(Photo: Rob Bell/Vimeo)
Controversial Christian author and former megachurch pastor Rob Bell sits down with Oprah Winfrey for an interview in an upcoming episode of her spirituality-theme program "Super Soul Sunday." Bell's latest book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, has been listed as the first recommended title in "Oprah's Super Soulful Book of the Month" club.
According to a publicist for OWN's "Super Soul Sunday" program, Winfrey's interview with Bell will air Nov. 3 at 11 a.m. ET/PT with the title "Oprah & Rob Bell: What We Talk About When We Talk About God."
"The Emmy Award-winning series 'Super Soul Sunday' delivers a thought-provoking, eye-opening and inspiring block of programming designed to help viewers awaken to their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them," reads a press release from Winfrey's network.
In its announcement on the new season lineup, OWN noted that Bell would be among "Super Soul Sunday" guests that include Anne Lamott, Jack Kornfield, Steven Pressfield and others.
Winfrey has written on Oprah.com about her time talking with Bell, whose books she said opened her heart and mind.
"When Rob Bell — pastor, best-selling author, provocative thinker — recently joined me on the show, we talked for two and a half hours, and I could have kept going," wrote Winfrey. "The ideas Rob sets forth in his books Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God opened my heart and my mind. People like him are the reason I set out to build OWN in the first place: to be able to gather a global community of like-minded seekers."
The post titled, "What Oprah Knows for Sure About Spirituality," was accompanied by a picturesque photo of Bell and Winfrey deep in discussion with the media mogul grasping a copy of What We Talk About When We Talk About God.
Bell states in What We Talk About When We Talk About God (Harper Collins) that he wrote the book because "there's a growing sense that when it comes to God, we're at the end of one era and the start of another, an entire mode of understanding and talking about God is dying as something new is being birthed."
In explaining the main point of What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Bell says in a book trailer, "God is not behind us dragging us backwards into some primitive, regressive state. God has always been ahead of us pulling us forward, into greater and greater peace, integration, wholeness and love."
In her praise of the book, Winfrey said Bell was "shaking up the way we think about God and religion."
She added, "When I first started reading it, I was highlighting my favorite passages, but then I realized — what's the point? I've marked every page! It just wowed me. In the book, Bell explains that God is and always has been with us, for us, and ahead of us — and then explores how we can really absorb this knowledge into our everyday lives to become more connected to spirit."
Glenn Kreider, professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, concluded in his review of What We Talk About When We Talk About God in May: "Fans of Bell will likely resonate with this book. His critics will likely suspect that there is a great deal he is not saying and will be more skeptical." Suggesting that fans and critics should read the book jointly and discuss what they find to be its strengths and weaknesses, Kreider added, "The book is helpful for people on the fringes of Christianity, but even church and ministry leaders might find their view of God enlarged."
On the other hand, Dr. Michael Kruger, president and professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, wrote that he found Bell's book to be "really just spiritualism with a Christian veneer" and not about the "God of Christianity." Kruger concluded in his May review of What We Talk About When We Talk About God, "It's a book that would fit quite well on Oprah's list of favorite books."
Other Christian figures featured on Oprah Winfrey's OWN programs include "limbless evangelist" Nick Vujicic, Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen, and The Potter's House's Bishop T.D. Jakes.
Correction: Sept. 26, 2013
An article on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, reported that the broadcast date for Oprah Winfrey's interview with Rob Bell on "Super Soul Sunday" was not known. A publicist for OWN's "Super Soul Sunday" informed The Christian Post Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 that the air date for the interview would be Nov. 3, 2013.