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

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  25,537 ratings  ·  2,376 reviews
Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God's love and God's judgment: Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell? Is this acceptable to God? How is this "good news"?

Troubling questions—so troubling that many have lost their faith because of them. Others onl
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2011)
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Lydia B No, kindof the opposite! This book is from a universalist perspective, and the L of TULIP is limited atonement.... so!

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 ·  25,537 ratings  ·  2,376 reviews

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Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, theology
Can a book be valuable, even though most people reading it don’t agree with its philosophy or conclusions?

Can a book be valuable, even if the writer is flawed in his editing process, his debating skills and his rhetorical approach?

Most people have predictable reaction to books they don't agree with. First, they don’t recommend that others read the book. Second, they find as many people as possible who also don’t agree with the book and mutually trash it. Third, they refuse to see any value in th
Kate Davis
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rob's not a universalist.
But God is.
Mar 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I felt excited to read a book that is causing so much controversy in the Evangelical Christian world. It's nice to feel "current."

After watching Bell's trailer for the book and watching the Nooma video style of the presentation, I was looking forward to seeing how he would flesh out his ideas about heaven and hell in the book. It was disappointing to find out that the first chapter of the book was nearly word-for-word the trailer that I had watched on the internet. The entire book is written li
Books Ring Mah Bell
Jul 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
I had to pick up this book and read it for a few reasons: Controversy and debate.
Rob Bell has his Mars Hill Church in my town. I know people that attend his church and love it there. I have heard so very much about this book, and thought the controversy was localized, but then I saw Mr. Bell’s idea of No Hell on the cover of Time magazine.

When I picked the book up and brought it to the register, the cashier glared at it, then at me. (GLARED, I tell you!) She then launched into a lecture of sort
Sarah Rosenberger
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Right now, it's hard to avoid the controversy that is surrounding this book. After being rejected by the Christian publishing powerhouse Zondervan for not conforming to its values, Love Wins was ultimately published by a secular company. Before the book was even released, conservative Christians were calling the author a heretic, a universalist, and a false prophet peddling a book that would lure people away from Christ and toward an eternity in hell. That's a pretty impressive feat for a 200 pa ...more
Bradly J
Zero stars. I found this book to be very distasteful. Let me qualify this. I have no argument with the idea of a loving God, that idea is entirely biblical. However, after carefully pointing out that he has referenced every verse with the words hell, hades, and sheol, I found most of Matthew 25 to be conspicuosly absent (no mention of "everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels). Also missing is any mention of the lake of fire. Hell is treated as little more than a mental state ...more
Jared Totten
Aug 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
Forgive me. I couldn't resist writing this in my best Bell-style prose.

In this whole whirlwind that Rob Bell has stirred up, there is one group that has been conspicuously absent from the wide net of universalism that he and others have cast out.

One group that has been neglected.


And they cry out for their just defense.

I speak of course about Satan and the demons.

After all, if God is a God of love, and if he loves all of his creation, and if he wants to see it all brought into shalom, and
Jul 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2011
I rarely give books one star.....

Rob Bell tries to give us a new (but old) perspective on heaven, hell and God's love. To be honest, I have never really been a Bell fan. His style of seeking truth, while earnest, seems awfully fallible. When the Bible and your own experience have almost equal weight, TRUTH can be very ambiguous.

Things I agree with:
* God is love and his love is huge for everyone.
* Jesus came to give us right relationship with God.
* Having a right relationship with God means bri
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christian friends and anybody interested in Christianity
Recommended to Allie by: Barnes & Noble
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Controversial without going over the top (though many would argue with me - many who no doubt have not and will not actually read the book).

Got a chance to see him speak, fascinating!

Ben De Bono
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
At this point you've probably had more than your fill of opinions on Love Wins. But since I'm never one to shy away from controversy, I'll throw mine in there anyway.

Before I get to the actual content of the book, I want to first talk about it in terms of quality. Rob Bell is an incredible communicator. Hearing him speak, regardless of how you feel about the content, is pretty incredible. Because of that I was surprised by how much I couldn't stand his writing style. Seriously, almost every pag
Randy Alcorn
May 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
It contains some good and accurate things here and there, but unfortunately its central message is in explicit contradiction to Scripture and historic Christianity.

Oddly, Bell insists that he’s not a universalist, yet his book indicates that he believes exactly what universalism does—that every human being will ultimately be saved, and that none will experience Hell. To teach this and yet claim you’re not a universalist (just because you disagree with some things that some universalists think)
Robert Donahue
The very fact that this book is being attacked & misrepresented by so many from the status quo (you Pharisees of today) only highlights its exposure of (sadly uncomfortable, to those whose egos yearn for the eternal exclusion & "conscious torment" of vast majority of the billions of souls that God (according to status quo sadists) created for the sole purpose of torturing them for eternity. The hypocrites attacking Bell, if they would or could analytically examine their own sloppy attacks on 'Lo ...more
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american
Okay so I guess this isn't the kind of book I'm expected to read. But hell who cares about expected.

I'm not the biggest fan of christianity in the world. I grew up congregational and was told at 14 that children were too stupid to have opinions about god. I was evangelical for a couple years (yeah whole way talking in tongues and all, anyone want to talk about group theory). Eventually, for complicated reasons I decided I didn't believe in god.

For years I've been part of a religion forum, it u
Jay Miklovic
May 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: super-lame
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.
Mike (the Paladin)
This is a pretty good book and it deals with a subject that needs to be looked at. I'm not going to try and go into the subject in depth here in the review as it will be to some controversial and I'm not going for that. If you wish to discuss it in comments I'll join in so long as we keep things civil.

And that says a bit about the book's subject. Christians should always be civil, but too often those of us who claim the name of Christ tend to act or react in the wrong way. Bell here attempts to
David Gregg
I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed "Love Wins". I've never been a Rob Bell fan, having started (but never finished) "Velvet Elvis" and "Sex God", but this book is worth picking up and wrestling with. For that reason — the value of wrestling with its topics — it will stand as one of the more important popular books of the decade. It isn't very deep. It isn't very broad. But it asks excellent questions and it has reached a large audience with those questions.

After having just read C.S
Todd Miles
Apr 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
So much has already been written on this book, that there is no reason to rehash it. Here were my biggest frustrations, not necessarily in order:
1. His complete lack of interaction with the holiness and justice of God renders his idea of the love of God deficient and impoverished. By focusing on the love of God, while excluding other attributes, Bell not only distorts the character of God, but he also distorts the love of God.
2. His historiography is tendentious and misleading at best, dishonest
Update 3/3/2018:
I liked this book even more this time through, which was at least the 4th time I've read it (or listened to it, in this case.) I still enjoy listening to Rob Bell read the audiobook more than I enjoy reading his books. And I still want to dig deeper into the theological issues raised here.

Review from 2014:
I liked the audiobook more than the written version because I do not care for Bell's writing style, and listening to it felt more like him talking/teaching, because it was act
May 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Terrible book. He pretends that orthodoxy is so deep and wide that practically nothing is unorthodox. I read this in Barnes & Noble over several days. I took lots of notes on it (Gmail folder) and may post some of it here eventually.

Kevin DeYoung has a 21-page review here.

Donald Miller has a funny review here (scroll down a little). And in a spoof of Rob Bell's promotional video, some goofballs made a parody video.
Rod Horncastle
Oct 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
So is Rob Bell hellbound? We'll try and figure it out by the end of this review. Cross your fingers Robbie.

I put off reading this babble for a few years - but since so many liberal and Evangelical church-goers claim to love this crap: I better give it a look. And what the Hell did I find? Not the Biblical hell, that's for sure. I'm still not fully sure what Rob was insisting. Some hippy dribble about love and Buddhist enlightenment with a splash of reincarnation (or new birth cycle?). Makes me w
David A.
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was sympathetic, but I was skeptical, when I first heard of Love Wins, a hipster treatise on Jesus and human destiny. I've appreciated Rob Bell the several times I've seen him speak; I liked his cadence and his rhythm and his horn rims and color scheme, but I also liked his way of thinking about the Bible. As evangelical as he is--he was raised in Michigan and educated at Wheaton College, for pete's sake--he manages to step back from evangelical subcultural ways of seeing and find a new angle ...more
Bell wants more out of this book than he gives.

He is right: Evangelical, Fundamentalist Christianity has its problems. But whereas it seems like he wants this book to reach out to those who are disenfranchised with main-stream Christianity, he's instead managed only to p***-off the fundamentalist block by stirring up all this controversy.

That's also a bit odd, because I didn't find that much of what he wrote to be uber-unorthodox, heretical, or controversial. He makes the point that Christianity
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I both understand and fail to understand why this book stirred up so much controversy. I fail to understand it, in that it seems to be a reasonable reading of Scripture based on Hebrew culture and teachings, on how the rabbis taught by asking questions, on how Jesus himself taught by asking questions, and I agree wholeheartedly with the backbone of the book, which is that God's unfailing love is bigger than we can imagine and is waiting for everyone who will turn to it. How that could be controv ...more
Jun 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Erunion by: Too many people
Before this book came out, people were often confused why I disliked Rob Bell. He was too ephemeral, played too loose with 2nd Century Jewish tradition – reading it back onto the 1st Century, before the destruction of the Temple. He seemed to be a good public speaker, though, and whenever I sat through his sermons utterly unmoved, my Christian friends admonished me for my heart of stone.

After the book came out, it seemed I had suddenly joined some sort of cabal that was eager to stamp out anythi
One of the main reasons I wanted to read this book is because I’ve enjoyed Rob Bell’s teachings in the past. I’ve seen many of his Nooma videos and listened to countless podcasts of his sermons. I heard that Bell may be proposing some controversial views on Hell within this book, so I decided that I wanted to read it for myself rather than accept other people’s opinions about his writing. I was surprised by the fact that within the first page and a half Bell wrote that he feels the belief that a ...more
Michelle Wheeler
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've been sitting here trying to come up with some witty way to describe what I thought of this book. It's not happening, so here goes, in plain language. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. It has changed my life and given me words for what I want to teach my son about God and God's plan for creation. It asked some tough questions and offered some interesting answers. It challenged some of my old beliefs and expanded my definition of God's love. It offers the most beautiful depiction of the gosp ...more
Stephen Burns
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A hopeful and honest book by one of Christianity's most progressive and dynamic thinkers. The questions Bell asks are ancient ones, made relevant today by he startling shallow hermeneutic in most evangelical circles.

The vitriol Bell received when Love Wins was released is due largely to the group think mentality that now permeates modern faith. The political and commercial ties to a culture that is both uneducated and underfed in the nuances of critical thinking have hamstrung the church's abil
Sarah Esmae Wolfe
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deconstruction
Compelling argument about literal vs. figurative heaven and hell from a Christian perspective. Chapter 7 is gold. Quick read and great as an audiobook.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Controversial book? Nah… New stuff? Some. Old Stuff? LOTS!!!

As Bell starts the book and explains Heaven (nothing new if you read N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope) and Hell (nothing new again if you have heard Rob Bell's sermons before.) However, what is new, is Bell talking about Hell as a place for correction, not for damnation, but instead for a chance for redemption. Believing that in the end God's love wins because God's love is stronger than any other thing in the universe, Bell believes tha
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Goodreads Librari...: Change Page Count 2 12 Jun 13, 2017 11:39PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Love Wins by Rob Bell 1 30 Jun 08, 2015 08:22AM  
The Hitler button 6 93 Oct 14, 2014 11:56AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Book Cover Needed (9780007465057) 3 14 Mar 30, 2013 10:14AM  
Christian Readers: Is there an eternal Hell? 46 79 Apr 29, 2012 08:14PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Love Wins by Rob Bell 1 3 Jan 21, 2012 09:45AM  

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Rob Bell is a bestselling author, international teacher, and highly sought after public speaker. His books include The New York Times bestsellers What Is the Bible?, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Love Wins, as well as The Zimzum of Love, Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars.

At age 28, Bell founded Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, and under hi

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“Love demands freedom. It always has, and it always will. We are free to resist, reject, and rebel against God's ways for us. We can have all the hell we want.” 63 likes
“As we experience this love, there is a temptation at times to become hostile to our earlier understandings, feeling embarrassed that we were so "simple" or "naive," or "brainwashed" or whatever terms arise when we haven't come to terms with our own story. These past understandings aren't to be denied or dismissed; they're to be embraced. Those experiences belong. Love demands that they belong. That's where we were at that point in our life and God met us there. Those moments were necessary for us to arrive here, at this place at this time, as we are. Love frees us to embrace all of our history, the history in which all things are being made new.” 58 likes
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