Here is a response posted by Marlin Bjornrud after reading Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins”. Now this book sparked a lot of controversy long before anyone ever read it. We looked at this a little while back, check it out. Marlin is an Oak Hills alumni and has been the pastor of the Evangelical Free Church in Embarrass for 30+ years. (In full disclosure he is also my father) Check out his“Coffee Messages”, a great little read as you enjoy a cup of coffee.
“Love Wins” first impressions
Well, I just finished Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins”. Rob is most effective in his short Nooma videos, because he must present one truth in 13 minutes. When he has the opportunity to write an entire book, he tends to ask so many provocative questions and make so many provocative statements, that the final product is unclear, confusing, and open to tons of misunderstanding. Stick to the Nooma “shorts” Rob. That is your strength in teaching. In “love wins”, Rob seems to be practicing reductionism, in the sense that he speaks strongly and primarily about the love of God in a way that leaves the reader wondering if he has ever read, or is willing to acknowledge, the many scriptures that present the fact of God’s wrath. where is the “whole counsel of God” here? it’s like, “this is the kind of God people want and this is the kind of God people don’t want. so, I will give them the God they want.” Does Rob believe that there is a place of eternal torment called hell, or the lake of fire, or whatever, or is he just trying to give us the impression that he believes hell is what you experience here, if you reject God’s love? his lack of clarity is troubling. if you read the book, be careful, as you read the many references to the Hebrew language and culture, as the final word on what God meant in certain scriptures. it sounds convincing, but who says it’s accurate?… and then we have yet another use of the Luke 15 stories to present ideas that I don’t believe were initially intended by Jesus when He told them. the stories simply answered the critics’ complaints about Jesus hanging out with the lost. why do we think we can build all kinds of other teachings and theologies from them? finally, I would caution my friends to not conclude from this book that Rob Bell is a “universalist”. I can see how you could jump to that conclusion, but I am not certain that you would be accurate. Be careful. I applaud Rob for being so passionate about God’s love. We all should be. But in our passion for one truth, we shouldn’t reduce other truth to being almost non-existent, or even untrue. Let me know what you think about this: because of some harsh comments and sarcastic statements made in the book, I wonder if , second to a presentation about God’s love, Rob might have been taking a jab at those of us who believe that predestination, election, and God’s sovereign choice are actually taught in scripture in connection with salvation. These are only my initial thoughts. I would be interested in your thoughts, especially if you have read the book. Please, no conclusions, if you haven’t.