By: Rob Bell
Harper Collins, 2011
Review By: Mike Meiser
I reluctantly write this review because of the vast amount of blogging, articles, and interviews that have already been posted and published about this polarizing book. For those of you who do not know, Rob Bell, a pastor of Mars Hill Church in Michigan, recently released a book entitled Love Wins. This book has created a firestorm of controversy and conversation that has engulfed the evangelical Christian world.
There is a lot of confusion about some of the ideas that Bell holds in his book. Many people have come into our store and asked me, “What do you think about this book? Does Rob Bell really say….?” I want to use this space to quickly inform folks as to some of the controversial points of this book and offer some of my thoughts about that content.
*Bell does not believe in a literal place called Hell.
*Bell does not support the view that individuals will suffer eternal punishment.
*Bell does support a universalist perspective that all people will eventually be saved.
I think this book receives a lot more attention than it really deserves. As the writer of Ecclesiastes states, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The universalist position that all people will eventually be saved can be dated back to one of the Church fathers, Origen. However, this perspective was soon recognized to fall more in line with Platonic philosophy than Biblical Christianity. It was condemned as heresy in A.D. 553 at the Council of Constantinople. This theological perspective did not regain any sort of steam until later during the Reformation by some of the more radical reformers. It was soon condemned again in Chapter 17 of the Augsburg Confession. We find that as quickly as this position sprouts up in the Church, it is just as rapidly vanquished; and for good reason.
I want to make it clear that I long for all men and women to experience eternal life in the Kingdom of God, but it would be Biblically insensitive of me to affirm the position that Rob Bell holds in his book. Bell wants us to believe that if all people are not saved in the end, God is impotent. This is a gross misrepresentation of God and His will for humanity given in Scripture. The Bible does say that God desires all people to come unto repentance, but it also says that God will judge some to eternal punishment. This antinomy of Scripture is not a comfortable place to dwell, but I believe it is the Biblical and right place that we must stand.
I thought it might be helpful to our readers to provide a list of some popular reviews, blogs, and videos concerning this book. If you are interested in viewing some of these, here are some to look at that will be enlightening and offer you similar critiques of the book.
Let me know what you guys think of this book in the comments. Is it dangerous, misunderstood, helpful, or simply over-hyped?