Responding to a Video Trailer the Right Way

March 8, 2011 — 6 Comments

UPDATE: Someone took my idea (although I’m sure they didn’t get it directly from me) and made a potential script for a parody video.

All of sudden, everyone is talking about hell.

Or eternal punishment. Or universalism. Or God’s wrath.

One way or another, it has seemed like everyone is in implicit conversation with the video trailer for Love Wins.

Which is basically to say that not only does love win, but so does Rob Bell’s marketing campaign.

Now, what I think is curious is that Bell made a video, and a book (that on the inside looks much like this blog post), but everyone seems to be responding via blog.

Rob Bell doesn’t blog does he?


He makes highly polished visual presentations that ask a bunch of questions with a tone implying answers so that they both say something and yet…


To some, Bell may seem to be in the stream of the Reformers, simply doing what they did and questioning our sacred traditions.

{Imagine: Luther’s 95 theses as a trailer on Vimeo. The cardinals would have flipped out too}

However, the difference between the Reformers and Bell on this account is that Bell writes…

Like this.

And asks questions?

And sometimes draws Scriptural support for his ideas…

Or maybe just a mind blowing illustration.

Nothing wrong with this of course. Just that Bell questions things (and rightly so in some cases) but he is no Reformer because he can’t cry ad fontes very loudly and when he does, he doesn’t seem to handle those original sources with the kind of deftness that inspires confidence.

That and the Reformers weren’t keen on digging up old heresies and rehabilitating them. Not that Rob Bell necessarily does that either, but the kinds of questions Bell raises are not quite the same kinds of questions the Reformers raised.

Luther stood or fell on Scripture as his guide to the questions he was raising. To some extent Bell does as well, but his impulses for asking the questions seem to come from the surrounding culture that then lead him back to re-read Scripture.

His directionality seems to work opposite of a true Reformer.

Maybe there is a place here and there for tinkering with interpretation of sacred cows in light of culture.

Maybe that is all Bell is after.

Switching gears though…

Someone else in the limelight these days has been raising critical questions that seem to shake the foundations of evangelicalism.

Interestingly, he is also by someone who does not identify as an evangelical (which Bell doesn’t) but who is read widely by them.

I speak of course of N.T. Wright.

“What hath Bell to do with Wright?” you might say.

Well, not too much and quite a lot all at the same time.

To some extent they are both asking basic questions, but to another extent, Wright is asking serious questions about how we read the text of Scripture and then giving a detailed theological, philosophical, and exegetical case for his position.


Not so much.

With Bell, one gets theological, philosophical, and sometimes exegetical musings.

{Kind of like this blog post, which is my version of musing.}

The kind of vehicle Bell is using to deliver his ideas is indicative of the kind of response he deserves.

When someone goes to the extent as N.T. Wright does of presenting their views in a clear, concise (sort of) manner, they deserve a response in kind.

N.T. Wright is a scholar and deserves a scholarly response for his carefully constructed arguments.

Rob Bell is…well not a scholar.

He is a pastor, yes, but really, he is showman. So he deserves a showman’s response.

If he can make a carefully constructed video that sort of contains an argument (but not really) then the response to him should be a carefully constructed video that sort of contains a response.

Or maybe it just asks counter-questions.

Or maybe better yet, it satirizes Bell’s original video.

Answer a fool according to his folly and all that jazz right?

So there’s your challenge. If you’re all worked up about Bell, don’t blog about it, or at least don’t blog in full paragraphs.

Make a video.

Find an alley with some snow, hire an artist, and ask some silly questions. I’ve got some black rimmed glasses you can borrow.

The best way to combat a viral video is with another virus.

In the meantime, I’ve got to get to work on this book proposal for Harper Collins.

Do they know how to market a book or what?


Posts Twitter Facebook

I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

6 responses to Responding to a Video Trailer the Right Way

  1. You refered to this video in another post, but thought a link my be useful on this page:

    Robbed Hell, by C.A.S.T Pearls Productions

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Think Theologically » Blog Archive » In Case You Missed It - April 22, 2011

    […] Responding to a Video Trailer the Right Way (a bit snarky, my apologies) […]

  2. Why I Probably Won’t Read Love Wins « Words With Nate - September 21, 2011

    […] said quite a bit  about the whole controversy (here, here, here, and here), but have refrained from saying much about the actual content of the […]

  3. In Case You Missed It « Words With Nate - September 21, 2011

    […] lastly, I proposed it, someone took me up on […]

  4. More Christlike than Christians? | Think Theologically - December 22, 2011

    […] a great marketing strategy), people mis-reacted to the video trailer (I think it should have gone something like this) and in the end, Bell became the zeitgeist’s new prophet. Not too long ago, Bell announced he […]

Want To Add Your Thoughts?