Subscribe to Christianity Today
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
224 pp., $24.99
N. D. Wilson
Upstairs, hidden in a closet, I have a 2.3 gallon blue plastic penguin with a head that swivels and a beak that blows cold steam (a handy, dandy directional humidifier for those nights when the kids are hacking). I have argued with that penguin for hours, and while I still can't pin it down to a particular point of view, the time spent was helpful preparation for a book like this one.
Still, despite the fog, after 202 pages of brow-furrowing and dog-earing and underlining, there are a number of things that Rob Bell said clearly (or clearly implied). Though I'd be willing to bet my blue penguin that he'd ease back on a few of them in conversation.
Nine things we know about Rob Bell as a result of Love Wins:
- If you've ever heard a Jesus story that made your pulse increase or your stomach churn and made you say or think "I could never be a part of that," then Rob Bell wants to be on your team. You're right, and he's with you (p. viii).
- Eminem might be a Christian. Or not. Not sure. He did wear a cross once in 2010 (pp. 121, 136).
- Gandhi might be in Hell. Or not. No real comment, but the possibility seems distressing (p. 2).
- Bell "raises questions" like some people raise rabbits. Incidentally, those rabbits raise more rabbits and those rabbits look pensive when you ask them things (see Love Wins).
- Many people assume (from television) that Jesus is anti-science or anti-gay. No comment on whether in fact he is (p. 8).
- A woman wrote the book of Hebrews (p. 10).
- Given enough time, every last sinner—dead or alive—might succumb to the love of God and end up in Heaven. Or not (p. 107).
- Jesus is obviously bigger than any one religion (p. 150).
- If you really want your church to be "missional" and "relevant" and "welcoming", but the clever marketing and good music and great coffee aren't working, then something is probably wrong with your God (p. 174).
It is obvious that Bell has spent a great deal of time with a great number of sinners. It is obvious that he cares for them, that ...