Mickey Maudlin, the senior vice president and executive editor for HarperOne, the publisher of Rob Bell’s recent and highly controversial book Love Wins, has written a letter in the HarperOne weekly eNewsletter News and Pews questioning the strong reactions against the book by conservative Christians. He opened the letter praising the book for reaching such a wide audience and for the positive feedback received from readers, who have called the book “a cure,” “healing,” and “a lifesaver.” But he lamented the reaction to the book by conservative Christians, saying six books have so far been written opposing it, the Southern Baptist Convention has passed a resolution against it, numerous leading evangelicals such as Albert Mohler and John Piper have condemned it, and some bookstores refuse to carry it.
“Why such hostility?” wrote Maudlin. “Why would leaders attack as a threat and an enemy someone who shares their views of Scripture, Jesus, and the Trinity? … What exactly is so threatening about Rob’s expansive vision of God’s love and grace?” Maudlin even described Bell himself as “a great listener, eager for feedback, a hard worker, fun, and deeply grounded spiritually…at heart he is a pastor and an evangelist whose ambition is to overcome barriers to the gospel.”
Maudlin closed his letter by calling such tribalism the biggest threat to the church, describing it as “where God’s interests are reduced to and measured by those sharing your history, tradition, and beliefs, and where one needs an ‘enemy’ in order for you to feel ‘right with God.'” To read the letter in its entirety, click here.