Rob Bell made an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, March 18. No one is talking about this one, mainly because Joe Scarborough seemed ambivalent and like he’d really rather be talking about his NCAA brackets.
Jon Meacham, on the other hand, was quite engaged. Meacham is an Episcopalian with a broad knowledge of Christian history, if not Christian theology. For those of you who continue to accuse Martin Bashir of conducting a biased interview on the basis that Bell couldn’t answer his questions, consider this exchange between Meacham and Bell:
The concept [of hell has] gained strength over time, as you’re suggesting, more as a product of the church’s theology than biblical theology. Where do you date the beginning of the dichotomy?
[Pregnant pause] That’s a great, great question. What’s interesting to me is we have these sort of cultural notions of heaven and hell and they get attached to Jesus, like, “Well, obviously this is the Christian faith.” But when Jesus spoke even of something like heaven, for a first century, good Jewish Rabbi like Jesus, heaven was first and foremost a reality to be experienced here and now in this life, grace, peace and joy right now. So that’s a great question.”
Then why didn’t you answer it?