Todd Miles'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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did not like it
bookshelves: theology, eschatology, soteriology

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 and/or disingenuous at worst. To claim that his ideas/questions have enjoyed any kind of support by the orthodox Christian Church is simply not true. His appeal to Luther was a criminal case of ignoring the context of a statement.
3. His work on Matthew 25:46 is horrific. To suggest that eternal punishment is a limited time of pruning is absurd. The bad thing is: He knows better.
4. I know that he denies being a universalist and I need not accuse him of being one. I will say that you can find ALL of his arguments in Christian universalist literature. Further, to hide behind a defense of “I’m just asking questions” is illegitimate. After all, Luther was just asking questions. (Marc Cortez, my colleague and faculty Dean at Western Seminary pointed this out.)
5. The authors of Scripture and Jesus were not troubled by the concept and reality of Hell. Perhaps in our modern sensibilities (hardly an effective guide) questions arise, but the doctrine of hell solved problems for the writers of Scripture. Bell’s talk of personal private hells does not do justice to the biblical teaching of a future reality, the sinfulness of sin, the holiness of God, nor does it answer some of the most common questions of suffering, like “Why do the righteous suffer?” “Why do the wicked prosper?” I know that it is popular to deny the importance of the afterlife (Bell being exhibit A), but such denials fly in the face of the biblical storyline and teaching.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 23, 2011 – Shelved
April 23, 2011 – Shelved as: theology
April 23, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 9, 2011 – Shelved as: eschatology
July 9, 2011 – Shelved as: soteriology

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Olga What would happen if you stopped believing in people going to hell because they did not believe in or say or do an exact thing a certain church says that they should? There gotta be a certain personal motivation for you to be passionate about the topic, I assume. What is it? Love for other humans? Adherence to your doctrine? The need to be safe from going to hell and thus believing that you are right and that's why you are not going to hell and others have to be wrong and will go to hell? I hope I do not come across as being disrespectful of your beliefs. I am just very curious about the inner workings of people's beliefs. A belief should ring true with you and I just wonder why it does. If you deem this line of discussion inappropriate for thus site, please let me know and I will delete my comment.

message 2: by Todd (new) - rated it 1 star

Todd Miles Hello Olga,
I am sorry that it took so long for me to respond and I do not think your comments to be inappropriate. Not talking about this would be inappropriate, it seems. I'm not sure that I would classify myself as being passionate about hell. I am passionate about the Lord, revealed in the person of Jesus Christ and the Bible. And when he speaks, I think that we should listen. And when we listen, we should try to understand what he is saying, not what we wish that he would say. In the end, conjuring up positive feelings toward others and choosing not to believe in hell is really not going to help anybody, if the God revealed in the Bible and in Jesus Christ is who he says he is and if he is going to do what he says he is going to do. We had best listen and then respond appropriately.
The doctrine of hell does ring true to me though. The God who created us is holy and perfect in all that he is and does. He is also loving, just, kind, merciful, and righteous. I have seen the depths of my own sin and am convinced that I cannot stand before this God apart from a mediator.
But more than that, the doctrine of hell rings true when I consider what it cost the Lord to save us from that fate. It seems to me that when we look at the wonder and horror of the cross of Jesus Christ, hell makes sense.
Some brief thoughts.

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