm


    He was not caught off guard, and as a pastor that’s a question I deal with all the time. Neither of those options is acceptable. That’s my point. Bell was creating a new option, and Bashir refused to allow him to.

    When the question is framed in that way, you have two choices – Choice A and choice B.

    Choice A: Either God is all-powerful and does not care about their suffering

    Choice B: God is not all-powerful.

    This presents a false dichotomy.

    Any pastor who is given these options should not choose whatever he or she feels is the closest to true. Any pastor who is given these two options should refuse to accept both of them and respond with a new answer.

    I’m really having a hard time seeing how people can defend Bashir. Even if you don’t like Bell, how can you suggest that what Bashir did was professional? It amazes me. I sure would not have wanted to be in that interview, because even the RIGHT answer (if there is A [one] right answer) will not be “right” if it did not first belong to the interviewer.



    report abuse
     

Karen

posted March 21, 2011 at 8:24 am


I think what is easy to forget is that there are people struggling with their faith and what they can and should believe. This should not be an argumentative subject. I feel like a kid in a church business meeting arguing if the church should move across town or not. It seems so ridiculous. Meanwhile, I am sitting here not understanding what is going on. There are people struggling with these issues! I know I am one. I won’t even say what side I lean towards, mainly because it changes day to day, but it does make me want to throw my hands up to all of it. I just wish people got how these things affect others, and how it looks to those still undecided.



report abuse
 

    Michigan Highland

    posted March 21, 2011 at 9:44 am


    Karen,

    If it helps, I am a trained, experienced pastor and this book has shaken me up as well. This book is supposed to challenge your beliefs. There are many things in the book that are up in the air for me right now… I’m wrestling with it and I’m not sure where I’ll land. It’s tough, it’s thick, and it’s difficult to read, wrestle with, and find a comfortable place to land on.

    As far as the debate I have been engaged in on this site – it has not been theological, it has been concerning the way the topic was debated on a national television show. I think it was unfair, others find it acceptable. In any case, it does not seem to be the same issues you’re (we’re) struggling with regarding the actual content of the book.

    I hope that as you wrestle, you find answers that you’re comfortable with and can stand behind. You’re already doing better than most readers – you’re struggling. Many had their minds made up before they ever read it.



    report abuse
     

ywamer

posted March 22, 2011 at 4:32 am


I like BOTH Bell and Bashir, although while Bell wins the cool haircut category, Bashir obviously has more balls.



report abuse
 

Crystal Renaud

posted March 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm


i’ve heard that Bashir is a Christian…. and really, i think the interview is fine. yes, Bashir was aggressive, but i think he was getting aggravated that Bell didn’t answer the questions directly. which is Bell’s style. what we’re seeing here are 2 types of people, talking past each other. not great journalism, but i don’t think the interview was wrong.



report abuse
 

josh

posted March 23, 2011 at 7:59 am


I wonder if Rob Bell was just avoiding questions so you’ll go out and buy the book. If he gives the answers you want to hear, there will be no reason to buy his book.



report abuse
 

nathan

posted March 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm


brashir rocked it. he was not rude, he just asked hard questions that rob tried to avoid answering. brashir kept bell’s feet to the fire.

we all hate it when politicians can’t give straight answer simple questions. why should bell be left off the hook?



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Needs New PR. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 10:19:20am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

A Baptist mom meets the Black Eyed Peas…
Aw… my mom dances like that, too. A Baptist mom meets the Black Eyed Peas… is a post from: Jesus Needs New PR

posted 11:21:43am Dec. 30, 2011 | read full post »

Pat Robertson blasts SNL over Jesus, Tebow skit!
Hmm. SNL has poked fun with Jesus before… Chances are, Pat wouldn’t have said anything about this skit had it not been poking fun at Tebow… SNL has used “Jesus” in skits many many times. There seems to be a double standard among some Christians when the religious sati

posted 9:16:03am Dec. 22, 2011 | read full post »

Pirates, bubbles, and Jesus
Merry Christmas… Pirates, bubbles, and Jesus is a post from: Jesus Needs New PR

posted 9:02:42am Dec. 22, 2011 | read full post »

Bad nativity…
@gveitinger Bad nativity… is a post from: Jesus Needs New PR

posted 8:18:59pm Dec. 21, 2011 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.