Here’s the short video of Bell on Oprah’s “Soul Sunday.”
I asked for your thoughts. Here are a few of mine. I have been highly critical of Bell since his book Love Wins came out a couple of years ago. I believe his “spirituality” has veered far away from biblical Christianity and try to prove my case in my booklet Farewell, Rob Bell.
Here are a couple of notes I took on the questions Oprah asked Rob and the answers he gave:
Oprah: The difference between religion and spirituality? Bell: “Religion is people don’t want to go to hell; spirituality is people who’ve been to hell already.”
Oprah: What’s one lesson that’s been the hardest for you to learn? Bell: “That’s there’s nothing to prove! All we have to do is enjoy.”
Oprah: What do you think happens when we die? Bell: “There’s a ton of [greeting] all these people. Meeting my grandpa [is more exciting to me] than meeting God.”
Oprah: What do you know for sure? Bell: “That you can say yes to this moment & experience a joy that can’t be put into words.”
Bell: “I believe that we’re going to be fine.”
Oprah: God is ________ Bell: “Love. Stick to that one.”
Oprah: My favorite thing to do on Sunday morning ________ Bell: “Going surfing with his 13 year old.”
My thoughts on this short video: I’m sure I don’t understand the arrangement between Rob Bell and Oprah for her Sunday morning show. It appears that short interviews with him will be a semi-regular feature, sound bites which fit into Oprah’s approach to spirituality.
Part of me wants to be grateful that someone professing to be a follower of Jesus is actually having a regular audience with the billionaire woman who has impacted the spiritual perspective of millions of people. A greater part of me grieves that he seems to be fitting in nicely with her New Age advocacy of “the All,” clearly rejecting the exclusive Good News of the Christian gospel.
The interview segments provide no opportunity for Bell to elaborate on what he means by “we’re going to be fine,” for example. I believe Bell’s universalism (that all will eventually be saved) may well stand behind his comment, but I don’t know. One could argue that Bell has “sold out” the gospel, refusing to speak clearly of Jesus to the one influential woman who needs to bow to the Lordship of Christ. (to be continued)