love wins?: msnbc anchor martin bashir takes on rob bell

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

rob bell love wins

love wins?: msnbc anchor martin bashir takes on rob bell

so, um, yeah. the whole rob bell thing.

you know the whole rob bell thing, right? i’m way too over it to type out a lengthy explanation, so if you don’t know about it, you can read a relatively brief overview here. over the last couple weeks, i’ve literally written two separate blog posts about it that i ultimately decided not to publish because i was sorta sick and tired of the whole thing (the first one was a doozy, titled when calvinists attack: the social media crucifixion of rob bell…yeah, that would’ve been fun…).

the book, love wins: a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived, released yesterday and thanks to the aforementioned angry calvinists stirring the pot, the book shot to #5 on the amazon bestsellers list (thanks john piper!). i’m eager to read it and (hopefully) offer some thoughts here on the blog. until that time, i don’t plan to offer any thoughts on the content itself.

i was compelled, though, to offer some commentary on a video that has circulated amongst some of the (once again) aforementioned angry calvin-bloggers. a couple days ago, rob bell appeared on martin bashir’s msnbc talk show. i know relatively little about bashir’s personal feelings about christianity or hell or rob bell or anything related. further, i’m not one to jump all over the media for their “agenda” concerning the aforementioned issues. quite frankly, i get a little tired of christians claiming the media is part of an elaborate persecution conspiracy (but that’s a whole other blog post…).


when i saw this video, it struck me as particularly odd. why? because it was unnecessarily aggressive and seemingly agenda-driven. again, i have no idea why and what his particular angle was, but it instantly made me think of a session i attended where rob bell was teaching. he talked in length about close-ended questions. in essence, it’s questions that only allow for a “yes” or “no”, whereas more thoughtful response and dialogue might be more appropriate. bashir didn’t simply ask “yes” or “no” questions, but rather, was more of a series of questions that lended themselves to immensely oversimplified responses and/or lose-lose answers. simply put, bashir led an interview in which his agenda would “win” because regardless of bell’s attempt to broaden the conversation with thoughtful engagement, it appeared that he was merely trying to be elusive. needless to say the calvin-bloggers love this clip.

you see, bell—unlike many other pastors/christian authors who have appeared on these types of shows—doesn’t engage life with cliché catch phrases and oversimplified dogmas. quite frankly, these interview formats just aren’t his place to shine, as they lend themselves to surface level, baited response.

check out the interview and see what you think.

so what do you think? was bashir fair? or did he have some sort of agenda? was bell elusive? or was he attempting to make bashir’s closed questions more open?