Rob Bell’s Love Wins is an introductory book into some really interesting questions about salvation, heaven and hell. He, admittedly, doesn’t present any amazingly novel ideas, but he dusts off some historical doctrines that have been long ignored by the evangelical movement in the western world. While I don’t agree with all the conclusions that Bell has, I love that there are people who are willing to dangerously examine our current pop-Christian doctrinal systems in a historical light. Without any doubt I know that the Bible is trustworthy, reliable and true – yet the work of interpretation must be done continually by every generation to faithfully present the gospel to the world. In Love Wins, Bell nicely presents some interesting doctrines, but I really did wish it was more dangerous. It was edgy, but I didn’t feel like it was risky. All the same, for a book with this much publicity, I’ll post multiple blogs to give my thoughts on the chapters.
The first chapter of Love Wins Bell deals with the requirements for salvation. It’s interesting stuff, lots of stuff that I have already been thinking about for a long time (I had described my religious beliefs as a centering-set, process Salvationist on facebook, but changed it when Heather kept getting questions about it. My new facebook religion: I like Jesus.). One key element that Bell gives is that when people reject Jesus, they are often rejecting a Jesus that isn’t real and true (it’s wonderful postmodernist deconstructionism…and no, that’s not bad). When a person rejects a Jesus that is “antiscience, antigay, standing on the sidewalk with his bullhorn, telling people they’re going to burn forever” (8), they are rejecting a Jesus that is foreign to the Bible. Bell then considers the variety of ways salvation comes to people in the Bible, of which I wish he would have got more into communal salvation, but that’s just a personal interest.
The funniest part of the first chapter is that Bell asks all sorts of questions and points to the variety of confusing verses in regards to salvation, and then abruptly moves on to the next chapter. It’s awesome. He takes traditional evangelical methods of salvation, blows them up and says, aren’t those pretty fireworks?