"Closet universalist" Rob Bell being interviewed by Bashere


Where are the men of conviction in the church? It’s time we kick this false prophet out. He was part of the emergent church which didn’t work (OBVIOUSLY!) and now have allowed him to slither his “new age/old age” philosophy into evangelicalism. He has no truth of the gospel but his own made up, what feels good, can’t give a straight answer, fallacious philosophy.
Awesome job by Martin Bashere exposing Rob Bell’s chin boogy rambling. Bashere has done what most of us either can’t or aren’t willing to do.

Seriously folks if you think that Rob bell teaches the truth then you need to seriously examine yourself spiritually not to mention an introduction to logic.



The link to the Bashere interview is much appreciated; but most people here aren’t falling over themselves extolling RB’s logic and procedure. Actually, I can’t think of anyone here who is doing that–at most there are some people who think RB is dodging and weaving in a manner reminiscent of Christ refusing to be nailed down by His opposition among the Pharisees. But by definition this means even they aren’t specially impressed by the clarity and coherency of his presentation.

Others of us, myself included, believe his approach will do more harm than good; and that considering how he calls out definitely against other Christian teachers, he had (and has) a responsibility to step up his technical presentation which he has so far (at best) refused to do. (And maybe even can’t do.)

Speaking of fallacious philosophy and someone needing an introduction to logic, as well as speaking in favor of RB refusing to accept a false dichotomy (and so refusing to take either of two options), I hope you didn’t think MB’s “awesome job” included his initial question to Rob regarding the recent tsunami: “Just help us with this tragedy in Japan: which of these is true?–either God is all-powerful but He doesn’t care about the people of Japan and therefore they’re suffering, or God does care about the people of Japan but He isn’t very powerful. Which one is it?” RB goes with a very slightly modified version of what sounds like his prepared opening statement (which really has nothing to do with that question, of course, because he wasn’t expecting it). Bashere, still aiming to get a ‘straight answer’ to Bell’s ‘chin boogy rambling’ on this topic: “So which of those is true? He’s all-powerful and He cares, or He cares and is not all-powerful?”


Poor Bashir. I wonder if he feels like a “teacher of the law” trying to categorize and label Jesus. And why does he keep ignoring Bell’s answers? Obviously he hasn’t read the book, going instead off someone else’s book review (that’s normally what people call bad journalism). Kudos to Bell for refusing to be stereotyped and sticking to the message of God’s love. I think he did a great job answering Bashir’s questions, but Bashir’s preconceptions and agenda kept him from hearing Bell’s answers…

Oxy, would you please explain where Bell says something that shows he’s a false prophet? Or even says anything unbiblical? From what I saw in the video, he is in no way “Amending The Gospel So That It’s Palatable!” He’s amending some ridiculous “Christian” theology to help people understand God’s love. I think most of the regulars on this board would agree with that.

So, I guess we could all point a lot of fingers at people who need to “seriously examine themselves spiritually” as well as study logic , right? :smiley: Or, we can give scriptural support for our positions and have friendly in-depth discussions and maybe even learn some from each other. :slight_smile:

Grace and peace,


I can’t really say I’m impressed by the interview either way:

1a.) Bashir ambushes his guest off the bat with a sceptical dilemma that doesn’t have anything specially to do with the topic;

1b.) Bell replies with what sounds like a modified version of the prepared statement on what he thought the opening question was going to be, slightly adjusting for the topic live and on the fly but not really answering the question (which, in his defense, is hard to do);

1c.) Bashir presses on the dilemma;

1d.) Bell calls it a paradox he would rather not get into; Bashir chuckles and finally agrees to move on to what the interview was supposed to be about in the first place (after flashing photos of people suffering in Japan);

2a.) Bashir quotes Bell from the book (or appears to do so) as saying that God’s love will eventually melt every heart, and goes on to ask if Bell is a universalist who believes that everyone can go to heaven regardless of how they respond to Christ on earth;

2b.) Bell doesn’t deny (or affirm) this is basically what he said in the book; denies he is a universalist; insists that “that” (apparently meaning the position that “given enough time God will win everyone over including post-mortem”) is a perspective in “the Christian stream”, which Christians have always been debating over;

2c.) Bashir gets that there have been disagreements about this in church history, but presses the question of whether it is immaterial or irrelevant about whether how one responds to Christ in this life determines one destiny;

2d.) Bell answers that “it” (apparently meaning “how one responds to Christ in this life”) is “extraordinarily important”, but is unclear about whether he thinks it’s important (or how so) in determining one’s destiny in the next life;

2e.) Bashir, “But in your book you say that God wins regardless in the end”.

2f.) Bell believes “Love wins” means “God is love, and love demands freedom”; still hasn’t clarified whether Bashir (or his source) reported him correctly in the book;

2g.) Bashir, “You are asking for it both ways.” Repeats question.

2h.) Bell, “It” (apparently answering Bashir’s question about how one responds to Christ in this life) “is terribly relevant, terribly important”; how it works out, eh, that’s “firmly in the realm of speculation”; complains about Christians building whole dogmas about what happens when we die; must be careful about not building whole doctrines and dogmas on what (emphatically) is speculation;

2i.) Bashir says Bell seems to be saying in this book (Bell “yep”) that God will melt everyone’s heart eventually, some of those being post-mortem, “So you’re the one making the speculation about the afterlife”.

2j.) No interrupted correction from Bell as Bashir continues. No correction from Bell about what he says in the book either.

2k.) Bashir, repeats question about responding to Christ now in this life being relevant or irrelevant to determining eternal destiny. (Obviously he wants Bell to give a clear answer on how it is relevant to determining eternal destiny or destiny in the next life. Bell has insisted that it is, but hasn’t bothered to answer how or why it is relevant.)

2l.) Bell, “I think it has [emphatically] tremendous bearing.” So again he thinks it’s really important… somehow. In some unstated way. That he again doesn’t bother to answer. “But it raises a bunch of questions and that is why the discussion is so lively and vibrant” such as “what about people who haven’t heard” or the woman he talked about a couple of weeks ago for whom Christ is connected as baggage to the abuse she received from her pastor. “I assume God’s grace gives people space to work those sorts of issues out.”

3a.) Bashir quotes from what sounds like Kevin DeYoung’s protracted critique of the book, “The history is inaccurate, the use of scripture indefensible.” “That’s true isn’t it?” Bashir basically states to Bell.

3b.) Bell, kind of surprised sounding (probably surprised that Bashir simply stated the question as a rhetorical ‘yes’), “No, that’s not true.”

3c.) Bashir, “So why choose to promote Origen instead of Arius?”

3d.) Bell, instead of answering that Origen was a trinitarian theist and Arian wasn’t, answers, “Because first and foremost I’m a pastor.” He talks for a while about meeting people on the ground with their needs. But this doesn’t at all answer the question of why he would choose to promote Origen instead of Arius. Mainly it sounds like he’s using pastoral responsibilities as justification to avoid answering technical questions, even when they ought to be easy to answer. The people he meets have “questions and hunches” and he just wants to give them the gift of “by the way, within the Christian tradition there scholars and theologians who have had the same questions”. (That wasn’t an editing error on my part, that’s the gift he just wants to give them.)

3e.) Bashir: but you’re confirming that essentially “you’re creating a Christian message that’s warm, kind and popular, for contemporary culture, but it’s frankly, according to this critic, unbiblical and historically unreliable. That’s [emphatically] true, isn’t it!?” Bell tries to answer no with a stuttering smile but Bashir presses on, “What you’ve done is amended the gospel of the Christian message so that it’s palatable for contemporary people who find, for example, the idea of hell–and heaven!–very difficult to stomach.”

3f.) Bell: no, in fact there’s an entire chapter in the book on hell (but doesn’t mention what the chapter says about hell), and “over and over again in the book our choices [emphatically] matter about whether we extend love to others or not”; “whether we resist or open ourselves to God’s love is [emphatically] incredibly important…” He kind of trails off there. Doesn’t bother to say how they’re incredibly important or what this has to do with hell.

4a.) Bashir, after a moment to let Bell continue: “How much of this is you working out your own childhood experiences” of being brought up in “a cramped Evangelical family” and finding this difficult to accept as an adult?

4b.) Bell “totally owns up to that”; “we’re all on a journey” “we all spend our lives question and probing” where we are and what we were given, “that’s what makes it so… engaging, so…” Smile! “…part of the joy of life!”



Personally, I think I too would find it difficult to stand my ground so firmly if half the world where intent on burning me at the proverbial stake. It isn’t exactly a harmless game, and not all of us are quite up to the fortitude of being martyrs when we have a great deal of important things at stake.

Of course, we all also make mistakes in presenting our views, and presenting views against popular opinion. Sufficed to say, Rob Bell is probably right in at least the core concept of what he is presenting, even if he isn’t all that good at defending the castle he strategically built in the right place.

It doesn’t help at all that in calling Rob Bell a wolf in sheep’s clothing - many staunch Hell-wishers amongst the Evangelical camp have thrown off the wool altogether and bared their teeth straight at his jugular - howling the heresy alarm at every moon that would listen.


I watched a Rob Bell video where he talked about Peter walking on the water. He exegesis of that story was AWFUL! He basically made it about Peter’s self esteem. The little blurb I saw on him about UR was off base as well, in my opinion. I’m not an “all religions lead to God” person–Christ was pretty clear about that one. I wasn’t impressed with Bell at all.



Now that my constitutional impatience with foofaraw has abated somewhat, and I have another moment to write more on it…

While I think Bashir was shotgunning his own agendas more than he ought to have been, on the balance I’d say he came out ahead in the interview.

I understand how difficult it can be (from nerves if nothing else) to answer questions live and on the fly like that. I’m willing to grant Rob some leeway on that. And I understand that from a pastoral perspective the picky technical questions aren’t directly profitable for addressing immediate concerns.

But here’s the thing. People expect pastors (whether they have degrees and megachurch level congregations or not–but extra-especially then!) to have done the homework and to have good solid reasons to say what they’re saying. Which means that when the technical challenges come, the proper answer is not to whiffle away the technical challenges by appeal to pastoral sensitivities.

People want to know what the hell he believes and whether he has good reasons for it; and his peers want to know what those reasons are. And I have a hard time buying that he refuses to discuss these things out of a respect for the speculative mysteries of whosiwhasis. Because when it comes time for him to declare that other people are wrong, he drops the appeal to the beautiful mysteries of speculative whosiwhasis and the engaging journey we’re all on kum ba ya my Lord, and complains that other Christian teachers are not only outright doing something wrong but hurtfully wrong. Then when challenged on what reason he has to say that, he’s back to the group hugs and why can’t we all just get along because he only wants people to understand that these things he doesn’t believe but does but doesn’t and isn’t yet pastors other people to believe if that’s what gives them comfort and meets them where they are etc., oh why do some Christians insist on being dogmatic about their speculations arglebargle. Smile! http://www.wargamer.com/forums/upfiles/smiley/eyemouth.gif


The interview was loaded and about useless, Basher setting up false dilemas and Bell not dealing with them.
On one hand I appreciate Bell’s attempt at magnifying the vastness/mystery/incomprehensibility of God. And I appreciate his appeal for inclusiveness and breadth in Christianity and to not “drive a stake in the ground” and use it to exclude others. And I appreciate his appeal to the love of God. And I appreciate the reality that some truths might be a paradox for us. And I hope that he’s reflecting what he really believes and is not just not willing to take a stand. It does seem like he’s evasive; I prefer hitting things head on.

I’m torn whether to buy his book or not. I’d like to read it primarily because it’s such a hot topic right now and like to speak from being informed. I’d rather just borrow the book. We’ll see.


I think that Rob Bell hurts the UR cause when it comes to drawing out evangelicals. Evangelicals who are tempted to test the waters will refrain because they don’t want to be associated with a “liberal” and his “liberalness” will muddy the waters for them. It has that effect on me, but my feet are already wet :slight_smile: He will appeal to many who are less conservative theologically but will serve to cement the already pervasive opinion that “those universalists are a bunch of heretical liberals who have no respect for the scriptures.”


Ditto…ditto… ditto… Couldn’t have said it better myself … no, really I couldn’t … Well said Jason.
I’ll wait to buy it in a used bookstore. I read a review from someone who had just finish reading it on her Kindle on another forum. She said its a quick read and only leaves you with more questions then it answers. :astonished:

I wish that someone else from a more balanced view like Robin would jump in before we are all thrown out with the bath water. :frowning:

Would Robin ever think of doing a conference/ debate over here in the States?


I haven’t watched the livestream or this interview, but I know more people are discussing hell than ever before. Will Bell make a lot of money? Yes. Will he milk it for all its worth? Probably. Can God us it to teach both camps? You better believe He can? The question is are we willing to hear? I hope I am.


Probably, but I doubt there would be a church willing to invite him :neutral_face:

He recently did his first public talk on EU in a non-EU church in the UK (I’m cleaning up the audio at the moment, but the church has put up the full recording publicly, see Robin Parry’s 2010 audio talks on Christian Universalism)

Also trying to convince Robin to do 10 minute YouTube talks…

For what it’s worth, I was actually impressed by what he had to say in the Q&A session at the launch of his book. He wasn’t as “liberal” as I expected, and some of his answers were excellent.


Thanks for considered analysis from a Universalist perspective Jason, I’m impressed. I guess Bell and this interview didn’t go down well with many of you because Bell is keen on been trendy and has jumped on the bandwagon but many of you are keen on being considered Universalists.