Dec 012011

I finally read Rob Bell’s controversial book “Love Wins.” My good friend and fellow writer Bill Coffin sent me a copy awhile back but my own writing got in the way of reading it. That and the internet. But I managed to put off the internet for awhile and I can’t write every free moment I have. My brain starts to hurt and- even worse- my writing turns to crap. It’s not amazing to start with, so I have to take time every now and then and just relax, and I realized I would rather read an interesting book than eternally browse internet forums. I’m glad I did.


I really am glad I read “Love Wins.” It was insightful and uplifting. Bell shared many facts about what the bible says about salvation, heaven and hell that I had not heard before. It was also uplifting but not for the reasons many think. Most people probably think I’d find it uplifting because the idea of everyone getting to live forever in paradise is happy. It is, but that’s not really what this book is about. What it’s really about is what God is like. Bell successfully argues that the bible describes God as loving and faithful and beautiful. It is a compelling picture of God, and I loved reading that. It meant more to me than what God does, and I think that’s as it should be. Who God is matters most. This book was amazing at revealing that in ways I’d never realized before. It also revealed God in a lot of ways that I had realized before. I suppose that’s my issue, and I’m sure many others who haven’t studied the bible as much as me (which is almost everyone) would find more of it insightful.

My main complaint actually has nothing to do with the content. It’s Bell’s writing style. The guy writes like he talks, and it drove me nuts. Absolutely nuts. I speak and I write (to much smaller audiences), and I am cognizant of the fact that the two means of communicating are completely different. Bell is a great speaker, one of the best I have ever heard. He seems to think writing and speaking are the same. They aren’t, and it distracted me from the message. Maybe it won’t bother you, but it bugged me.

Overall, though, I highly recommend “Love Wins.” Especially if you have never studied in detail what the bible has to say about salvation, heaven and hell. It will open your eyes to who God is and what God is really like. Read it. Better yet, read it out loud. Even better, maybe someday we can all hear Rob Bell read it out loud to us. That would be the best of all.


  1. Larry Isbell says:

    Good thoughts on Bell’s book, Scott! Fred B. Craddock once said that most Christain moral debates are really debates about “what kind of God we have”. Philip Gulley recently wrote a book on the same topic. One of our members asked me to respond to that. I prefer Robert Capon’s way of expressing the situation. “There is a hell but hell is also in heaven.” That’s just a paraphrase of Capon. It’s a far more complex issue than many, both left,right, and in the middle, suppose. There are issues of justice and responsibility to consider. I give Bell credit for addressing this, in the way he does, as a part of the “Evangelical” camp. It took some courage for him to write the book.