Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God's love and God's judgment: Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell? Is this acceptable to God? How is this "good news"?
Troubling questions, so troubling that many have lost their faith because of them. Others only whisper the questions to themselves, fearing or being taught that they might lose their faith and their church if they ask them out loud.
But what if these questions trouble us for good reason? What if the story of heaven and hell we have been taught is not, in fact, what the Bible teaches? What if what Jesus meant by heaven, hell, and salvation are very different from how we have come to understand them?
What if it is God who wants us to face these questions?
Author, pastor, and innovative teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the "good news" is much, much better than we ever imagined. Love wins.
©2011 Robert H. Bell, Jr. Trust (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
Ballsy, Humble, and Hopeful.
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
To my knowledge i have listened to all of his other books. This one, he is still the same old Rob... very approachable, humble and of course he has fun talking about this one... however he seems less goofy that in "Jesus wants to save Christians".
No laughing of crying... just a lot of questions and some pretty awesome conversations.
music adict...i'm in a program.
This book was hopeful, grace-filled, and in line with Biblical theology. It dives deep into what the Bible actually says about Heaven, Hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived, and doesn't just rehash church doctrine, classic theology, or scholars' opinions on the subject. It adds a much needed perspective these days to Jesus' story that isn't mainstreamed from the mega-church stadiums, and for that, I say, "Thank you, Rob Bell."
I am grateful that someone of Rob Bell's stature, for those of us who appreciated his work until this book came out, has broached this subject from within the evangelical camp.
This book asks the questions that so many of us have been silently wondering about for a long time. Or bailed on church as we know it because the answers were just so much stonewalling.
Hell ... really? Or is it a "spin" that serves evangelists and pastors that want more forceful leverage on the behaviour of their flocks or communities? (Sometimes understandably, where human selfishness and hate drive people to others' harm.)
Problem is, fear is a crummy foundation for faith. The antithesis, actually. And the friends I have who embraced faith, or at least church culture, out of fear of Hell or some cartoon end-times anti-Christ, have largely dropped out of both.
Bottom line: Very few Bible-believing Christians actually believe in Hell. Not really. If they did, they'd be up sweating at night and weeping in the streets.
Would deflating the hyperbole of Hell mean that patently evil people get off Scott-free? I doubt it. We will all be held to account, and Paul suggested that those outside the faith will have "blows" meted out to them to a lesser degree than those who should know better, such as the local "saved" church pedophile.
I respect that Bell does not shove definitive answers at us (as his orthodox opponents do.) Though we who were weaned on yes/no doctrine might wish he would -- I think he's smart to leave the codifying to sterner academics. This is a pretty short book, and undoing such a daunting shibboleth will be a huge undertaking.
For now, this will do.
And at least the silenced majority in the Church, and the numerical majority now outside the camp, can see that their quiet musings on the subject are registering. Somewhere.
I love the message of this book: that God loves me (and you) no matter what! That Jesus came that we can live more abundantly in this life, it's not about the next. I felt, at times, that Rob was talking too fast, but then, I can always listen to it over and over. Thanks, Rob, for speaking your truth.
not sure. haven't seen the printed version.
mainly how the prominent theme of God's loving character being highlighted through scripture
the story of the 2 brothers
here and now
Rob reads his book in the warm, engaging and energetic style that is characteristic of his sermons. He draws in the listener and gives you the sense that he's sitting down to chat with you in a homey, informal setting. This is good, because the things he's asking Christians to wrestle with are serious, meaty business.
When Rob tells the story of the Prodigal Son and then analyzes it from the perspectives of the three characters: the wicked son who thinks that his badness keeps him from the father's love, the self-righteous son who thinks that his goodness should have earned him favored status, and the father who loves both of them unconditionally. Rob shows how the issue here is the conflicting stories each character has about themselves and each other, and how the sons' only route to abundant life is to believe the story their father is telling about them. It's an electrifying and emotional moment that, I hope, will bring comfort and encouragement to many.
Not applicable, since this is a nonfiction text and Rob is narrating it only as himself.
There were many such parts. One was the story of the prodigal son, as described above. Another was when Rob was talking about judgment: people often say that they don't believe in a God of judgment, when the truth is that we crave it -- we long for someone to reach down, to stop the evil surrounding us, to bring justice and set right the harm that has been done. We look at the suffering and misdeeds all around us and cry out in our hearts,
This is a much-needed resurfacing of doctrinal ideas that go back to the earliest days of the church, but have largely been lost in mainstream Christianity -- especially in the evangelical churches of the United States, with their
I love the way he thinks, people judge him by saying he is set in stone on his beliefs, nothing is an absolute here, he is just asking questions, and for the record, this isn't anything new, The jews believe the same about the after life, and hell, have you ever asked a Jew if they believe in heaven or hell? they will give you an anwer you never expected
I love this book....everyone should read it
This book challenges the heart of what we have been taught as Christians. Whether one agrees with Rob Bell's theology or not, there are valuable truths in what he writes that are applicable to all.
In short, I think that this idea found in Rob Bell's book and many others frees us to love all people just where they are, and it also frees us to trust God in His process of redemption.
Needs a point. It reads like a long poem of questions with no conclusion. It's just suggestions of conclusions. Perhaps I missed the point somewhere in the listening, but I like a thesis to go along with what I am reading/listening to. The thesis doesn't have to be correct. He can, even in the midst of writing, come to a different conclusion. But there needs to be some sort of line of thinking, otherwise it's just a really interesting list of questions and biblical facts.
At the very least he could have said he doesn't know what he believes finally on the issue, but he has a series of questions and supporting Biblical excerpts to begin a discussion.
Yes. I've read/listened to other books of his that were compelling.
Yes. He tends to read all his own, so I wouldn't have much choice if I wanted to listen to another of his books. I'd have to say it does get a little annoying. He talks with what I can only describe as a feminine sounding sort of passion. It grinds sometimes like a kid whining about why he or she can't jump off the roof of the house. Makes me feel unsure he's sure.
I like to feel a certain amount or more of conviction when I hear something of God, and I didn't get that with this so much. However, I've always been curious about the actual definition of hell, so it has added somewhat to that internal discussion.
More a comment on the author himself as he presents his story and from what I've read heard. I don't care much if he decides to leave his church to do a speaking tour or whatever he's doing. I think it's sort of infantile for other pastors, like Rick Warren, to judge him for this decision. What I do care about, and worry about is the need to add unnecessary shock value.
The questions he's asking about are already mind bending enough, but then he feels the need to say he went to an Eminem concert. I don't care if he did or not. What worries me is that by saying this simple thing he is inviting controversy. The problem with this is people will engage. Then it will be more about his practices, and his positions. These are not even really related to what he might actually be wanting to get across...whatever that actually is.
This is very thought provoking book. I am not sure everything he says is right, but I don't think any preacher or teacher or denomination has every gotten it all right either. It does refocus us on Jesus. Too often we do things a certain way because it is the way we have always seen them done, without any regard to what Jesus actually said. Often we let tradition get in the way of the truth. Bell strips a lot of that away. Jesus is the one who counts. Everything else is just fluff and window dressing.
Bell is a great author but is not a professional narrator. It shows.
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