I have come to the last chapter of Rob Bells book “Love Wins” where I think he is saying that we urgently need to trust Jesus now. Jesus tells parables about people who didn’t, and they suffered tragic loss. But he is also saying that we have a chance every moment to trust God and he doesn’t seem to be saying that time will ever run out. In fact, he is implying that it may never run out. We will never get the moment back, but there will be another along shortly, and another after that. Somehow the sense of urgency is lost in that but he argues (in subsequent interviews) that the opposite is the case, and as people see that God will never ultimately shut the door on them they want to go through it sooner rather than later. I can kind of see how that could be the case. (It reminds me of Calvinism where its opponents see negative logical outworkings that its supports do not.)
Having finished the book in a few short hours I will put down my thoughts while they are fresh:
1) It was an engaging exciting read. I didn’t get bored for a second!
2) There are some gems in the book like “we end up with a garage full of nouns”.
3) It gave me a good workout and made me think, examine, shape, and defend what I think the bible says.
4) He seems to be asserting possibilities rather than making any strong statements of truth. He says the book is about answering questions but he doesn’t really do so.
5) He blurs to the point of eradicating the end of this life and the start of the next. I think the bible says that the judgment comes when we die (well, when Jesus comes back) and people are separated after this life, but he alludes to a continuous chance to respond, and heaven and hell always being mixed together.
6) The book has got me thinking and I enjoyed interacting with it but it also worried me. It seemed to dull the gospel call to trust in Jesus now and hold onto him as the only certain means of salvation (forgiveness, eternal life, adoption into God’s family, knowing God’s love, gaining an inheritance, ….)
I like listening to and reading Rob Bell. He is an excellent communicator and makes me think about stuff. The Numa videos were really engaging, I shamelessly copied and developed the white board style of presentation in “Everything is Spiritual” and I am currently enjoying his talks on preaching (link). His latest book was no exception to all this in that it was set out clearly and provoked me to much thought. On the whole though, while it contained many excellent points, on a first read through at least, it seemed to me that a reader was more likely to be put off the scent of biblical truth rather than pointed towards it.
Well, that’s it. I hope I have not been too negative and what I have said is constructive in some way. I have tried to be as tentative as possible in my response knowing that this is only my first read through the book. I would love to know if I have misread it at any stage. I kind of hope I have.
Other great reviews of the book: