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During a special Valentine's Day episode of Super Soul Sunday on OWN, Oprah Winfrey asked her spiritual advisor Rob Bell if he thought churches were close to accepting homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

He answered that “we're moments away from the church accepting it,” and that Christians needed to stop relying on its holy text as a basis for opposing homosexuality:

“I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone.”

Bell and his wife, Kristen, were discussing their book on marriage, The Zimzum of Love, with Winfrey when the exchange took place. The book provides “A new way of understanding marriage” which Bell seemed to imply also included gay couples.

He continued with some of his reasoning on accepting homosexuality:

“Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It's central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.”

Kristen Bell added:

“Marriage, gay and straight, is a gift to the world because the world needs more not less love, fidelity, commitment, devotion and sacrifice.”

Many churches refuse to recognize same-sex marriage, including the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has made clear that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Bell, however, is no stranger to theological controversy. His book Love Wins, which challenged and dismissed evangelical notions of hell, sparked intense criticism from fellow pastors.