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Former West Michigan Pastor Rob Bell Comes Out In Support Of Gay Marriage

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME

Author, evangelist, and former pastor of one of Grand Rapids (and Michigan’s) biggest churches, Rob Bell, has set off debate amongst Christians yet again this week when he came out in support of gay marriage. During a speaking engagement at an Episcopal church in San Francisco, Pastor Bell said,

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 … this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.

Bell founded Mars Hill Church here in Grand Rapids and was the pastor there up until two years ago when he moved to Los Angeles to work on a television series and write more books. He made the comments while speaking at Grace Cathedral, which is the cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of California.

Because of the conservative evangelical culture Bell comes from, his support of gay marriage is causing quite a buzz. Some people are supporting his move while others are seeing it as another betrayal of his core Christian beliefs.

During his speech on Sunday, Bell commented on his Michigan upbringing, and criticized some evangelicals saying,

I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, evangelical subculture that was told ‘we’re gonna change the thing’ and they haven’t. And they actually have turned away lots of people.

This isn’t the first time that Bell has faced scrutiny from fellow Christians. Back in March of 2011, Bell released a book titled Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, And The Fate Of Every Person Who Ever Lived. For which he was accused by many of being a heretic and a false prophet because they feel that he was preaching universalism. Universalism basically preaches that everyone goes to heaven and that there is no hell. Shortly thereafter, he appeared on Good Morning America and graced the cover of TIME Magazine.

Bell has a new book out this month titled, What We Talk About When We Talk About God.



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