Review: 'Rob Bell and a New American Christianity'
Review of Religious Research
James Wellman’s latest monograph is part biography of the enigmatic former megachurch pastor and author Rob Bell, written for a mass audience, and part sociological tome reflecting on Bell’s meaning for the American religious future. Bell is a progressive Evangelical Protestant best known for his challenge of traditional views of heaven and hell in his bestselling Love Wins. After the publication of Wellman’s book, Bell became the first high-profile American evangelical to publically endorse same-sex marriage.
This book shines as a biography of Bell, although much of the biographic detail can be gleaned from Bell’s own works or internet searches. Nonetheless, it is useful to have an authoritative volume collecting Bell’s life story in one place. Wellman supplements the otherwise available details with three personal interviews of Bell and several others with associates and parishioners from the church Bell founded, Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A high point of the book is Wellman’s thoughtful analyses of Bell’s books, sermons, and even his early musical endeavors for themes that resonate with religious and social theory.
Ambrosius, Joshua D., "Review: 'Rob Bell and a New American Christianity'" (2013). Political Science Faculty Publications. 33.