Eureka First United Methodist Church

Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open Doors

Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open Doors.

Rob Bell, Love Wins

Rob Bell, Love Wins,: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, HarperCollins, 2011.

To sum up this book is easy, in one sense.  Bell says in his preface: “A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better.  It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus.  This is misguided and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear (viii).”   In astonishingly simple and poetic prose, Bell explores the theme of divine punishment and divine love and, as the title announces loudly, “love wins.”

This book addresses a doctrine that I have always found abhorrent and a huge barrier to my own faith.  I found myself nodding at every page as Bell painted a new picture of the power of God’s love.  At last, I found I could leave behind the negative legacy of the punishing God and move forward wholeheartedly into a faith based on God’s love.  What also impressed me (and caused me tears as well) was how Bell himself suffered for bringing forward this message.  He came from an “evangelical” tradition that could not accept this teaching.  As a result, he had to step down from the church he founded.  Fortunately, he has the courage to continue to write and speak this message of love.