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Rob BellIn 2011, I wrote a series of posts on the enfant terrible of Evangelical Protestantism Rob Bell.

His universalist book, Love Wins, had just been published: there is no hell and God loves everyone.

Today — 2014 — he has another book out, The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage. He co-wrote it with his wife Kristen.

Zimzum (tzimtzúm in Hebrew) means contraction. In Kabbalah it refers to:

The self-imposed “withdrawal” of a part of God to enable the creation of the universe, as described by Isaac Luria.

Hmm.

The Huffington Post helpfully tells us what Bell has been doing for the past few years.

After the storm surrounding Love Wins, Bell left the Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He had co-founded the church.

He moved to California to work on television projects.

In 2013, he came out in favour of same-sex marriage:

“This is a justice issue,” Bell said. “We believe people should not be denied the right to have someone to journey with.”

Never mind that same-sex couples have been able to live together for some years now.

Bell no longer belongs to or heads a church congregation:

Now resettled near Los Angeles, the couple no longer belongs to a traditional church. “We have a little tribe of friends,” Bell said. “We have a group that we are journeying with. There’s no building. We’re churching all the time. It’s more of a verb for us.”

He adds:

One of the most extraordinary things I’ve done since I left Mars Hill is be with people and engage with people who would never step foot in a church.

Day-to-day:

He conducts retreats in Laguna Beach and teaches on innovation, communication, creativity, how to read the Bible and how to surf. At the end of the gathering, he serves the Eucharist.

He is also something of a spiritual adviser to Oprah Winfrey, about whom he is fulsome in his praise:

“She has taught me more about what Jesus has for all of us, and what kind of life Jesus wants us to live, more than almost anybody in my life,” Bell said.

“Is she a Christian? That word has so much baggage, I wouldn’t want to answer for someone. When Jesus talks about the full divine life, you think, this is what he’s talking about.”

Really?

Oprah took Bell on a tour of the United States. Together, they presented the ‘Life You Want Weekend’.

On December 21, 2014, Bell will have his own programme on the Oprah channel. It is called The Rob Bell Show.

The Huffington Post observes:

Even when he talks about marriage, Bell sounds more like Oprah than a theologian, meshing what sounds both spiritual and evangelical when addressing marriage as an institution.

And therein lies the danger for Oprah’s viewers. Elsewhere the online journal has this gem:

The Church of Oprah incorporates as many religious concepts as possible, while evangelicalism commits to exclusivity.

Just so.

Rob Bell may be ideal for Oprah but, like the syncretic beliefs presented on her network, his religious outlook can be hazardous to the viewers’ salvation.

It is doubtful whether Bell, in eschewing the Cross, sin, hell, repentance and redemption, can be called a Christian.

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