Controversial author and spiritual teacher Rob Bell insisted that he is “as traditional as it gets” despite evangelicals finding fault in his views on Hell, and said that famous evangelist Billy Graham helped shape his beliefs.
“I’m as traditional as it gets. The tradition is following the spirit where you’re led. ‘Radical’ comes from the Latin word for ‘root.’ Radical is a person who went back to the source,” Bell said in a recent interview with The Charlotte Observer.
“So I feel like it’s been a long, slow, steady exploration. If somebody has a problem with me, they have a problem with the depth and diversity of their own tradition. I’m having more fun than ever. No regrets,” he added.
Bell, who is the former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, stirred significant controversy with his 2011 book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, which seemed to question whether people who don’t profess faith in Jesus Christ will end up in an eternal Hell.
Notable theologians, such as Dr. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., praised Bell as a “master communicator” at the time, but warned that his arguments “alienate love from justice and holiness.”
“Bell wants to rescue God from any teaching that his wrath is poured out upon sin and sinners, certainly in any eternally conscious sense,” Mohler argued then.
“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.”
Many, such as the Rev. Franklin Graham, branded Bell a “false teacher” and a “heretic.”
In an interview on the “O’Reilly Factor” in 2011, Graham said, “The Bible is very clear that there is a Hell.”
Still, Bell said in his interview with The Charlotte Observer that Graham’s father, Billy Graham, helped shape his beliefs.
“A number of years ago, in Newsweek, [Graham] talked about God’s love for everybody — all backgrounds, all religions. I was, like, ‘Yeah, Billy, yeah,'” Bell explained.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post – Stoyan Zaimov