Martin Bashir on Rob Bell

As a follow-up to his interview on MSNBC of Rob Bell, Martin Bashir was himself interviewed on the Paul Edwards programme about that interview. Awesome listening as Bashir demonstrates how Bell consistently misquotes and takes out of context key sections of his argument.

It is an excellent interview which also reveals Bashir’s deep faith in Jesus.

Listen to it here.

For those who missed the original interview of Rob Bell by Bashir, here it is.


This is the full interview with Lisa Miller at the official launch.

Watch live streaming video from lovewins at

16 Comments on “Martin Bashir on Rob Bell

  1. Thanks for posting that, Peter. It is extremely helpful to know where Bashir was coming from and the type & quality of research he had done to prepare for that brief interview.

  2. I didn't realize Bashir was a self-described "committed Christian" (according to Wikipedia). I wouldn't assume the interview "reveals Bashir's deep faith in Jesus," however. Wouldn't you hope otherwise, if he's really being a good journalist? There's nothing uniquely Christian about the line of questioning he took; in fact, isn't his first question about Japan a challenge to all believers? He's playing devil's advocate and bringing up the questions that challenge Bell's position. I think a non-Christian interviewer could have asked the same questions.

    • I don't think that his interview with Bell did that (revealed his faith) rather his interview with Edwards is where it comes out. And I don't think I suggested for a moment that there was anything uniquely Christian in his line of interviewing, though I suspect his faith did provide a reason to not only do the prior research, but to understand clearly what the arguments were (as opposed to some of the other US chat show hosts who obviously didn't know what they were or couldn't be bothered to raise them).

      • Ah, sorry, my bad for skimming what you wrote. I haven't seen other TV interviews with Bell, but I wouldn't expect such a pounding from the average US pundit (except on FOX, maybe).

  3. I have difficultly taking Bashir seriously. I worry that he's just grabbing a good story.

    His comments about Origen and Arius are nonsense. To accept some teaching of Origen hardly requires one accept the teaching of everyone who's ever been condemned.

    I think it's also unfortunate that people seem to be arguing that 'harsh' Christianity is somehow better than 'compassionate' Christianity because the latter is compromised. I mean, really? A compassionate motive in theology is necessarily a bad thing? Could it not also be a good thing, inspired by Christ's own example?

    And then we have the patronising, 'Bell is just working out his childhood issues …' and the 'Bell is evasive because he wants to sell books and remain in the evangelical mainstream' argument. I was glad that Bashir credited Bell with some integrity at the end of the Edwards interview.

    The mutual backslapping in the audio is also pretty tiresome. When Bashir is talking about how they both encourage 'questioning' I guffawed. It seems to me that the one thing that hasn't occurred in the aggressive backlash against Bell in any large measure is any listening to Rob Bell's painfully obvious, but rarely actually addressed questions.

    A standard evangelical line on 'those who've never heard' (McGrath, for instance) is "we don't know". I get the impression that Bashir would be jumping down McGrath's throat as well, demanding that he not compromise and that he should say it like it is!

    In the end, I think Bashir's questioning was unhelpfully reductionist. Christian truth can't always be reduced to yes/no answers. Hasn't Andrew Marin taught us that? Bashir wasn't interesting in finding out what Bell thought, only what he didn't believe.

    I haven't read Bell's book. I'm in no rush to and I'm not seeking to defend his answers. But, from the outside I haven't seen a whole lot of light shone on the questions that he's asking by those who think he's wrong.

  4. I thought Rob seemed evasive in the Lisa Miller interview too. But, he was obviously totally unprepared for the sustained drilling he got from Bashir. I was impressed (from the Edwards interview) with the research Bashir said he did before the interview. Last Sunday at Mars Hill Bible Church (where my wife & I were in attendance) Rob said that the congregation has been pressing him over the years for "better answers" to the questions people were asking. A man who says he has been seeking "better answers" ought to be able to answer simple, direct (albeit difficult) questions. If we are taking the message out to the world, engaging the questions people are asking, it seems to me we are likely to get a question like: "Where was God in the Japanese earthquake?" I have no animus toward Rob Bell. In fact, in many ways I am very appreciate of him. But, he needs to learn how to answer questions. I haven't quite finished Love Wins. It's quite short. I think it could easily be read in a single evening. I'm currently thinking that the best descriptor for it might not be "heretical" but rather "half-baked." He needs to be challenged, and pressed, and forced to tighten up & clarify his position. I know I have been challenged this way in the past: if you can't state your position clearly maybe you don't understand it yourself. :-)

  5. I think that what I've learned from this is that Martin Bashir is about as bad an interviewer as most other 24-hour-news television journalists. He flings things at Rob Bell over and over again without actually giving him time to respond. And then, when Bell gives him various answers, some of which beg further questions, he basically calls him an idiot and ignores what he says.

    That being said, I still haven't read the book and I think it's entirely possible that some of Bashir's criticisms are accurate. His most interesting question was the one about why Bell would privilege Origen over others. It's a shame that he didn't follow up with this better. I think this is a giant missed opportunity.

      • Camping? This is about the fourth time in 30 years he's predicted Christ's return. You'd think all the gullible people following him would have read Matt 24:36 (or Deut 18:20-22 for that matter).

      • Fr J

        My father heard Judge Rutherford, one of the co-founders of the Jehovah's Witnesses, say in the the Albert Hall, London, before the 1914-18 war "the millions now living will never die". He got that wrong, as I enjoy telling the Jehovahs who tap on my door. I wonder what this guy will say when his date has passed. Some explanation to be sure. But when it comes to assessment of the risk from meteorites hitting the earth I'd rather trust Prof. Brian Cox than some numerologist like this guy.

  6. I agree with Fr. J. I thought that the questions Bashir asked were very poor questions. He presented them as either/or, requiring simplistic yes/no responses and seemed unhappy with Bell's nuanced answers. The most newly qualified teacher knows that this kind of closed question rarely elicits anything worthwhile. I used to think Bashir was a good journalist, but he's just another one trying (and to my mind, failing) to be edgy and controversial.

    That said, I was a little disappointed with ROb Bell's answers and would have been happier had he mounted a better challenge to some of Bashir's underlying assumptions.

  7. Amazing, thank you Martin Bashir! I think we have a responsibility as Christians to stand up and fight this potentially Heretical campaign. There are many Christians who are to immature and new to the faith to even discern that which is false. Worse is the acceptance of half-truths that are totally parallel (warm and fuzzy) to the feel good "cant we all just get along" post-modernistic world we live in. I myself put it on you tube.


  8. The point here is how we handle truth, what does the Bible actually say? Is what the writer does with the biblical text appropriate in context usage? The book is not available yet in the UK and my copy is coming from from the States but so much has been said by both Bell and those against the position he presents that a response is necessary. Bell claims the title 'evangelical' and as such should not be surprised or offended when people from that body of the church respond

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.