Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Review of Nooma Videos

The NOOMA videos have been a great success for the last several years. They are created by Rob Bell, pastor of a fast growing megachurch in Michigan. Rob is a leader in the emergent church movement, and for this, has not been without criticism. His videos are very well done, short productions that are widely popular among youth groups and young adults across the country.

This review by Greg Gilbert is an great in depth look at these videos. Are they harmless? Do they point people to Truth? Read to find out.

Here is Greg's conclusion:
I realize that Rob Bell is trying to communicate with people who have never given the time of day to spiritual things. He’s trying to present Jesus to them in a way that will be accessible to them. I think that’s a noble goal, and I don’t think it’s a futile one. But I also think that the way Bell has gone about it—with particular reference to these NOOMA videos—is something far smaller than and far short of biblical Christianity.

Having watched so many of these videos, it strikes me just now how seldom Bell uses the traditional Christian language to name Jesus. He doesn’t call him Savior, or Redeemer, or Son of God, and only very occasionally does he call him Lord. Instead, he very much seems to prefer calling Jesus "teacher" or "rabbi." I’m sure part of that is that he wants to be fresh and edgy. But I think it also points to just how far these videos lower the meaning of Christianity.

The fact is, the NOOMA videos retell the story of Jesus in a pretty radical way. Though Jesus is certainly respected and honored, the point of the story no longer involves the divine Christ who died on the cross as a substitute for his people, rose from the dead, and is now enthroned in heaven, but rather Jesus the Nazarene who teaches people how to live and how to find God. Jesus shows the way, rather than being the Way. He is respected, honored, and heeded, rather than worshipped. He is "Rabbi," rather than "Savior." This is, as Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace described it recently, the replacement of "Christianity" with "Jesusanity."

Bell would never use this word, but I believe what he’s presented in NOOMA is really just another religion that’s not so much different from any other religion in the world. For the gospel of NOOMA isn’t finally about the Son of God who lovingly dies in his people’s place to redeem them from sin and save them from God’s righteous judgment. It’s about the really great teacher who says, "Change your life. Live this way."

(HT:Justin Taylor)


  1. I've never heard the term "Jesusanity" before. It's a useful juxtaposition to "Christianity." I like it.

    Thanks for the post. I have no real opinion on Rob Bell, but I can agree with the commentator's thoughts about what we should be emphasizing regarding Jesus.

  2. I haven't seen many Nooma videos, but have read Velvet Elvis..and as we talked about, some was good, but for the most part his view of Jesus and man and how we relate to God is just off. But I think it's indicative of a lot of wrong thinking that's accepted in Christianity today. Did Jesus come to be our example? or our Savior? Did he come to show us how to modify our behavior? or indwell us and completely transform us?