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Mars Hill Church Names Rob Bell's Successor

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Aug 24
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Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., has appointed a new teaching pastor, months after founding pastor and well-known author Rob Bell departed for California, the Religion News Service reports. Bell, who sparked controversy last year with his book Love Wins -- which discounted the existence of hell and asserted that "a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering" -- left in January to pursue independent ministry plans near Los Angeles. On August 22, Mars Hill leaders announced Kent Dobson had accepted the lead position. Dobson, who served as a worship director in the church's early days and has preached as a guest speaker since Bell left, also served as a religion teacher and spiritual life director at Grand Rapids Christian Schools and has been featured on biblical programs for the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. He resigned from a teaching position at NorthPointe Christian School in 2008 amid fallout from appearing on a Discovery Channel program that questioned Jesus' birthplace and whether there were truths in the Gnostic gospels, a collection of noncanonical texts. "Some think asking questions is a sign of a lack of faith," Dobson said in a later interview. "I can't imagine any kind of mature faith without questions."