Greg Gilbert has written a three part review of Rob Bell’s popular (and well produced I might add) NOOMA video series. Here’s a snippet:

I don’t think every ten-minute video needs to contain a crash course in systematic or biblical theology. Christian life and doctrine is a vast and rich universe of truth, and if Rob Bell wants to do ten minutes on sex, ten on anger, ten on this or that, that’s obviously fine. It’s always easy to say by way of critique, “That ten minutes should have said more than it did.” So that’s not where I see a problem with NOOMA.

The problem is that in the videos which aim to present the Christian gospel, the gospel presented is woefully incomplete if not outright wrong in places (which we’ll discuss at more length in the second part of this series). Yes, there’s sin and even grace in NOOMA; God loves us as we are, with all our junk, as Bell puts it. But beyond that there’s little to no cross or resurrection, no atonement, no substitution. Once we’re told that God accepts us as we are, all that follows is a call to live as Jesus lived in order to make the world a better place—which if it weren’t so hip would just be called “moralism,” or even “Pelagianism.”

4 Replies to “Greg Gilbert Reviews NOOMA Series

  1. Awaiting thoughts Jeff… from a Grand Rapids gal who’s been to the place Bell teaches a handful of times.
    Thanks for the post, by the way, and all your posts. Always thought provoking and timely.

  2. Thanks Mary…I appreciate the kind words. The whole point to this blog was to be informative, to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus as it relates to all things, and to encourage others.

    Thoughts on Rob Bell, NOOMA, etc…well…I can’t really say a whole lot about the NOOMA videos. I have seen a short clip of one of them and I was really impressed with the production and quality. They are certainly well done. However, I really haven’t seen enough to have an opinion or thought on the content. I found Greg’s review thoughtful. I’ve read Velvet Elvis and I share many of the same concerns that others do regarding the picture of the Gospel and theology that it paints. I’ve heard several of his sermons and I think he is a great speaker…very engaging. There is an authenticity and humility to him and I appreciate that. However, I am not quite certain about his interpretive perspective on Scripture and the Gospel. He seems to use a certain Jewish rabbinical hermeneutic or interpretation that I know little about. So I want to know more. I would love to sit down with him and chat. I am sure he is a guy I would enjoy hanging out with.

    So there you have it…my opinion bears little resemblance of any opinion at all. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the reply! I would have to say that I am in total agreement with your “opinion…” I share your/other’s concern but I don’t know enough. Bell is facinating and his teaching style is very likeable. However, I do wonder what it would be like to sit down and chat with him…I remember a specific sermon in which he held up a small cross made of nails. He kept repeating, “Maybe the cross is just Jesus’ way of saying to us, ‘you’re okay…”
    I’d have several questions about that statement.

  4. Ya…I would have several concerns with that type of statement. Greg mentions that statement almost verbatim in his review of the videos. I think it minimizes the gravity of what happened on the cross and the serious nature of what took place. I think it has the potential of communicating that the cross is some kind of therapeutic answer to all our problems. I’m not sure that Rob would say that but I think there is the danger of it. I just don’t think that Jesus was simply communicating “you’re okay” when he died on the cross. I believe there was much more going on there such as substitution for the condemned, paying the penalty for the guilty, and spilling his blood to cover our sin. That is earth shaking. And I believe Scripture supports such a view of the cross.

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