Borrowing the words of that great pop-philosopher, Charlie Sheen, Love Wins is a, “Duh, winner!”
Not so fast. Would anybody else second that? Depends on your theological persuasion. Love wins has been reviewed now and the verdict is about the same as before: If you’re interested in Universalism, this book is for you. If you’re interested in Biblical Truth, proceed with great caution.
Tim Challies offers a very helpful review of the new book, helping wade through the ambiguities that are Rob Bell. Here are a couple of the most telling excerpts (but I strongly encourage you to read the review in its entirety):
Bell begins the book with surprising forthrightness: Jesus’ story has been hijacked by a number of different stories that Jesus has no interest in telling. “The plot has been lost, and it’s time to reclaim it.” (Preface, vi)
A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear. (ibid)
You may want to read that again.
It really says that. And it really means what you think it means. Though it takes time for that to become clear.
Turning on 1 Timothy 2 (where Paul states that God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth) Bell reflects on a traditional (orthodox) view of hell and asks:
How great is God?
Great enough to achieve what God sets out to do,
or kind of great,
great most of the time,
but in this,
the fate of billions of people,
not totally great.
sort of great.
a little great.
A God who would allow people to go to hell is not a great God, according to Bell, and the traditional belief that He would is “devastating … psychologically crushing … terrifying and traumatizing and unbearable” (pp. 136-7).
Jesus told his followers to “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV)
These words stand in stark contrast to those of that gnarly rock star, Rob Bell, and one of them is not telling you the truth. You have to determine who you are going to listen to?