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Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, And The Fate Of Every Person [Hardcover]

Rob Bell
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 15 2011

In Love Wins, bestselling author, international teacher, and speaker Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis, Drops Like Stars) addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—hell and the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever?

Rob Bell is an electrifying, unconventional pastor whom Time magazine calls “a singular rock star in the church world,” with millions viewing his NOOMA videos.

With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial with a hopeful message—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.


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Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, And The Fate Of Every Person + What We Talk About When We Talk About God
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Review

“In Love Wins, Rob Bell tackles the old heaven-and-hell question and offers a courageous alternative answer. Thousands of readers will find freedom and hope and a new way of understanding the biblical story - from beginning to end.” (Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and Naked Spirituality)

“It isn’t easy to develop a biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ . . . Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination--without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction.” (Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, and author of The Message and The Pastor)

“A bold, prophetic and poetic masterpiece. I don’t know any writer who expresses the inexpressible love of God as powerfully and as beautifully as Rob Bell! No one who seriously engages this book will put it down unchanged. A ‘must read’ book!” (Greg Boyd, senior pastor at Woodland Hills Church and author of The Myth of a Christian Nation)

“One of the nation’s rock-star-popular young pastors, Rob Bell, has stuck a pitchfork in how Christians talk about damnation.” (USA Today)

“Claiming that some versions of Jesus should be rejected, particularly those used to intimidate and inspire fear or hatred, Bell persuasively interprets the Bible as a message of love and redemption. . . . His style is characteristically concise and oral, his tone passionate and unabashedly positive.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Bell fights every impulse in our culture to domesticate Jesus [and] challenges the reader to be open to surprise, mystery and all of the unanswerables. . . . Bell has given theologically suspicious Christians new courage to bet their life on Jesus Christ.” (Christian Century)

“This attention-getter of a book ignited a heated popular conversation about whether God saves people like Gandhi or sends him and billions of other non-Christians to a fiery and painful place in the afterlife.” (Publishers Weekly, Best Books of the Year)

“Love Wins will make Christians re-examine their faith and will help them reclaim a vital and exciting vision of heaven and God’s love.” (Relevant)

“Bell is at the forefront of a rethinking of Christianity in America.” (Time magazine)

“One of the country’s most influential evangelical pastors.” (New York Times)

“This evangelical celebration of the love of God will open new doors for Jesus seekers fed up with the toxic hellfire and brimstone tirades of fundamentalist Christianity. As that happens, love wins again!” (Spirituality and Practice)

From the Back Cover

Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God's love and God's judgment: Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell? Is this acceptable to God? How is this "good news"?

Troubling questions—so troubling that many have lost their faith because of them. Others only whisper the questions to themselves, fearing or being taught that they might lose their faith and their church if they ask them out loud.

But what if these questions trouble us for good reason? What if the story of heaven and hell we have been taught is not, in fact, what the Bible teaches? What if what Jesus meant by heaven, hell, and salvation are very different from how we have come to understand them?

What if it is God who wants us to face these questions?

Author, pastor, and innovative teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the "good news" is much, much better than we ever imagined.

Love wins.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Past the Hype and into the Content March 23 2011
By Bart Breen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I'm rarely intimidated approaching a book review. However, this book presents some unique challenges, many of which have very little to do with the book itself. This book has become something of a lightening rod for both opponents and proponents of a particular form of universalism that it was reported to contain, by some prominent critics of Rob Bell, based upon their viewing a promotional video and before they read the book. There's a great number of people who have drawn conclusions about this book, the author Rob Bell, and what the book is or is not saying, and a remarkable number of those people have not read the book themselves either. That's the way things are. Issues of public attention like this take on a life of their own.

So, as much as I have tried to avoid getting too deeply drawn into the conversation before actually reading the book, I have to confess that I've heard a great deal of things and it's perhaps not possible to take things and set them aside completely. To the best of my ability though, here's what I saw as I read the book and then I'll make some comments following about my observations of the controversy surrounding the book.

Often times, when evaluating a review of a book, the views of the reviewer are as important to know as a point of reference. I am a former evangelical pastor and denominational worker who left formal ministry about 6 years ago for honorable reasons. Since that time, I've also left institutional church membership and am a proponent of organic or simple church. I have a degree in Biblical Literature and am fairly broadly read in several different veins of theology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Premise of this book is that many Christians have lost the plot of what it means to live a life of shalom (peace) as God intended. The book expressly tries to re-plant readers right in the middle of a long history of Christian dialogue about God, Jesus, Heaven and Hell. The point? For readers to see that the Bible itself isn't giving the clear-cut answers many people are so sure about, and are so willing to condemn and judge people for. Love wins is not telling readers that there are no clear cut answers, or that it doesn't matter what people do, but rather demonstrates that one must first do a heck of a lot of speculating and interpreting (even if by re-hashing things that people speculated on 1000 years ago during the reformation) on heaven and hell just to have a clearly defined position on the matter. In light of this fact, it's high time for some Christian humility to replace the triumphalism to which we've become so accustomed.

That's the jist.

Answers are not given for many of the questions raised in the book, but the author is abundantly clear that he is simply giving you the biblical texts which lead people to all sorts of answers. See, we tend to think that all answers need to be either/or (like a multiple choice test), but the author wants people to see that in the bible, answers are often multi-faceted and sometimes are both/and. These paradoxes must allow us to create space for dialogue and relationships that sharpen and strengthen everyone involved. The author also makes it clear that there is no full stop at the end of the book; that he has not said the final word when it comes to hell and heaven. However, if someone reads this book and comes away thinking "it doesn't matter, I can do what I want because Love wins," I would challenge a CLOSE re-read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good points and bumpy structure Jan. 27 2012
Format:Hardcover
Not knowing in advance that this was a controversial book in some settings I set out to hopefully be encouraged that indeed 'Love Wins'! The content was interesting and the author makes some good points, not all of which I agree with but that's not an issue. He makes use of a lot of creative thinking to help us understand where he is coming from. However the paragraph structure and writing style was distracting so became more of a hinderance than a vehicle to well articulate points to me. I didn't always understand the short paragraphs and all the question marks. But hey that's just my journey. I suspect it is written in a style very conducive to popular culture. My daughter would probably fly through it! Thought provoking.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Agree or Disagree it's a Must Read May 7 2011
By Peter Cantelon TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Love Wins is the most compelling, compassionate, grace filled presentation of the Gospel I have ever seen. It is a pastoral letter from a concerned leader who wants to offer hope and correct what he sees as a wildly off course perspective other churches and leaders have been offering that has become damaging to the church as a whole and people.

I really, really want to believe the perspective that Bell offers. Too many people have reduced this book to Bell claiming there is no such thing as hell. This is unfair and not true. Bell makes it clear that there is a hell'the real issue people have is how he defines and interprets hell.

Like I said, I REALLY want to believe Bell's book which is essentially a discourse on the love of God and how it works out through the gospel presentation of heaven, hell, forgiveness, the cross and more. I am not saying I disbelieve or disavow what Bell is saying'I simply need more. The line between truth and heresy is razor thin and Bell tightrope walks it on several occasions but in my opinion never actually falls into heresy.

As a pastoral letter (love letter really) I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately Bell makes some extraordinary claims in his interpretation of hell. As we have heard before extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and Bell simply doesn't offer it.

The first third of the book which focuses on heaven is well backed up by other writers such as N.T. Wright and Randy Alcorn. Most particularly Bell has the solid theological, hermeneutical and exegetical work of Wright holding him aloft throughout. The problem is no such work seems to exist to undergird his interpretation of hell. If there is he does not tell the reader.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best
One of the best books about heaven and hell that I've ever read. Very well done!
Published 1 month ago by Barry Murphy
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I did not think the book was well written. There were some good analogies illustrating the gospel. But the whole idea that everyone will be saved in God's kingdom is not a Biblical... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Dave
1.0 out of 5 stars Did you even do a word study on Hell Mr. Bell?
Rob Bell it appears you have gone to the dark side... I would have to question if he even did a word study on Hell in the Bible when preparing to write this book. Read more
Published 11 months ago by OWEN C MARCHAND
5.0 out of 5 stars book review
loved it.......many years I have wondered about the things he writes about and I will refer to the book many times
Published 16 months ago by merle dvorak
5.0 out of 5 stars Answers to unanswered questiions
I have read this book twice and bought this one for my daughter in law to read. She once asked me "So according to your faith my parents who are the best people I know will... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Susan Dumaine
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and encouraging, with unfortunate overtones of...
I found lots to like in this book and several reasons to treat it with caution.

To my mind, Bell does not argue for universalism, as some of his critics claim. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Kirk Vandezande
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish
This book although well written is rubbish. Rob Bell makes some serious accusations about Christ and Christians, heaven and hell, and although he's an eloquent writer, he's... Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2012 by Shara
2.0 out of 5 stars The Broad Way
Love Wins is indeed a broad way, assuring everyone who ever lived that the only hell that we'll ever experience is the one we create in our hearts. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2012 by Nathanal
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly refreshing
"Love Wins" was recommended to me and my husband so after borrowing it and reading it, we bought our own copy. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2012 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Bell Doesn't Win
Horrible. He has a few very valid critiques of prevailing Christian culture, but the good is buried in lousy scholarship, straw-men and rubbish, or as the KJV would put it--dung. Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2011 by Mark Nenadov
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