CNN and Rob Bell

rob bell

by John Ellis

I first became familiar with Rob Bell around 2007. During my first few years as a new Christian, I had heard several friends speak glowingly of books like Velvet Elvis and Blue Like Jazz; the tag “Emergent” was beginning to become more and more commonplace in friends’ vernacular. To keep up, I begin reading books written by pastors and authors within the Emergent Community, including both Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Both books intrigued me, yet worried me, too.

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Writer of The Shack, William Paul Young Outs Himself as a Heretic


by John Ellis

Two months ago, I ordered a copy of The Shack, the New York Times bestseller that has sold over twenty million copies.[1] I intended to read it and then write a review in time for the release of the movie. However, I was unable to force myself to finish reading it.

For the record, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy reading The Shack. Over the years, I’ve become very familiar with the contrived plot, blasphemous characters, and heretical teachings. It’s been inescapable. The number of family and friends who rave about the book match the family and friends who denounce the book.

Not long after its release, I researched the teachings of The Shack and concluded that, at best, it wasn’t worth my time reading; at worst, I would just become incensed over the heresy being subtly introduced (or not so subtly) to brothers and sisters in Christ. The devil is indeed a lion seeking to devour people. The movie, of course, changed my perspective on the value of me reading the book, and that brings me back to my opening paragraph. And, as stated, I couldn’t force myself to finish The Shack.

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The Heresy of Christian Movies: War Room


by John Ellis

Note: the response to this post has been somewhat surprising for me. Because of the overwhelming response, both positive and negative, I decided to bite the bullet, watch War Room, and write an actual review. That review can be found here.

“All the Satan-rebuking speeches in the world can’t make a story uplifting when it subtly suggests that you can tell a real Christian by the way everything always works out exactly the way they pray for it.” Scott Renshaw

I haven’t watched War Room, and I highly doubt that I will[1]. However, having watched several of the Kendrick brothers’ movies, I’m quite familiar with their aesthetic M.O. (or lack thereof). Setting aside the many, many reviews, including Christianity Today, skewering the bad writing, bad acting, bad cinematography, and bad storytelling in general, I want to comment on the quote posted above.

That quote is from the Salt Lake City Weekly movie critic, Scott Renshaw. I know next to nothing about Renshaw’s personal life; I don’t know if he’s a professing Christian, a professing atheist, or something else. I do know, based on the quote and the review it’s from, that he has hit on my biggest concern in regards to the movies of the Kendrick brothers – the dabbling, at the least, in heresy.

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