Rob Bell, controversial author and former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, spoke this past Sunday at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. Responding to a question regarding same-sex marriage, Bell in his answer affirmed and “openly endorsed marriage equality.” The Huffington Post shares Bell’s response:
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 and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.
Though Huffington Post writer Greg Carey stated, “To my knowledge, Bell’s interview marks the first time that he has openly supported marriage equality,” many Christians are unsurprised by this latest report about Bell. Speaking at a Los Angeles event in July 2012, Bell was asked his thoughts about homosexuality. His reply was unquestionably gay-affirming:
Thank you for asking that. We’re here in West Hollywood, epicenter of a lot of gay culture and you’re asking—some people are gay (pause) and you’re our brothers and you’re our sisters, and we love you.
We love you. (audience applauds) And it’s really, really, really, important that we’re clear. I had a good friend—when I was in my teens—who was gay. And hadn’t told anybody. An’ I was the first person he told.
And (pause) probably the most loving, generous, holy—one of the most—he was extraordinary, is extraordinary. But at an early age I was like, some people are gay; an’ God loves them just like God loves me.
And they’re passionate disciples of Jesus, just like I’m trying to be. So, let’s all get together and try to do something about the truly big problems in our world; that I believe Jesus would us to band together, and tackle together.
So there you go.
Rob Bell is known for questioning, redefining and challenging the beliefs of orthodox Christianity. His book, Love Wins caused a stir by redefining Hell, and his newest book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God is said to “tackle misconceptions about God.”