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Love Wins : A Book About Heaven, Hell, and…
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Love Wins : A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who… (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Rob Bell

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959429,040 (3.54)14
Member:sjmccreary
Title:Love Wins : A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
Authors:Rob Bell
Info:New York, NY : HarperOne, [2011], ©2011.
Collections:Wishlist
Rating:
Tags:RidgewayGirl, nonfiction, Christianity, @ 234

Work details

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell (2011)

  1. 10
    The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity by Brian D. McLaren (StephenBarkley)
    StephenBarkley: Both books both explore views of Heaven and Hell from an emerging church perspective.
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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
There are obviously two versions of Rob Bell's Love Wins book that are available. The one in which he is a universalist and the one in which he isn't.

The furorer started with Justin Taylor's post about Bell's promotional video. Piper responded with a tweet: "Farewell Rob Bell". What he meant by that is anybody's guess -- farewell from Christianity, from evangelicalism, from new calvinism, from Zondervan (the book was Bell's first from Harper Collins)? I don't know about love winning but the publicity certainly meant that the publishers won!

Why the fear? What is wrong with posing questions? I don't agree with all Bell's answers, but the questions he raises are important and need to be addressed.

How biblical is the so-called 'traditional' view of hell? Many evangelicals have taken different views on this topic - does that stop them being evangelicals or even Christian? Why the concern over boundaries - who is and who isn't an evangelical? Since when has a correct view of hell been an indicator of whether one is 'in' or 'out'? Since when has a literal reading of the Bible been an indicator of whether one is an evangelical or not?

There are many types of universalism - some may have some biblical warrant others clearly do not. Likewise, there are many views of hell - some may have biblical warrant others don't.

Here's my rough draft of a range of views:

1. Hell as a place of eternal torment/ punishment (either mental or physical or both)

2. Hell as a place of separation from God

3. Annihilation

3.1 Conditional immortality
3.1.1 Those in Christ are resurrected the rest are annihilated
3.1.2 All are resurrected – then face judgment those not in Christ are then annihilated
3.2 All are created immortal after the resurrection the unbelievers are punished and then annihilated.

4. Purgatorial view

4.1 Hell as a place of discipline
4.2 Hell as the opportunity for post-mortem decision

5. Inclusivism – some may be saved - even if they have not heard of Jesus - based on the revelation they have received

6. Universalism

6.1 Christian universalism: all will be saved through what Christ has done
6.2 Pluralistic universalism: all will be saved – no matter what


Bell seems to hold to a version of 6.1; for example:

What Jesus does is declare that he,
and he alone
is saving everybody (p. 155)

but and it’s a big but with a form of 4.2. But it seems that human free will trumps all that God has done:

God gives us what we want, and if that's hell, we can have it.
We have that kind of freedom, that kind of choice. We are that free. (p. 72)


and

And that's what we find in Jesus's teaching about hell - a volatile mixture of images, pictures, and metaphors that describe the very real experiences and consequences of rejecting out God-given goodness and humanity. Something we are free to do, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. (p. 73)


Bell is then no universalist - we have the freedom to reject what God has done.
On the other hand he seems to be arguing as follows:


1. God is sovereign and in control of all things
2. God wants all to be saved
3. Therefore, all will be saved.


If 1 and 2 are true then 3 must follow. However, Bell seems to want to add

4. Unless we want to reject the offer of salvation


Bell is obviously questioning evangelical shibboleths- he is an iconoclast, and doesn't mind whose toes he steps on - more power to him!

The focus of the criticism has been on Bell's view of hell. This misses some of the excellent points he makes, particularly in chapter 2. This is a brilliant chapter: for example this extract:

Honest business
redemptive art
honorable law
sustainable living,
medicine,
education,making a home,
tending a garden --
they're all sacred tasks to be done in partnership with God now, because they will all go on in the age to come.
(p. 47)


Ultimately, Bell's message is that free will is sovereign: we get what we want. ( )
  stevebishop | Apr 2, 2016 |
The author reads (and in some places ad libs) and makes this a very interesting book. Very well written and conversationally argued. ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
Essentially, this book asks a lot of questions - ones which some Christians may see as over-challenging or controversial. The writing style is in short sentences, inviting readers to start thinking about God, about the Bible, and about their beliefs. We all have preconceived ideas - those we have been taught, those we have assumed, and Rob Bell does an excellent job of getting back to first principles, of asking who this God is whom we worship, and what the Bible means by love, by redemption, and by Heaven and Hell.

I found it very readable and thought-provoking. It doesn't give a lot of answers, and those it gives are left open to the reader to consider, and perhaps answer differently. The main focus which I thought very positive was of the importance of how we live, and how we grow in relationship with God and each other, and how we continually need to question our assumptions - the 'stories', as he puts it, which we tell ourselves, or perhaps which other people have told us.

While this book is surprisingly controversial, and has many critics, I thought it a helpful overview of what many Christians believe, and would recommend it to anyone, particularly those who have been hurt or damaged by images of a slave-driving or vengeful God, or indeed by well-meaning Christians who don't really answer genuine questions. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Rob Bell knows how to dump lots of stuff in the pot called "bad" and stir it up so you can't tell what it was before he threw it in. And he adds so many items that one forgets what exactly was put in there, but there is a vague sense that it was something you liked, and therefore it's part of the bad pot now so it must be jettisoned, but he never actually says that. Which is part of the problem; he rarely says anything substantive. He asks lots of questions that seem to require a certain answer, but do they? He seems to believe in a purgatory-like existence, where one can decide after death that he chooses God, but does he?

He is also keenly aware of the biblically illiterate nature of many American Christians, and so he can twist Scripture; take things out of context; say he is giving the whole story, when he is not; mistranslate passages (and like in the case of Matt 25, get the Greek completely wrong and then make up a definition for a Greek word) and then use those mistranslations as the basis for a major point; conveniently leave out passages that speak against what he is saying; and hope that many won't take the time to actually look up and check the rapid fire Scriptures that he throws.

He also likes telling stories—stories that he then implies are the only legitimate ones, stories that, in fact, only tell one side of the story.

Ultimately, this is one gigantic, controversial-laden punt. Bell doesn't answer the questions he poses, but instead condemns lots of Christian belief while touting a non-condemning God. Ironic, it seems. So, is he a universalist? Many will read this in a cursory fashion and proclaim, "YES!" Sadly, however, Bell never answers that question. Does love ultimately win? I don't know what Bell means by that phrase, but I do know that Bell has won in his marketing strategy to sell a book that really doesn't answer the question about the fate of every soul who ever lived (the subtitle of the book). Can I get my money back for false advertising? ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
Rob Bell knows how to dump lots of stuff in the pot called "bad" and stir it up so you can't tell what it was before he threw it in. And he adds so many items that one forgets what exactly was put in there, but there is a vague sense that it was something you liked, and therefore it's part of the bad pot now so it must be jettisoned, but he never actually says that. Which is part of the problem; he rarely says anything substantive. He asks lots of questions that seem to require a certain answer, but do they? He seems to believe in a purgatory-like existence, where one can decide after death that he chooses God, but does he?

He is also keenly aware of the biblically illiterate nature of many American Christians, and so he can twist Scripture; take things out of context; say he is giving the whole story, when he is not; mistranslate passages (and like in the case of Matt 25, get the Greek completely wrong and then make up a definition for a Greek word) and then use those mistranslations as the basis for a major point; conveniently leave out passages that speak against what he is saying; and hope that many won't take the time to actually look up and check the rapid fire Scriptures that he throws.

He also likes telling stories—stories that he then implies are the only legitimate ones, stories that, in fact, only tell one side of the story.

Ultimately, this is one gigantic, controversial-laden punt. Bell doesn't answer the questions he poses, but instead condemns lots of Christian belief while touting a non-condemning God. Ironic, it seems. So, is he a universalist? Many will read this in a cursory fashion and proclaim, "YES!" Sadly, however, Bell never answers that question. Does love ultimately win? I don't know what Bell means by that phrase, but I do know that Bell has won in his marketing strategy to sell a book that really doesn't answer the question about the fate of every soul who ever lived (the subtitle of the book). Can I get my money back for false advertising? ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Rob Bell is a heretic.
And so are you.
But that's the good news...The book, which will be released by Harper One on Tuesday, drew the ire of critics (many of whom had not yet read it) last week, lighting up the Twitterverse and the blogosphere with condemnations of Bell and his theology.

They called him a Universalist. A wolf in sheep's clothing. A false prophet. A radical. Dangerous.

And more than a few have labeled Bell, one of the most influential voices in evangelical Christianity today, a heretic.

 
Rob Bell's Bridge Too Far
The controversial pastor raises crucial questions, but offers answers that may sabotage his goals.....After reading the book, it's hard for me to believe that Bell doesn't espouse universalism, but to be fair, he never formally affirms such belief. And in later passages, he does allude to hellish consequences for unbelief. In the end, he says he is raising the issue only to show that we "must leave plenty of room" for that possibility.

Perhaps, but in raising such momentous issues, he has raised crucial questions that also must be asked. If universal salvation is true, why does Jesus not showcase it? Why is Jesus' teaching characterized instead by a relentless focus on the last judgment?
 
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To begin with,

a bit about this book

First, I believe that Jesus' story is first and foremost about the love of God for every single one of us.  It is a stunning, beautiful, expansive love, and it is for everybody, everywhere.
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Millions of us --What about the flat tire? --Here is the new there --Hell --Does God get what God wants? --Dying to live --There are rocks everywhere --The good news is better than that --The end is here.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006204964X, Hardcover)

Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God's love and God's judgment: Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell? Is this acceptable to God? How is this "good news?"

Troubling questions--so troubling that many have lost their faith because of them. Others only whisper the questions to themselves, fearing or being taught that they might lose their faith and their church if they ask them out loud.

But what if these questions trouble us for good reason? What if the story of heaven and hell we have been taught is not, in fact, what the Bible teaches? What if what Jesus meant by "heaven," "hell," and salvation" are very different from how we have come to understand them?

What if it is God who wants us to face these questions?

Author, pastor, and innovative teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the "good news" is much, much better than we ever imagined.

Love wins.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Bestselling author of Velvet Elvis and the 2 million-plus selling Nooma videos, Rob Bell, reveals a secret deep in the heart of millions of Christians-they don't believe what they have been taught are the essential truths of their faith. Out of respect for their tradition, they keep quiet, confiding to a few close friends their doubts and questions about salvation, Jesus, and, of course, God. Is Jesus really the only way into heaven? Is God "good" if he is planning on sending billions of people to eternal torment in hell? Are Christians the only ones who have it "right," and everyone else is just deceived? Bell brings out to the open and faces squarely the questions on everyone's mind: Does it really make sense that God is a loving, kind, compassionate God who wants to know people in a personal way, but if they reject this relationship with Jesus, they will be sent to hell where God will eternally punish them forever? In LOVE WINS, Bell goes to the heart of these issues and argues that the church's traditional understanding of heaven and hell is actually not taught by the Bible. Bell is emphatically not offering a new view of heaven and hell-instead, he closely examines every verse in the Bible on heaven and hell and shows what they really teach. And he discovers that Jesus's most fundamental teaching about heaven and hell is, "Love wins.""--Provided by publisher.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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