Jay Miklovic's Reviews > Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

Love Wins by Rob Bell
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's review
Nov 10, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: super-lame
Read from May 23 to 26, 2011

This book was not altogether horrible, and there were a few paragraphs here and there that were commendable. I certainly agree with Rob's optimistic assessment of 'the end times' and find that to be a refreshing departure from the depressing and unbiblical eschatology so popular in American Fundamentalism.

As far as style... The style of the book was at least unique, which is rare in a work like this.

I found the style to be.
Annoying mostly.
Not only because of choppiness.
200 page book.
That was mostly.
white space.
white space.
white space.

However it was unique, and I do appreciate uniqueness.

So why the one star? Mostly because of the theology, but not entirely. I found Brian McLaren's "New Kind of Christianity" to be bad theology as well, but I willingly gave it three stars because he intelligently defended his views. With McLaren you could respect his mind, and you could not merely dismiss him without first dealing with his claims. Bell's book, well, not so much. There was little need to deal with any of his points, because he made so few.

The rendering of the prodigal son story was tragic. The usage of the rock in the wilderness story was tragic. Almost every quotation from Paul was tragic. Everything was blown out of context with no respect to the actual flow of the scriptures or the arguments of the apostle Paul or other biblical writers. After thinking some about this book and trying to get to the foundation of it I would say that ultimately this book sets itself up as a polemic against penal substitution, Jesus dying because of, and for our sin.

The other frustrating part of the book, along with the drama surrounding its release is how the Bell uses questions. The book with it's constant barrage of questions essentially puts substitution on the witness stand and then badgers it with a 1000 questions giving it no time to answer. The assessments that many have made that "Bell is just asking the right questions" and "he is not advocating Christian Universalism" are bogus assessments. Questions are almost never neutral, and the questions he asks are not neutral. Asking questions is a great way to get your point across, cheezy Gospel tracts that look like $1000 bills do the same thing. I have no problem with using questions to make a point, I do have a problem with readers and authors acting like questions are always innocent or neutral.

Finally, I have heard so many people say "Read the book first, then express your opinion". Well I did that, but it probably wasn't necessary. Bell himself affirms that he says nothing in this book that hasn't been said before. I whole heartedly concur with his own assessment.

Bottom line. This book is like classic universalism dressed in skinny jeans and wearing trendy thick rimmed glasses.
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Reading Progress

05/23/2011 page 63
05/23/2011 page 112
57.0% "This book is really starting to unravel at this point. The last paragraph on pg 103 going into pg 104 was in my mind the nail in the coffin of the argument Bell makes. The insinuation that the essence of love is some sort of unmitigated freedom is bogus."
05/26/2011 page 170
86.0% "uggg... page 169 and 170 of Love Wins is a disgusting rehash of Lewis' Great Divorce, only in terms of the prodigal son. Here's a hint Mr. Bell, "The Great Divorce" was an allegory about human responsibility and how the will works... not a presentation of the doctrines of heaven and hell. This book has a few good points... let me put the emphasis on 'few'."

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by J.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

J.D. White Amen.

Bill Huizer Nicely.


Jasmine Yes.

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