Chickens & Rob Bell

By imjohnnykelley, March 17, 2011

So I have thought long and hard about whether to post anything regarding Rob Bell and the hurricane that is him right now. After much prayer I have decided to say my peace. This post isn’t meant to cause controversy or angry comments (although I am sure I may get some). I will say a few things to start off with. Over the years I have read many of Bells books, and watched many of his videos. They have been a great asset to me. His video “Everything Is Spiritual” is one of the best things I have ever watched and I rewatch it often. “Velvet Elvis” is a book that, despite me not agreeing with everything written, has taught me what it means to question my beliefs. I am a firm believer that if you aren’t asking questions then you aren’t learning. So I appreciate the way Bell challenges me to ask questions. The day I think I have this whole walk with Christ figured out and stop asking questions is the day I walk away from my faith. There are just some things I never think I will ever figure out, and I think it is supposed to be that way. If my walk with Christ is truly a relationship, then I will never know everything about Him. In the same way that I will always be learning new things about my wife, and growing my relationship with her, there are nuances to Christ that will always surprise and fascinate me.
I would also like to say that I have not read Bell’s new book “Love Wins”, although I plan on reading it soon. But I had a long conversation with a friend of mine, Carlo, who pastors up in Tennessee yesterday regarding it. We both have read excerpts, and watched the interviews and videos online. I can honestly say, that if Bell is truly proclaiming what it seems he is proclaiming, then I am in 100% disagreement with him. I think it is a scary prospect to remove the power of the cross and what Jesus did for us. The power of Calvary is not just a part of the story for me and my walk….it is the foundation of my walk.
That lead me to my problem. I read a story a while back about an experiment that a college did with a chicken. They tied its leg to a pole so the chicken could only walk in about a 5 foot circle. They placed food inside and outside this 5 foot circle and let the chicken live there for a few weeks. Then they untied the chicken and removed the pole. Even after the chicken ran out of food in its 5 foot circle, it would not go outside to get more. There were no longer and strings holding him there, but he would not leave. Very interesting study.
I see that happening today in a lot of Christians. We have a way of doing things, and we don’t change from it. There has been a big movement in the last few years for love, and outreach. But for some reason that has been lost when it comes to Bell. I totally agree that what he seems to be saying is not biblically correct. In the very least it is elevating some scripture and forgetting others. There is a dual nature to Christ. Not just the human, and God side of things either. He is fully love, and He is fully just at the same time. The problem I have with Bell is that the story he is portraying has forgotten about the just part. That is what has angered most of the bloggers and reviewers that I have seen. But my biggest problem is not that one man forgot the just side of Christ. I have a much bigger problem with the hundreds, if not thousands, that have forgotten the love side of Christ. What I have seen in the last few weeks in regards to Bell, in no way resembles love. It has been hateful, vengeful, and downright nasty. I made a simple comment speaking to this on a youtube video of Bell from “Good Morning America” yesterday. One of the comments back made me sad:

I read up on Rob along with the Emergent Movement and it judges people and calls us Fundies (in Velvet Elvis). Rob calls people things to do you ignore that. He is deceiving millions. I love him but I can’t allow the sheep to be misled and eaten by the wolves anymore. If you were a chicken farmer and you saw wolves entering in the coop, you would get your shotgun out now wouldn’t you? You have a keep your mouth quiet love. A preacher’s silence on a matter like this is deafening.

I agree that we should not be silent. But in my bible it says to turn the other cheek. To love my enemies. To ignore the things they do against you. I am totally fine with someone proclaiming that his views are wrong. That they are unbiblical. But the attitude in which this has been done is a far cry from the Jesus I have a relationship with and love. I don’t have a keep your mouth quiet love. I have a love that doesn’t see anger or destroying a person verbally as necessary to prove an opposite point. I read a post a couple weeks ago about the Bell Controversy from Jason Boyett. He had a great statement in the article:

“This is why people hate us. There is no meaner, more hateful person on Earth than a Christian who suspects you have gotten your theology wrong. Labeling that mean-ness as “being faithful” to the Gospel doesn’t make it less hateful.”

What these people don’t see is the unsaved looking in on this scene. There is one side with Bell talking about love, heaven, and all things good. While completely unbiblical, it is very appealing. Then there is the other side. A mob of people ganging up with anger against this seemingly nice and kindhearted man. As a non-christian, which would you want to follow? This goes back to the chicken story. We are operating the way that they did during the crusades. No we aren’t killing people physically, but we are eviscerating them with our words. We are stuck doing the same thing. Never moving more than 5 feet away from what we have always known. We like to act enlightened. But we have no response to false teaching but getting out our shotgun. Why don’t we do something a little different? Lets look at the dual nature of Christ. Show some love, and some justice. Paint an accurate picture to the public of what Christ really was. The world responds out of anger, not Christ.

Colossians 2:20  “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules.”

Ephesians 2:19 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

We are not members of this world, we are members of God’s household. I do believe in heaven and hell. And I believe that in God’s household there isn’t a place for the type of anger that I have seen. So let’s not just pray from Rob Bell…..lets pray for the people that are reading his book that don’t have the background or judgment to understand what he is saying in light of the bible. Stop focusing anger on one person, instead take a lesson on the love that Christ has for all of us, and in that love show the true loving and just God that He is to people that may be deceived. Get out of the circle. Don’t let comments anger you. Let them inspire you to share the truth to more people. Don’t be a chicken.
peace – love – recycle


  1. By continually writing, criticizing and talking about it, we only promote his book. The old addage says, even bad publicity is good publicity.

    I will follow the advice of Gamaliel.

    Acts 5:38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

    Acts 5:39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

  2. Ryan Connell says:

    Thanks for saying this, Johnny. I love the Boyett quote because it is completely true. A big reason why I left the church (not the only reason by any means) is because of how malicious Christians can be to their own. The Baptists hate the Pentecostals and the Pentecostals hate the Catholics, etc, pro nauseam. Who wants to be a part of that?
    Thank you for making a stand for love and respect in spite of disagreement. Let’s return civility to America.

  3. Faithful Soldier: I couldn’t agree more man. Sorta goes along with the point I was making actually. The people causing controversy are selling more books. I wrote this blog with the intents of talking more about our response and less about what Bell was trying to say.

    Ryan: Thanks man….It has just been hurting my soul to see the response over the last couple weeks.

  4. Ryan Connell says:

    And just as an aside to Faithful Soldier, what is so bad about publicity for his book? Ideas only gain power when oppressed. If his viewpoint and theology are not sound then they will not have staying power.

  5. Jake says:

    I completely agree with showing love. That is the central idea of the gospel. I was watching Rob’s live feed he did a few days ago and people were being completely inappropriate on the chat board. They weren’t helping their cause by being super disrespectful and rude. On that note, I love what Rob Bell has to say and I love his willingness to stretch peoples thinking and question that things that make other people nervous to question. The Bible was meant to be wrestled with. Not just this or that but the whole thing. I haven’t read his book yet but from what he had to say on his live feed I’m excited to see what his book says. I have heard that what is in the book isn’t to shocking or “out there” but I guess its to each his own. I will say after all this that I don’t agree with everything Rob Bell has ever said but the things I disagree with, doesn’t take away from the things I love about what Rob Bell has to say. People are disagreeing with this idea and now discrediting his whole ministry. Not cool. He has done so much for the kingdom. Just look at the proof. Thousands have been influenced in great ways by Rob and his teachings on the Bible.

  6. Hoosier Boy says:

    First, I think people need to read the book before having any rant/opinion/or comment. I don’t think anyone should judge in a manner or on so little information as they would be judging in this case.

    Secondly, where are these brave internet warriors when it comes to other “unBiblical” doctrine? It is easy to sit on a high horse and judge Bell, call him a universalist, etc…yet I don’t see any of these keyboard pugilists taking on the blatant heresies of the Catholic Church or other denominations with dangerous or unsound doctrine.

    I don’t mean to gang up on Catholics, but there are several things they practice and teach that a 1st year seminary student can see as contradictory to the teachings of Christ.

    We seem to like to point fingers and cry foul when it is current, convenient, or when there are enough people on our side.

    Frankly I would love to see these bloggers grow a pair and really tackle in detail their accusations in a Biblical and exegetical manner. Without reading his book though, they have waged a disgraceful campaign and further shown the reason I distance myself from those type of “Christians”.

What do you think?

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