Bell explained in a Facebook post on Feb. 1 that he had been approached by filmmaker Andrew Morgan about creating a film surrounding his work and controversial views, which many decry as being apostate and heretical.
“A few years ago, the filmmaker Andrew Morgan approached Kristen and I about making a documentary film about my work. We have great respect for Andrew, so we said yes, and he began filming tours and RobCasts and events and interviews,” he outlined. “I can’t imagine just how much footage he captured. The result is a new film that he is preparing to release. It’s called ‘The Heretic.’”
Noting that Bell has “raised a lot of eyebrows” among Christians, the production features clips from both those opposed to Bell and those in favor of him, from Franklin Graham, who forthrightly called Bell a “heretic,” to Carlton Pearson, who praised the former “pastor” of Mars Hill in Michigan as being a “paradigm shifter.”
Pearson, a former pastor himself, lost his congregation nearly two decades ago after he came out with assertions that “Hell will not last for eternity.” While his views may not be exactly the same as Pearson’s, Bell’s bestselling book “Love Wins” claimed that the majority of Christian doctrine on Hell is “misguided and toxic.”
“Women’s rights, LGBT, minorities, love of our Muslim neighbors—if those aren’t all basics, we’re done,” Bell states in an interview featured in the documentary.
“The Bible has caused so much damage,” he also asserts. “In many ways, it’s often been an agent of dragging everything backwards.”
Bell additionally claims in “The Heretic” that Christianity is the opposite of everything that Jesus stood for, and alleges that Christ wouldn’t even have wanted religion to bear His name.
“[I]f you think about the religion that’s arisen in Jesus’ name, it is anti what Jesus was talking about,” he opines.
“What kept happening is when I kept going into the Jesus teachings, it took me beyond a religion to, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ And I actually think that Jesus would be absolutely mortified that somebody started a religion in His name.”
As of press time, the YouTube video of the trailer had generated over 42,000 views and Bell’s Facebook post had amassed 414,000 views. While some expressed excitement about the documentary and praised Bell as being “far ahead of evangelicals” spiritually, others reiterated that Bell is dangerously leading many astray with his teachings.
“Rob has no power to widen the path the Lord has made narrow,” one commenter wrote. “If you choose Hell, you literally will have to walk over Jesus’ body. If that happens, it is then you will see the error of your way and unbelief, but it will be too late. … The narrow gate by way of the narrow path that leads to life eternal but few will find. This is because they love their sin and do not accept sound doctrine, but instead heap upon themselves teachers who tickle their itching ears. For no man has the power to widen the path the Lord has made narrow.”
“Rob Bell tries so hard to make Christianity fit into a societal bubble, when he should be doing the opposite. It isn’t societal trends that determine what Christianity should be; it is God’s word. We shouldn’t be changing Christianity; Christianity should be changing us,” another stated. “Rob Bell gives pleasant answers, but runs away from the truth that so many need and desire. It’s truly sad, as I was a fan of his older material. Praying for you, Rob.”
2 Peter 2:1-3 warns, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you, whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
2 Timothy 4:1-4 also exhorts, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”