Now that the advanced copies of the book have been sent out, people have had opportunity to read it and reflect.
Kevin DeYoung has thoughtfully analyzed Rob Bell’s Love Wins and published his observations and concerns in a compelling review. DeYoung’s opening paragraph offers a summary of Bell’s premise:
Love Wins, by mega-church pastor Rob Bell, is, as the subtitle suggests, “a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.” Here’s the gist: Hell is what we create for ourselves when we reject God’s love. Hell is both a present reality for those who resist God and a future reality for those who die unready for God’s love. Hell is what we make of heaven when we cannot accept the good news of God’s forgiveness and mercy. But hell is not forever. God will have his way. How can his good purposes fail? Every sinner will turn to God and realize he has already been reconciled to God, in this life or in the next. There will be no eternal conscious torment. God says no to injustice in the age to come, but he does not pour out wrath (we bring the temporary suffering upon ourselves), and he certainly does not punish for eternity. In the end, love wins.
I am not sure what the allure of Bell’s thesis is. Oh, I understand why it appeals to some who are not Christians. What perplexes me is why some – maybe many – who consider themselves Christ followers are intrigued with this notion of Universalism that has been debunked repeatedly by every expression of Christ’s Church for nearly 1500 years. Could it be that we, in our feigned wisdom, imagine we might out-do God in compassion?
It is unusual for me to publish critical posts, and very unusual for me to harp on a trendy issue through repeated posts. But I do so because I see the intrigue this book has stirred, even among some I know. As a pastor I would urge folks not to even bother reading it. There are so many great things out there to feed our minds and our souls, why should we choose warmed over heresy? What spiritual benefit do you imagine you might gain?
But should you be among those who succumb to the temptation… please also read DeYoung’s review.
NOTE: This review is also available in .pdf.
Click: God is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School is Still True
4 thoughts on “Love Wins… Does Anyone Lose – Part 2”
You know Dennis. There is a real danger in not knowing your enemy. Weather it comes in sheep clothing or not, in a book or otherwise.
Your duty to advise and council as part of being Pastor. I totally get that. I’d Probably do the same in your position.
Part of our responsibility is to engage not only the world’s culture but to search the Scripture to know what and why we believe what we believe. To be able to defend when it’s required and understand those who think differently.
I’m not afraid of Mr. Bell nor his book or what he believes. I disagree a bit with you on this one. In that it’s important for Christians to know for themselves, understand, and give a reason for their faith. What others write, especially those with a voice as large as Bell’s, weather he’s leading people astray with false doctrin or otherwise we should know the position and be able to say or understand the right and wrong of it.
How do you do that unless you read the book ?
I understand and appreciate your perspective. Certainly there are times when it is appropriate to explore false and novel teaching. But I would ask: where one should draw the line?
There is no limit to False Teaching… And we all have limited time… How much of that time should be devoted to study of false teaching in order to debunk, when it could be invested in sound teaching… How much do we focus on what Christians do not believe as opposed to growing in what we do, or should, believe? And should every professing Christian endeavor to tackle false teaching, or is there a danger that some, thinking they are more mature than they really are, will be seduced by false teaching?
I am not afraid of Bell either. But that is not my point. The fact that I don’t plan to read his book is not because of fear, but because there is no value in it. While Bell may be pithy, he offers nothing that has not been refuted for 1500 years.
It seems to me that the Scripture instructs us in many places how to deal with such issues. Philippians 4.8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Jude spends his letter warning about false teachers, not to encourage Believers to check it out, but to beware…
I understand the point. I must agree as well.
In general however, many times we as the evanglical community are known for what we don’t like, and disagree with or on, rather than what we are for. I think thats sad in so many ways.
I guess before I can make the assessment on Bell’s book I need to read the black and white of it.
That doesn’t mean I don’t agree with what you said. As I do. There are many authors, doctrins, and things people do or believe and promote in the name of our Savior that just come from the pit and should by all means be avoided.
This issue however (for me) represents a growing number of young people who are taken in and hang on the “rock star” image Bell has and as such really knowing what he says is important to address this part of our culture. To be informed if you will. For that matter it is interesting to me as well.
I’ll let you know his position and or if he has anything good to say too.
By the way, very weird picture ! You come up with some interesting art and photos. I assume you must like the post modern art & abstract.
I do as well – at least some of it. Some is a bit scary to me and others juts weird. This ones seems weird but it’s the weirdness that makes it interesting. Appropriate for a discussion on Bell I guess….