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    Shane Hipps Accepts Teaching Pastor Job at Mars Hill (Michigan)

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    Shane Hipps Accepts Teaching Pastor Job at Mars Hill (Michigan)

    I saw a small announcement on the Mars Hill website, but saw nothing on Shane's current church website.  The discernment ministries websites are all abuzz over this move; but it seems that no one else either 1.  cares; 2.  knows about it; or 3. cares.

    I don't know much about Shane.  I've read most of his recent book "Flickering Pixels" and, for the most part, enjoyed it.  Shane (and Rob, for that matter) were both speakers at Catalyst this year... but I didn't get to hear either of them speak.

    Here's my guess... Reasons #1 and #3 above are accurate.  I don't know of many that really follow much of what Rob Bell is doing these days.  Most think he's a brilliant teacher, but are a little uncomfortable with some of his recent teaching.  Plus, Bell kind of separates himself from many of the other church leaders.  While many are open and very public figures, Bell has chosen to become more secluded.  He keeps to himself and does his own thing.

    What do you think?  Is the addition of Shane Hipps to the position of Mars Hill teaching pastor a big thing?  Does it have any ramifications for the church at large?  Or do you simply not care one way or another?

    Just wondering...



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    1. Noah Kaye on Mon, October 19, 2009

      As a Pastor of a Mennonite Church in the DC area and a guy that has many of the same passions as Shane, this is exciting news!  I hop that this moves allows some of the great values of the Mennonite Church to enter the larger church dialogue.  Good stuff.

    2. Michael Carr on Mon, October 19, 2009

      Your three choice comment to get the conversation going was interesting.  I am sure people care who do not post on the internet. Probably the whole congregation he will be serving cares very much about his taking the position.

    3. Jay Kelly on Mon, October 19, 2009

      That’s good news for Mars Hill. Shane is an amazing thinker and communicator.

    4. jimmy on Mon, October 19, 2009

      I’ve heard Shane speak via podcast and he’s a good match for Mars Hill IMO.  I wonder what this means for Rob Bell.  He’s talked often about turning down a huge percentage of speaking invites, I wonder if he’s going to focus more on writing or getting out there and speaking more?

    5. John on Mon, October 19, 2009

      heard shane at catalyst this year…did not garner much from his message…seemed like he was going for the wow factor and missed it, interestingly enough, he was followed by rob bell, who i thoroughly enjoyed.  he was vulnerable and authentic and had a great word for the leaders in attendance.

    6. Anonymous on Mon, October 19, 2009

      I wasn’t at Cat09 but my lead Pastor was. He told me Shane was “the only heretic” he heard at the conference - the whole “the message must change” thing didn’t sit well (contrast to what Swindoll said at the same conference). I checked out Hipps’ blog for myself and saw where the concern came from. As two people who have defended Rob Bell against a lot of what we thought was undue criticism, this opens up a whole new can of stink.

    7. Matt @ The Church of No People on Mon, October 19, 2009

      Sounds like a matched set.  I was all geared up for Rob Bell to give the most controversial talk at Catalyst, but everyone seemed to agree that honor went to Shane.  Rob stayed on pretty level ground.  Won’t really affect the church at large, except that it has the potential to make Mars Hill the subject of more debate as they have 2 controversial pastors now.

    8. jimmy on Mon, October 19, 2009

      It’s stunning to me how easily people throw around the word “heretic”.  At least qualify it with an explanation so that we can have an intelligent discussion about why you think he’s a heretic.  Anon just did a “heretic-and-run”.

    9. David on Mon, October 19, 2009

      Read it again. That was no heretic-and-rrun. I was there and what anon said was accurate. When one says that the Gospel must change (or grow,as he also put it) to fit the cultural shifts, that, my friend, is heresy. As Swindoll rightly said, in contrast to Hipps, the Gospel message must NEVER change. Painful that people swallow and digest rotten spiritual food without missing a beat. Several thousands at Catalyst apparently did. THAT’S what’s stunning.

    10. Bo on Mon, October 19, 2009


      Dude. What’s the Gospel? Are we talking Martin Luther or John Calvin’s Gospel? Augustine’s Gospel? Origen’s Gospel? The Roman Catholic Gospel? Is the Gospel that the Kingdom is here and we’re all invited (like Jesus proclaimed) or that somehow Jesus’ death allows God to forgive us so we can go to heaven? Is the Gospel the Resurrection? All of the above? The definition of THE gospel has changed significantly over the last 2,000 years, and to call people heretics who want to return to a more ancient understanding of the good news is a little out of touch with reality. Whatever you think the Gospel is, I’m guessing it’s a more Reformed version which is a very modern way to interpret Paul. Most Christians never thought that way. Think about it. Who are you to say you have the exact right interpretation of the Gospel and everyone else is a heretic? Don’t forget things like penal substitution didn’t exist as theory until the second millennium.

    11. wes on Mon, October 19, 2009


      I’m confused. I mean, I’m trying to interpret your post, but I know that would just be my interpretation.

      Please clarify.

    12. jimmy on Mon, October 19, 2009

      Thanks David, I read it again.  In the three sentences that Anon posted there wasn’t a description of what was heretical.  You fleshed it out a little more so I think I know what you’re upset about but I’m still not fully sure why this pastor has been called a heretic.  Does anyone know if there is a way to hear the Catalyst talk?
      As far as changing the message, Jesus sometimes talked in parables, sometimes spoke directly, Paul spoke about the Greek philosophers at… wait for it… Mars Hill, so the way that the message has been delivered has been in a constant state of change.
      If you told me that Shane got up there and said, “Jesus is no longer the only way” then I’d be with you on the whole heretic thing.

    13. michaeldanner on Tue, October 20, 2009

      I’m also a part of Mennonite Church USA, Shane’s current denomination.  I’ve always liked Shane, but his message at the MC USA youth convention in Columbus and his talks at the Mars Hill poets conference had me scratching my head.  His message in Columbus dealt with the Greek and Hebrew words for breath/spirit.  We know the linguistic connections, but he said that our physical breath and the Holy Spirit are the same thing.  I freely admit there is a bit of mystery in the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but to equate the Holy Spirit with physical breath seems inconsistent with what the NT teaches.  I listen to Rob’s teaching regularly.  I appreciate his teaching and feel that, at times, he is unfairly criticized.  I’m not sure what hiring Hipps as a teaching pastor will mean for Mars Hill, but if it means more Shane and less Rob I suspect it will be a move in the wrong direction.

    14. Chris Rosebrough on Wed, October 21, 2009


      Here is a link to a sermon preached by Shane Hipps that should make your jaw hit the ground.  Hipps teaches all religions are valid.

    15. CS on Thu, October 22, 2009

      Chris Rosebrough:

      Thanks for bringing that clip up.  I was just about to link it here when I saw it on your site.  Too crazy.  The word, “heretic,” would be appropriate here.


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