BOOK REVIEW: Love Wins

In reality, what I have to say about this book is not really that important. Over the past month, I have seen many who believe their opinion is incredibly important, so much so that they have essentially played God by judging a man & a book they disagree with. This is NOT what I want to do.

I am not God. I am not the judge.

I am human. I am imperfect.

Rather than give you a discourse I have simply decided to tackle 6 popular assumptions the book has generated & take a TRUE/FALSE approach. I have been asked for my opinion & thoughts by many so I felt a responsibility to write this post. This is my perspective & I am willing to recognize it is only a perspective.

I pray my thoughts will enhance your discussion.

TRUE – Rob questions traditional views of Heaven & Hell. Many of us have likely pondered the reality of streets of gold in Heaven or the melting flesh & fire in Hell. Rob tackles these views by examining their context in Scripture.

FALSE – Rob Bell is a Universalist. A true universalist believes that what we do in this life does not matter & that everyone ultimately ends up in Heaven. This is NOT Bell’s view.

TRUE – Rob believes people get a second chance in eternity to accept God’s love. Bell gives us enough Scriptural evidence to have a discussion over the possibility that God’s grace could extend in the afterlife.

FALSE – Rob doesn’t believe in Hell. This is absolutely, unequivocally not true. Bell clearly believes in Hell which to him is a place where we are broken & separated from God.

TRUE – Rob believes Heaven & Hell start now on this earth. This is Bell’s biggest point during the entire book. Rather than looking at eternity as an evacuation point he challenges us to realize the power of our choices now.

FALSE – Rob is an unorthodox, heretic. To say this about Bell would force many to say the same about Billy Graham & C.S. Lewis who, among others, questioned many of the same eternal issues Rob wrestles with in this book.

My challenge to you, if you have any interest in this book, is to read it for yourself instead of basing your opinion on the words of others. Let the book challenge you & then, as one of my friends says, “eat the chicken & throw out the bones.” I have yet to read one human literally work  I have agreed with 100% & Love Wins is no different. What I am certain of is that I am not the judge of who gets in & who doesn’t & neither are you. If Bell’s book brings many of us back to the idea that God is God & we are not, I am more than okay with that.

As always, I welcome your thoughts so feel free to leave a comment.

CV

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9 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Love Wins

  1. Ron Krumpos says:

    Which Afterlife?

    In his new book “Love Wins” Rob Bell seems to say that loving and compassionate people, regardless of their faith, will not be condemned to eternal hell just because they do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

    Concepts of an afterlife vary between religions and among divisions of each faith. Here are three quotes from “the greatest achievement in life,” my ebook on comparative mysticism:

    (46) Few people have been so good that they have earned eternal paradise; fewer want to go to a place where they must receive punishments for their sins. Those who do believe in resurrection of their body hope that it will be not be in its final form. Few people really want to continue to be born again and live more human lives; fewer want to be reborn in a non-human form. If you are not quite certain you want to seek divine union, consider the alternatives.

    (59) Mysticism is the great quest for the ultimate ground of existence, the absolute nature of being itself. True mystics transcend apparent manifestations of the theatrical production called “this life.” Theirs is not simply a search for meaning, but discovery of what is, i.e. the Real underlying the seeming realities. Their objective is not heaven, gardens, paradise, or other celestial places. It is not being where the divine lives, but to be what the divine essence is here and now.

    (80) [referring to many non-mystics] Depending on their religious convictions, or personal beliefs, they may be born again to seek elusive perfection, go to a purgatory to work out their sins or, perhaps, pass on into oblivion. Lives are different; why not afterlives? Beliefs might become true.

    Rob Bell asks us to reexamine the Christian Gospel. People of all faiths should look beyond the letter of their sacred scriptures to their spiritual message. As one of my mentors wrote “In God we all meet.”

  2. Ron, I have no issue letting you plug your book but I believe it is important to note that Bell clearly believes Salvation, & eternity w/God, will only come for those who accept the grace offered through Jesus Christ. He does believe those who don’t make that decision here on earth will have a second chance in eternity to do so.

  3. Ron Krumpos says:

    My initial comment was primarily about alternate views of an afterlife. Rob Bell has never claimed to be a mystic, but is open to contemplative prayer and meditation. While not a Universalist, he does respect people of other religions.

    Even within Christianity there are differing views of afterlife between Protestants, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Mormons, etc. In any discussion between people, there will be varying personal opinions and interpretations of scriptures. Most mystics, of any faith, would agree with Jesus: “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.” If you want to find Hell just read, watch or listen to the daily news or study the unkind history of humankind.

  4. Respecting people of other faiths, & understanding there are differing views within the same faith, are two things we can certainly agree on. I appreciate your perspective Ron.

  5. Knox McCoy says:

    Fantastic and objective review. Thanks for posting this.

  6. Thanks Knox. I appreciate your feedback.

    CV

  7. educlaytion says:

    I have heard the controversy but haven’t read the book. I’m pretty distant from this one so far but appreciate the fact that you point out the simple starting point. Go to the source before making judgments. Maybe you will disagree with Bell but don’t say so until you have personally read the guy for yourself.

  8. Derek Andrews says:

    Rev. Chris,
    How you can read Rob Bell’s book and not see the error in a number of places is beyond me. I’m wondering where you went to Bible school or seminary. Do you not understand the implications of you and other people embracing the concepts he sets forth? It is no small wonder that the Church is so weak in the U.S.. I encourage you to read the Bible, rather than philosophical books about the Bible and Christianity.You’ll find that you or Rob Bell cannot be kinder than God. Note how in Luke 3:7, Matt 23:33, and Matt 13:42, Jesus calls individuals hindering the Gospel; “a brood of vipers” who he says, will suffer the condemnation of a place called “hell”. He says of hell, that it is like a furnace of fire(hot) and there is “gnashing of teeth”, there(pain). Jesus is not being very nice here, but sin is not very nice either. Ask God to lead you to a ministry where you can in humility, get grounded in the truth.
    Derek Andrews

  9. Appreciate your perspective Derek. I believe it is through questioning we find truth & I see nothing wrong with the questions Bell asks in his book nor are they new questions. Personally, it’s not enough for me to base my entire theology on but I believe he presents enough to have a conversation about. I have never been, nor will I ever be, a person who shuts something down simply because it differs from my perspective. I think different perspectives have value & challenge us to examine our views sometimes for the better.

    CV

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