Okay, so back when the Bell controversy first hit, I promised to read Love Wins (the book that started it all) and write a review. However, in reading it I realized two important things. First of all, the book is all about Heaven and Hell. Second of all, I don’t have the credibility to speak on the truth of Heaven and Hell. Now, if you want a more comprehensive review than what I’m about to give you (like a theological analysis of the Heaven/Hell debate that is listed in the book), you can probably find something online. The one key to look for is if they claim Bell is an universalist. If they do, run away FAST. Today I will present a few key points that I found in reading said book.
1. Rob Bell is not an Universalist.
Bell’s book presents an idea that all of us end up in the new Heaven/new Earth when we die and that it is the same place. However, our attitude is what makes it Heaven or Hell. This is not an Universalist idea. Universalism is the belief that everyone ends up in Heaven.
2. The book covers a topic which does require discussion.
Whether you agree or disagree with Bell, the idea of Heaven and Hell is one that requires discourse. There are many differing beliefs on the topic and people should really explore all the options. You can probably find works by your favorite theologian on the topic.
3. Rob Bell kills unnecessary amounts of trees.
Now that you know that I think the topic is admirable, you should know that Bell’s book is a waste of space. Obviously this has nothing to do with what’s being written
It’s about how
It is written
With short lines
The 200 page book probably could have been cut down to 150, if not shorter.
4. Christianity is not as easy as Bell makes it sound.
In the second to last chapter, Bell speaks about how many pastors and Christians see Christianity as being so much work and that this is incorrect because God doesn’t want to make us slaves. He compares us to the older son in the story of the prodigal son, saying we don’t need to do as much work as we feel we need to do. I both agree and disagree with him.
First of all, this parable is found in Luke 15. The context is that Jesus is preaching to crowd full of “tax collectors and sinners.” Pharisees are also in attendance, and they marvel at the fact that this supposed God spends His time with sinners. He tells them several parables about the importance of all His followers. This parable is one of them. The meaning is not that discipline is worthless, but that we have blessings in God’s presence. The point is that everyone is welcome if they will humble themselves and bring themselves before God. This is a part of the Christian life.
The Christian life takes discipline. This is referenced many times, and one that comes to mind is Romans 6:20-23:
“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Those are the views on the book that I will put out there on the internet. Hopefully this helps somewhat in your decision to read or not to read the book.