Rob Bell: (Emergent) is not a word we use


Taken from a interview with Rob Bell Some people from the outside looking in would say that your church is perhaps characteristic of a lot of churches that are springing up in America, in England, around the world, based out of some sort of dissatisfaction with church as we know it and need to re-invent it somehow, and need to – you used the word “strip it down.”  Various terms are used: Emerging Church, Emergent Church.  Is Mars Hill, the church that you pastor, is that an Emerging Church?

Rob Bell: We don’t ever use that word because in our particular context, unnecessarily creating labels – are you in, are you out?  are you one of them or not? – seems to work against the spirit of Jesus.  We would much rather put out the bread and the cup and take communion together and talk about the Christ who unites us and who wants to heal each of us so that we can be his hands and feet in the world.  So I don’t really care what of these endless little stripes and labels you wear.  Can we all do this together? (mimes holding bread)  Can we all agree on that?  So yeah, that’s not a word we would use. But how do you feel when it’s used of you?  Would you feel uncomfortable with that tag?  I hear what you’re saying.

Rob Bell: Yes. Just because it’s a tag and you don’t want any tag.

Rob Bell: If it’s a tag that refers to those who are serious about what I would argue is central to the Christian faith, which is the endless hard questioning of what does it mean to be the people of Jesus here and now in this place, in this time – what does it look like to be the hands and feet in this city, in this day and age?  Well then that’s a conversation that’s not exclusive or even new to Emergent, and it’s the conversation that must endlessly be had with every community in every generation.  So if that’s what they’re talking about, great.  But if it’s some sort of group over here who believe they somehow stumbled upon the keys to everything and everybody else is clueless, well then that’s just simply not helpful at all.


Rob Bell’s November tour called the gods aren’t angry started November 5 in Chicago and concludes in Grand Rapids on December 2.  Bell’s tour from last summer, Everything Is Spiritual, was released on DVD this week.



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