In Love Wins, bestselling author, international teacher, and speaker Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, Drops Like Stars) addresses one of the most ...Show synopsisIn 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.Hide synopsis
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This book is considered to be controversial in evangelical Christian circles. Other reivews I had read made me curious about the book. After reading a library copy, I bought a copy via Alibris so that I could underline the areas I like best.
I am a theistic non-Christian, and I have read this book twice. Rob Bell presents a God - and a Jesus - who are believable and real. He presents a possible relationship with the Divine that is refreshing.
Historically, the view is not exactly new - universalism - with either a small or a capital "U" - has been around for centuries. However, I've not seen it presented with such fresh langauge in a long time.
I believe the viewpoints in this book have much to offer with people of wide-ranging beliefs who take spiritual issues seriously.
Satan got Eve to question what God had clearly said in the garden. She was emboldened to take what God had forbidden by the devil's clever insinuation and paid for it. It astounds me that in a book about heaven and hell that supposedly is teaching what the Bible says that Rob Bell would never even quote the clearest OT passages about the resurrection of the dead and the eternal damnation of sinners- Isaiah 66:22-24 and Daniel 12:2. And even more so, key NT passages like Luke 13:23-28, Mark 9:43-48, Romans 2:4-5, Romans 10:14-17, Luke 12:58-13:9, etc. These passages and others so perfectly refute the writer's conjectures that if he merely quoted them without explaining them away he would then have nothing to write about.
The good news of the gospel is necessary because there is bad news, as Paul shows in Roman 1:18-3:20- our guilt before God and righteous condemnation of us on the day of judgment- if we're not made new creatures and forgiven in Christ. The Bible says "Flee from the wrath to come" and to bring forth fruits meet (fit) for repentance (Matthew 3:7-10). That is the response we must make to God's generous offer of mercy and grace through the death and resurrection of Christ.
When we consider that Jesus himself warned his hearers to turn from sin or be punished in hell forever; and that he left a responsibility for us to do so in the limited time of our lives in this world in Mark 9:43-48, Luke 12:58-13:9, then anyone who claims to speak for Jesus and denies that warning and that urgency must be treated as a false teacher/prophet. Jesus loves us more than anyone else, and to deny and leave out what he has clearly said is to oppose him.
What "Love Wins" does is give false comfort to those who have not turned from all sin and let Christ take his rightful hold on their lives (Psalm 2:10-12, Hebrews 5:9). The same type of false comfort the Serpent gave Eve in the garden.
"Love Wins" also doesn't take into account that it is often more pleasurable SHORT-TERM to disobey God than to follow Christ. There is a pleasure to sin that is very uncomfortable to forsake to the point it can be called suffering (See Hebrews 11:25, Romans 8:17). That goes against Bell's premise that hell is what we create for ourselves by disobeying God. Truly obeying God can be extremely unpleasant and only those who are totally convinced by Christ's total faithfulness and the sureness of his promises will actually be his disciples and walk the narrow way that leads to life. That is when God really does get glory. We have the privilege that we can go straight to the Bible to see those promises, the truth about heaven and hell, and the entire counsel of God regarding salvation. May all who read this not be deceived by preachers who say what appeals to the itching ears of people.
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