Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rob Bell's Love Wins

There are a plethora of good reviews on this book available. I highly recommend Ben Witherington’s reviews here. He’s da bomb when it comes to things like this. However, some of you wanted to know my thoughts on this book and so here they are (part 1 of 2).

I enjoyed reading and thinking about Love Wins by Rob Bell. There’s been so much controversy (I’m sure more is to come too!) swirling around this book that I felt a little naughty just carrying it around. I enjoyed it for several reasons. First, it left the impression on me that God has done something really big in our world through Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead. This was one of the big positives going for this book. Do we truly understand the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection? Individual salvation through Christ is just the beginning of what God has done through Christ for us. There is so much more! Anyways, Rob sees and presents the big picture of what God has done through Christ and it’s great to be reminded of that every once in awhile. Christus Victor!

Second reason I enjoyed reading this book is that it’s good every so often to read a book you may disagree with. I don’t do this nearly as much as I should. If you’ve ever found yourself in a debate, you know that such a challenging time can help solidify and develop your beliefs more fully. You have to really think about what you believe and lay it on the line. If you’re challenged on it, you have to think of why you were challenged on it and why such a challenge is even a challenge in the first place and how to combat such challenges. Jail ministry has really helped develop my faith and solidify what I believe for just such reasons. Those we visit in jail aren’t afraid to ask tough questions that might normally seem off limits in a Sunday School class. That has forced me to be ready in season and out of season to explain what I believe using more than just my personal experiences.

This book has caused me to think about and examine what I really believe about heaven, hell, and the afterlife. Reading it is helping me fully develop and build a foundation for my thoughts about end things (eschatology is the big theological word for this). Another good thing about reading a book like this (a friend just reminded me of this in a recent discussion) is that you find yourself searching and studying the scriptures. So, find a book you know you won’t agree every once in awhile and read it. It will bring growth to your life.

Next week I'll discuss some problems in this book.

1 comment:

Ron Krumpos said...

Which Afterlife?

In his new book "Love Wins" Rob Bell seems to say that loving and compassionate people, regardless of their faith, will not be condemned to eternal hell just because they do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Concepts of an afterlife vary between religions and among divisions of each faith. Here are three quotes from "the greatest achievement in life," my ebook on comparative mysticism:

(46) Few people have been so good that they have earned eternal paradise; fewer want to go to a place where they must receive punishments for their sins. Those who do believe in resurrection of their body hope that it will be not be in its final form. Few people really want to continue to be born again and live more human lives; fewer want to be reborn in a non-human form. If you are not quite certain you want to seek divine union, consider the alternatives.

(59) Mysticism is the great quest for the ultimate ground of existence, the absolute nature of being itself. True mystics transcend apparent manifestations of the theatrical production called “this life.” Theirs is not simply a search for meaning, but discovery of what is, i.e. the Real underlying the seeming realities. Their objective is not heaven, gardens, paradise, or other celestial places. It is not being where the divine lives, but to be what the divine essence is here and now.

(80) [referring to many non-mystics] Depending on their religious convictions, or personal beliefs, they may be born again to seek elusive perfection, go to a purgatory to work out their sins or, perhaps, pass on into oblivion. Lives are different; why not afterlives? Beliefs might become true.

Rob Bell asks us to reexamine the Christian Gospel. People of all faiths should look beyond the letter of their sacred scriptures to their spiritual message. As one of my mentors wrote "In God we all meet."