Holy hell. A beloved local evangelical preacher who dared to question the notion that some people spend eternity suffering for their sins in hell has quit his Michigan megachurch to pursue "strategic opportunities." Rob Bell's book Love Wins sparked a furious controversy among conservative evangelical theologians. Bell reassured his mammoth congregation yesterday that "you're going to be great" with a new pastor. "We've had this beautiful thing, you and me," he said in an emotional farewell. "And now, we let go of how it was and open ourselves up to how it is and will be."
His Mars Hill Bible Church, established in a converted shopping mall, draws some 10,000 people each Sunday. Bell is off to Los Angeles, but won't start a new church, reports the Grand Rapids Press. He plans to continue writing and lecturing, and is launching an eight-city speaking tour in November. "It's come time for my family and I to take another leap into the unknown," he said. Other preachers who have found themselves suddenly thrust into the religious spotlight have left their home churches behind to seek fame and fortune elsewhere, often with mixed results, notes the Washington Post. (Read more Mars Hill Bible Church stories.)