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Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

Ditulis oleh Rob Bell

Diceritakan oleh Rob Bell


Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

Ditulis oleh Rob Bell

Diceritakan oleh Rob Bell

peringkat:
4.5/5 (126 peringkat)
Panjangnya:
3 hours
Penerbit:
Dirilis:
Mar 15, 2011
ISBN:
9780062080936
Format:
Buku Audio

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Deskripsi

In Love Wins, bestselling author, international teacher, and speaker Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, Drops Like Stars) addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—hell and the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever?

Rob Bell is an electrifying, unconventional pastor whom Time magazine calls “a singular rock star in the church world,” with millions viewing his NOOMA videos.

With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial with a hopeful message—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.

Penerbit:
Dirilis:
Mar 15, 2011
ISBN:
9780062080936
Format:
Buku Audio

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Tentang penulis

Rob Bell is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and spiritual teacher. His books include Love Wins, How to Be Here, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Velvet Elvis, The Zimzum of Love, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars. He hosts the weekly podcast The Robcast, which was named by iTunes as one of the best of 2015. He was profiled in The New Yorker and in TIME Magazine as one of 2011’s hundred most influential people. He and his wife, Kristen, have three children and live in Los Angeles.

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4.3
126 peringkat / 43 Ulasan
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  • (5/5)
    Really great book. A little repetitive at times, but I'm pretty sure that's the whole point. Not too casual, not too God-ish, just right. Love wins. Plain and simple.
  • (4/5)
    a good book that helps you see things differently; try not to take some of it too seriously to the point of it being contradicting to the Bible; read with an open mind "?"
  • (3/5)
    Written in Bell's typical fashion, this book was a rumination of a Christian's belief of Heaven and Hell and where we're all heading. Bell asserts Grace over Works. It was an easy book to read, but he could have made his point quicker. I was a little put off by the never-ending series of questions in the first chapter. Overall it earned a three-star rating because of the style and conclusion.
  • (2/5)
    Rob Bell is a good writer and speaker but he took some verses out of context. And his ideas of Hell is not what the Bible teaches.
  • (5/5)
    Rob Bell does a great job articulate some of most Christian challenging issues.
  • (5/5)
    Rob Bell writes well, reads well, and thinks well. The only negative to his argument in this book are 1) he doesn't interact with church history a ton and 2) he doesn't address the possibility that some would eternally reject God and never give in to His love.

    Good book.
  • (1/5)
    Couldn't get into this one at all. Too slow of a pace and too cliche for me.
  • (5/5)
    amazing book and perspective. if you have experienced any church abuse of any kind i highly recommend a read or listen of the book.
  • (5/5)
    Mr Bell perfectly articulated a thinking man’s dilemma with the Americanized gospel and brings God and Jesus into clearer focus.
  • (4/5)
    There are a lot of universalist ideas in this book. I don't know how much of it I am willing to agree with but I do appreciate the way that he opened my mind to start thinking about what the church has taught and what the Bible actually says. I need to remember to base my faith on the Bible and not what others might say. This book reminded me of that.
  • (5/5)
    The subtitle of this book is telling - Rob Bell shares his interpretation of what the Bible tells us about heaven, hell, and eternal life. Bell's interpretation aligns in many ways with my own, but he also shared insights that expanded and clarified my views. Bell narrates the audio book, and he is a compelling speaker, but the content is weighty enough that I know I missed a lot in a single listening. I'll likely revisit this one in paper.
  • (3/5)
    Bell is a pastor known for the controversy his books raise in Christian circles and this one is no exception. Supposedly dealing with universalism and salvation, ultimately Bell asks many questions (which are important for Christians to ask anyway) but gives no substantial answers. However, it is good to promote serious thinking about soteriology and responses to it.
  • (4/5)
    I'll have to read more Rob Bell. I find him clear and spot on.After reading the reviews, I'm struck by an Evangelical tendency of the critics to lean on Tradition rather than Scripture. Bell doesn't make this mistake.
  • (4/5)
    I listened to this book, and I suspect that it is probably easier listening than it is reading. I had heard ahead of time that Bell's writing style drives a lot of readers nuts. He narrates his own book, and it's a little much to take in all at once while driving. I listened to two out of the three discs twice, and I'm still not sure I really absorbed everything he has to say. I will say that he does seem to believe in Hell, and his main thesis is, in my opinion, that Jesus is probably a lot broader than mainstream Christianity gives him credit for being as far as reaching out to all corners of the world. I've always heard that we will be surprised at who we see in Heaven, and Bell certainly agrees with that theory. Whether he is correct or not, I cannot say. He does make for interesting reading and pondering.
  • (4/5)
    Essentially, this book asks a lot of questions - ones which some Christians may see as over-challenging or controversial. The writing style is in short sentences, inviting readers to start thinking about God, about the Bible, and about their beliefs. We all have preconceived ideas - those we have been taught, those we have assumed, and Rob Bell does an excellent job of getting back to first principles, of asking who this God is whom we worship, and what the Bible means by love, by redemption, and by Heaven and Hell.

    I found it very readable and thought-provoking. It doesn't give a lot of answers, and those it gives are left open to the reader to consider, and perhaps answer differently. The main focus which I thought very positive was of the importance of how we live, and how we grow in relationship with God and each other, and how we continually need to question our assumptions - the 'stories', as he puts it, which we tell ourselves, or perhaps which other people have told us.

    While this book is surprisingly controversial, and has many critics, I thought it a helpful overview of what many Christians believe, and would recommend it to anyone, particularly those who have been hurt or damaged by images of a slave-driving or vengeful God, or indeed by well-meaning Christians who don't really answer genuine questions.
  • (4/5)
    The author reads (and in some places ad libs) and makes this a very interesting book. Very well written and conversationally argued.
  • (3/5)
    Actually, it was just okay for me. A super quick read, as it is really a small book with amazingly trim margins and lots of one word "sentences". I bet it's only 70 real pages, and am glad I checked it out from the library rather than pay the full price of a hardcover book for something that really reads like a long pamphlet.
  • (1/5)
    I was seriously disappointed by this book. While I do not share Bell's theological position, I was hoping for a read that would engage and challenge me to reassess my position. Instead, I found rehashed universalist theology, a truckload of selective reasoning, fancy biblical footwork that conveniently ignores contradictory scriptures and a nearly nauseating dose of sentimentality. If theology were the result of what we wish for and makes us feel good, the Bell's fantasy would be wonderful, but if our faith is forged in deep wrestling with difficult passages with a solid foundation in reason, then he comes up way short.

    There are many things Christians need to evaluate in what they believe and teach. This was a great opportunity to enhance that discussion, but that opportunity was completely missed. This really is too bad. I had so much respect for Bell prior to this read.
  • (4/5)
    I liked the book overall. I think I'm mostly in agreement with Rob Bell and N.T. Wright on this. Firstly, love does win! Secondly while I'm not a universalist (i.e. everyone goes to Heaven regardless), I do believe that everyone who wants to be there will be there. Thirdly, we need to rethink what Heaven/Hell really are. Since, most of the popular thoughts about Heaven/Hell are influenced by Dante's Divine Comedy more than the Bible. My only regret about the book is that I which he would have dealt with larger passages and in more detail. I also would have liked Bell to discuss how his views stand with other scholars, etc. All of that is secondary to the purpose of the book however. Overall, a thought-provoking read.
  • (3/5)
    Written in Bell's typical fashion, this book was a rumination of a Christian's belief of Heaven and Hell and where we're all heading. Bell asserts Grace over Works. It was an easy book to read, but he could have made his point quicker. I was a little put off by the never-ending series of questions in the first chapter. Overall it earned a three-star rating because of the style and conclusion.
  • (3/5)
    There are obviously two versions of Rob Bell's Love Wins book that are available. The one in which he is a universalist and the one in which he isn't.

    The furorer started with Justin Taylor's post about Bell's promotional video. Piper responded with a tweet: "Farewell Rob Bell". What he meant by that is anybody's guess -- farewell from Christianity, from evangelicalism, from new calvinism, from Zondervan (the book was Bell's first from Harper Collins)? I don't know about love winning but the publicity certainly meant that the publishers won!

    Why the fear? What is wrong with posing questions? I don't agree with all Bell's answers, but the questions he raises are important and need to be addressed.

    How biblical is the so-called 'traditional' view of hell? Many evangelicals have taken different views on this topic - does that stop them being evangelicals or even Christian? Why the concern over boundaries - who is and who isn't an evangelical? Since when has a correct view of hell been an indicator of whether one is 'in' or 'out'? Since when has a literal reading of the Bible been an indicator of whether one is an evangelical or not?

    There are many types of universalism - some may have some biblical warrant others clearly do not. Likewise, there are many views of hell - some may have biblical warrant others don't.

    Here's my rough draft of a range of views:

    1. Hell as a place of eternal torment/ punishment (either mental or physical or both)

    2. Hell as a place of separation from God

    3. Annihilation

    3.1 Conditional immortality
    3.1.1 Those in Christ are resurrected the rest are annihilated
    3.1.2 All are resurrected – then face judgment those not in Christ are then annihilated
    3.2 All are created immortal after the resurrection the unbelievers are punished and then annihilated.

    4. Purgatorial view

    4.1 Hell as a place of discipline
    4.2 Hell as the opportunity for post-mortem decision

    5. Inclusivism – some may be saved - even if they have not heard of Jesus - based on the revelation they have received

    6. Universalism

    6.1 Christian universalism: all will be saved through what Christ has done
    6.2 Pluralistic universalism: all will be saved – no matter what


    Bell seems to hold to a version of 6.1; for example:

    What Jesus does is declare that he,
    and he alone
    is saving everybody (p. 155)

    but and it’s a big but with a form of 4.2. But it seems that human free will trumps all that God has done:

    God gives us what we want, and if that's hell, we can have it.
    We have that kind of freedom, that kind of choice. We are that free. (p. 72)


    and

    And that's what we find in Jesus's teaching about hell - a volatile mixture of images, pictures, and metaphors that describe the very real experiences and consequences of rejecting out God-given goodness and humanity. Something we are free to do, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. (p. 73)


    Bell is then no universalist - we have the freedom to reject what God has done.
    On the other hand he seems to be arguing as follows:


    1. God is sovereign and in control of all things
    2. God wants all to be saved
    3. Therefore, all will be saved.


    If 1 and 2 are true then 3 must follow. However, Bell seems to want to add

    4. Unless we want to reject the offer of salvation


    Bell is obviously questioning evangelical shibboleths- he is an iconoclast, and doesn't mind whose toes he steps on - more power to him!

    The focus of the criticism has been on Bell's view of hell. This misses some of the excellent points he makes, particularly in chapter 2. This is a brilliant chapter: for example this extract:

    Honest business
    redemptive art
    honorable law
    sustainable living,
    medicine,
    education,making a home,
    tending a garden --
    they're all sacred tasks to be done in partnership with God now, because they will all go on in the age to come.
    (p. 47)


    Ultimately, Bell's message is that free will is sovereign: we get what we want.
  • (2/5)
    After finishing this book, I have to say that I am not quite sure what Rob Bell was really going on about.

    There were a lot of talk about what heaven might be and what hell might be. There were a few stories from the Bible, but in the end, I didn’t close the book feeling as though I gained any new insights.

    To take one aspect of God and elaborate on just that one aspect is a little dangerous. God is love, but why is it so difficult to believe that He is also wrath? In a way, I felt that this book pushes God into a box and wraps Him in the pretty paper the author wants him to be.

    There are some interesting points in the book, but in the end there wasn’t much that I could take away. Also, I was a bit put off by the writing style. It kept jarring me out of the narrative and I had to put it down many times before finally pushing through to the end.

    If you want questions with hardly any answers, then Love Wins is the book for you.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Love Wins really resonated with me. Overall, it was a good read that challenged my views and stretched my thinking. Ultimately causing me to delve deeper into God's word. In a sense it liberated me from the constraints of my own ill-conceived views about God. I have for many years viewed God much like my earthly father: fear-monger, rule-maker, always careful not to incur his wrath. But, then Jesus comes along and my view of God changes everything. I have long held to the belief that Jesus has reconciled ALL things to God. Ultimately, as long as we place our trust in Christ... everything will be alright; complete with our imperfections and screw ups. My view of grace has become broader in scope. It's no longer bound by individual belief or doctrine, but is a free gift for the entire world. And, I do believe all people will have a chance to grab hold of that gift, now, and just maybe even after death.Bell's retelling of the story of the Prodigal Son really hit home with me too. How often are we the older son, at home with the Father, but never really enjoying life? We think life is unfair, full of rules, strict doctrine, theology, legalism, and requiring strict obedience, but fail to really enjoy life and engage our Father.In regards to theology, the chapter concerning hell really made me pause and think. Is hell a literal place that God simply throws people away to be burned and consumed by fire because they didn't accept Jesus in this life? Is God all loving, but then shows no love to those who never heard the Gospel and consigns them to eternal torment? Or, was hell simply a place called Gehenna where the city trash dump existed near Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, where trash was thrown to the fire and the animals can be found gnashing at the teeth? Or, is hell what we make from rejecting the love of God, both in the life now and the life thereafter?And what about salvation? Is salvation limited and confined to the natural world in which we live? Or, can salvation be received even after we die in the spiritual world? Bell presupposes that God may save people even after their earthly death. If you would have told me this two years ago I would have scoffed at the idea. But, the more I thought about it, why couldn't He? If God is totally sovereign, then why should He be confined and limited to saving people only in the natural world, and not in the spiritual world? Bell references the story of Abraham's bosom in Luke 16 as possible evidence that God can indeed save people in the afterlife. And, I believe this passage is key because it shows interaction between God and what is presumed to be hell or separation (great chasm). The fact that God can still interact with those in this "place" shows that God doesn't give up and is not absent in the afterlife no matter the destination.Although I agreed with a majority of Bell's material, there were a few things I disagreed with. I disagreed that people will be able to be saved from hell and move on over into heaven after they die. This would imply that God wavers in His judgment. I believe once God pronounces His judgment, what is done is done. But, I do believe that people may still be saved after their death prior to judgment. Does this mean I believe in a sort of purgatory? Perhaps. I don't know. I believe there is a biblical case for it. This is something I'm still wrestling through. Gregory Boyd talks a lot about this from a Protestant perspective. I also disagree that hell is temporary, only a refining fire. Hell is permanent. It is literal and not figurative. But, what hell looks like we can only speculate.I also disagreed with the minimal use of Scripture. Bell really needed to use more Scripture to back his claims. A lot of what he proposed was speculative, but certainly a possibility. I believe Bell would have built a stronger case would he have utilized more Scripture, along with the early church's views on these matters.However, what I disagreed with the most was that Bell left almost all of the subject matter open-ended. I know this was intentional. But, I think he left more people scratching their heads. I hope he will someday write a follow-up book to answer these open-ended questions. For instance, I want to know more details about why he believes people will be saved after they die. I want to know more details about why he believes hell will be more of an imaginative reality rather than the traditional views held by most evangelicals.All throughout the book I thought Rob Bell gives compelling alternative views to heaven, hell, and eternal salvation from a biblical perspective. Even though I might not have agreed with everything, it most certainly has made me rethink my own position on these issues. I didn't see any glaring red flags or heresy from my own observation. I hope those who ranted and raved against him will relax a bit in the spirit of Christ and unity. Bell simply provides another view complete with Scripture and hermeneutical research to solidify his thoughts. And, many of his arguments are not new, but simply resurrected from the past. Do we default to centuries old traditions/interpretations on these matters and dismiss all other views? Or, do we open ourselves to probing deeper into these issues, engaging in dialog, and possibly begin to understand them from a much different perspective?If anything, Rob Bell has taught me two things: that it's okay to question fundamental issues and love indeed wins.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    This is Bell's controversial masterpiece about "heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived." Love, says this internationally influential pastor, wins in the end ... and nobody has to go to hell. God wants all people to be saved. Will God get what He wants?Of Bell's works, I've read only this and Velvet Elvis, though I have three more in my review stack. I'll be spreading them out over the next few months. I confess that too much Bell, with his colloquial rah-rah style, might push me off the deep end, but in Love Wins, the message overcomes the style and earns five stars. I also feel the book is very well organized, leading inexorably to a logical conclusion.That said, this book does not probe any deep theological arguments. It's far too short for that. It's a common-sense approach to a troubling question: Can God be both loving and vengeful?Actually, Bell's book is chock full of questions! It makes you think about your perception of Jesus, of God, and of His eternal plan. Bell says, "Often times when I meet atheists and we talk about the god they don't believe in, we quickly discover that I don't believe in that god either." When we hear that a certain person has rejected Christ, we should probably first ask, "Which Christ?" The antiscience, antigay one standing out on the sidewalk with his bullhorn, telling people that they're going to burn forever? Or the one who invites everyone to share in his heaven?Which invites another question. Which heaven? The one far away, a dream of eternal bliss, or the one Jesus constantly spoke of, here, now, on this earth? Bell's "heaven" is very "earthy," rightly recognizing that Jesus spoke not of a place but of an age ... an age where God dwells with his people, on this earth. Bell is not denying an afterlife, he simply is putting the focus where Jesus did: the now. But what about hell? Well, there's plenty of hell on earth now, too. Surprisingly, not everyone prefers heaven. Love wins, and we get whatever we want. But over and over and over, God speaks of restoration ... helping those who have slipped into hell back on their feet and back into heaven.That's God's agenda. So here we are at a final question: Does this magnificent, mighty, marvelous God fail in the end?
  • (5/5)
    Brian McLaren says of this book, “In Love Wins, Rob Bell tackles the old heaven-and-hell question and offers a courageous alternative answer. Thousands of readers will find freedom and hope and a new way of understanding the biblical story - from beginning to end." McLaren's assessment is right on track. For those who struggle with the theology that God loved the world so much he sent his son, but that same God of love is willing to condemn people to eternal torment, Bell offers some alternative ways to encounter the message of God in Jesus. Bell suggests that the message Jesus brought has been co-opted by other stories - messages that Jesus isn't interested in because they weren't his story. If you are interested in reclaiming the story - God loves us and wants a relationship with us - God is reaching out to us and seeking to embrace us - if you want to reclaim the message of Jesus, Bell's book points you in that direction. It is well written with an easy to read style that asks the reader to reflect on scripture and on the message that we hear from Jesus.
  • (4/5)
    I do not agree with all of Rob Bell’s theology but he articulates his beliefs well and roots his ideas in his interpretation of the scripture. I wished that he had included footnotes to back up some of his claims and this may be the biggest problem with Love Wins. Without documentation it is difficult to figure out where Bell is drawing some of his biblical conclusions from. Love Wins is a good beginning and got me to think about traditional theological concepts in a new light. Whether you agree with Bell’ theology or not, Love Wins should be read simply for its willingness to challenge thousands of years of biblical interpretation.
  • (5/5)
    Continuing my uncharacteristic journey into Christian theology, I read this book. This is a hugely controversial book for American Evangelicals, although having read it, I think that most of the controversy was generated by people who had not actually read this very short book. Basically, the author looks at what Jesus has to say about hell and takes the merciful interpretation. It's a you may be surprised at the people you see in heaven emphasis rather than the more usual idea that heaven's inhabitants will consist only of the very few people whose theology exactly agrees with one's own. Bell also separates what's actually in the Bible on the topic from the cultural constructs that form a huge part of the traditional fundamentalist view of heaven and hell. It's very thought provoking, but not really that shocking, unless you're really, really committed to wanting everyone you ever disliked punished for eternity. The sans-serif typeface drove me nuts, but that's nit-picking.
  • (5/5)
    I feel weird writing a book review for Love Wins when so many great leaders and famous pastors have done the same thing.Some hate it, some love it, some tolerate it… certainly this book will not be labeled so quickly.If you have not read it, but are reading the reviews to decide if you should, I fear that the only way to know if you’ll find it useful is… if you read it. The only reason I would steer you as a reader from a book would be that I thought it contained dangerous or heretical teaching; and I don’t. Nothing in this book will alter your salvation or change your faith or standing with God. In the end, Rob’s book is about love and I believe so is God.I have read this book from cover to cover, and I read each word carefully and took it in, I didn’t skim it and jump to conclusions, I acted as though the author was there in the room with me and we were having a conversation. I read the book slowly over time and allowed the words to sit with me and last, I talked with others about what I read to have a sounding board.I doubt those who have given this book such a low review have done the same.Deservedly, they probably know scripture better than I do, or at least the “ammunition verses” to use in situations like this – but as a pastor myself – and having been in conversations and ministry like Rob has, I know that a conversation like this – is important.When I read some of these reviews I find myself saying, “Rob never said that.” Many have jumped to their own conclusions and because words carry such weight and can be loaded with bias and history, we sling them like rocks or stamp them like labels without so much as a care.And even though I do not think I have ever typed a negative word about Rob in the past, there were two aspects of the book I disagreed with (notice I did not say Rob was “wrong”).The first is, Rob suggested that perhaps after death, people will get a second chance to go to Heaven. Yes, they will go to Hell, yes they will have chosen it, but perhaps God will bring them before judgment once more (Matt 20:1-16). Some have called this “univeralism” however; Rob does not believe that God will “pull” all into Heaven as universalists do.Rob squarely indicated that he believes there are those that will choose hell forever. Do I think there are second chances after death? No, I don’t… but the bigger question should be… does God? I can’t dictate in my personal theology what God should or should not do in judgment. He is the judge and I am not.Maybe Rob is a “post-modern Universalist” and perhaps it is time for words to carry new meanings.What does the bible say? “One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11). The scriptures say “every” person will bend the knee in worship and that “every” mouth will make a confession of faith. What does that mean? It certainly does not sound like “Hell wins” does it? Because right now, most Christians believe Hell wins. We believe two-thirds of the earth will go to a place of torment, fire and punishment. We believe that a loving forgiving God will send millions and millions of people to eternal torment simply because they never said the sinner’s prayer (a prayer not found in the bible). But if “wide is the path that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13) how can we in the next breath say, “I know the end of the story (meaning the bible) and Jesus wins.”He does?Jesus wins if the majority of the world goes to Hell?How is that winning?I guess it’s a back handed win by having the “last word” with a giant “I told you so” as you slam dunk the naysayers and doubters of the world into the universe’s largest barbeque pit.Second Rob indicated that Jesus is the “mechanism” that each of us goes to heaven; however it is uncertain how that mechanism works. As Christians we have claimed that “confession” is the “key” that unlocks the “Jesus code” and allows sinners to enter paradise, but do we always believe that?If a two month old baby dies, we say that the little one is now “resting in the arms of Jesus.” Why? Did the baby make a confession of faith? No, but we sometimes bend the rules don’t we? So the question then becomes… does God? Does God bend the rules for the lost tribe in the deep dark Amazon forest who have never heard the name of Jesus? Will Jews who faithfully read the torah and pray to YHWH go to Heaven? Will nominal Jehovah’s Witnesses go to heaven? A staunch Christian would love to say “no” but in the end… aren’t they God’s rules?Personally I believe a knowledge of Jesus and a willingness to follow him are required for salvation – so here is another area my beliefs don’t align with Rob’s … but… as far as we know there is no “video evidence” of Heaven, Hell or eternity. It is not up to us to steak a flag in the sand and demand that eternity has to be exactly the way we dictate. If Ghandi is standing next to me in Heaven, I am not going to storm into God’s office and demand that he be deported.Rob believes that in the end Love Wins and that yes… God wins.But is that heretical?Is it so bad to believe that God’s grace and love and forgiveness will extend to my enemy? Is it so wrong to believe that Heaven will be filled with people from every race, language and nation (Rev 5:9)?Rob’s intent was so that this book would start a discussion, not an argument. Rob wanted people to talk with openness about God’s love and to perhaps find new ways to talk to those that have so many questions about a loving God who allows “good people” to burn forever. Certainly Heaven and Hell are not as “simple” as we make them out to be, and most definitely we can not just “dismiss” these questions with a three word tweet.
  • (5/5)
    The controversy over this book is very revealing. In a way, it's a perfect example of the case that Bell puts forth. I agree with Bell when he states that the desire for all people to be reconciled to God is unquestionably a very Christian desire. The anger and devisiveness with which this idea has been met speaks volumes about both the state of the church, and Christianity in general, today.Our focus, as Christians, should be on Christ's love, the gift of his grace and to be in relationship with him today. It shouldn't be on who "gets in" and who doesn't. If that's our focus, then we're missing the point and we're missing out on a whole lot. Ultimately, it doesn't even matter what you believe about heaven and hell, because love wins.
  • (1/5)
    Bell's defense of his eschatological position, a variant on universalism.It must first be said that it is good to have a conversation about eschatology; Bell is right to say that eschatology will shape one's present expectations as well as one's views about the future. He is also right to point out that there are many popular but un-Biblical views and attitudes about what will happen to people in the end.The case he makes seems so persuasive, but there are "skeletons in the closet" left unaddressed. Those "skeletons in the closet" really undo his thesis. For the most part, Bell does present a more Biblical view of the future expectation of the believer, speaking strongly about the restoration and reconciliation of the creation back to God in the resurrection. But he does not treat hell like he treats heaven. He takes the most extreme "orthodox" portrayal of hell and uses it as his foil with no attempt to sort through the various nuances in positions about it. Hell gets mostly spoken of in terms of present injustice and terrible conditions-- something not seen in Scripture for certain. It's almost insulting to see him attempt to claim some high ground by showing how all the evil in the world can well be called "hell." Sure, it's "hell-ish," but it it's not hell. Hell was always considered in starker, more dark terms than present suffering.Put simply: if one were to treat heaven like Bell treats hell, one would become a postmillennial social gospel advocate. Bell would not agree with that; his inconsistency is evident. The main thesis-- love will win, in some way, all (or most of) those who rejected God in life will see their error in the hereafter and cry out for reconciliation with God, and God will welcome all-- sounds great in a postmodern, post-Enlightenment Western context. But Bell never deals with some of the images used to describe hell, and does not deal with matters of justice, the wrath of God, or the vengeance of God, prominent themes in both testaments. But the biggest challenge is that he provides not one Biblical passage that speaks of a place where this will happen; he only provides Scriptures speaking of God reconciling and restoring all things to Himself.And the one who will go to great lengths to define "eternal" and "torment" does not spend one second doubting his definition of "all things" and how that would look. Bell, I imagine, assumes that to reconcile and restore "all things" means exactly that, and such provides the basis for this expected future reconciliation of the condemned. But what if reconciliation and restoration involves access and opportunity and was never intended to be an absolute statement of the salvation of all? Now there's no ground for what he has said; the entire concept goes up in smoke. Such is not much of a Biblical foundation for such a critical dogma!Bell spends a lot of time talking about views of God and the "type of God" people believe in. It's a necessary challenge and issue with which to deal, but the standard in the book is never directed back to understanding the revelation; it's based far too much on feelings and "logical" connections, and thus is entirely one-sided. Bell has boxed himself in too tightly in his theology; in it, there's no room for the condemnation without hope of Satan and the angels as Jesus declares in Matthew 25; what can be said of God commanding genocide/ethnic cleansing in 1 Samuel 15? What of the vengeance of God in Romans 12? The wrath of God displayed in Judgment in Romans 2? As difficult as it might be for the Christian to understand such things, or even perhaps despite the revulsion we might feel at such things, we are not given the right to make up our own God and be pleasing to the One True God; we have to make sense of everything God has revealed about Himself and His expectations for mankind and what lies ahead. However one may agree or disagree with Bell, the fact remains that he has not sufficiently wrestled with this in this book.This theology seems to be a postmodern reaction to excesses of the past while remaining consistent with the ethos of the present. No one can accuse Bell of being "countercultural" with his theology in this book; one may not appreciate questioning of motives, but the person who believes that his culture does not impact his belief system is a deceived fool. For that matter, it's not good to be countercultural for the sake of being countercultural. I say this because the theology behind "Love Wins" is exactly what you would expect of someone who has all the trappings of modern convenience and enjoys "first world problems" and is completely removed from the oppressions of injustice that terrorized the world for generations and still terrorizes far too many in the world. In "Love Wins," there can be no real vengeance, no real righting of wrongs; both oppressor and oppressed die and ultimately all come to reconciliation with God. The worldly minded can take this message and use it to justify continued immorality; there will be plenty of opportunities in the hereafter to get back into God's good graces. Yes, I know that Bell would oppose this; he would want people to see that such is a counterfeit life and does not partake of the true life in Jesus Christ. But we are fallen creatures in a fallen world, and plenty of people take bad theology and use it to justify immorality.Rob Bell declares at one point that a loving God could not say "too late" to anyone. But that's not what the message of the parable of the virgins says (Matthew 25:1-13); that theology cannot lie behind Jesus' declaration to those who professed belief in Him in Matthew 7:21-23. And that's the real danger with this theology: if Bell's wrong, and deceived a lot of people in the process, the damage is severe. There are always dangers in having bad theology; Bell points many of them out, but is not immune to them himself.This is a necessary conversation, and Bell has certainly found a way to galvanize the discussion. Nevertheless, no one should walk away feeling as if all questions have been answered and Bell's argumentation is sufficient. It's not. And the questions that it leaves, the issues left unaddressed, the theological realities of the Bible shoved out of sight cannot be so easily shrugged off.