New Read: Love Wins

As a practicing Christian, I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and I am very lucky that my church has it’s own book club to help me with this. In April, we read The Death of Western Christianity by Patrick Sookhdeo, although I was unable to make the club’s meeting to discuss it, it was still an important read for me. Next up to read was Love Wins by megachurch pastor Rob Bell.

In Love Wins, Bell ambitiously addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith: hell and the afterlife. In doing so he challenges many long-held beliefs and tries to answer some big, troubling questions, which have long troubled millions of Christians – troubled so deeply that in many cases they have lost their faith. For example, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever? I would say no and so does Bell, who with searing insight, puts hell on trial with the hopeful message of eternal life doesn’t start when we die, it starts right now and that ultimately, love wins.

Bell, as an author, pastor, and innovative teacher, uses his considerable bible knowledge and charisma to present his distinctive thoughts on heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. Personally, while I didn’t agree with everything, I did find Bell’s arguments refreshing and thought-provoking, but I could also see how his ideas have courted controversy in more orthodox Christian quarters. In particular, his thoughts on no fiery pit of hell or heaven in the clouds, and instead we can start building heaven right here on Earth and there are people living in hells of their own making right now, rang very true to me.

There were other ideas that I found difficult to get my head around completely. Now the reason for this was two-fold: 1. Bell is offering up some pretty big, radical ideas, but also 2. the style Bell uses isn’t always the easiest follow. In his passion, he loses himself in longer, racing sweeps of detail, which gives us swathes of ideas and evidence to process. While – in stark contrast – he also uses bullet point style lists of short, sharp words and phrases, which hit home his key ideas. Both are great techniques if you are on board and keeping up with him, sometimes though I got a little lost in it all and found I needed to go back and re-read sections.

Overall, I thought Love Wins was an in-depth, insightful examination of some of the more challenging aspects of the Christian faith. Many of Bell’s ideas chimed with my own inklings and others really got me thinking! My group will be meeting later this month and I think this is shaping up to be a very interesting discussion. Good read.

Have you read this? Have you read anything else by Rob Bell?

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8 thoughts on “New Read: Love Wins

  1. I haven’t read this, but I did read “Sex God” which I thought he was acting as if it was a radical thoughts when they were often things I felt academics had been discussing for years. I don’t know if I’ll get around to this book of his.

    1. Hello Jeff, thank you for stopping by and commenting – it always great to hear from a new face 🙂 I’ve not heard of Sex God, but sorry to hear it didn’t offer anything new for you.

  2. I really enjoy seeing what you’re reading for your church book club and many of the books you share make it to my TBR pile. (I’m currently reading the Sookhdeo book) The subject matter of this one sounds very interesting, though I’m not enthusiastic about the writing style you describe. Perhaps I’ll just add it to the wish list for now. Like you, I enjoy reading others’ thoughts and ideas, even if I don’t always agree with them.

    1. Kelly, I am so pleased that you are vicariously picking up books through me from my church’s book club 🙂 To be fair I agreed with a fair bit of Bell’s thoughts and ideas, so if you pick it up I hope you find it thought-provoking too, even with the pesky writing style 😛 I also hope you are finding Sookhdeo’s book a worthwhile read.

  3. I think this book will make for a full ranging discussion. I was raised by parents and ministers who also taught that the world we create in life matters. I suppose it was a combination of faith plus deeds and I still look at things that way.

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