Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Critique of Bell's Love Wins

I know I'm a little late to the game in reading the book and posting my thoughts. The firestorm that this book created a couple of months ago seems to have died down a little bit.

I thought about posting my thoughts during all the hoopla back in March and April. I had read a few reviews of the book and seen a couple of interviews Rob Bell did, and felt like I should respond like every other Christian seemed to be doing. I'm glad I waited. For one, now I've actually read the book and can comment on the primary source. I also think my thoughts now are much less emotionally charged then they would have been.

I'm not going to give a thorough review. If you want that, Kevin DeYoung has a good (but lengthy) review here. Here are a few of my thoughts:
  1. Bell presents God as only loving. There was no talk of God's holiness or justice.
  2. He makes a caricature of God's anger, completely dismissing the biblical idea of God's anger towards sin.
  3. He suggests (though never explicitly) that all people will eventually spend all eternity with God in heaven. This goes against biblical teaching and the understanding of salvation throughout the entire history of the church.
  4. The one positive aspect of the book is how Bell points out that God is more loving that we tend to believe, and there is a wideness in God's mercy that we should be excited about.
Ultimately, I believe this book will do more harm than good. It moves away from a God-centered view of reality to a more man-centered perspective. It makes our sin of rejecting God on a daily basis to look like it's no big deal. And finally, it seems to move away from sound doctrine to teaching that itching ears want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3).

By the way, here's the The Love Wins trailer that started all the commotion back in February. And here's Bell's interview with Martin Bashir that is really interesting.

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