There was so much negativity around this book, that I was contacted by about 7 people directly because my championing of Rob Bell's works is widely known, but even I was having second thoughts while waiting for Love Wins to arrive. Finally I just bought the audiobook rather than wait and was so relieved to hear that once again Rob was reading his own book. I listened intently and kept waiting for Rob to finally say something controversial. Um, ok, maybe I'll need to listen to it again, because it just never came. Indeed, CS Lewis in The Great Divorce _really_ goes into Universalism, while Rob Bell merely asks us to take heaven and hell out of our boxes and rethink them. Point blank - Rob Bell is _not_ a Universalist. He's just making public issues that have fallen out of public discussion, not because they've been settled, but because Catholicism has so set the tone with their global dominion, that they erased all alternatives. And now, we are regaining some more freedom of thought and discussion. Something that I feel is the best way to summarize Rob Bell's works - they free us - to think. Imagine that!! And _that_ is precisely why so many have hated yes _hated_ his work for so long - it breaks the chains of institutionalized religion from people so they can run to their Father. Please continue Rob, because love _always_ wins.
Rob Bell does what the apostle Paul did in the epistles - explained what Jesus did and what it meant for their time. (Plus, if you know the epistles, so many of Bell's sentences have an uncanny resemblance to verses that he's almost quoting them, but in a way that they feel fresh and shocking, the way Paul's words must have sounded to his listeners.) I had to listen to it twice back to back, just for the joy of it. It's a beautiful revisioning, stripping away the cultural overlay of centuries, stuff we've added to the faith that isn't essential. In fact, I think I should listen to it again. And you definitely should too.
Once you begin listening, it's easy to understand why Rob Bell founded a church that now has 10,000 members. Few authors do even a workman-like job of reading their own work. Bell does a great job. You feel as if he is sincerely talking to you personally, which is a good thing because he is talking about God, Jesus, Heaven and Hell, names and places so misused by TV preachers as to rob Christian theology of any authenticity. Bell offers understanding where many others only offer overwrought opinions.
It is possible that this book may even help convert a some churchgoers to Christianity.
I thought this book was a work of art. It's gorgeous.
Sure, I have some questions, and I'm going to dig in and find answers. We all need to. It's really worth it. Our perspective on this effects our perspective and worth that we assign to every man, woman and child that we pass on the street.
It's an awesome thing.
There's nothing to be afraid of or offended by in this book- absolutely nothing.
Sure, I'd love to hear your story....
This feels a bit like taking a theology class, watching a great play, and talking to your best friend. This is one of the most interesting explorations of Christianity, inviting us to expand our view of God and Jesus. This is going to cause controversy and will be considered radical. But more than that it will make us reconsider what we believe and why.
This is a book that purports to use a Christian worldview to tell of God's amazing love for all mankind. When you dig beneath the surface, it is simply a universalist manifesto that makes Christ's death on the cross meaningless. Read Kevin Deyoung's review online for a full critical analysis.
It has been said that true inteligence is being able to understand a position without accepting it. In that spirit I've read this book several times and listened to it several more.
Verdict: I am deeply disapointed that such a great writer and thinker has gone off in this direction. It's compelling and gets plenty of conversations going, but at the end of the day it's just herecy in it's pure form. There is no continuity in the idea that "God gets what God wants" in the end! Biblically, this proposition is contradicted in Revelation 20:11as Satan and his demons are cast into outer darkness in judgment, along with death and Hades.
Very well read and written.
Sadly, it is heretical doctrine that will lead many to confusion and ultimate ruin. That's a sad thing.
Rob Bell delivers a thoughtful and provoking message to both Christians and unbelievers. Each chapter develops ideas so creatively and effectively. However if an unbeliever were to read this book would he come to the conclusion that he is a person who has violated God's character and is in desperate need for a redeemer??? God's love can only reach down to an evil heart because of the death and ressurection of Jesus. My concern is that this book preaches a gospel that God accepts humanity because he is too nice to condemn people, rather than preaching The Gospel that every man must cry out to Jesus who has made the way possible. The cross is the path to God and the path to salvation . . .You cannot get to God by trusting in the fact that he is too good to send people to hell. You cannot get to God by trusting that "love" will give you a free pass . . . Yes God sent Jesus because of his love, but we must be drawn to Jesus at the cross. Does this book draw people to the cross . . .
Don't know what all the fuss is about, this book is amazing. If it does nothing more than help you think about what we believe then it has done its job. I think that people need to read this book and then leave it alone for a while, let it settle, test it. Nothing new in it, but there are many things that need to be said that have not been said for a very long time.
Rob Bell puts into words what nearly every Christian has thought, but has been too afraid to vocalize. The question of hell has for too long been a dark cloud haunting the minds and emotions of believers. With this book, Rob is able to faithfully tackle the issue head-on, with genuine compassion and unflinching courage. Truly revolutionary and much needed.