Last night I finished reading Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. I read it in preparation for an outreach I’ll soon be doing through my local church on the topic of heaven and hell. Love Wins is a deeply troubling repudiation of certain aspects of orthodox Christian doctrine by a megachurch pastor who is trying to be relevant to a tolerance-enamored generation. This book is a repackaging of universalism (among other things). For Bell “love wins” means that everyone eventually will be won over by God’s love, whether in this life or the next. Rob Bell still wants to be viewed as an orthodox Christian, and so redefines orthodoxy as a “deep, wide, diverse stream” (ix-x), that is, wide enough to include people with beliefs as divergent as his own. My own apprehensions about this book are so numerous and varied that I struggled whether I should even mention here that I read it. I’ve decided that there is some benefit in simply stating publicly my belief that we should view this book as heterodox. (If you don’t know that word, it’s the opposite of “orthodox”.) But rather than lay out my concerns point-by-point, let me direct you to a thoughtful and careful review of the book by pastor Kevin DeYoung. He highlights almost all of my concerns in his review. Warning: Kevin’s critique is probably a third the length of the book itself, so you’ll need a bit of time to read it!
We’re coming into finals week, so please don’t expect me to respond to all your questions about the book. I simply won’t have time. For those of you who are preparing for final exams, I hope your exams go well!
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4