Kevin'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

Finished it last night and really enjoyed it. It will take some time to gather my thoughts and write a semi-coherent review.

But let me say this. Bell is not offering systematic theology. Love Wins is not a precise and logical argument for a particular theology or system (although there are clearly pieces and parts picked up from varies schools, authors and traditions).

The book is an attempt to get us to think differently about heaven and hell and the implications for our faith and lives. Bell wants to tell a different story and the same old story at the same time.

The underlying strategy for doing this is to challenge platitudes and truisms that too often take the place for thought. Bell points out difficult questions and dangers of ways of thinking that can trap Christians and undermine following Jesus. He wants you out of your comfort zone so you can approach God and Jesus in fresh ways and thus re-imagine what living a - to use a phrase coined by someone else - with-God-life might look like.

He is artsy and overly dramatic and stream of consciousness oriented. He has aspects of the seeker church, modern progressive thought and classic protestant liberalism with a touch of 1st century Judaism and Ancient Church fathers thrown in. But his goal is solidly evangelical: reach people for Christ.

The basic argument underlying the story telling is that an obsessive focus on who is in or out - us versus them, saved and going straight to hell, etc. - leads to a gospel of arrogance and harshness that turns anyone that doesn't share our exact theology off. Much like N.T. Wright he calls us to think about God redeeming all creation not just individuals who say or do or think or believe (or some combination) the right things

The irony is that the debate surrounding the book has come down to just that: is Rob Bell in or out? Is he a universalist heretic or not? In a book that pleads with people not to assume we know exactly how the great mystery of the gospel is going to unfold in each and every situation many critics - many, not all - simple want to know whether Bell believes that non-Christians go to hell when they die. Kinda sad if you ask me.

Do I agree wholeheartedly with Bell's theology across the board? No. Do I think there are serious questions raised by a couple of his ideas? Sure. But the overwhelming reaction I had to the book was one of inspiration and deeper thought. Few people I have read challenge you to rethink your ideas and reshape your perspective better than Bell.

That should be worth something.

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Reading Progress

March 15, 2011 – Started Reading
March 15, 2011 – Shelved
March 17, 2011 – Finished Reading

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