Ken dug way back in his archives (10-26-06) to re-hash some more wannabe dirt on Rob Bell.  One needs to go no further than the first few lines of his rusty hit piece to see his agenda and fleeting intelligence.  He starts with a quote from Velvet Elvis

‘Humans are guilty because of our sin, and God is the judge who has to deal with our sin because he is holy and and any act of sin goes against his core nature. He has to deal with it. Enter Jesus, who dies on the cross in our place. Jesus gets what we deserve; we get what Jesus deserved (107).’

Not exactly Rob. Jesus is God Himself and He doesn’t “deserve,” or need to earn, nor be given anything. That aside, here Bell is speaking of “humans,” mankind in general.

Um… is this really that hard?  Jesus deserved to return to heaven and be with the father, we deserved death and punishment for sins.  So, we get heaven, and Jesus received death and punishment for our sins.  No where did Rob say that Jesus needed to earn or be given anything.  And is he really attempting to use the “mankind in general” to prove Bell is a Universalist?  This isn’t rocket science people.  Hey Ken, don’t look now, but your agenda is showing.

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43 Comments(+Add)

1   Chris L
December 9th, 2007 at 3:21 pm

Actually, Nathan, it is this type of article that makes it all the easier to prove to someone ‘new’ to the conversation what a hack Silva is, and how petty his vendetta is against Bell….

2   clearly
December 9th, 2007 at 6:41 pm

“what a hack Silva is…”

Very kind Chris, you are to commended for always taking the high ground. I’m always shocked how emerging Christians say so much about orthopraxy, but consistently call Ken and Ingrid names.

“how petty his vendetta is against Bell…”

Rob’s “you’re in until you opt out” doctrine is false. I would hardly call that “petty.” What is petty is this piece — ignoring all the HUGE problems that Ken points about Bell’s book and focusing on the one point you feel is poor.

3   Joe C
December 9th, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Hack is a professional term. Yeah it’s not a positive comment, but it’s one used in professions all the time, and Ken says he’s a…

I wouldn’t have used the term though. It was kind of rough and hypocritical. Still far less than what CRN does. Everyone makes mistakes.


4   Chris L
December 9th, 2007 at 8:32 pm

Hack: In journalism, the term is used to describe a writer who is deemed to operate as a “mercenary” or “pen for hire”, expressing their client’s political opinions in pamphlets or newspaper articles. So-called “hack writers” are usually paid by the number of words in their book or article; as a result, hack writing has a reputation for quantity taking precedence over quality.

My apologies for the roughness and lack of tact in the comment. I was actually using the above definition (primarily the “hack writing has a reputation for quantity taking precedence over quality.”), which even a number of Silva’s critics recognize as being true.

I will be more careful in the future using terminology that might be understood only as “random name-calling”…

5   Rick Frueh
December 9th, 2007 at 8:49 pm

I will never ceased to be amazed at those who can immediately identify the smallest infraction from Chris but who are willing to swallow entire glossaries of mean and caustic verbiage from Ken. I’m going with “double standard”.

6   Chris L
December 9th, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Rob’s “you’re in until you opt out” doctrine is false.

That’s because you’ve just created a straw man out of his doctrine, dave. but what’s new?

7   Rev. Joe Martino
December 9th, 2007 at 9:26 pm

So Ingrid (who apparently we call names) comes to my blog and had something interesting to say to Bruce G. She said,

Bruce, you owe me an apology for your suggesting that I lied. You wouldn’t know me from a signpost if you met me, and yet you’re prepared to tell other that I lied?

(emphasis mine)
That is an exact cut and paste, does anyone else find that ironic?

You can read the comment for yourself here.

8   Rick Frueh
December 9th, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Wow Joe, and Ingrid and Ken sighting on one post. Of course Ingrid comes running to protect her own reputation, she has a thin skin as it applies to comments about her personally. Ken likes the rough and tumble, but Ingid considers herself above criticism.

I have no doubt the Shaeffer deal is somewhat as Ingrid says and I think exposing someone’s parents sins is dispicable, even if you were mistreated. But I have not read the book so maybe the whole characterization is false. Mt personal opinion is the ministry of apologetices serves very little.

9   Reverend Joe Martino
December 9th, 2007 at 9:54 pm

All of the book aside, I just found what she said to be so…ironic. I know I keep using that word but I’m struggling to come up with a better one.

10   Tyler
December 10th, 2007 at 9:34 am

sounds like Rob is teaching imputed righteousness. I never read it like that.

11   Todd
December 10th, 2007 at 9:58 am

Was it necessary to say “fleeting intelligence?”

12   Chris L
December 10th, 2007 at 10:01 am

Was it necessary to say “fleeting intelligence?”

Probably not…

13   Reverend Joe Martino
December 10th, 2007 at 10:18 am

Todd: Where?

14   Chris L
December 10th, 2007 at 10:36 am

Joe – in the OP…

15   Reverend Joe Martino
December 10th, 2007 at 10:39 am

ah, I see it now. I was so confused for a few moments. :)

16   clearly
December 10th, 2007 at 10:59 am

I am fairly sure that if Rob Bell said in his next Nooma “I am a universalist that doesn’t believe in a literal hell” that some of you would still say, “Rob is amzing, stop criticizing him for doctrine you radicals!”

That being said, I doubt anyone will take this seriously. But, in a recent ooze interview, Rob said when questioned about hell…

“Well, there are people now who are seriously separated from God. So I would assume that God will leave room for people to say “No I don’t want any part of this.” My question would be, does grace win or is the human heart stronger than God’s love or grace. Who wins, does darkness and sin and hardness of heart win or does God’s love and grace win?”

Chris, you accuse me of making a defeatable straw-man. That is exactly what Rob teaches — you are in unless you take the initiative and say “I don’t want any part of this.”

That’s what happens when you don’t believe that hell is a real place where real people go because they have committed real sins against a real God —- but rather you believe it to be a realm where God’s will isn’t being carried out.

17   Phil Miller
December 10th, 2007 at 11:19 am

You never get tired of repeating the same argument no matter how many times it gets refuted, do you. I mean after a while we get tired going around and around the same circle.

The sad thing is that you cut yourself off from listening to any truth Bell says or writes because he doesn’t jump through all the right doctrinal hoops.

Frankly, I think the reason Bell doesn’t answer the hell question in a more direct manner is that enjoys ticking off pharisees. I know if I was in his position, I would take joy in that.

18   Tim Reed
December 10th, 2007 at 11:23 am

The sad thing is that you cut yourself off from listening to any truth Bell says or writes because he doesn’t jump through all the right doctrinal hoops.

It has less to do with doctrinal differences and more to do with vocabulary. Because watchdoggies are so externally focused if you don’t use their specific vocabulary and methodology it becomes a doctrinal issue.

19   Chris L
December 10th, 2007 at 11:24 am


That is a far cry from having a developed “opt-out” theology (a la Spencer Burke). What you have created IS a straw man, as this is not what he has taught at Mars Hill Bible Church…

Also, he does not teach that hell is NOT a real place where people go. He teaches that hell is a real place where living, breathing people are right now (getting a hint of what it will be like, in full), and where they will continue to be after they die if they continue in their own way…

I am fairly sure that if Rob Bell said in his next Nooma “I am a universalist that doesn’t believe in a literal hell” that some of you would still say, “Rob is amzing, stop criticizing him for doctrine you radicals!”

How about we drop the hyperbole and stay in the real world? I once made a similar statement to Ken and then backed off when he pointed out the silliness/unhelpfulness of the statement.

20   Rick Frueh
December 10th, 2007 at 11:32 am

It is what used to frustrate me, the doctrinal shell game which is so shrouded in nebulous and non-biblical verbiage that it makes many say “Huh?” and others say “Wow, that’s deep!”. I am no longer fristrated, I have come to my own subjective opinion about what some of these men do and don’t believe based upon their open statements that do not mirror Bible truths.

I guard my heart against malice and bitterness, and I am still in the Spirit’s classroom about how to address issues without being self righteous. I also take no pride in believing hell is a real and eternal place of torment because alongside my troubling obseravtion that men are teaching otherwise is the equally troubling observation that my own life and witness does not substantiate the truth I espouse.

The only path these days is humility. We run the risk of seeing others and being blind to our own sins and shortcomings, and I believe the general term for that group is Pharisee. God deliver us from that.

21   clearly
December 10th, 2007 at 11:43 am

I love how I bring up doctrinal issues and get labeled a Pharisee and watchdoggie!

22   nathan
December 10th, 2007 at 11:51 am


you gave a quote (with no context or link showing where it came from), and then you inferred that Bell doesn’t believe in a literal hell

“That’s what happens when you don’t believe that hell is a real place where real people go because they have committed real sins against a real God”

unless you can show us where Bell says that there is not a literal hell… don’t make the assumption. Also, please tell me what doctrinal issue you brought up? You accusing someone of not believing in hell (with little to no proof) is far from a doctrinal issue.

23   Rick Frueh
December 10th, 2007 at 12:05 pm

I did not call you a Pharisee, Dave. My point is that even in the midst of legitimate doctrinal confrontation we must allow the Spirit to point out our sins and shortcomings as well. Do not think that the devil’s deceptions are limited to the emergent/seeker churches or others, it just might be that as the man looks through the discernment binoculars at error, deception in another form may be attaching itself to him.

And I am one who sees much heresy some coming, some in a formative stage, and many already crystalized and being spread.

24   Reverend Joe Martino
December 10th, 2007 at 12:10 pm

The ooze interview isn’t recent. Also at the risk of engaging the hyperbole that Chris L is concerned with, I am fairly certain that if Rob came out in his next interview and said the things you wanted him to say, you’d find a way to say he didn’t mean it. I think your problems with Rob have more to do with showing how spiritual you are then they do with Rob. IF he is everything you say he is, he’s only one of many. When you used fruit as a means of validation from I Corinthians the other day I pointed out that there is lots of fruit here (of people’s lives being changed) and it was discounted. So if the fruit of his work was a good enough defense for Paul I imagine it’ll be good enough for Paul but not you.

25   clearly
December 10th, 2007 at 12:24 pm


1. The interview was within this year.
2. If I don’t believe that Rob is preaching the true gospel, then I don’t believe his fruit is real fruit, do I?


I thought everyone on this site is fairly versed in Velvet Elvis, Sex God, and the Ooze interview. I didn’t really see the need to link to all of them…

26   Reverend Joe Martino
December 10th, 2007 at 12:27 pm

You’ve now equated yourself with the Holy Spirit, Dave. You can tell which fruit is real and which isn’t.
Thank you for proving my point

27   clearly
December 10th, 2007 at 12:30 pm


What? I am a Spirit-lead, Spirit-indwelt Christian. However, that’s a far cry from claiming the Godhead for myself.

Who are you to believe that the fruit of Mormons and JW’s is false? The Holy Spirit?

28   Reverend Joe Martino
December 10th, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Clearly as you so clearly pointed out. Paul refused to get into these debates. He simply said, “My fruit speaks for itself.” You can feel free to judge that fruit any way you like. Your approval is not necessary. You opinion–while certainly welcomed here–is not requested for validation.

29   clearly
December 10th, 2007 at 12:46 pm


Actually, the debate that Paul wouldn’t enter was the “am I a qualified gospel minister” debate. He wasn’t going to play the credentials game — that’s not what I’m doing with Bell. I’m not talking about Wheaton or Bible College or Seminary or anything. I am talking about what he believes and teaches, his message.

Interestingly, the entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 3 is an attack on the Judaizers’ false doctrine. It is an attack on those who believed that salvation could be accomplished via some sort of good works…hmm, maybe “kingdom works” would be a good present day application (pretty much the entire Secret Message of Jesus by Brian McLaren or the Lost Message of Jesus by Steve Chalke would fit this category in my thinking).

30   Reverend Joe Martino
December 10th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

OK, Dave. I understand your position. I disagree with it. I usually try to avoid all things Rob on this site for a host of reasons. Call my venturing out this week, a result of too little sleep for finals.

31   Tim Reed
December 10th, 2007 at 1:15 pm

I am fairly sure that if Rob Bell said in his next Nooma “I am a universalist that doesn’t believe in a literal hell” that some of you would still say, “Rob is amzing, stop criticizing him for doctrine you radicals!”

This from the guy who defended Ken by claiming that “self-proclaimed” means something other than self-proclaimed.

32   nc    
December 10th, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Fruit is actually…
Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Gentleness. etc. etc.

Love. Joy. Saying doctrinal formulations only the way they were articulated in the 19th century. Peace. Patience. Never drink alcohol. Gentleness. Never go to rated R movies. Faithfulness. etc. etc.

Out of the mouth of one of the people who have actually consistently sat under the teaching of Rob Bell we get a clear statement about HELL and Bell’s views.

And people in this thread still chuck the guy off the wagon.

What I love is that there’s a successful pastor who grapples with the text deeply, doesn’t treat it as a kind of chapter-verse encyclopedia, who is pushing people to reflect deeply on the character and person of God and to take responsibility FOR THEIR OWN spiritual lives and action in the world, AND can’t be controlled by the institutional gatekeepers of evangelicalism. Their frustration and vitriol reveals what is the real issue.

NOT Bell’s doctrine, but the evangelical culture of shame, repression, and control.

Yeah, I’m certain Bell makes mistakes. Nobody…again, NOBODY, has a pure theology. But if you want to talk about fruit…i see good things in Bell’s mars hill and the people who are there and the work that is done not only in GR but for the world.

That’s fruit.
The language of your doctrinal formulations is not.
Sorry, folks.

You’re not damned to hell because of the mistakeness of your opinions or the lack of exactitude in your theological statements.

33   Rick Frueh
December 10th, 2007 at 2:12 pm

In this I agree, nc. From what I can discern Bell is a good natured believer and Mars Hill seems to have an extensive ministry to the poor and overseas missions. This I believe is a fact that should have a place in any evaluation of the whole.

But I still have problems with some of his teachings which some seem not to hear what I hear. I would love to have a sit down with such a brother, not an ambush, but a doctrinal fellowship. If someone was misrepresenting what I believed I would clearly correct it with language everyone could understand.

34   chris
December 10th, 2007 at 4:16 pm

I am a Spirit-lead, Spirit-indwelt Christian


35   chris
December 10th, 2007 at 4:24 pm

If someone was misrepresenting what I believed I would clearly correct it with language everyone could understand.

Rick, being in ministry you should know how impossible this is. In my opinion; Rob owes no explanantion to me or you or anybody else. Because of the public nature of his ministry it is impossible and an unworthy endeavor to respond to every criticism or critique that is leveled. The accountability that is expected (implied or assumed) of me in a church of 200 is overwhelming. I can’t answer all of my critics.

I trust that Rob as people around him that hold him accountable. Additionally he has people who he confides in with theological ideas. I’m certain based on what I’ve heard on Mars Hill podcasts that Rob doesn’t have Carte Blanche. I also don’t believe (based on what I hear from those that attend Mars Hill) that Rob has aligned himself with a bunch of “yes” men and women.

36   Rick Frueh
December 10th, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Try this:

I believe in a literal place many call hell where people who die without Christ go forever and suffer.

Not complicated, unless you can’t in good conscience say that.

37   chris
December 10th, 2007 at 4:59 pm

I believe in a literal place many call hell where people who die without Christ go forever and suffer.

Now back that up with scripture and I’ll be happy.

38   Rick Frueh
December 10th, 2007 at 5:09 pm

See chris, MacArthur can say these Scriptures support this doctrine and Bell can say no they don’t. This is where we are today, Scriptures no longer are clear about anything. Even Revelation 20:14 – 15 do not mean what we used to think they did. We used to believe the lost were cast into the lake of fire, now some say everything not alighned with God’s kingdom will be taken away and everyone will be all right.

And just the fact that believers who know the Bible no longer believe the sentence I offered removes any doubt what has happened.

39   iggy
December 10th, 2007 at 9:00 pm

there is a difference between saying there is a literal “hell” and a “place called hell”.

MY issue is that which hell are we talking about and that some stated people with be eternally in Hell when if…

1. Hell as in the Grave: we will all be raised to be judged.
2. Hell as in the abode of the dead: It will be tossed into the Lake of Fire and consumed
3. Hell as in Tartarus where the fallen angels are held in chains: This also will be tossed into the Lake of Fire as it is part of this creation.
4. There is the lake of fire which is eternal and those tossed into it will experience the second death.

To me the best biblical terms are that when one is not in Christ they will face judgement then will be tossed into the LoF and experience the second death. Anything beyond that is speculation and adding to scripture man’s own ideas. To add man’s ideas is when confusion comes into play.

That is why I have an issue with the idea of hell being a “place” but I do see it as literal.


40   Rick Frueh
December 10th, 2007 at 9:22 pm

Not a place but still literal. You do not subscribe to the jistorical view of hell but at least you are honest about it. Others play word games.

41   chris
December 10th, 2007 at 9:49 pm

That is why I have an issue with the idea of hell being a “place” but I do see it as literal.

Agreed. I also believe in a literal hell.

Others play word games.

And that is exactly my point. Many want to hear the “buzz” words and phrases. Anything less than “Eternal torment and damnation” is immediately dismissed as heresy.

42   nc    
December 11th, 2007 at 12:20 pm

The historical understanding of hell is not the same thing as our dominant popular understanding of hell.

The current descriptions of hell are laden by medieval church imagery…

The ancient church had “hell” but it wasn’t filled with the imagery of hell that rises later in interpreting certain pasages.
That interpretation is driven by the social location of the time…as is all theology really…

We have to wade through some excesses of our popular presuppositions to face the actual text as it is…

that’s the challenge of hermeneutics…

Bottom line for me:
I still think there’s something wrong when people defend HELL, but get all bent out of shape at the idea of Kingdom as mysteriously NOW, but NOT YET…

It shows the darkness of the human soul that is stingy with blessings and grace but very certain, and self-righteously so, about the intricacies of hell.


43   Kyle in WI    
December 11th, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Jesus descrided Hell as a burn trash pit that the flames never went out. Weeping gnashing of teeth ect… So hell is real do we know what it looks like where it it no of course not. Same with heaven and the kingdom of God. Here and now like you said. God judges people on earth, turning them over to there sin, God bless people on earth with salvation from sin and power to overcome it. They are kinda both there and now with there fulillment to be when Christ returns!