I saw this, was simply astounded that a journalist would do something other than throw soft-balls for someone espousing Bell's heresy, and especially when Bell did it in such a contemporary, reflective, non-dogmatic form.
It is a brilliant interview!
I don't think Bell is squirming.
Martin Bashir is an evangelical Christian himself (- sadly lost to us in Britain now!), and you could sense the sad frustration in the tone of his questions towards Bell's 'trendy liberalism'.Give me Mark Driscoll any day!
Mate. Issues (major issues) with his book aside, Bell had an awesome opportunity to present the gospel to a very large audience. And chose to say nothing much at all. And that pretty much says it all.
Bashir uses the socratic method - "it's either this or this, now which is it?" firstly about the problem of suffering, then about whether non-believers go to hell. Bell seems to be trying in a polite way to indicate that he doesn't accept that method of questioning - things are a little more complex than that. But he struggles because the questioning method is a trap, it's closed ended and you have to answer either A or B, instead of being able to say what you want to say.Is the point of Christianity about getting to heaven? Is that why we believe?
An interesting response at Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/marchweb-only/rob-bell-universalism.html?start=1
@Jon, I was a little uncomfortable with the dichotomy Bashir presented. If I were Bell I would have questioned the legitimacy of the two assumptions. But he didn't. He vacillated. So he deserves the treatment he's getting now. Years of providing questions without giving answers would now appear to be coming home to roost. I'm glad he's being called out on it. By all means, be a universalist, but at least have the balls to admit it and say "yes, this is different to what the majority of Bible believing Christians over time have believed" - Bell didn't do that. So he looked like an idiot.
Yes, Nathan, he did look extremely uncomfortable. I would have thought someone in his position who's set out to challenge and stir controversy would be a bit more ready to respond to hard questions. And surely a pastor of a mega-church would have been asked about the problem of suffering before - most pastors get it every week.
Interesting article (but long) here http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2011/03/14/rob-bell-love-wins-review/