Rob Bell: Christians must not be consumed by fear

Rob Bell, former pastor of Mars Hill church, has criticised those who engage in "pointless" online debates and urged Christians not to be consumed by fear as the threat of terrorism grows.

(Photo by: David Shankbone/Wikimedia)Rob Bell was named in Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world

The controversial author and pastor released a short film on his YouTube channel in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, and spoke about the power of fear to protect or destroy life.

"If you use these extraordinary God-given energies to simply argue with people on Facebook and Twitter then you are wasting your energy and you are not helping anybody," he said.

"If you feed fear it only gets hungrier," he added, referring to furious online debates that raged in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

"You have people saying we will only be safe when that group of people are eliminated from the earth. You have senators saying only when we are willing to kill innocent civilians will be make any progress."

"It goes back and forth," said Bell.

"In the meantime everyone burns an extraordinary amount of energy with no progress whatsoever."

Bell went on to speak about the saving power of fear and its role in evolution, helping us to learn when to be afraid of predators. At one level, Bell said, fear is "a gift."

However, it can also begin to consume you, the Californian pastor warned.

He referred to the appearance of angels in the Bible, and their call to "fear not". The angelic hosts, Bell said, always go on to say that God has something for you to do.

"Especially in times like this when people's pulses are raised, more than ever it requires this calm centred peaceful response; 'this is who I am, this is why I am here, this is the work I am going to do and I am going to fear not,'" he concluded.

Bell is known for pastoring Mars Hill Bible Church, the fastest growing church in America under his leadership and for his bestselling books including 'Love Wins' and 'Velvet Elvis.' He is also renowned for his series of short spiritual forms called NOOMA.

In 2011, Time Magazine named Bell among the top 100 most influential people in the world.