Love Wins (Rob Bell) – Review, Commentary, and Further Study.

14 Responses

  1. Margaret says:

    Thank you for writing this and for all the great references for further reading!

  2. steve & Tirzah Gibboney says:

    Thanks for this! I haven’t read the book yet (it can be difficult to find new books over here), but I’ve been really interested in this topic for a while. Your review came across as very balanced and insightful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Evan says:

    I really appreciated the breakdown. I really liked the book, and I believe that much of it is repackaging N.T. Wright’s “Surprised By Hope.” I will be blogging about the book this week, and I will be referencing your post for people to read. Thanks!

  4. Ron Krumpos says:

    In his new book “Love Wins” Rob Bell says he believes that loving and compassionate people, regardless of their faith, will not be condemned to an 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 rethink the Christian Gospel. People of of all faiths should look beyond the letters of their sacred scriptures to their spiritual message. As one of my mentors wrote “In God we all meet.”

  5. Arthur says:

    Hi there

    I stopped by after your link. The current evangelical discussion about universalism probably revolves around the book The Evangelical Universalist. The author’s blog is here and there’s a forum here.


  6. Chris says:

    I’d actually say that Love Wins is somewhat of a Rorschach Test: If you can’t stand Bell, or have always questioned what he had to say, you will read the book through that lens and find what you’re looking for. If you’ve been on the fence about him, you’ll still be there. If you’ve read him charitably in the past and found that, even when you disagree, he is still within the stream of orthodox Christianity, you will still find that he’s there. One of his stated purposes in the book is to get folks to study what is actually in Scripture, and to ask the tough questions – and accept fuzzy answers and to be charitable to others who do, as well. For example, here is an examination of what the Scriptures actually say about hell, and it is possible to take them seriously, yet come up with a different answer than eternal, conscious torture.

    • Warren Street says:

      Is all this discussion about Rob’s book just skirting around the real topic that needs to be dealt with ie that the concept of a place of eternal torment/punishment ( hell ) is unbiblical. I have just been to your link discussing biblical references to “hell” and found it the same as a discussion on Rob Bell’s facebook by Bruce Metsinger. My own personal study as a layman came to the same conclusion. This is what we need to be considering. If hell is an unreality then the topic of universalism is irrelevant. The evidence for this seems very clear. I know this would be considered even more “heretical” than the current discussion but at least it could be resovled and a new direction for christian thought set. Imagine in our lifetime the Protestant Christian Church renouncing the teaching of hell! Imagine if fear was taken out of the christain equation! Then we could really talk about love winning!

  7. Noel says:

    Well, said Chris! We read what we want to read. Great link on the word-study of hell in NT. It is interesting to note that no one or very few in this debate speak of an overall study of the development of the concept of heaven/hell/afterlife in the bible (from OT to NT). Doing that will give a fuller picture.

    Bell’s popularity has sparked a “seeming” controversy. “Seeming” because the debate has been raging on since time immemorial but in the past few decades had been reduced to theology classes.

    What’s forgotten is the midst of the debate is that belief in heaven and hell are secondary. The real issue here is the fact that doctrine is about revelation i.e. in the light of this or that interpretation of our doctrine, what kind of God is revealed? And is that God consistent to the witness of the person of Jesus?

    I hope that in the end, we can hold on to the conviction that God–behind all these ideas flying left right and centre–is truly and deeply Love!

    Some interesting reading on the subject though:
    Nikolai Berdyave “The Destiny of Man”
    Walter Imbiorski as quoted by Dick Westly on “Redemptive Intimacy”–traces what shaped Calvinism and certain perspectives of the atonement especially moving from Middle Ages concept of Atonement as at-one-ment (i.e. being one, union) to an exclusive juridical view
    Robert Jewett “Jesus against the Rapture”
    George Maloney “The Everlasting Now”
    John Sachs “Universal Salvation and the Problem of Hell” cf. Theological Studies, 52 (1991)

  8. Amp says:

    Theologian Michael Wittmer has written a book responding to Bell. It’s called “Christ Alone”. I am currently reading “Love Wins”, and it will be very interesting to read Wittmer’s take.

  9. Bryan says:

    “God’s punishments are always redemptive in nature.”

    Good point, but to whom is this redemption applied? Were the Chaldeans redeemed? Goliath? The prophets of Baal? Judah? I can see the recipients of punishment being redeemed, but I don’t see the agents of punishment being redeemed. Instead, I see Proverbs 16:4 and Romans 9:22 in action.

    Maybe Bell answers this- I haven’t absorbed quite everything yet. 🙂

  10. Sean says:

    Here’s another site that reviews Rob Bell’s Book, Love Wins.

  11. Dave Smith says:

    Rob Bell’s books are good, but a little weak on theology for backing up his points. Here is a book that does a much better job. And it will change your life:—logical-S-James/dp/0615783201/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365466725&sr=8-1&keywords=theillogical

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