Rob Bell, Love Wins 3

(2500 words, and I’m not past the three-page preface. This could be a long series.) ‘Many have these questions…’ (p. ix) The last couple of pages of the preface discuss what in academic terms is called methodology. Bell is concerned to allow, even encourage, questions about central matters of faith. He criticises those communities which shut questioning down, asserting that ‘I believe that discussion itself is divine.’ (p. ix) pointing to Job and other Biblical examples. There is no doubt that restless and urgent questioning is an authentic part of Biblical spirituality. If something seems wrong or unfair to us, we do well, Biblically, to speak openly about our doubts and questions, to refuse to be told to simply accept a...

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Rob Bell, Love Wins 2

The ‘Preface,’ entitled ‘Millions of Us’ contains one of the passages that has already become notorious – entirely wrongly, in my view. I’ll get to that. Bell begins with the comment ‘I believe that Jesus’s story is first and foremost about the love of God for every single one of us.’ (p. vii) I struggle to have a problem with that. He rapidly moves on to the claim that ‘…Jesus’s story has been hijacked by a number of other stories…’ (p. vii) and states that the book is written ‘for all those, everywhere, who have heard some version of the Jesus story that caused their pulse rate to rise, their stomach to churn, and their heart to utter those resolute words, “I would...

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Rob Bell, Love Wins

Was ever a book so eagerly awaited? Well, yes, actually, quite a few. And most of the problem with this one is there was not much awaiting visible before people formed, and published, their views of it. So much easier to judge – in either direction – if you don’t have any facts to get in the way, after all. My copy arrived yesterday. I’ve read it all, now, and intend to re-read it, slowly, and post some reflections here. It is powerfully and winsomely written, but you knew that. (‘Why can’t I communicate like Rob Bell?’ The book’s acknowledgments contain a revealing reference to the multitudinous drafts an editor worked through; perhaps with sufficient work, you could…) No book is wholly good, save those...

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