Rob Bell leaving Mars Hill church in December | News
GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- Rob Bell, the pastor of the 7,000 member Mars Hill Bible Church, is stepping down in December to "pursue a new venture."
Bell's decision was announced Thursday in a statement on the Mars Hill website: "Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell, has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God's love with a broader audience. "
Bell founded the church 12 years ago.
The statement says Bell will be speaking at two services on Sunday to explain his departure and his "call to pursue a new venture." He will also continue to teach the church's Acts Series several times up to his departure in December.
Rob Bell has gained more national notoriety for his 2011 book "Love Wins." In the book, Bell argues that Heaven may be open to people who are not Christians, and that a loving God would not condemn non-Christians to endless suffering in Hell.
"Is God like that?" he asked during a March 30 interview. "Is that the kind of God Jesus talked about? That view has a lot of answering to do, a lot of answering."
Bell said he does not have all the answers, and that some of his views are based on speculation.
The book proved controversial among many conservative Christians, who said his views went against fundamental tenets of their faith.
"The ideas presented in this book are troubling and this community and certainly pastors have to respond," said evangelical theologian Jeremy Bouma in March 2011.
The book led to his appearances on national news programs, including ABC's Good Morning America. He was also on Time magazine's 2011 list of the most influential people in the world.
Below is a statement from Mars Hill's website:
September 22, 2011
To our community of attendees, listeners, and supporters:
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