Check out the debate first hand at Amazon and Relevant Magazine.
WOW .... what can I say!! I don't even know what to think right now. I know people at Mars Hill who I really respect and reading all of the negative reviews has been disturbing and hurtful. It's sad to me that in the Book reviews there has been as much negative said about the congregation as the book! There have been a great many number of people saying that the church (Mars Hill) is full of pretty people, who are shallow, and only interested in a feel good form of Christianity. They are saying Rob Bell calls into question the validity of the bible and the truth of the gospel...I find that hard to believe. I have been to Mars Hill and if it is what people are saying...I must have missed it. People have gone way overboard (I think) in calling Rob a heretic who is on his way to cult status. Coming from Willow we are use to these sort of over reactions and negative backslashes.
For the record, on Mars Hills website they have posted what they believe and here is some of it just to calm your (and my) fears : We believe the Bible is inspired by God and is without error as originally transcribed. It contains His truth for our lives for today and tomorrow.
Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and mankind. For all those who accept His sacrifice He gives the Holy Spirit as a guide toward personal growth.
Ok so everyone just needs to take a deep breath...Calm down...and back off my friends at Mars Hill!
With that said I haven't read the book and plan to this weekend so I can figure this all out for myself. I hope that there must be some sort of mis-communication going on. I'm scared to read the book because I don't want to find any truth to what people are saying. I think Rob has led many people to a deep fulfilling relationship with Christ. I believe he deserves more respect and courtesy then he has been receiving in the reviews. I also believe regardless of how things appear at Mars Hill the congregation there is NOT only interested in being the next new cool Christian thing. I do however believe they are a young Church full of broken sinners just like the rest of us. I have seen my own church grow so much in the past 15 years (and surprisingly the most in the past 2 years!) and I think all churches have some maturity issues they work through as they grow. I hope Mars Hill will not dismiss everything that is being said and see where they can grow. I'm confident they will because I know they do not want the reputation of being a church for the cool pretty "in" crowd but they want to be a community of broken people seeking God together. To find out more about what Mars Hill believes check out their website!