LOVED this book!!! I'm sure much of why I love it is because I read it in an amazing book club group, but it truly is a classic. If this is what the c...moreLOVED this book!!! I'm sure much of why I love it is because I read it in an amazing book club group, but it truly is a classic. If this is what the church looked like, people would not so hesitant or sceptical of Christianity. Will definately be reading this book again.(less)
This is the book I wanted to write, but Rachel beat me to it and did a better job. Read it with my Conversations group of diverse women and it spawned...moreThis is the book I wanted to write, but Rachel beat me to it and did a better job. Read it with my Conversations group of diverse women and it spawned some amazing discussions. I cried through several chapters and have made a mess writing in the margins and underlining. My copy feels like my own dairy at this point. this one definitely goes on the list of books I have most personally connected with. Rachel is amazing writer and I look forward to her career as a spiritual author.(less)
What I call a "fun little bubblegum read." I've been following Ree's blog for so long now, that it would be hard for me not to enjoy something by her....moreWhat I call a "fun little bubblegum read." I've been following Ree's blog for so long now, that it would be hard for me not to enjoy something by her. (less)
Update: I'm not re-reading this with a discussion group. This book as a platform for discussion bumps my overall rating up to 4 stars. (I'd give it 4....moreUpdate: I'm not re-reading this with a discussion group. This book as a platform for discussion bumps my overall rating up to 4 stars. (I'd give it 4.5 if Good Reads would let me.) I think discussion was actually Bell's whole intention, and he definitely nailed that part. For the discussion, I am brining in the "recommending reading list" and it has made me not so hard on Bell. He covers such a large scope for his book that I really expected more depth to Love Wins that is reasonable for the book. I originally felt frustrated, but he would have had to write 7 whole books to give me what I wanted, instead of the one. I'm still frustrated about the lack of foot notes though. He spoiled me pretty badly with his other works.
This book feels extremely hard to review due to insane amount of controversy around it. I have enjoyed Rob's other books, speaking tours, Nooma videos and have been a Podrishiner for a while. When Rob says "There is nothing new in this book" he is right. I've read and heard this all before. As examples, If we are going to crucify Rob on this hill, you better be willing to put C.S. Lewis and Billy Graham on his sides. "Love Wins" is book of questions, exploration of the historic church, critic, and an attempt to give God a little of his divine mystery back. He is not a universalist, but I would personal classify him as an "Inclusivist" like C.S. Lewis and Graham. But I have to say, Lewis and Graham articulated these ideas better.
“I used to play God, but I can’t do that anymore. I used to believe that pagans in far-off countries were lost and were going to hell—if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that,” he said carefully. “I believe that there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God—through nature, for instance—and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying ’yes’ to God.”
-”I Can’t Play God Anymore”, McCall’s Magazine, (January 1978), pp. 154-158 "And that's what God is doing today, He's calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNCnxA...
C. S. Lewis: “Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him? But the truth is God has not told us what his arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him.” - Mere Christianity
Rob's chapter on Hell is greatly inspired by Lewis's "The Great Divorce" with a lot Eastern Orthodox theology thrown in. Yes, he believes in Hell, both here and now and into the future. Yes, he believes in a God of divine justice and judgement who will wipe every tear and set everything to rights, which we certainly all long for. Rob, like Lewis, argues that Hell is locked from the inside. People choose Hell here and now and into the future. He wants us to see that they way we present Jesus, we can fall into the trap of making it look like Jesus is saving us from God. The Good News is better than that and I agree there. I loved his exploration of atonement and we all need the reminder that "penal" substitution is a pretty new way of describing what Christ did for us and that the bible and The Church has described atonement in many ways and pictures.
This was not Rob's best work and sadly he will be defined forever by it. Many things I loved about this book, but there are weakness in the book and things I was frustated with which I won't go into. Unlike "Velvet Elvis," he didn't source out his thoughts. If there is nothing new here, give credit to these ideas where they belong. I know he lists some books in the back for further reading, but I wanted him to actually footnote his work through the chapters. If we are going to talk about Church History and the diverse thought of Christians, clearly identify people. His arguements lost power and weight. I want there to be strong, valid discussion and challenging of ideas within my Evangelical stream, but do a good job with your arguements. I gotta give 3 stars instead of 4 for this reason. I know that this is not a accademic or work of systematic theology, but he pulled things off a lot stronger in "Velvet Elvis" so I know he has the ability to do it right. Protestants are going to be reading this book and we have a seriously lack of knowledge of the early church fathers and the conversation of the historic church, since we tend to ignore everything that happend between Paul and the Reformation. (Or maybe this is my background. I'm guessing Anglicans hold onto more church history than My SBC background.)
Do I agree with everything in this book? No. He is a heretic? No. Orthodoxy is a wide stream. I'm not about to kick out The Eastern Orthodox, or Catholics, or Episcopalians, Main Line Churches, or Progress Evangelicals, or C.S. Lewis, or Billy Graham, or anyone else who has theology that would fit in this book. I dearly love my Calvinist brothers and sister in Christ and their theology frustrates me to no end. If they get to stay, then Rob does too. This book asks a lot of questions and points out a lot of issues within my stream that I have been wrestling with for years and I am grateful for this book for many reasons. It has forced us to have this conversation outloud in community and I hope our faith can only be strengthened by it.(less)