If you are a Rob Bell fan, this is must reading.
Update February 26, 2007
Witherington has now reviewed all of Bell's videos. He thoroughly appreciates all of them. He questions a couple of his Jewish rabbi comments but still thinks they are outstanding.
Update February 18, 2007
Ben Witherington has written a more comprehensive and gracious appreciation and critique of Rob Bell at "Velvet Elvis and the King"-- Has he Left the Building? Read it. He encourages Bell to consult the standard commentaries and to ignore some fringe scholars who would liken Jesus to a third century AD Jewish Rabbi.
Ben Witherington has posted his assessment of Rob Bell's presentation last night in Lexington: Rob Bell hits Lexington and a Packed-Out House. Ben is a professor of New Testament at Asbury Seminary and a prolific commentary writer. Rob is the most downloaded preacher on the internet (perhaps behind Joel Osteen) and pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, MI. (See ITunes "Religion and Spirituality" category - Bell's ITunes podcast link is here).
Witherington praises Bell's style but critiques his substance saying that Bell doesn't know the difference between 3rd century AD Rabbinic judaism and Jesus' context and he critiques Bell for waffling on homosexuality. I guarantee that this post will be the hottest one in the Christian blogosphere today and this week.
I commented saying that I don't know how Bell puts together his creative, brilliant presentations each week. With his influence, he should speak a little less and research a bit more. (By the way I love listening to Bell). I also say that perhaps Bell was addressing pastoral responses rather than actually stating his doctrinal position. Brian McLaren took some heat for this a while back on the Out of Ur Leadership journal blog.
I also mentioned that Bell was the most downloaded preacher on the internet. Those statistics change regularly though. See the iTunes Religion & Spirituality podcast page for the latest rankings. Like other iTunes store links, that link will only work if you have iTunes (which is free to download and install on your computer) installed on your computer.