Love Wins by Rob Bell (Prolegomena)

For the moment at least, it is hard to miss the controversy of Rob Bell's newest book, Love Wins: A book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived (HarperOne 2011).  Not only has Bell's book caused an explosive discussion among evangelical Christians, thousands of words have been written about Rob Bell and his book, posted in many corners of the World Wide Web.  (Here comes more.)  Some are drawing lines in the sand while others are merely curious.  Some have wished Bell farewell while others have staunchly defended the author. More than one Christian commentator has even suggested that this could cause a tear between Christians on one side and Christians on the other.

Discussing his book, Bell has made the rounds on the various morning talk-news programs.  And it seems to be having an impact upon sales because the book--which released earlier than anticipated due to the firestorm--has hovered around the top sales spots on right from the start.
I can't seem to find it now, but some years ago, a friend of mine who attends Mars Hill Bible Church where Rob Bell is the teaching pastor sent me a CD recording of a sermon series by Rob Bell titled, "Love Wins."  Also in the package with the CD was a bumper sticker simply reading, "Love Wins."  Talking with this friend recently, I've learned that Love Wins the book was spawned by that sermon series.

To get a feel for the book, here's an advertisement video from Rob Bell and HarperOne:

After watching this video the first time, I could see why some Christians could be concerned, theologically.   But when I made this very statement with some fellow Christians, I was told that I shouldn't form any kind of opinion (not even about the video) until I've read the book.  (This from people who also hadn't read the book.)  I'm not in complete agreement with that idea, but that's a conversation for another time. That being said, I've decided to read the book and discuss it here, one chapter at a time.

The book will stand completely on its own merits for the purpose of this multi-part review, meaning I'm going to do my best to ignore Bell's previous books or his recent media clips.  As I read I will post my thoughts, questions, and concerns.  And I realize that some of the conclusions I draw at the beginning of this process may not be my final conclusions of the book.  Only time, 201 pages, and nine or ten posts will tell.  

I hope you'll choose to join me on this journey through the new book, Love Wins.

Next up, "Love Wins by Rob Bell (Preface)."

*I have no material connection to Rob Bell or his book.