pastor Rob Bell’s latest book is Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, And The Fate Of Every Person Who Ever Lived. it’s garnering a lot of heat, attention, and criticism. search the internet and you’ll read posts on blogs, articles on websites, and comments from all kinds of people either slamming the book as heresy or claiming it’s merely misunderstood and has been misrepresented.
i would fall into the second category.
i think folks started to get hot as soon as they read the cover. i think a lot of folks made up their minds about the book as soon as they saw the words of the subtitle. why?
what is our strange attachment to a particular set of beliefs and statements about a topic? are we afraid to learn something new or different? are we afraid to be corrected?
Bell wrote the book “for all those, everywhere, who have heard some version of the Jesus story that caused their pulse rate to rise, their stomach to churn, and their heart to utter those resolute words ‘I would never be a part of that.'” he also wrote the book “because the kind of faith Jesus invites us into doesn’t skirt the big questions about topics like God and Jesus and salvation and judgment and heaven and hell, but takes us deep into the heart of them.” (Love Wins, viii-ix).
Jesus was never afraid to answer and ask questions. why are we?
several denominations and theological frameworks will take issue with what they perceive Bell is stating. read his book again. is he saying what you think he’s saying? or, are you guilty of eisegesis? are you reading your theological paradigm, or the lack of your theological paradigm, into Bell’s text?
i think Love Wins is wonderful.
the stories and comments are thoughtful. the engagement with Scripture is great. the commentary is practical and meaningful.
it’s well-written. Bell’s style is very engaging, easy to follow, and easy to understand.
the questions he asks are important. let’s ask these questions of ourselves and our traditions. let’s look at the responses and analyze the answers.
Bell talks about hell. he talks about heaven. he talks about the salvific work of Jesus Christ. he talks about God and God’s love. he does not deny the existence of hell, he merely highlights the fact that there’s hell on earth as well. there’s heaven too.
i’m not about to claim my understanding of God and the shcool of theology i identify with is the theological framework and understanding of the Bible out there. it’s sad when we Christians are this arrogant. we are creation trying to understand our Creator. it’s almost like this blog post trying to understand me.
please read this book. you don’t have to like it. you don’t have to agree with it. but you do have to read it if you want to make comments about it.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accpeting it.” (Aristotle)
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)