Publication Date

Spring 2010


School of Religion


Religion: Biblical Studies


Rob Bell, Walter Rauschenbusch, Social Gospel, Emergent Church, Velvet Elvis, Heaven and Hell, Realized Eschatology, Postmodernism


Rob Bell, author of the book Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, is one of the lead voices in the new emergent conversation. In his book, Bell’s ideas suggest a postmodern worldview for the modern day American church. Through this presupposition, Bell aligns himself with many of the liberal writers of the early nineteen hundreds, such as Walter Rauschenbusch of the Social Gospel movement. This arrangement has led to Bell’s reworking of many core orthodox positions, but in particular, the doctrine of eschatology. He asserts a form of realized eschatology, similar to Rauschenbusch, which misrepresents the gospel, while elevating the authority of man’s reasoning at the expense of that of Scripture.