Rob Bell founded Mars Hill Bible Church, with the church originally meeting in a school gym in Wyoming, Michigan. Within a year the church was given a shopping mall in Grandville, Michigan, and purchased the surrounding land. As of March 2011, Sunday attendance numbers between 8,000 and 10,000 people attend the two “gatherings” on Sundays at 9 and 11 AM.
In August 2005, Bell published his first book, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. Velvet Elvis is for people who are, in Bell’s words, “fascinated with Jesus, but can’t do the standard Christian package”
Bell’s second book, titled Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality, was released in March 2007. In February and March 2007 Bell hosted a “Sex God” tour on six university campuses to promote his book. The tour functioned more as a time for engaging questions and conversation. Questions ranged from Old Testament codes to homosexuality to what should Christians do with the word “evangelical”.
In his writings, Bell says “I affirm the truth anywhere in any religious system, in any worldview. If it’s true, it belongs to God.” Bell says, “This is not just the same old message with new methods. We’re rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life. Legal metaphors for faith don’t deliver a way of life. We grew up in churches where people knew the nine verses why we don’t speak in tongues, but had never experienced the overwhelming presence of God.”
In his most recent book, Love Wins, Bell has stated that “It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief (in hell as conscious, eternal torment) is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.” In this book, Bell outlines a number of views of hell, including universal reconciliation (UR), and though he does not choose any one view as his own, he states of the UR view, “Whatever objections a person may have of [the UR view], and there are many, one has to admit that it is fitting, proper, and Christian to long for it.”
- The Unbelief of Rob Bell (apprising.org)
- The Quantum Spirituality of Rob Bell (liveinthespirit.wordpress.com)
- Pastor Rob Bell: What if Hell Doesn’t Exist? (time.com)
- Will the Next Billy Graham be a Mystic? (lighthousetrails)