Next month Rob Bell, pastor and author, will be releasing his latest book, Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, and as expected things are already brewing. Certain leaders within the church, as well as random bloggers, are tossing about accusations of Universalism and even heresy.
I may be mistaken but those are bold accusations to brand someone with before the work that incites such charges is even published seems foolish and premature. A quick Google search will reveal blogs gone wild with those already opposing this book; referencing tweets by people like John Piper1 and Mark Driscoll2. On the flip side you have just as many taking it upon themselves to defend the work; citing Eugene Peterson3 and Greg Boyd’s4 endorsements.
I myself love the works of Rob Bell. His understanding of Scripture was and continues to be a vital piece to the evolution of my own thinking. However, I’m not going to just jump on the support bandwagon…and obviously not the critic’s wagon. For myself I’ll wait until the book has been released. Then I’ll read it and form an opinion. So many are getting fired up over a two minute and fifty-eight second promotional video and basing their final judgment on a glimpse, a snippet of the whole.
I’m reminded of the picture game where you take a picture and zoom in really close to one section and then you have to try and discern what the whole is by only seeing a glimpse; often times people get it wrong. This seemingly controversial video is just a zoomed in glimpse of the whole.
Wouldn’t it be wise to withhold judgment, withhold assumptions until after the work has been released?
Personally, I find that the beauty or the disgust is found in the whole…not the part.
For a society that professes with its mouth – Don’t judge a book by its cover – our actions prove opposite.
Most people have an opinion about [my book]. Some love it; others despise it. I’d encourage you not to assume you know what it says without having read it.5
Perhaps the above quote is the best approach we should take towards all books.
1. John Piper –Farewell Rob Bell. Twitter Post
2. Mark Driscoll – Rob Bell: Universalist? Twitter Post
3. Eugene Peterson – In the current religious climate in America, it isn’t easy to develop an imagination, a thoroughly biblical imagination, that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances in love and for salvation. Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination. Love Wins accomplishes this without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction in its proclamation of the good news that is most truly for all. HarperOne Link
4. Greg Boyd – Love Wins is 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! Many will disagree with some of Rob’s perspectives, but no one who seriously engages this book will put it down unchanged. A ‘must read’ book! HarperOne Link
5. Joshua Harris, author – I Kissed Dating Goodbye