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Rob Bell has made waves in the Christian community for his unorthodox ideas. Some say he is an apostate while others claim he is a paradigm shifter.

Rob Bell was formerly the pastor and founder of the megachurch Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan. His 2011 book, however, led to a deep conflict between him and his congregation. Bell’s book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived,” questions traditional teachings about heaven and hell. One of the book’s largest breaks from traditional Christian teachings was Bell’s assertion that anyone can enter into heaven. Later, Bell would shock Christians again with his statement that the “Bible has caused so much damage, and in many ways it has often been an agent of dragging everything backwards.”

Bell’s controversial remarks caused more than 3,000 people to leave the Mars Hill Bible Church. “The book put pressure on the people around Bell,” the New Yorker wrote. “[They] found themselves having to defend statements they might never have heard, let alone approved…congregants reported that friends and family members were asking why they were allowing themselves to be led by a false teacher.”

Eventually, Bell left the Mars Hill Bible Church to “search for a more forgiving faith.” Several years later, he was approached by filmmaker Andrew Morgan who wanted to make a documentary about Bell’s life and the controversy surrounding his beliefs. “We have great respect for Andrew, so we said yes and he began filming tours and RobCasts and events and interviews,” Bell said. “I can’t imagine just how much footage he captured. The result is a new film that he is preparing to release. It’s called ‘The Heretic.’”

The film has not yet been released, but the trailer is already causing controversy. The trailer features snippets of Bell announcing that “the religion that has arisen in Jesus’ name, it is anti-what Jesus was talking about” and that “religions have failed.”

“The Heretic” has also reopened the controversy surrounding Bell’s books and the man himself. Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that “Bell wants to rescue God from any teaching that his wrath is poured out upon sin and sinners…but Bell also wants God to vindicate the victims of murder, rape, child abuse and similar evil. He seems not to recognize that he has undercut his own story, leaving God unable or unwilling to bring true justice.”

Proponents of Bell’s teachings, however, claim that the man is a “paradigm shifter” who speaks to the original teachings of Jesus. “We are going through a revolution,” Bell claimed, “because these great [religious] traditions have to be expanded.”

“The Heretic” will be available on Amazon and iTunes on March 1, 2018, and it promises to be every bit as controversial as the man it focuses on.

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