Right now all forms of media are abuzz, Rob Bell has a new book coming out entitled “Love Wins”. On Bell’s website the book is described as follows:
A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.
Rob Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever…? With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly hopeful—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.
The buzz revolves around accusations of Rob Bell being a Universalist, and that this book is his “coming out” as such. These claims are mostly stemming from a promo video and the publishers promotional blurbs. Remember, this book hasn’t been released yet.
I personally could not tell you if I think Rob Bell is a Universalist or not, especially based on this book because I haven’t read this book and neither have a majority, if not all of the people who are accusing heresy based on this book. I have to say that this alone is a very slim context to base such a strong claim as heresy. In this world of blogs, twitter, etc. it is so easy for anyone to get their opinion out there, no matter how credible, and gain a large following quickly. One of the bloggers who sparked this instance says this about his personal exposure to Rob Bell (read the blog post here)
“I have not read all of Bell’s book, though I have read some chapters that were sent to me. When the book is published there will be detailed reviews, and I will link to them.”
I will admit that I have done this myself. I feel like I have an strong opinion on something that I know little about. So to build my case I look to the internet and find people who think the same and take bits and pieces from here and there that support my opinion and use them. Now I have no idea what the context is of these, but they sure sound good in making my point. I’ve done this, and I feel awful about it.
Relevantmagazine.com posted an article talking about this and I really respect the editors note in the beginning. Here is there stance right now (check out the full article)
While our editors have indeed read Bell’s book, we’ve chosen not to comment on the actual content of Love Wins until other people have had a chance to read it as well and can thoughtfully agree or disagree with our assessments. To jump into the fray with a quickly constructed 1,000-word knee-jerk reaction or quasi-book report, only because the topic is being debated this week, would be a grave disservice to our readers and to the book itself. Instead, we’ve chosen to do an in-depth piece on the topic in the May/June issue of RELEVANT, including a substantive interview with Bell himself.
Again, I take no side on this issue right now, I haven’t read this book, and I haven’t fully read any of Rob Bell’s other books. What do you think? Is this a rightful defense of Christianity? Is this jumping the gun and dragging an author through the mud? Are we afraid of people asking hard questions?
Also I think we need to remember that there are many people who we now hold up as great people in the history of Christianity that were originally accused of being heretics. Many were killed because of it.