I’ve read a couple of Bell’s books and know he loves to challenge Christians thinking. I like to read Christian books which offer a different point of view so I usually enjoy his books. However I have put off reading Love Wins for several years because of the adverse publicity. I came to the book expecting to disagree with most of it. However, while I did disagree with some of Bell’s ideas, there were also some insights I agreed with and appreciated. Other insights I will need to spend more time thinking about and consider other Scriptures before I can form a conclusion.
One of the things I did disagree with was his expectation that his readers wouldn’t be able to give satisfactory answers to his many rhetoric questions, particularly at the start of the book. He took the expected non-answers to propose a different way of looking at heaven and hell. Since I felt that I did have answers to some of the issues he raised, it was an awkward start to the book.
I liked that Bell quoted Abraham in Genesis 18:25, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” We don’t understand all God’s ways but we can trust that God will judge rightly. God knows the opportunities people have had, the influences in their lives and their motivations so we can trust that when it comes to judgment God will be fair and just. The Bible clearly teaches the reality of judgment and separation which Bell acknowledges.
I understand the adverse reaction to Bell’s book but I think it is unfortunate that he had to resign from his church as a result of its publication. I found Bell making suggestions rather that dogmatically pushing his point of view. As a Christian community healthy discussion of different points of view is a good thing. Our faith is well able to stand up to scrutiny and collectively we are more likely to come to a correct consensus.
Overall an interesting read.