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

by Rob Bell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,627559,114 (3.52)19
"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.""--… (more)
  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 19 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
I appreciate that this books caused me to think about a lot of topics in faith I don't always think about. Although Rob Bell probably wanted me to think about topics A, B, and C, I often found myself thinking about topics X, Y, and Z instead. I understand the controversy around Bell, this book, and his beliefs, but I never really felt like he made a clear point about the topic of Universalism. Instead, I was just happy to have him encourage me to think more deeply about how we approach faith, in his personal style (that many of us know from the Nooma video series). ( )
  Tohno | Feb 9, 2022 |
Bell’s book is certainly a quick read, and given his experience as a preacher, the audiobook – featuring his own narration – makes it an entertaining and persuasive read as well. One of his main theses is that any truly loving person is reflecting the Love of Jesus Christ, the Love of God; those who reflect the Love of God are, of course, going to be blessed in heaven. He quotes John 14:6, in which Jesus declares that he alone is “the way, the truth, and the life;” Bell points out that Jesus doesn’t declare in what way people must follow him or that people even have to know that they’re following him (154). Bell never fully admits how unorthodox his ideas like this one are, how much they vary from very crucial pieces of long-taught doctrine. His book comes off not as a launching pad for readers to get out their Bibles and study what they personally believe, as Velvet Elvis did; rather, he plants it all in the readers’ minds as obvious truths, which has obviously brought out vehement reactions. I greatly enjoyed this book, and because of it – and many detailed reviews – I felt forced to get out my Bible and to retrace its messages with a fresh approach. Because of this book, I have been devoting time and – sometimes painful – effort in reexamining my own personal beliefs, whether they are in-line with this evolved, unorthodox message Bell espouses or if the narrower faith of my upbringing can hold the only spiritual truths. Bell repeatedly states the ever-familiar “God is Love,” and he devotes an entire chapter to the concept of “dragging the future into the present,” a wildly attractive way of phrasing the need for believers to love others (1, ?). The ease of this perspective stuck with me most strongly, this idea of making our planet and as perfect as the heaven we hope to reside in one day. Bell speaks of bringing heaven to earth, making our world and our relationships with others more about Love and less about literalism. With a careful dose of self study, Bell’s book brings out plenty of loving, open-armed parts of our orthodox doctrine, and so, Love Wins is truly not all bad. ( )
  revatait | Feb 21, 2021 |
since i've actually read this book i'm entitled to comment - lol. I do however choose not to since i think you should read it yourself and make your own opinion.
( )
  rickycatto | Sep 9, 2020 |
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.uk | Jul 23, 2020 |
This book is problematic. There are concepts in it which go against scripture, but there are concepts which are scriptural as well. If I had read this book a few years earlier, it would have been something I would have wanted to hear. Now, however, while it addresses things that I questioned at one point, it doesn't quite address those same concerns now. It's a great starting point, if you are trying to understand people who have walked away from the church at one point or another, but beyond that, it's simply a jumble of thoughts and conclusions which aren't always fully supported scripturally. ( )
  Booksunknown23 | May 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (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,

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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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"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.""--

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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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