Love Wins and So Does Rob Bell

I, for one, have been greatly enjoying the back and forth on the Internet lately on Rob Bell‘s new book, Love Wins. Well, perhaps, ‘enjoying’ is not really the right word. I think it is terrible that people react to rumors and speculation by condemning a respected leader but, I suppose, that is nothing new.

I think that Jimmy Spencer’s recent article is spot on. He says we are, “witnessing something big right now… a new split in Protestant Evangelicalism.” This split will be over the basic tenants of bringing the Kingdom of God to the people of the world. Is it about serving or about warning? If you haven’t yet seen Rob’s NYC interview from the 14th you really should. At the 45 minute mark Rob talks about serving and he comments, “Ultimately, at the heart of the Christian faith is this Jesus who keeps talking about being a servant… not here’s how you get everyone else to think and do things like you…”

This is one of several threads that run through Love Wins. Each of those threads are controversial but none of them are new. Even if you read history books of the early Christian Church you will find these themes discussed. The main difference is that those arguments were often won by the sword and, as much as they may want to, the sword is not an acceptable debate tool in the 21st century world. I couldn’t help but wonder when, on page 183, Rob makes the following point, “We see this destructive shaping alive and well in the toxic, venomous nature of certain discussions and debates on the Internet. For some, the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame, and slander others who don’t articulate matters of faith as they do.” It is almost as if he foresaw the hot discussions swirling around the blogosphere in the two weeks between the promotional video release and the swiftly advanced book release date.

Does Love Wins go against orthodoxy? If you subscribe to the hardline conservative American gospel it does, absolutely. Other orthodoxies less so to varying degrees. Ron Martoia recently blogged about Rob’s book and wrote, “is there such a thing as THE orthodox position? And if we think there is just who said so?” There are obviously differing views on how to spread the good news of Jesus to the world and Bell addresses this multiple times throughout Love Wins: “Often the people most concerned about others going to hell when they die seem less concerned with the hells on earth right now, while the people most concerned with the hells on earth right now seem the least concerned about hell after death.”

For me, though, the biggest chapters are six and seven. Again, like Rob and others have said many times, there is nothing new in these two chapters. That said, Rob is a master wordsmith and there are few writing about God who can say these things as well as Rob Bell. I won’t be sharing the precise statements that I think were huge for me. Partially because I don’t want to skew your own reading and partly because I don’t want to spoil the surprise that is the end of this book.

If you haven’t yet, get a copy of Love Wins and start reading. It is not a long read but it is very good.

Love Wins

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3 Comments on “Love Wins and So Does Rob Bell”

  1. irmbrown Says:

    Well said. thanks.

  2. Ben Barnes Says:

    I agree… Throwing feces doesn’t get anybody anywhere. Bell is gifted. His words may be very weighted and seem extremely foreign to some (or most,) but I think a grain of salt goes well with the book. I don’t stand behind every word. But he raises points that have made me think. And we should all think… I think.

  3. […] is a calculated response to Love Wins, a controversial book released by Rob Bell in early 2011 (my review). Erasing Hell has a lot of quotes from Love Wins and draws attention to Rob Bell and another of […]

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