In honor of all of the controversy and my fondness of Rob Bell, I decided to purchase and read his new book "Love Wins". What follows is my personal book review going Chapter by Chapter to describe the issues that are stated in each.
Chapter 1 - What About the Flat Tire
This chapter centered on the idea of the people in scripture and how they truly respond to Jesus. What I took away from this Chapter was just truly understanding the fact that our life here in earth is about nothing else, but how we respond to the actions of Jesus. For Jesus' ministry on Earth was not only words, but throughout history actions were a product of the words that were stated throughout scripture.
Chapter 2 - Here is the New There
For most it is understood that Heaven is a place that is much further from where we are presently, but Rob brings about another idea on the picture of Heaven. For Rob it seems practical that for those who consider themselves to be followers of Christ, Heaven can be seen throughout daily life. Through the illustration of the rich man parable that the love, joy, and peace of Heaven should not be considered to be missing from our present day life.
Chapter 3 - Hell
Much of the Hell discussion throughout this book is the most controversial section in the book. For like Heaven, Hell seems to be seen in our daily lives. It is believed by Rob that we have an opportunity on a daily basis to accept or reject God's calling for our lives, with the rejection comes destruction and turmoil. This being lead by the opportunity to choose God daily. This is a freedom that is through the truth that is spoken through the gospel. Through this, like Heaven, Hell can be seen daily, Hell is here now and Hell is later.
Chapter 4 - Does God get What God Wants?
God heart is at the center of his ministry including his Love being at the foremost center. As stated throughout the last chapter Love is a free choice and each person is given the opportunity to truly choose God's love. It can even be believed that given enough time, everybody will turn to God. For Rob believes that "untold masses of people suffering forever doesn't bring God glory." For God will eventually melt even the hardest of hearts. But on the other hand God's gift of love is free, thus the choice to be in love is free. Love cannot be forced or manipulated, but it is a choice.
Chapter 5 - Dying to Live
Accepting the gift of love also includes the acceptance of Jesus' forgiving act on the cross. With this acceptance of Jesus' forgiveness is an acceptance into a different lifestyle. Thus each person who has chosen the love of Christ has chosen to die to their old lifestyle and engage in a new lifestyle that is centered on the actions paved by Jesus and his ministry.
Chapter 6 - There are Rocks Everywhere
Jesus is all around. Paul found that Jesus was in all things including a rock. Therefore Rob considers Jesus to also be apart of all cultures and apart of all areas of life. But with this inclusion in all aspects of culture, brings to light the fact that Jesus will save everyone, which is not necessarily what Rob believes. Instead he believes that Jesus is as wide and as narrow as the opportunities he gives his people to accept the gifts of love. For Jesus is exclusive, but yet inclusive because he is a part of all aspects of culture. Thus Jesus being present in ever aspect of creation, shows that he has given each person the opportunity to accept him. For it is understood that it is only through Jesus that the breath of life can be found, but Jesus has given all people the opportunity to find it.
Chapter 7 - The Good News is Better Than That
For many churches today the idea of the Gospel is centered on "punching your ticket" to eternal life with God. Although the church does center it's sermons and ideas on the action steps that come with Christianity, the most important aspect of Christianity is "punching your ticket". But what Rob establishes is that the Gospel is much more than that. When the gospel is reduced to such a point, the good news of the gospel becomes a ticket. The good news of the Gospel is much more than that. For the gift of the gospel is an unfair opportunity for the people who choose it. For all people deserve death, but Heaven is our destination if we choose so. Jesus is the rescue from the wrath of God, for God's wrath must be justified, but instead of us being held for our actions we are freed from this wrath. The good news of God is much more than just a ticket, but it is a lifestyle change and a justification from the horrible life that we are given on this earth.
Chapter 8 - The End is Here
This chapter centers on the idea that our opportunities continue to pass as we go through life. An important quotation that is at the center of this chapter is "While we may get other opportunities, we won't get the one right in front of us again." Taking advantage on a said opportunity can be the most pivotal decision made. The decision that we take and make on a daily basis will be decisions that field the rest of our life, meaning these decisions matter more than we can imagine. Decisions take a whole new role, when you realize the importance of every small one.
All in All, this book brought to light many issues that I did not think about before. The idea that God's love is truly at the center of his ministry, thus making the ministry of the Gospel much more about daily decisions to choose the love of Christ than "punching your ticket" to an eternity with Christ. I do not feel the controversy did the book justice because despite all that was said, the scriptures still reigned true. There were so great ideas to be taken out of this book.