Sarah Rosenberger'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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really liked it
bookshelves: 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 page book that raises more questions than it answers.

Many of his critics will grudgingly admit that Bell paints a great picture of Christianity; over and over, he shows it as a religion centered around loving one another as Jesus loved. To Bell, Christianity is more accurately reflected in the life of a person working in a refugee camp in a war zone than it is in the life of someone passing out tracts that promise eternal damnation unless one prays a certain prayer to Jesus.

This book explores the concepts of heaven, hell, and who really ends up being "saved". As Bell points out, he's not the first one to discuss these issues, and Love Wins is probably best appreciated as a starting point that introduces issues that can be further researched. Bell has claimed that this book is couched in orthodoxy, and it's true that there are scores of bible verses included along with quotes from religious thinkers like Aquinas and Luther, but it can't be denied that this book ultimately seems to claim that everyone who wants to spend eternity with God can and will, even if they don't find the right path until after death. It also seems to say that hell is more often a self-created prison here on earth than it is a literal lake of fire. Finally, heaven is viewed as not simply a distant reward for the faithful, but as something that can and should be worked towards attaining every day, in this world, not only the world to come.

I wish there had been citations instead of a "Further Reading" list, and sometimes Bell's writing style can get a little obnoxious, but despite that, I found this book moving and convincing; probably because it fleshed out (through bible verses, examples, metaphors and probing questions) what I already leaned towards believing. Personally, I think all biblical interpretations are subject to human error, but as Bell points out, "some stories are better than others." Love it or hate it, agree with it or consider it heresy, but it's hard to deny that the story Bell tells in Love Wins, of a good God who ultimately saves all of creation and creates a heaven on earth, is a really good story.
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Reading Progress

March 14, 2011 – Started Reading
March 14, 2011 – Shelved
March 15, 2011 –
page 82
40.59% "Often the people most concerned about others going to hell when they die seem less concerned with the hells on earth right now, while the people most concerned with the hells on earth right now seem the least concerned about hell after death."
March 15, 2011 –
page 108
53.47% ""Could God say to someone truly humbled, broken, and desperate for reconciliation, 'Sorry, too late'?""
March 16, 2011 – Shelved as: religion
March 16, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Timothy Sarah - have you ever heard him speak? If not, go to the Mars Hill website and download an audio teaching. The text is laid out on the page to imitate visually the way he communicates verbally. It may give you more of an appreciation for the style. =)
Good review.


Sarah Rosenberger Thanks Timothy! I saw him on a couple of his speaking tours, so I get why he writes like he does, but the "hip" references and random line breaks are occasionally just a bit too much for me. In general though, I like how he writes, and more importantly, the ideas he writes about :-)


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