Conversation on Rob Bell Quotes (Quote #1)

Since last Monday’s Calvinist jokes went so well with some and not so well with the one or two I decided to spend today going a different direction then a “You might be a Calvinist” joke. Although this topic may be just interesting for the Calvinist, Reformed, Baptist, etc.

Yesterday a friend and I decided to attend Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, MI. Rob Bell at the time is going through Lent (yes Catholic Lent) and doing a Lamentations. It doesn’t really matter what preached, or the lack thereof, nor does it matter context of the whole sermon really. However I had decided to twitter during the church service for those that either are friends on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter. By the time I got home after the message, Facebook friends and a number of people had already started to comment on a quote that I posted by Rob Bell. I am posting the quote and the number of comments below and continuing the action, comments, and words here for the sake of my Facebook wall which look ridiculous.

The statements/quotes of Rob Bell are listed below in bold. They are a bit in length and may include some vulgar language for what reason, I do not know. 

#1 Rob Bell stated, “”Sometimes God doesn’t show up, and all you have is a person’s presence.”

Nathan C Weeber at 12:24pm March 15

that guy’s theology is so screwed up! I feel sorry for him.

John Amos at 12:28pm March 15

Were you expecting real solid theology from Rob Bell?

Michael Dewalt at 12:54pm March 15

i do. and no i didn’t

Edward Palmer at 1:02pm March 15

what is so bad with Rob Bell’s Theology?

Michael Dewalt at 1:03pm March 15

i am not even commenting

Edward Palmer at 1:04pm March 15

Why not? To hard to explain? If you are going to knock it . . . be prep-ed to back it up man.

Michael Dewalt at 1:05pm March 15

you have a theological degree from Davis, please if you have nothing great to say, don’t say it at all.

Michael Dewalt at 1:05pm March 15

nor am I going to argue with you on Facebook.

Edward Palmer at 1:06pm March 15

it’s kind of the only medium you and I share . . .

Rob Kirby at 1:30pm March 15

Why the hell would you go to Davis college and get a degree in Theology and then come out and say Jesus isn’t God? Seems to me you wasted your money. But who am I to talk seeing as I have an M.Div and work for myself :).

Edward Palmer at 1:44pm March 15

Wow. Way to pat yourself on the back there Rob.

All I can say to your question, is that I came to the realization that Jesus wasn’t God because of my time at Word of Life and Davis. Sometimes you need to drown in bullshit to appreciate the fresh air when you find it again.

Rob Kirby at 1:48pm March 15

Fair enough I guess. Although, obviously I think you’re the one drowning in bullshit ;).

Edward Palmer at 1:50pm March 15

Yeah I know. Most people do feel that way. Which sucks, because all it takes is the ability to think above and beyond what you are told . . .and then it makes perfect sense.

Rob Kirby at 1:54pm March 15

Honestly, you’re way too elitist in your mentality. You assume that for someone to reach the point of thinking beyond what they are told and then determining that what they were told (with some modification for the individual) is correct after all is “drowning in bullshit.” Just because we don’t come to the same conclusion you do doesn’t mean we are have not or are incapable of thinking through the issues.

Rob Kirby at 1:55pm March 15

I’m not trying to be derogatory toward you. Forgive me if I come across that way. You might or might not be one of my facebook friends, but I can continue this with you in another way other than Michael Dewalt’s comments ;).

Rob Kirby at 2:01pm March 15

In fairness to Ed, he doesn’t agree with that, so an argument based on a presupposition he doesn’t agree with is useless.

Michael Dewalt at 2:03pm March 15

somebody took logic class 🙂

Michael Dewalt at 2:12pm March 15

here is what is nuts, Thomas claims Jesus is God in John 20:28, Paul in Acts 9:5, Peter in Matthew 16:16, Devils in Matthew 8:29, angels in Luke 2:11, God himself in Luke 3:22, the Holy Spirit in later Luke 3:22, and Christ himself in John 4:26. Jesus did Divine works in John 1:3, John 5:17, Eph. Mark 2:10-12, John 10:28, John 5:21-22. And was given divine titles in Is. 9:6, John 1:1, John 20:28, Romans, 9:5, Acts 10:36, and 1 John 5:20. The point is that Christ is divine.

You throw out the divinity of Christ, you lose a lot, virgin birth, miracles, authority, cross, resurrection, matter of fact Christianity then becomes no different from that of any other religion in that we follow some leader that walked on earth and said a bunch of good morally things to follow. If one throws out God incarnate, then they are not even Christianity, they are another religion.

Jesus was man/human/being that walked on earth

Jesus was God/creator/ always in existence

Jesus was the Son of Man. Dan 7.

Todd Seay at 2:13pm March 15

But isn’t Rob Bell right? God didn’t “show up” and all Rob has is his presence and his bad theology.

Rob Kirby at 2:18pm March 15

Without knowing much about Rob Bell and Mars Hill, I think the bigger question is “what is Rob Bell reacting against?” since there is very little “new” theology done anymore. Also “what is his target audience?” is another.

Michael Dewalt at 2:20pm March 15

reacting against fundamentalism, target audience 18-22 young college and then 40-50 older guys that sick of GRABC type people.

Michael Dewalt at 2:20pm March 15

so anyways anyone see my facebook profile picture?

Rob Kirby at 2:23pm March 15

Fundamentalism is both good and bad. The challenge is to keep the good and reject the bad. The ideals of fundamentalism are good (I mean more in the classic sense of the 5 fundamentals). The application of it is often bad. Nice pic…lol.

Edward Palmer at 2:40pm March 15

You can deny the deity of Jesus and still keep the miraculous available Mike. The apostles did miraculous things too, don’t forget. Jesus and the apostles had the same source for miracles . . . the spirit of God, which is God. And yes, I might even agree that it may not be Christian to think this way. It is probably closer to messianic judaism. But most of my theology still fits into the christian realm, so that is what I call myself . . . though to be honest I don’t really care what label I have . . . so long as it is the truth. There are lots of different ways to interpret those passages you mentioned as well. That is why the authority of scripture is bullshit too . . . because it all comes down to man’s authority due to the necessity for interpretation.

Edward Palmer at 2:42pm March 15

Rob Bell is doing some great things. The greatest of all probably is the fact that he is getting “christians” to actually think about what they internalize instead of taking good ol’ pastor John Smith’s word for it. He also isn’t presenting any New theology . . . he is playing the role of the best informers our time, like CS Lewis . . . he is calling us back to the old, true standards of thought and faith.

Edward Palmer at 2:44pm March 15

And I am capable of having a conversation based on something other than my own point of view, Rob. To criticize otherwise of me suggests that you don’t feel comfortable debating ideas with someone who has an open mind, and instead only willing to hold on to other men’s ideas that you have already chosen to cling to. I am not trying to be derogatory either, by the way.

Rob Kirby at 3:45pm March 15

Straw man…I never said that you were incapable of having conversation with them. I said that you don’t accept that there is a possibility of the other side being true and that people who have struggled with the same issues could have concluded something different than you. Of all people here, I am the most sympathetic toward you.

Edward Palmer at 3:49pm March 15

I can be open to you being accurate Rob, and thanks for the sympathy . . . but you would have to prove it to me . . . not just state it.

Sherri Innis at 3:52pm March 15

mind if I jump in here? I’ve read this thread and the more recent one. I haven’t lived in GR in almost 4 years, and adored Mars Hill before leaving. Even after attending BBC, I didn’t find anything wrong with Rob Bell’s theology, however I wasn’t there for so long, so I’m shocked by these posts.

To make a statement that “Sometimes God doesn’t show up” does not call Christians back to the “old, true standards of thought and faith.” I’m without proper context as I didn’t hear the sermon, so I can only hope that he is not as far out there as you “theologians” claim.

on the topic of “critical thinking”: these threads come across as being quite critical of both Rob Bell (personally, not just his message), and of each others’ own theology. They are interesting to read, and I think that there are good discussions to be had… just sounded like a theo-ego fight sometimes.

keep up the interesting topics though

Edward Palmer at 3:56pm March 15

Sherri . . . are you saying that it isn’t true that God doesn’t show up, as Mike clearly is?I have no problem with Rob Bell making that assertion. I am curious to know why you are uncomfortable with it.

By the way . . . I am taking a dinner break for a couple hours. Check back in later. =)

Keep em’ coming . . .



2 Comments on “Conversation on Rob Bell Quotes (Quote #1)”

  1. sherri says:

    I’m not “uncomfortable” with him using that phrase…And again, without context it’s difficult.
    Had he said something like, “…when it feels like God just doesn’t show up…” or, “God seems to not show up…” it would be fine with me.
    Hey, I’m not a scholar, and I definitely haven’t studied this stuff like you all – would you say, Ed, that omnipresence and omniscience are also products of systematic theology (i think that’s what you called it before).

  2. posted by Derek Baars
    Omniscience and omnipresence are based on Scripture in terms of their
    definitions. The terms we use make it easier to speak of these things
    instead of using a definition every time we intend to use the term.
    For example, psalm 139 is a confession both of God’s omniscience and
    His omnipresence.
    There is all the difference in the world between saying, “god doesn’t
    show up” and “It seems that God doesn’t show up. See Job 23. Job is
    comforted by God’s omniscience and omnipresence even as he suffers
    greatly. Job believed in truth beyond His perceptions. This truth is
    rooted in the character and revelation of the God of truth.
    Ultimately, the question is, will you submit to this God?

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