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Amy Spreeman is founder and co-blogger at Berean Research and also a contributing blogger at Pirate Christian Radio’s Berean Examiner blog. She has been a broadcaster and freelance writer for 25 years. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Rob Bell is back, rethinking the Bible

“A growing numbers are asking whether their reading has become too rigid, too simplistic and too alienating.” That’s the intro to a new Orange County Register article titled: Rethinking the Bible: A reassessment among some evangelicals. Here is an excerpt:



What is the Bible?

It’s a straightforward question. But for Christians these days, it turns out there’s no straightforward answer.

Not even for evangelical Christians, who for centuries have remained near unanimous in their belief that the Bible is the authoritative word of God – until now.

At a time when fewer Americans than ever read the Bible or even regard it as sacred, even evangelical Christians are beginning to ask whether their historic embrace of Scripture has become too rigid, too simplistic and too alienating in an increasingly pluralistic society.

“We’re in a moment of history where things are shifting,” said Rob Bell, a best-selling evangelical author and former megachurch pastor who lives in Laguna Beach.

Bell is one of several prominent evangelicals who in recent months have published books or extended online essays questioning traditional claims that the Bible, as Bell put it in all capital letters in a blog post, “IS THE INERRANT TRUTH ABOUT WHICH THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE.”

In churches, seminaries and online, evangelicals are asking whether the Bible was directly inspired by God; whether Scripture truly condemns homosexuality; and whether strict observance of biblical rules is even possible given the complexities of language, history and culture inherent in biblical interpretation.

“The Bible is complex and, while influenced by God, it is not dictated by God,” prominent megachurch pastor Adam Hamilton told the Religion News Service in May.

Hamilton was speaking about a book he published in March that encourages Christians to abandon overly literalistic approaches to Scripture.

Also urging Christians to re-evaluate their Bibles is a 24-year-old gay evangelical from Kansas named Matthew Vines, who leads a national network of evangelicals dedicated to promoting tolerance of homosexuality in churches.

“Bible passages” appearing to condemn homosexuality “have been misinterpreted,” Vines wrote in a book he published this year called “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Marriage.”

“You can affirm same-sex relationships and uphold biblical authority,” Vines said.

Karen Winslow, a Bible scholar at Azusa Pacific Seminary, said evangelicals are re-evaluating their approach to Scripture for several reasons.

First, she said, a younger generation of Americans is growing up with less biblical knowledge than ever before, requiring pastors to start from scratch when teaching in church.

A study this year by the American Bible Society found that nearly 40 percent of Americans under age 30 never read the Bible, while 16 percent of young adults consider the Bible “the actual word of God.”

Read the rest of the article here


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16 Responses to “Rob Bell is back, rethinking the Bible”

  1. gary #

    Is there any evidence that Matthew the tax-collector, John Mark, Luke the physician, and John son of Zebedee, wrote the four Gospels of the New Testament other than Papias' very brief, non-specific statements in 120-130 AD and Irenaeus' declaration of their authorship at the end of the second century?

    March 1, 2015 at 2:11 PM
  2. Manny P. #

    False teachers will arise in the last days……….. Wolves among the sheep. We are to be separate from these people, have nothing to do with them. They speak from the resources of their father, who is a liar. They deny the very Jesus that died for them.

    August 8, 2014 at 2:34 PM
  3. tonibrown64 #

    I never question whether the Bible is the inerrant, totally sufficient Word of the Living God to man. I believe in the 6 day creation account clearly related to us in Genesis, I know His ways and thoughts are higher than man's and I am convinced that real peace in this life comes only when we wholly submit ourselves to the clear teaching of scripture.
    Glory be to God for the work of the Holy Spirit in the regenerate heart of a true believer. Amazing.
    May God have mercy on the many self-deceived.

    July 28, 2014 at 7:59 AM
  4. Ann Jones #

    When I think about how many people gave their lives to preserve the Bible and get it into our hands in a form we could read, I am ashamed. So many "Christians" don't read it other than Sunday, and with so many churches projecting the words on a screen, few even take their own Bibles. How did those of us that truly know and love the Lord let this happen? Even more, what do we do now? I am beginning to think that God is calling many of us to be missionaries, taking the Gospel to the churches.

    July 26, 2014 at 6:58 AM
  5. Chicago #

    If I'm shaking my head now, I wonder what evangelicalism will look like and embrace 25 years from today.

    July 25, 2014 at 11:33 PM
  6. Ann Jones #

    When I think of the people that died to preserve the Bible and put it in the form we can read – and then how little we use it – I find myself in tears.

    July 25, 2014 at 8:16 PM
  7. scottspeig #

    Maybe the problem with the younger generation is that the current set of pastors (Rob Bell included) fail to stand on the word of God and condemn wayward translations and pander too much to the current culture trends.

    July 25, 2014 at 6:39 AM
  8. MIKE S #

    If Rob Bell is an evangelical them the term has no meaning anymore. What he is doing is nothing new, the mainline scholars did the same thing 100 years ago. Any evangelical pastor / church / denomination that begins to lessen the authority of scripture is on the long road to irrelevancy.

    July 25, 2014 at 6:02 AM
  9. Eric #

    How does Rob Bell become a Pastor? Doesn't a Christian know that Satan hates God's word – the bible. When Jesus was tempted he answered Satan quoting the scriptures, the sword of the spirit. Somehow he has been given a position of elevation to say what he does. He speaks as though he is an authority on what evangelicals are thinking. I always thought an evangelical was one who believed the bible was God breathed and don't forget when they talked of scriptures then it was the Old Testament scriptures. What Bell, McLaren and others are admitting is they haven't grasped the truth of Jesus and are seeking the post modern relative view trying to make it fit how they would like it to be. Do they ever read and meditate on God's word? Have they read that God says He dies not change that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever Bell is doing the devils work in trying to discredit the word of God and get potential Christians to doubt its authenticity. It Is time to stop Bell getting all this publicity and that someone tells him it is time for him to grow up! For all those under 35's do not follow man, a celebrity Christian, read the bible for yourselves, get to know it and you will recognise His voice and false preachers like Bell.

    July 24, 2014 at 4:08 PM
  10. Jenny #

    Maybe these false teachers should take heed and read the book that wrote about them and their apostasy and falling away.

    July 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM
  11. rosinavoz #

    "….Christians, who for centuries have remained near unanimous in their belief that the Bible is the authoritative word of God – until now.

    (It was unanimous not 'near unanimous'.) Yeah….for centuries, but NOW we are so much wiser, aren't we? So much wiser than the Church Fathers and all those saints who were martyred for the faith down through the centuries. The sophisticated surfer guy preachers living the easy, good life in America…they know more!

    "In churches, seminaries and online, evangelicals are asking whether the Bible was directly inspired by God; whether Scripture truly condemns homosexuality; and whether strict observance of biblical rules is even possible.."

    Correction. People 'calling' themselves evangelical Christians are asking. They are asking because they don't want to obey what the bible says. They want a new Christianity that pleases their flesh. If they knew the true gospel, they wouldn't be worried about 'strict observance of biblical rules'. They would know that Jesus set us free from the Law by His death and resurrection in our behalf. These people, including Mr. Bell, have no concept of true Christianity. If they ever did, they have rejected it.

    July 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM
  12. Joel Murrah #

    Not a true Evangelical mention in the article. My favorite is when you guys want to say seminaries are teaching this, so you get a quote from some off the wall seminary. Why don't you check with someone like Southern Baptist Theological Seminary or RTS instead of Phillip Seymour Hoffman Seminary and see of they too are teaching this garbage.

    July 23, 2014 at 9:14 AM
  13. JohnH #

    Are we still pretending he might have been a true Evangelicsl at some point?

    July 23, 2014 at 8:32 AM