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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 22, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 12
Prominent evangelical endorses marriage equality
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Prominent evangelical endorses marriage equality

Rob Bell to speak in Seattle March 22

Rob Bell, named by Time magazine as one of the nation's most influential evangelical Christian leaders, has come out in support of same-sex marriage.

Speaking on Sunday, March 17, at Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal church in San Francisco, Bell said, in response to an attendee's question, 'I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs - I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.'

The founder and former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan (no relation to Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church), Bell has for some years been popularly identified with the 'emerging church' movement, which seeks to make evangelical Christianity relevant to today's young people. The movement, which by most accounts began in the mid-1990s, was at first regarded with indifference by older evangelicals, who understood it as simply a new way of presenting the old orthodoxies.

Recently, however, Bell and other 'emergents' such as Brian McLaren have become more controversial, with many conservative Christian pastors accusing them of revising or abandoning key doctrines in a quest for popularity. Bell, in particular, raised evangelical hackles two years ago with the publication of his book Love Wins, which challenges traditional Christian thinking on the subject of eternal damnation - suggesting that Hell does not exist apart from this world, or that no one actually goes there forever. His latest book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, was released March 12.

Bell is scheduled to speak at Seattle First Baptist Church on Friday, March 22, beginning at 7 p.m. The talk is free and no reservation is required. Seattle First Baptist is located at 1111 Harvard Ave. on First Hill.

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