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The Heretic

There is perhaps no figure in American Christianity as polarizing as Rob Bell. Once a pastor of the fastest growing church in America and heralded as the next Billy Graham, that all changed when he began challenging the traditional understanding of hell and suggesting that heaven might be open to all.

The film follows Rob with unprecedented access over several years as he challenges deeply held conservative ideals while grappling with some of the most important questions of our time: Can faith and science coexist, or do belief and progress stand in opposition? Is religion insufficient for explaining the complexity of our modern world, or does it give language to something even greater? And do spiritual traditions simply serve to further divide our world, or can they offer real help and hope for a better tomorrow?

Surprising, inviting and disarmingly beautiful, The HERETIC is a story about the eternal and the here and now. A poetically unorthodox portrait that offers new language for a bigger, more expansive conversation about faith.

From the filmmakers of the international best-seller THE TRUE COST.

'The Heretic is a very bold and needed video. Rob's message is breaking the old, outdated and no longer useful exoskeleton of the church to reform it as an agent of inclusion, love and imagination so desperately sought by all. This is an important message for our time just when we need to expand the concept of what it means to be a beloved human being.' Jonathan (Jon) Rudy, Peacemaker in Residence, Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, Elizabethtown College, Senior Advisor, Human Security, Alliance for Peacebuilding

'The Heretic invites us to grapple with the big and messy questions about the human experience and our values. Most importantly, the film invites us to find the courage, like Rob Bell, to honestly seek truth even when it conflicts with institutions, assumptions, and structures of power. The survival of our humanity depends on more of us finding that courage.' Tim DeChristopher, co-founder of Peaceful Uprising, Founder of Climate Disobedience Center

'There's a growing sentiment in the U.S. that modern-day American Christianity just isn't cutting it...But The Heretic, a new documentary about controversial author and thinker Rob Bell, offers a new image of Christianity and faith...Bell, whose work is saturated in new interpretations of the Bible, provides hope to both those once immersed in the church and those raised with no religion.' Liam Adams, Sojourners

'We all need people whose lives give us permission to entertain our deepest life-wonderings. This film offers a glimpse into a story that could be any of our stories...It's when we face the 'heresy' in our own life-narratives that we find something more hopeful and true. Watch it and believe.' Dr. Steven Argue, Assistant Professor of Youth, Family, and Culture, Applied Research Strategist, Fuller Youth Institute, Fuller Theological Seminary

'Rob Bell is no heretic. He is a prophet sent to evangelicals. He holds every belief up against the reality of a God who is Love, and finds many beliefs wanting. Unfortunately, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. In a time when the moral authority of evangelicalism is collapsing, especially among younger people, Bell might be the best chance for redeeming the evangelical movement. For anyone interested in learning about the man, the movement, or the potential for the future, this is a worthwhile movie.' Kevin Carnahan, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Central Methodist University, Co-Editor, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

'The Heretic offers an important lens into Rob Bell's life and beliefs. For those of us who have enjoyed and learned from Rob's writing, lectures, and preaching, it is a refreshing and well-rounded perspective on where he has been and where he is going in his public ministry.' Scott Paeth, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, DePaul University, Author, The Niebuhr Brothers for Armchair Theologians

'An excellent introduction to progressive evangelical Rob Bell, who takes biblical interpretation to the limits of philosophical humanism.' Chad Seales, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

'Insightful...fascinating...In many ways, we're part of these conversations, listening to Bell's take on Jesus and the spiritual journey, and what a life of faith really means. It's as if Rob is speaking to us all, as friends and companions on this journey...An excellent documentary.' James Prescott, Premier Christianity

'By returning to the roots of scriptural tradition, Rev. Bell subverts the assumptions of a marriage between Christianity and Empire, and insiders versus outsiders. This film is suited for a number of audiences: Evangelicals, for Bible studies, and in settings where folk are open to wrestling with the big questions of existence.' Rev. Charles Morris, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Madonna University


Main credits

Bell, Rob (on-screen participant)
Morgan, Andrew (film director)
Ross, Michael (film producer)
Ross, Michael (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Original music, Duncan Blickenstaff; camera operators, Lane Kuhns [and 3 others]; editor, Michael Ross; photographer, Emily Morgan.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Guidance and Counseling
Mass Communications
Mental Health
Popular Culture
Social Psychology


Rob Bell, Michigan megachurch, writer, speaker, message of love and inclusion, search for what it means to be human, Mars Hill Bible Church, polarizing figure, American Christianity, challenging traditional understanding of hell, heaven open to all, challenging conservative ideals, faith and science, belief and progress, spiritual traditions, dividing our world, conversation about faith, evangelicals, religion, Christianity, faith, spirituality, Christian ethics, Elizabeth Gilbert, Pete Holmes, Andrew Morgan; "The Heretic"; Bullfrog Films