Reviewing Rob Bell's Love Wins

Rarely has a book created so much controversy and discussion in the blogsphere as Pastor Rob Bell's recently published book "Love Wins".  Rob Bell is the lead pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapid, MI and a creative and provocative communicator.  He produced the Nooma video series as well as very successful books such as "Velvet Elvis" and "Sex God".  While his writing style is very provocative, his content has been squarely within the framework of what most would consider evangelical Christianity.

Interestingly, it is those, particularly within the Reformed traditions of the evangelical church who have been the most outspoken against this book and against Rob Bell personally.  Reformed theologian John Piper, after reading an excerpt from the book, went as far as to put on his twitter account a simple message: Good bye Rob Bell.

After reading the book, I would highly recommend reading it.  While I do not want to be the spoiler, I do want to give a quick synopsis and why I so enthusiastically endorse reading this book.

The book looks at the question of what is meant Biblically by eternal life, heaven, and hell.  Pastor Bell does an incredible job of trying to separate what is in the Bible, from what is in fact mythic and tradition.  It is precisely because he has a high regard for scripture, that he challenges his readers to accept what is said, and to have the freedom to reject that which is speculative regarding these life and death issues.  His greatest point is to demonstrate that in the scriptural revelation we know as the Bible, eventually love wins.  That's so refreshing, so exhilirating, so wonderful to consider, that it literally overwhelms the other concerns.

A couple of considerations if you read this book:

1. Pastor Bell takes a critical look at the Biblical basis of Hell.  His concept of Hell is based upon our responses to the Love of God.  Some theologians feel that this gives too much influence to the role of free will. He takes on the age old question of what does the Bible say about people and places where there is no exposure to Jesus or his message. The arguements are balanced and provocative. I would suggest that you read and wrestle with this yourself.

2. Pastor Bell challenges his readers towards embracing mystery.  He does a great job of pointing out that there are real gaps in our knowledge regarding eternity.  He emphasizes that which is known, and the trust of God to accept what remains mysterious.

3. Overall, Pastor Bell challenges his readers to have a greater confidence in the Character of God, as revealed through Jesus.  "The God that Jesus teaches does not give up until everything lost is found" and "In the Bible, God is not helpless, God is not powerless, God is not impotent".  Again, God is described with power and compassion.

You may find that you disagree with some of his interpretation of scriptures and some of the points that you will read.  I believe that this is the genius of the book.  It forces you to reconsider what you believe about and even more insidiously asks you to reconsider why you believe what you believe.

Its conclusion however, is the undisputable message of the ages: The in the end, Love wins.  Check out "Love wins" at your local library or consider ording online.

God bless you,

Pastor M Traylor