Oh how I have debated doing this review. Unlike most of my posts, I didn’t receive this book to review for a publisher. This was one I chose to purchase and review on my own. After posting a quote or two on twitter, I had several people ask me to let them know what I thought when I finished it. So I guess this is my best attempt at doing that. I can’t give you a clear “I loved it” or “I hated it”. To be honest, I am still formulating my thoughts even as I type this.
First, some ground rules and explanation. I have appreciated Rob Bell’s earlier books. I’ve read them all and love his questions. I take them for what they are. I approach them as an opportunity to take a step out of my christian circle and look at faith from a different perspective. This book is no different.
Second, several years ago when the world was buzzing about The DaVinci Code, I purchased and read it as well. My approach is that you can’t discuss/debate a book you have never read.
With that in mind, I downloaded “Love Wins” to the iPad and began to pour through it’s contents. Immediately, I drew a comparison between Rob Bell and my Father-In-Law. You see, one of my best friends is a Duke fan. It’s well documented that I am a die hard Carolina fan. Duke and Carolina debates are epic and on-going. When my friend, my Father-In-Law and I are all together, he will often ask a question regarding the rivalry..then walk out of the room. He get’s my friend and I debating, arguing, wrestling with the topic but doesn’t stick around for the resolution.
Rob Bell is a lot like that.
Bell likes to ask a question and, in my opinion, doesn’t often stick around in his writing to answer said question. Here’s just a few from the book:
“..is it true that the kind of person you are doesn’t ultimately matter, as long as you’ve said or prayed or believed the right things? If you truly believed that, and you were surrounded by Christians who believed that, then you wouldn’t have much motivation to do anything about the present suffering of the world, because you would believe you were going to leave someday and go somewhere else to be with Jesus”
“The problem, however, is that the phrase ‘personal relationship’ is found nowhere in the Bible”
These are just two of the many, many things I highlighted in the book. The short review is that I really enjoyed, dare I say even connected with the first half of the book. Bell’s argument that Jesus was very clear about creating Heaven today, where we live, while targeting our eternal home is one that resonates with me. It might rub some people the wrong way, but it’s true. We’re called to do so much more than see folks “get saved” and then move on to the next person. The second half of the book I didn’t connect with as much. I went by my gut reaction and it didn’t settle well.
I said it in my previous post and I’ll say it again…I’m not very bright. I don’t and can’t argue theology. I’m an average dude reading a book that is filled with lightning rod material. So I trust my gut. I weigh it with what I know of scripture and throw the rest away. I enjoyed the questions. I enjoyed the struggle and the wrestling with something that made sense yet isn’t the way I would frame it. I think it’s healthy to do that. To stay there, may not be.
Ultimately each person should read and review “Love Wins” on their own. You shouldn’t form your opinion or your judgement of Bell on my review (or anyone else’s for that matter). Or you could choose to avoid it all together. These are just my words and thoughts behind the why and the what I found when I did.