Love Wins

There’s much to like about Rob Bell’s bestseller Love Wins. It’s short—less than 200 pages of large, often widely spaced print, which would probably be about 100 pages in a more normal font. It’s accessible. There’s no theological jargon that will send you to the bookshelf for a dictionary. It’s often thought provoking and avoids easy answers to questions of ultimate importance. Bell believes salvation is more than just getting a ticket to heaven and that Christians shouldn’t judge who’s going to heaven and who’s going to hell. He also says God’s love and mercy are greater than most of us can imagine. To all of this I say, “Amen.”

On the negative side, I don’t like non-fiction books that hide what they are trying to say. A thesis statement is sorely needed. I strongly suspect Bell is arguing for universalism (the belief that everyone will ultimately be saved), though he never uses that term and never says that’s what he believes. He doesn’t like traditional
Christian doctrine about eternal punishment in hell, yet he acknowledges that
there are passages in the Gospels that teach serious, post-mortem consequences
for unbelievers. In one place he turns hell into a metaphor for bad things that
happen to people on earth. In another, he suggests that hell may be a temporary
place of purification. Still elsewhere, he suggest that hell may be how the
unregenerate experience heaven—it’s painful like a cave-dweller coming into
bright light. So what exactly does Rob Bell believe About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived? After reading the book I still have no idea.

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