Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church
(Detroit Free Press) -- Rob Bell, the evangelical author and former pastor of one of Michigan's biggest churches, has set off an intense debate this week among Christians after he came out in support of gay marriage.
Speaking at an Episcopal church in San Francisco, Bell said: "I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed ... this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are."
Bell, who founded and was pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, left the Michigan church in 2011, moving to California to work on a TV series and write more books. He was one of Michigan's most well-known religious leaders.
Bell spoke of his support of gay marriage on Sunday at Grace Cathedral, which is the cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of California.
Since he comes from a conservative evangelical culture, Bell's support of gay marriage has caused a buzz, with some supporting his move while others seeing it as a further betrayal of his Christian beliefs. Bell has caused controversy in the past for his liberal views; his 2011 book on hell suggested that non-Christians like Gandhi might not be in hell, a stance that upset some conservative evangelicals.
He has a new book out this month titled: "What we talk about when we talk about God."
In his remarks, Bell talked about his upbringing in Michigan and also criticized some evangelicals, saying "we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn't work. I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, evangelical subculture that was told 'we're gonna change the thing' and they haven't. And they actually have turned away lots of people."
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