Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Important Review of Love Wins

Last week, I downloaded Love Wins to my Kindle. My husband and I started reading it together, a chapter here, a chapter there.

This book isn't even up for discussion in my seminary—it appears people assume Rob Bell is a heretic, so they simply don't want to read the book at all, or to enter into a discussion about it. "Rob Bell doesn't believe in Scripture." The end. And this, I fear, leads to an unhelpful climate, where we as Christians pretend we and others around us aren't asking questions about salvation, the questions about who is "in" and who is "out." Because people are asking these questions, for sure. The question is, will we be prepared to answer them?

I haven't finished the book myself yet, so reviewing it would be pointless. But I have gleaned some important insight into Love Wins from New Testament scholar, Scot McKnight. Scot considers himself an Anabaptist and knows the intricacies of the Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures as well as the Greek language, so he has incisive insights into Rob Bell's claims. Where they make sense biblically, and where his reasoning and approach fall short of the Bible's claims on the subjects of heaven and hell.

In the end, my hope is that Love Wins will drive us back to the Bible, where we discover a God who is both just and merciful. And a world that desperately needs us to embody the whole gospel—the love of Christ through our actions and through presenting the gospel, so that each person who chooses to can be saved through Christ.

Here is Scot's 6-part review:
Love Wins 1 - orthodox?
Love Wins 2 - hell
Love Wins 3 - questions
Love Wins 4 - where is heaven?
Love Wins 5 - hell
Love Wins 6 - universalism or libertarian free will?

Have you read Love Wins? Why do you believe the book has provoked so much controversy? What does a Christlike response to the book look like?


  1. I've heard mixed messages about those who have read the book. I have been told if you are a very strong believer, then read it tongue in cheek. If you are wishy-washy about any doctrine, then you are going to be even more confused by reading the book. I am very curious in reading the book and the book isn't up for discussion at my seminary either. I am very curious about your thoughts in reading the book.

  2. Yes, well, we finished the book. I may have to do a whole post on it later. I'm glad Rob Bell is raising these questions, because frankly, we are all thinking about them at times. Unfortunately, though, I don't think Rob can come to his conclusions without twisting some of the truth of Scripture. He quotes a lot of Scripture...and he seems to redefine the central issue not as "we have sinned, the world is broken, and we need to be reconciled to God" but "where will we all be when we die?" Very challenging material with lots of questions raised. If you do read it, I'd encourage you to follow the review I posted from Scot McKnight.

  3. I wouldn't say Rob Bell doesn't believe in scripture, he just twists it to his own end, and uses poor scholarship when saying Martin Luther even taught the same concept.
    If this universalism was as scriptural as he is teaching we would have discovered this teaching long ago. The fact is hell makes God just. If everyone goes to heaven, then God is unjust. Hell quarantines sinners stopping their sin from spreading further, and at the same time it is Gods way of respecting peoples right to choose by not A. Forcing them into heaven against the choice they made on earth, and B. By not annihilating His creation.