Home > Current Events > Why doesn’t Ed Dobson do something about Rob Bell?

Why doesn’t Ed Dobson do something about Rob Bell?

Every time soon-to-be-former-pastor Rob Bell makes news I get hits on the older article with the title above, and I need to update this and be done with it.

Ed Dobson did at some point address the ruckus surrounding Love Wins in a brief blog post. The blog was associated with his book A Year of Living Jesusly, was apparently sponsored by his publisher, and went away some months ago, taking the response with it. I am attempting to reconstruct it from memory; it went a little like this:

  1. Dobson said he hadn’t read Love Wins.
  2. He referred readers to Mark 9:39-40 [NKJV].

I take this to be an act of professional courtesy rendered by Dobson to Bell; it’s a sort of non-answer answer that usually means that one pastor has better things to do than dirty his hands with the controversy surrounding another pastor. I don’t understand why pastors do this, but I haven’t e.g. been in Dobson’s shoes and can’t imagine what they’re like.

So I’m going to consider the matter closed unless and until. Thanks for asking.

I don’t really have anything to say at the moment about Bell’s departure from Mars Hill in Grand Rapids. I’m always puzzled when high-profile long-time scandal-free pastors leave the pulpit, and I haven’t collected enough case studies to make any sense of what I’ve seen.

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  1. Timothy F Simpson
    October 5, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I thought Love Wins was fantastic. Solid exegesis Rooted in historical precedent. Nuanced. Funny. Aesthetically presented. But then i have been a universalist since reading Karl Barth instead of listening to Ed Hindson lecture on the OT at Liberty I don’t know what Dobson could’ve done even if he wanted to. This was an epic event in evangelical circles that Billy Graham could not have suppressed, much less Dobson, whom many people still confuse with the FoF guy. Of the inner circle at Liberty, I always had more respect for Dobson than anyone. He seemed smarter, less of a sycophant. He was the only one I could stand to listen to in chapel. I stopped going when he left.

    • October 5, 2011 at 8:06 am

      I’ve waxed nostalgic about Ed Dobson on this blog before; he is still one of my spiritual heroes, not least because he left Moral Majority and explained why.

      I read three Rob Bell books in rapid succession, and they all kind of blurred together for me. If I had to give a capsule summary it would probably go like this:

      • He has a habit of asking the question part of a particular catechetical pair and then neither affirming nor denying the traditional answer. I found this disappointing.
      • I got the impression I was reading a treatment of some of Brian McClaren’s material, but less careful and thoughtful. It wasn’t clear to me why Bell’s books needed to be written given that McClaren’s are already available.

      I need to go back and read through his treatment of some verses from Paul’s letters; I found some of that thought-provoking. The rest of it will probably not get back to the top of my TO READ list any time soon. I hate to admit it, but I found Isaac Asimov’s book The Demon-Haunted World more challenging to my worldview.

  2. October 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    He has forced a lot of people to question what they believe and study the Scriptures. That is a good thing 🙂 It sounds like Dobson didn’t want to do a thorough study which is unfortunate.

    • October 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      Please tread lightly on Ed Dobson, Jackson.

      • October 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm

        Tread lightly? I didn’t say anything harsh but read his answer that is in this article. He refers us to one, small passage of Scripture? I’m sorry but that’s not a thorough or responsible answer.

      • October 6, 2011 at 10:00 am

        I’d tread lightly because he’s very ill and has other fish to fry. I’m perplexed by what he’s done regarding Rob Bell, but I don’t know enough to condemn him.

      • October 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

        I’m not condemning him 🙂 I’m just saying his response wasn’t very helpful, there is a difference friend.

  3. October 6, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Personally. I think McLaren is a lightweight compared to Bell. McLaren didn’t even bother to go to seminary and is an English major, which might be great if we were asking him to declaim on Beowulf, but when it comes to analyzing the meaning of texts written a couple thousand years ago in languages and cultures vastly different from our own, not so much. Bell, by contrast, in Love Wins makes as much use of the original languages in his presentation as one is likely to get from a pastor, which I found commendable. And he also cites the places in both the Fathers and the Reformers where his ideas are congruent with theirs. Again, this really isn’t something McLaren can do well.

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