MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on The Paul Edwards Program

Here’s the audio of my interview with MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on his interview with Emergent Universalist Rob Bell of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids. Martin discloses whether or not he is a committed Christian and if the blog rumors are true that he attends Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.


UPDATE: You can download the interview:


208 Replies to “MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on The Paul Edwards Program”

  1. Actually, what Bashir did was distort Bell’s book to fit his own pre-conceived narrative. It really saddens me that you feel so compelled to call Bell a heretic. Just because you say “false teacher” doesn’t make it so. Just because you cry “heresy” doesn’t make it a reality. Bell’s a really good teacher and a fine theologian. He’s a sincere Christian who has walked with God and given his life to the church.

    I would urge you to see the plank in your own eye before grasping for the speck’s in Rob Bell’s eye.

  2. Tim: So Bell has advanced degrees – so what. Bashir still evidences more of an understanding of historic Christianity than does Rob Bell. Rob Bell is a heretic. What he is teaching is heresy. Shame on you for defending Bell.

    You persist in this attack the messenger mode. Bashir gave clear and convincing proof that Bell took both Scripture and Luther out of context. Luther indeed did ask the question – but he also ANSWERED it! Bell used the question to imply that his Universalism is as orthodox as Luther, and it was DISHONEST and typical of a FALSE TEACHER.

  3. Come on Paul – give me a break, man. Don’t play as though your attitude towards Bell is loving. I don’t hate Bashir – but I am tired of the Bell-Bashing & misrepresentation of what he’s said in the book.

    Bashir is totally wrong about the Luther quote. Bell was totally consistent with the context of Luther’s letter. However, Bashir was not being fair with the context regarding how the quote was used in Bell’s book. Bell was not using it as proof that Luther agreed with him. He was using it as proof that Luther asked the question, too! The next line after the quote is “Again, a good question.” Bashir is guilty of what he accuses Bell of. Luther did ask the question – that was the point of the quote.

    Paul, you actually said, “Martin Bashir knows more about historic Christianity than does Rob Bell; and I believe that sincerely.” If you believe that sincerely, then you have no idea what you are talking about. Bell has a BS from Wheaton, an MDiv from Fuller, and has preached the scriptures weekly for the past 12 years. He does a great job of exploring the historical context of scripture & works in primary languages as well. He has a keen interest in church history and uses it constantly in his writing and speaking. Did you even read the book?

    You and Bashir need to be honest. What you don’t like is not his writing methods or intellectual honesty, it’s that he doesn’t agree with you. And that is fine – but don’t misrepresent what he actually says & attack him as though you are unbiased and amazed by his brazen tactics. Shame on you both.

  4. I’m sorry, you cannot water down the Gospel. Hell is real and ppl will go there, full stop. Unfortunately for many the truth of the gospel is a hard pill to swallow and it is unfortunate that there are purported preachers out there leading people astray, But hey, we warned about this weren’t we? They may be misguided and truly believe what they preach but when you match it up with what the Word has to say, they are way off base. The further tragedy to this is that the Word is very clear about the dangers of leading people astray. I personally believe that Mr Bell is on very dangerous ground. I pray that he will repent of his heresy and come into truth and lead people to the truth.
    Very interesting dialogue all the same.
    Blessings to you all.

    PS this also goes to show how ppl can be lazy and undesirous of spending time studying the Word, testing the spirits, and are given over to fast food feel good religion. Pity indeed.

  5. Fast and loose with Scripture, that is the greatest problem with Rob Bell. I was listening to his extended interview on Sunday night with the interviewer from Newsweek. Bell stated, “Jesus said ‘if you are not against me, you are with me.'” He stated this after the interviewer tried to clarify if Jesus was the mechanism for one to get into heaven. She stated that she was Jewish, had relatives in the holocaust, and that her relatives would not be interested in Jesus as the mechanism. This quote was Rob’s response.

    However, Scripture actually says, “If you are not with me, you’re against me.” Interesting how this slight switch of biblical truth can have such serious consequences!

  6. Bashir is way out of his depth! Martin – when you try to talk like a theologian you sound like an idiot! As though reading the book, visiting two libraries and making 3 phone calls has made you a real live theologian! Give me a stinking break.

    Bell’s position is not universalism. Let’s be honest about what he says. 1) Jesus is the only way. 2) Hell is a reality. 3) His HOPE is that love will win & hell won’t be forever – but this is all left up to Christ.

    That’s the book in a nutshell. Bashir needs to stick to interviewing pop stars because Rob Bell is out of his league.

  7. A pastor who isn’t a theologian isn’t a pastor. His first priority is to feed the flock, not a diet of trendy news, but the word of God. If he doesn’t immerse himself in the Word and live his life as a perpetual student of the Word, he is not fit for ministry. He should go make an honest living as a plumber.

  8. lol… if a pastor and theologian should be on the same level, then 99.9% of pastors shouldn’t have a job.
    I’m not a big Bell fan… but a pastor needs to deal with things much differently than a theologian.

  9. Timothy,

    I also am confused as your reference to 1 Chron. 20:5. The verse indicates that Goliath’s brother was killed by Elhanan, but says nothing about a man, other than David, killing Goliath.

    “And there was again war with the Phillistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi THE BROTHER OF GOLIATH the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s Beam.” 1 Chron. 20:5

    Please clarify your point. Thanks.

  10. Just because people don’t agree with Rob Bell doesn’t mean they”hate” him, or aren’t representing Jesus love. Sometimes it is necessary to challenge people BECAUSE you love them.

    It is possible to be sincere, but sincerely wrong, and I’m concerned that describes Rob Bell. God already showed his love by giving Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins. How much more loving can he be? Rob seems to want to define God’s love in a way that the Bible doesn’t. The gift of God’s love is already there for all to accept and experience, but it carries the condition that the gift be accepted in this life.

  11. Timothy,

    I’m a bit confused about your reference to 1 Chronicles 20.

    Can you please explain what point you were trying to make.

    Thanks for the clarification


  12. Hello Fellow Christians.
    There is a lot left to say yet about the actual accomplishment of salvation. The scripture says, as most know, that ALL must appear at the judgment seat of CHRIST. I hear that Christ said, father forgive them, they DO NOT KNOW what they are doing. I also hear and read, HE CHANGES NOT.

    Self right ideas about what the judgment God gives through Christ may become very troublesome for people who are not understanding that if we do not forgive men ALL their trespasses, neither will we be able to find forgiveness “in our selves” because of our inability to even accept the possibility of forgiveness to “all people”.

    This does not mean that anyone can do anything they want which is what many think salvation allows if it is to all. In other words, what is entailed and written of in the scriptures about the ACCOMPLISHMENT or fulfillment of the “condition” of eternal life is not understood by most who believe “they” are saved just by saying a few words. That in fact is only the beginning of salvation unto the establishing of eternal life in each one.

    We have to be a believer first of course, and all who are saved SHALL believe FIRST. But that is not the end of the matter, even for those who are presently what we understand as Christians in the world.

    Whether anyone dies or lives we ALL shall stand before and at the judgment seat of Christ. ALL.

    It is at this judgment seat that we actually become able to STAND {resurrect}. The belief that simply saying a few words relating to belief in and about Jesus Christ is not what salvation is. As we know, Jesus said, if we hear HIS WORDS and do not do them, we are built upon the sand.

    In Noah’s day those who were told how to survive the flood, by getting INTO the ark, but did not believe, eventually believed when they actually began to see and receive the flood upon themselves. Scripture says it will be the same today. The “flood”, and also the coming of Christ in actuality, will and does remove the “UNBELIEF” in the coming, wouldn’t it.

    When Christ comes to one THEN they become a believer. Without HIM we can do NOTHING.

    There is real positive and clear answers for pretty well everything today, this being the time when there is nothing that has not been revealed or understood is being revealed and understood. There is still only salvation in Jesus Christ, but as John says in 1 John, we SHALL {and in fact must be} LIKE Him when we finally see and understand him as he really is.

    We are said to be given the gospel of the SPIRIT that GIVES life, and not the letter that kills or speaks of killing and affliction and sorrow and death. Why would that be so if God causes affliction and so on?

    The answers are available. If any one thinks so and wants to talk about them, then feel free to ask and see what is presented. These things are taught by God within each person and not taught by natural minded or natural men. As scripture says, we are {now} to be taught personally by the Spirit and need not that any man should teach us. We can share perhaps, but who confirms the truth IN US is OUR father.

    The scripture does say, when we pray we are to say OUR father. Everyone must be fathered by God personally. That is when salvation actually begins to become a fact.

    God bless in the love of Christ.

  13. Thank you for posting this excellent follow up discussion to the interview between Martin Bashir and Rob Bell. I’ll start by saying I LOVE JESUS!! I also love the truth of His word, and found the interview with Bell to be refreshing and concerning at the same time. I was refreshed that the same amount of journalistic integrity was used toward Bell and his beliefs as would be toward any other subject of substance and value. I appreciate that Bell’s contradicting answers weren’t brushed off but investigated. I was concerned, however, that Bell seemed like a deer in the headlights when asked to answer basic questions of the Christian faith. Rather than take the opportunity to share the clear message of the gospel, he clearly obfuscates and tries to play both sides of an issue that orthodox Christians have mostly agreed on for centuries. It was like Bashir knew exactly what was going on though, and saw right through Bell, and asked the exact questions that needed to be asked. Bell’s fascade clearly crumbled, and I think this is why many of Bell’s “God is only love” fans are lashing out so bitterly towards Bashir and others who question the integrity and historical accuracy of the book. It’s sad they seem to worship Bell more than God as He presents Himself in Scripture. In any case, I don’t think Bashir was wrong-spirited in any way, he did his job and did it astoundingly well. I wish him the best in his future endeavors and walk with the Lord. Thank you too Paul for your work in bringing this follow up to the public.

  14. Dear Dave,

    I spend a significant time every day with the scriptures, prayer, thinking and conversation with others, especially the idea of salvation. From what are we saved? To what are we saved? For what purpose are we saved?

    As a demonstration of the kind of careful Bible reader I am, here is a seemingly simple obvious question, “Who killed Goliath?” Duh, it’s David with his sling shot. Right? You learn that from reading your children’s Bible story book, right?!!!

    Here’s a follow-up question, “Is there more than one biblical answer? Is an answer other than David possible?” Of course, by even asking the second question
    I am putting myself in danger. To say there might be another answer might be heresy, false teaching, false prophecy. Right? Yet please refer to 1 Chronicles 20:5.

    Now, in this conversation, when Paul talks about “goats” in reference to salvation over against “sheep,” I find only one place in the Bible that talks about this, Matthew 25:31-46. In my plain reading, I do not read what Paul reads in this passage. While I strongly disagree with him, I bear him no ill will at all. I do not slot him in any negative category.

    As you might imagine, I tilt towards the “love wins” spectrum of the continuum. As I might imagine, I guess you might see me as a 2 Peter “bad guy.” However, from my little illustrations I above, I defend myself as a careful Bible reader and Christ adorer. I read the Bible’s grammar as “because/therefore” not “if/then”. Because we have been loved by Christ, we are set free to love. By signature sign off reflects this grammar…

    Blessed people, bless people, Timothy

  15. Very well done, Mr. Bashir. I saw your interview, and I appreciate your journalistic integrity and love for truth!! Thank you, Paul for conducting this interview. I wanted to know more about Mr. Bashir’s background and where he was coming from, because I was also suprised to see and hear a host from MSNBC pursue clarity with such tenacity, yet professionalism!

  16. That’s a great Scripture Timothy! We as Christians should treat each with the proper respect and love. But we also should correct each other when we stray from Scripture. Unfortunately what Rob Bell says and teaches does not line up with what Scripture says. The Bible tells about people who teach incorrectly:

    2 Peter 2:1-3
    2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

    The question is, “does Rob Bell teach Scripture accurately”?
    I challenge you to compare what he teaches to what the Bible teaches.

  17. Dear Paul,

    If you have taken anything I have written as “killing the messenger” or directed at you or Martin Bashir or at Rob Bell, I repent and beg your forgiveness. I in no way intend any theological disagreement with you as a personal attack. May we heed the Apostle’s words in Col. 3:12-17.

    For many deep biblical, faith, and personal experience, I see things differently than you do. This is an important conversation. However, if this conversation increases condemnation rather than mercy, anger rather than love, nastiness rather than kindness, then it is better for me to announce Christ’s abundant blessings for your beyond all imagining and then step aside.

    Blessed people, bless people,


  18. Paul, If you found my interview with Martin Bashir lacking in substance relative to Bell’s book, you should know that the interview with Martin Bashir was not about Bell’s book. It was about Bashir’s interview with Bell. I have indeed read Bell’s book. But my interview with Bashir wasn’t about the book.

    I do, however, agree with Bashir’s conclusions. Given your personal attacks on me and Bashir, it seems you have exempted yourself from your own standard of not being critical. Bell supporters consistently prove here in the comments that they have no answer for their champion’s poor performance in these media interviews he is doing. So you take the easy way out at kill the messenger.

  19. Wow, this is how Christians discuss and debate among themselves? If this is how Christians “love one another,” and disagree with one another it’s a wonder anyone would be compelled to become one. This conversation between Paul and Martin is based on about 4 minutes of response from Rob Bell to Martin Bashir about his book, 4 minutes! Not much time for anything substantive.
    Several observations. If Paul read the book he doesn’t seem to have any substantive things to say in this interview about the book, even though he offers several personal attacks toward Rob Bell. In 30 minutes there is very little actual discussion of specific points of the book itself. The discussion is on the 4 minute response. The following seem to be the conclusions developed between Paul and Martin: 1. Paul basically suggests Bell is stupid insinuating that Bell knows far less about the Bible than Bashir. 2. Bashir speculates that Bell must be asking these questions out of greed because he doesn’t want to return the book advance. 3. and then finally, Bashir suggests that Bell must have some mental illness because he grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family. Wow, this is how Christians love one another and discuss difficult questions?

  20. All that matters is the truth, what is the truth? Jesus said HE is the way, truth and life……..Rob Bell and all who want to be masters of the gospel, firstly needs to know and understand with the fear of God ever before they can preach to the multitude. Wow unto false preachers and teachers! how big of the responsibility they carry and how big judgement they are going to face before the Holy GOD..

  21. I am a 26 year old youth pastor who has been actively engaged in ministry for the last four years.. in addition I am attending seminary. It saddens me that this generation is more concerned about endorsing a half-truth version of the Gospel in order to appease its listeners. If Jesus were sitting in the seats of many of our churches he would do more then turn over the coffee tables and cash registers in our fellowship areas. He would most certainly put duct tape on the mouths of our country’s many pastors who weekly spit out else doctrine.

    Its time for the Gospel to be presented for what it is…

  22. @Timothy you are a goat only if you have never repented of your sin. Your use of Matthew 25 is uncompelling because the context is the Olivet Discourse which is dealing with the second coming of Jesus Christ and the judgment which ensues. What good is your ‘social justice” when you fail to give them the gospel which alone is the power of God unto salvation?

  23. The ultimate knowledge is reached by many paths, and they all have love, compassion, tolerance and honesty built into their foundations. Following those paths is the only way to the divine Truth which Mr. Bashir demands of Mr. Bell. How ironic then that Mr. Bashir follows a different path in his journalistic career. The twisted route of manipulation and disrespect leads to an ultimate distortion of human truth, and once on that path there is no turning back without remorse and repentance. Mr. Bell may or may not be correct in his interpretation of the way to salvation, but at least he has not yet fallen by the wayside. What IS the Truth, Mr. Bashir?

  24. Thanks, Paul, for the great interview, giving Mr. Bashir ample opportunity to explain his position and perspective on the interview.
    I find it of growing concern that so many people have little or no biblical or historical basis to discern the content of the interview or Mr. Bell’s book or message.
    All of us are being deceived in some fashion, but deceptions like these are frighteningly on a very large scale.

  25. I am thankful that someone is truly looking for the truth!!! There are so few people of integrity, thank you Martin Bashir for your critique of the book.

  26. Soda Pop? Jeans? Popcorn and pillow fights? Have you been involved or engaged in any form of student ministry recently? That sounds like a heinous mis-characterization of anything I’ve seen in over 9 years of leading youth ministry. Wow.

  27. I’m fine with a discussion of how salvation is actually received, as that’s an important distinction for every man, woman and child. I’m NOT fine with Martin Bashir being the final arbiter of what is truth, because he has proven he doesn’t know what truth is. Like Satan, Bashir is a master manipulator of the truth.

    Furthermore, it’s OFFENSIVE that Bashir is now using Christianity to cynically repackage himself to remain relevent–riding whatever wave will support and project him forward. A little religion, a little philosophy, a little false humility, a little high-minded lip service to ethics and honor, a little advice to the fallen celebrity (Mel Gibson for example), and selected guest spots to promote his evolving persona on the Edwards program and others like it, and even live speaking engagements at universities and houses of worship. One thing for sure. He won’t be stepping foot in my church!

  28. Coming from a reformed UK background I am very out of touch with the emergent movement and all that it stands for. But I do know my bible. I know it holds the words of life. I know that God displays HIs love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And I have real issues with anyone who says we all get to heaven regardless. Where on earth does that leave the work of salvation? Where does that leave the commands that God gave us? What does that say of all those who have given their lives (physically and in service) to make the saving name of Christ known? Where does that leave the call to be seperate from the world? The message of teh gospel is an offence- a stumbling block- always has been, and, when preached in truth, always will be, unless the Holy Spirit works in a soul to soften it and cause it to lisetn and exercise that faith which is a gift of God.
    And where oh where does scripture imply that there is time to turn to Christ after we die ‘it si time to seek the Lord’ ‘Now is the day of salvation’ ……think about the foolish virgins, teh rich man and Lazarus. I am afraid that this whole concept just fails for me before it gets out of the starting blocks.
    Also, over here, you never get main stream,tv interviews about ‘religious books’ anyway- unless they are utter hogwash!….but when anything of any import is discussed I have never yet come across such courage to challenge and speak for the truth.
    We are all influenced by our bakcgrounds and what we believe- whatever they may be….but that isn’t always a bad thing…..
    Oh, and why does everyone who does not hold with calvin think that those who are ‘five pointers’ love Luther etc? We are fools if we set any man up as perfect and without flaw…..doesn’t mean that we cannot genuinely believe what they have said to be true. I am sure I would be disliked by much of the wider ‘church’ for my views…a dyed in the wool reformed baptist’…..but really, is that important? Surely making sure people hear the TRUTH about salvation in Christ Jesus is our utmost goal and speaking out when people are being mis-led is so important.

  29. You might be a “goat” if…

    You take an extra long shower while 1 billion people on this planet go without safe drinking water

    You super-sized your order while 30,000+ children die each day from hunger related causes

    You opened your closet this morning and had multiple pairs of shoes while billions walk around in their bare feet

    You type out your words, sending them into cyberspace on your computer while millions have no access to books or education

    You have ample shelter while Christian brothers and sister languish, forgotten, in refugee camps around the world

    You have, even one time, failed to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, house the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, provide care for the sick

    Jesus is present “under cover” around the world through the “least of these”… how we treat them is how we are treating Him

    It stretches my imagination to believe that I am the only “goat” around here, based on my Lord’s parable in Matthew 25:31-46. I believe that Jesus, the Word of God, tells the truth in this parable. Goats are doomed. If one believes that “sheep are sheep” and “goats are goats” and that no transfiguration is possible, then every single person with the resources to comment on this blog is damned. Period. If Jesus cannot change me or any of you other “goats,” then I truly despair. However, I do believe in the power of His blood. Now let us serve our Lord as He appears in “disguise” around this planet.

  30. Chris Williams, I completely agree with you, but the disreputable journalist Martin Bashir is not the one to interview anyone about “truth.” Truth is not something Bashir handles well, as news consumers who have long studied Bashir know.

    Apparently, Bashir has completely snookered Paul Edwards and Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC. Previous employer Disney/ABC News eventually wised up about Bashir and kicked him to the curb, as did employers in England where he was practically kicked out of the country, similar to Piers Morgan, another well-known British yellow journaist who admitted, “I got tired of being hated in England, so I came to the United States.” The U.S. has a poor record of vetting foreign yellow journalists like Bashir, so now we’re stuck with his brand of “truth seeking,” even as it destroys innocent people.

    I can’t speak to Bashir’s relationship with his Maker, but I do know that when Bashir comes before the Lord on his final day, he’ll have a problem with the Eighth Commandment.

    For now, he’s using Christianity as a platform to repair his reputation as a journalist despised by those who know what he did to Princess Diana (used forged documents to entice her to agree to an inteview) and Michael Jackson (maliciously edited the documentary to make it appear that Jackson was a pedophile).

    For the record, millions of born again Christians, myself included, understand fully what Bashir did and, while they may not visit blogs like this to comment, they don’t consider Bashir to be anywhere near “Christian” in his behavior. Quite the opposite.

  31. I appreciate you telling it like it is. If all these people with their itching ears would just read the whole Word, line up line, precept upon precept, instead of picking and choosing what they want to hear, they would be a lot further along.
    If they would be Bereans and check the teachings of Bell against scripture, he would not be able to espouse the heresy’s he is feeding to his uniformed audience.
    People forget that Jesus, Himself taught more on hell than just about anything. It must have been very important for us to know, or He would not have taken all that time to speak to us about it.
    Why is it that the one’s who want to make God out to be a lover of every sinner and sin are so intolerant of those who speak truth. God is a God of love, but He is also a just God. He is righteous and true. He is fair God. Part of the fairness of God is that He would not force anyone to spend an eternity with Him if they did not love Him while they were here. Live your life like hell and go to Heaven anyway? So does that mean I have to spend eternity with Hitler & Stalin? And how will they feel about that. They hated God while they were here. Wouldn’t putting them in eternity with Holy God kind of like putting them in a hell not of their own choosing?
    Abram did not have a teacher or the Gospels yet he listened to the voice in his heart and followed God. Moses did not turn away from the burning bush, but instead went to see what marvel this was. Millions of Muslims are having visions of Christ today, as prophesied in Joel. Every man must say “yes” while it is today, for we are not promised tomorrow.
    Thanks Paul for the great interview and for standing for the truth.

  32. Out of respect for the integral work that your site engages in, as well as our collective interest in pursuing the truth, I feel ethically obligated to share with you some very troubling and verifiable information as it pertains to the ‘Living With Michael Jackson’ documentary that has been mentioned in the introduction of this show as being a documentary that Mr. Bashir is praised for being affiliated with.

    It is my sincerest hope that each of you take time to review the “Michael Jackson Interview – The Footage You Were Never Meant to See”, often referred to as “Michael Jackson – Take Two”.

    The footage in this video provides a striking contrast between what Mr. Bashir contracted with Michael Jackson to provide to the viewing public, and what was actually presented in a highly edited version of the actual footage.

    In other words, if it had not been for Mr. Jackson’s own cameraman, we, the viewing public, may have never known the facts behind Mr. Jackson’s objections to Mr. Bashir’s version. Without the verifiable facts, we would have been inadvertently complicit in the denigration of a person’s character, as exampled by Mr. Bashir’s slanted characterization of Michael Jackson in the original and highly edited documentary.

    Moreover, due to the revelation of the facts presented in the special, aired on Fox television and hosted by Maury Povich, the viewing public now knows that the documentary that Mr. Bashir has been given credit for is a highly edited, unscrupulous, and unethical attempt at defaming an individual, for whatever the motives may have been.

    The rebuttal film is available on YouTube for the viewing public to review. There are a total of nine parts. Here is the link:

    The following paragraph provides some examples of the discrepancies between the two films as Mr. Povich highlighted in the footage that Mr. Jackson provided for him.

    1. Mr. Povich provides a comparative analysis between what Mr. Bashir describes as his own impressions of life at Neverland compared to the inserted narrative Mr. Bashir added after the editing. The following demonstrates the contrast between Bashir stating: “But I was here (Neverland) yesterday, and I saw it, and it is nothing short of a spiritually kind of thing.” (Part 2: 4:48), captured on Mr. Jackson’s footage compared to what Bashir inserted into the editing of his film: “It is a dangerous place for a vulnerable child to be,” in his edited version. (Part 2: 4:01.)

    2. Mr. Povich further reveals that during the editing phase of the documentary, Mr. Bashir, as well as his producers, sent the superstar a written request to review Mr. Jackson’s footage, raising the issue that Mr. Bashir, in retrospect, may have recalled that Mr. Jackson’s cameras were rolling during the entire filming of the interview. Mr. Jackson declined the request. After the rebuttal film aired, Mr. Bashir attempted to rationalize that Mr. Jackson’s cameras were secretly rolling without Mr. Bashir’s knowledge. However, the footage clearly demonstrates, otherwise. (Part 2: 6:30.)

    3. Mr. Bashir deletes a critical piece of information when Mr. Jackson visits a zoo in Berlin. In Mr. Bashir’s inserted narrative, he states: “It was no kind of trip for two young children and everyone could see it, but Jackson himself.” (Part 5: 8:30.) What Mr. Bashir failed to provide in his analysis of Mr. Jackson’s character and behavior was that Mr. Jackson stated that he had made arrangements for the zoo to be closed during that time so that his family could visit. However, someone tipped off the media and the zoo quickly became inundated with people, a situation that Mr. Jackson attempted to take steps to avoid. (Part 5: starts at 8:37.)

    4. During the introduction to the rebuttal footage, Mr. Jackson confronts Mr. Bashir and states: “…this is tabloid, you are beyond this…you are a respected journalist…” (Part 1: 2:45). Later on, after Mr. Bashir’s documentary aired, the following is one of Mr. Jackson’s responses. “…gross distortion of the truth.” “I trusted Martin Bashir to come into my life and that of my family because I wanted the truth to be told.” – Michael Jackson

    There were several other examples of marked inconsistencies due to the omitting of footage that would have, otherwise, provided an accurate portrayal of the circumstances presented, which I urge you to review.

    Please keep in mind that Mr. Jackson voluntarily agreed to participate in this documentary in order to respond to the many questions and rumors that the media had speculated on over the years. However, many of those clips never made it into the final cut. (Part 5, 4:55)

    Furthermore, the following is another link that highlights how Mr. Bashir is being critiqued by his own peers for his tasteless and hurtful reporting tactics.

    Thank you for your time in this matter.

  33. D T Braven-Giles’ post is one of the most muddled and tendentious I’ve ever seen. And that’s saying something. Let me go through it with a bit of logic.

    “Reformed evangelicals are still a minority group among the global Christian community.”


    “In light of that, isn’t it a bit of presumptuous of you to be appealing orthodox Christian belief, especially since Calvin and Luther are still regarded as heretics by many?”

    Do you deny that L & C were indeed orthodox regarding the issue at hand – universalism?

    L & C and all “Reformed evangelicals” are part of the orthodox majority of the “global Christian community” on this issue.

    “In what way are you more qualified to judge on these matters than, say, the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose position goes back to St. Augustine himself?”

    I really, really hope you’re not confusing Augustine of Canterbury with Augustine of Hippo! I don’t recall the first of these as being an outstanding theologian.

    “Jesus said that before we go around pointing out the speck in another person’s eye, we should deal with the log in our own eye first. Is your own eye log free?”

    What heresy could Luther, Calvin etc. have been holding to that could possibly seem a “log” in comparison to which universalism is a “speck”?!

    “And before you start with that old cliche “the plain truth of scripture”, consider what the Apostle Peter says of Apostle Paul:”

    [Note that your argument must assume the perspicuity of Peter in order to undermine the perspicuity of Paul!]

    “2 Peter 3:15-16 ESV
    And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”

    Note from the above that (a) Peter assumes that most of Paul wrote was plain enough, and (b) he implies that if you’re not “ignorant and unstable” you actually have a good shot at understanding even the harder parts.

    “If Peter was content to describe scripture as being complicated”

    Oversimplistic – see above

    “tell me, who are you to declare what a clear meaning is? Are you Reformed-types better than Saint Peter, Mr. Edwards? Are you gifted with some insight that he wasn’t?”

    Again, why is it a matter of being Reformed? We’re discussing universalism.

    “I suggest that it would be just as easy for someone to argue that it is you, Mr Edwards, who has changed the gospel to be more palatable to a modern society that thrives on cynicism and revels in seeing people get knocked down.”

    Er… what exactly did you do to Luther and Calvin above???


    Our biblical illiteracy and lack of spiritual confidence has caused Americans to avoid making discerning choices for fear of being labeled judgmental. The result is a Church that has become tolerant of a vast array of morally and spiritually dubious behaviors and philosophies. This increased leniency is made possible by the very limited accountability that occurs within the body of Christ. There are fewer and fewer issues that Christians believe churches should be dogmatic about. The idea of love has been redefined to mean the absence of conflict and confrontation, as if there are no moral absolutes that are worth fighting for. That may not be surprising in a Church in which a minority believes there are moral absolutes dictated by the scriptures.

    The challenge today is for Christian leaders to achieve the delicate balance between representing truth and acting in love. The challenge for every Christian in the U.S. is to know his/her faith well enough to understand which fights are worth fighting, and which stands are non-negotiable. There is a place for tolerance in Christianity; knowing when and where to draw the line appears to perplex a growing proportion of Christians in this age of tolerance.

  35. I dont’ think that every response from the Evangelical community toward Rob Bell has been correct. I think, in particular, John Piper’s “Farewell Rob Bell” tweet was flippant and tactless, something out of character for Piper–whose work has influenced me so much in my spiritual walk.

    But tactless and ungentle as some (but not all) of the attacks have been, the people who are discussing Bell’s book and finding fault with its claims are doing so on doctrinal grounds, and can back up their concerns with Biblical texts, systematic arguments and can point back to the inaccuracies Bell seems to have in the text.

    When people support Bell, I see very passionate, emotional responses, but I don’t see any Truth backing it up. I don’t see anyone saying “you’re wrong, Rob’s right, because here’s what the Bible says…” Instead, I see a lot of people saying “can’t we just agree to disagree,” or saying “God is love, so wouldn’t it be nice if He didn’t send everyone to hell.”

    And I get that the topic of hell makes people uncomfotable. It’s offensive, as most of the Gospel is. But it’s an essential Truth of the Gospel. And that’s because not only is God love, but He’s also holy and just. To just overlook sins would make Him unjust. To pretend Hell is not eternal would contradict what we’re taught in Scripture.

    Bell says things that soud nice. It’s the same thing with “Velvet Elvis,” a book that sounds encouraging on the surface, but just has no Truth to back it up And Bell would agree with that, because he would say “we have no corner on the Truth…we can’t fully know what Truth is.” But when Christ refers to Himself as Truth and the Word is refered to as Truth, there’s definitely something wrong when we favor ambiguity over solid doctrinal truths.

  36. I’m not a Calvinist, it’s a secondary issue, but I am christian and God allows us to accept belief in Him, because he first choose us and I need to respond to Him in belief or disbelief.
    If I end up in hell it’s because I choose disbelief and self will.
    Not my will be done
    It’s Thy will be done

    So …Rob Bell…that why not everyone is going to heaven

  37. You are not a careful reader, Benjamen. When I said to Travis that only those who believe on the name of Jesus go to heaven, I also made it clear that this belief is a gift from God and not their intellectual assent to the claims of Christ. Belief in Christ and making a decision for Christ are not the same thing. The fact hat you don’t see that only underscores my first statement to you: You err not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.

    You – like Rob Bell – are not interested in the truth. You are one of those whom Paul warned Timothy to avoid: those who ask endless questions with the intent of leading God’s people into error. You are possessed of a seducing spirit (1 Timothy 4).

    I am done with you and you are done on my blog.

  38. you’re a contradicting fool my friend. A paradox. much like the one Rob Bell speaks about when he talks about Jesus.

    In one line you say “his grace extends only to those who believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God…”

    and in another line you say that “I’m not going to heaven because I made a decision for Christ. I’m going to heaven because God has shown me mercy…”

    So which one is it?

    It’s not that easy to answer (and you know it or you’d not contradict yourself) and that is what Bell is saying — and anyone that says they have the final answer, other than God, is a liar. That’s you my friend. (me too, by the way. I know very little).

    You’ve put God in a box. He doesn’t reside there, so stop trying to lock Him up.

    I am not sure if I agree with Bell, but I also don’t suck up and brown nose the man (bashir) who talked over bell for 5 solid minutes, not allowing a response.

    (which, by the way, Bashir’s assertion that he wasn’t coming at the interview from his REFORMED, Presbo background where he attends church w/Keller is absolutely ridiculous. It SHOULD inform the way the interview goes and he ought to state it explicitly. What a serious twit to have us believe that his background/beliefs bear no weight on the questions, while at the same time talking down to Bell about how at least some part of the book comes from his “working out his upbringing.”
    There are so many holes in Bashir and your brown-nosing of him it’s very difficult to see how you could see anything from all the S*it you guys were throwing around)

    You know Bell is very intelligent. Perhaps he’s wrong.

    At least he’s no Luther (whom you love & adore I suppose) who wrote vehemently about the Jews and that we ought to burn their houses and do away with them…

    Luther wanted to do away with Jews and we revere him.
    Bell wants all people to be saved and we attack him.

    Remember Mark 11 when Jesus went to the temple and cleared it? And just before that he cursed the fig tree? Because the Jews (God’s chosen — I’m guessing you think you’re one, too — a sheep) were treating the God-fearing Gentiles and the poor with contempt, benefiting by being on the “inside” while harming those on the “outside”

    But in Isaiah 56 God says that all foreigners are welcome at His table. They may not all join Him, but all are welcome.

    Bell is simply asking, “Do we get a shot in the ‘next life’ if we choose poorly in this one?'” Then he answers, “Yes, that is what I believe.”

    If you disagree with that, cool. We’ll find out.
    By the way, i’m guessing you’re a driscoll fan, too.
    He & Rob Bell both profess that Jesus is the only way and they both profess that Jesus comes to us in a variety of ways.

    So don’t be so close-minded when you get up to speak to your church tomorrow. You might create a few followers of “Paul Edwards” because people need to be led by someone, but I very highly doubt they’ll in anyway meet the real, mysterious, controversial Jesus that we read in Scripture.

    But honestly, what do you care anyway? JEsus only came to gather his sheep — the goats are screwed.

    Who exactly are those goats Paul?
    With all the love you can muster up I’d love to hear directly from you who’s in and who’s out — because if you cannot tell me that precisely and with 100% accuracy then you’re as far from knowing the truth about the afterlife as Rob Bell is.

    Only difference is he actually admits it.

  39. “I’m not going to heaven because I made a decision for Christ. I’m going to heaven because God has shown me mercy.”

    Amen to that!

  40. Martin Bashir is an ‘investigative journalist’ whose crimes against journalism need to be investigated.

  41. It does Seem to me (and some others) Paul, that your “goat” talk implies more… That’s between you and God though! He knows our hearts better than we do!

    I’m thankful for Rob Bell and all he does for the Kingdom! And at the same time, I understand the need to discern etc… If anything though, I think God uses guys like Bell to expose the idol that i’ve made with theology! We live in a culture where we talk more about theology than weo do about Kingdom living… I’m glad Bell pushes us into “Kingdom living” and i’m sure Jesus does too! Thanks for the posting the interview! Have a great weekend!


  42. That’s not what I am saying at all, Travis. See my response to Benjamen. God certainly desires all men to be saved, but his grace extends only to those who believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God, not in mere intellectual assent, but by and with the faith that God gives to them as a free gift, created in them through hearing the word (not a hearing with the ear, but a hearing with the heart). “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

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