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Love Wins: At the Heart of Life's Big Questions

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  19,489 Ratings  ·  2,012 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

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published 2011 by Collins
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Lydia Dueck No, kindof the opposite! This book is from a universalist perspective, and the L of TULIP is limited atonement.... so!
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Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rob's not a universalist.
But God is.
Bill Huizer
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christian friends and anybody interested in Christianity
Recommended to Allie by: Barnes & Noble

So I'd recently started John Shelby Spong's Eternal Life: A New Vision (will write about that one when I finish it!), but then...

B&N had this on display.

I sat in the store and read it all the way through.


1) This is VERY BOLD for a megachurch pastor. Rob Bell is an open-minded contemporary voice, which mainstream Christianity in this countray has needed for a long time. MAJOR KUDOS.

2) He is eloquent and writes in an easy-to-rea
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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)
Jay Miklovic
May 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 attack ...more
Todd Miles
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
Oct 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Jun 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
David A.
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
May 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.

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.
Althea J.
I'm Jewish but there are lessons from the story of Jesus that give voice to my world views, one of which Rob Bell shares in the last line of his book: "may you know deep in your bones that love wins." I believe that love does win. I believe that love, tolerance, and acceptance should be the driving force of everything I do. And I certainly don't need to be Christian to embrace that view, and many others put forward by Jesus.

I think that living my life in a way that happens to be consistent with
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Everyone has reviewed this book. Everyone has a pretty strong opinion about it. Love it. Hate it. He's wrong. He's right. So, for what it's worth, I'll add my voice to the world's largest book review chorus.

First things first. I really don't care if Rob Bell is a universalist. If in fact he is (and given the nature of his present musings I would suggest that he is some variation of the sort, his protestations notwithstanding) and if in fact he is right then there will be multitudes of very happy
Apr 12, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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- ...more
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Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of the bestselling Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars. A graduate of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, Bell speaks to large crowds around the world and has appeared in a pioneering series of short ...more
More about Rob Bell...
“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.” 57 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.” 51 likes
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