There has been lots of controversy surrounding the release of Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Everyone Who Ever Lived.
The vast majority of the controversy has been created by Christians who have not yet even read the book.
My copy has arrived (on my Kindle) and I plan on reading it over the next few days. I will post my thoughts and review when I am done.
But here are a few thoughts about the broader conversation that has been taking place:
1. I am glad Rob wrote the book.
Even if i disagree with some of what he writes (I am sure I will… it is very rare indeed for me to agree with everything written in a book), and even if I find his conclusions offensive (I am confident I won’t), I am glad he wrote the book because we should be talking about these issues more than we do. As Christians, we should not be afraid of questions, dialogue, disagreement or theological diversity. For 2000 years, much of our history has been discussing these very issues. And the Rabinic tradition of debate goes back even further. Somehow we have found ourselves in a place where to even ask the questions is frowned upon. We need to shake ourselves out of that mentality.
2. Of course LOVE WINS.
If you are a Christ-follower, than you know (or at least, believe by faith) that LOVE INDEED WINS — because God is Love. The question is not whether “love wins” but what that looks like.
3. Shared Hope.
It seems to me that all Christians should HOPE that Hell is a lowly populated place… that should be our prayer, hope and faithful expectation. And should motivate us to BE CHURCH in the world today. Too many people in this discussion seem flippant about the notion of hell and who will be there. May God rescue us from — and forgive us for — any sense of flippancy or arrogance when it comes to these eternal questions.
4. Even if he is wrong, he is my brother.
Even if Rob Bell is 100% wrong, he is still my brother and fellow follower of Jesus. Bad theology wouldn’t change that.
5. Of speculation & known truth.
At some level, what happens after we die will always remain speculation and mystery — until that moment that we indeed pass from this life to the next. However, as Christians, this we know to be true this side of Heaven: they will know us by our love for each other. So let’s have this discussion tempered with large doses of grace, love and fellowship.