But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves. For you were called to freedom, brethren. (Galatians 5:11-13, NASB)

Leading The Charge Home To The Bondage Of Rome

In the article The Emergent Mystique which appeared in the November 2004 issue of Christianity Today Rob Bell, well-respected icon within the Emergent Church, made the following statement to Andy Crouch: “We’re rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life.”

What follows below provides needed background and context for understanding just what Bell meant. The first comes from an interview on The Parish podcast with Greg Horton at

Bell: I have a good friend who is a school sister of Notre Dame..she live..she works at a nunnery near my house. I sit down with her on a regular basis, and we talk, and I listen to her story – she’s taken a vow of poverty, a vow of chastity and a vow of obedience – so we talk about what that means.

Horton: Ok. So is it fair to say that your idea of tradition is something that’s embodied, not this cognitive thing that we do, ah…

Bell: It’s symbols, it’s rituals, I think that I want to be as traditional as possible, heh, the future is behind us. Um, there’s this beautiful rich tradition of sacraments and practices and disciplines and silence . . . it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. (08:46-09:38, transcript on file)

This next piece comes from the Zachary Lind podcast at where Lind asks his friend about worship services as Mars Hill Bible Church:

Bell: One of things we’ll often draw is we’ll draw like a circle, and then we’ll draw slices of a pie. And what we want is we want to expose people, to the broadest spectrum of ways that people have worshiped God for thousands of years, so that you have your hymns – you have, you know you have all your hip worship songs.

But then you have Celtic prayers, and you have liturgy, and you have gospel, and you’ve got, really experimental stuff where you sing one phrase over and over again and meditate on it. And so there’s this giant tradition that we have to introduce people to. There are these ancient streams of ways that people have expressed their love for God and their awe in worship… (12:33-13:33, transcript on file)

And the following is later in the same interview when Lind is talking about Bell’s supposedly superior study habits. What is important to note here is that Lind speaks of a book that ostensibly evangelical Bell “recommended” to him by Richard Rohr. The website of the Center for Action and Contemplation tells us under the section Our Founder that “Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province.”

You should also know that this Roman Catholic priest also happens to be another Living Spiritual Teacher along with Contemplative Guru Richard Foster. Also you may recall that in that same CT article referenced above that Emergent Church theologian Brian McLaren himself said that Richard Foster and Dallas Willard were “key mentors” in this Emergent rebellion against the Bible:

Bell: I stare at my wall. I stare out my window…

Lind: I don’t know what else but I mean…I just kind of find that and like the book you recommended to me a few weeks ago, Richard Rohr. It talked about contemplative prayer, and he talks about how, and didn’t really know what he meant by it, like you know…what is that? He doesn’t really…you read half of the book and still don’t really know what his definition of that is. But he starts getting into it. An’ he says, well you know you have to at least sit for you know…you have sit past 20 minutes.

Bell: Yeah, yes.

Lind: Because when you’re quiet and silent and you’re just trying to communicate with God and understand you know maybe what’s going on in your life at the time or whatever…

Bell: Yeah.

Lind: It takes a certain amount of time before you’re sort of selfish things get aired out. Like you might be all about you for 20 minutes, but then after that it’s like, you’re kind of a blank slate. You know…

Bell: uh-hum.

Lind: You’re kind of ready to intake anything. He talks a lot about in that book about a beginners mind, and you know being kind of like a child and coming up to Jesus, and really just ready to be written on. And you know, I don’t know…maybe I’m wrong, but I kind of feel like most from what I hear, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of that going on in terms of…

Bell: Yeah, well you have to essentially discipline your life around forming the depths and that takes just phenomenal discipline that I don’t even pretend to have. (23:43-25:14, transcript on file)