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Does Love Win?

The net is all a buzz about the forth-coming book by Rob Bell titled:  “Love Wins!”  Not just the net, however!  There have been stories broadcast by most major media television networks asking the question:  “Is Rob Bell a heretic?”

The hubbub started as a result of a promotional video by Rob in which he asks a bunch of question – questions he intends to address in his book when it is finally published. 

You can view the video here:

In my experience as a recovering fundamentalist/Calvinist, the one of the things that this mindset has major problems with are questions.  For them, doctrine begins with a declaration of their understanding of the truth they believe is revealed in the Bible.  Once declared, it (their understanding of the truth) should never be questioned. 

Now Bell never actually says (in his video) that he disagrees with any fundamentalist/Calvinist doctrine.  (I imagine he may just do some of that in his book, but few people know for sure because only a select hand-full of bloggers have a pre-pub copy and so far, none of them have broken their silence in any substantial way). 

All that Bell does is ask a few questions in order to raise interest in the book.  These questions, however, have bothered more than a few of Bell’s fellow evangelicals who decided to tweet and blog their disapproval.  They have declared that Bell had stepped way beyond what THEY CONSIDER to be classical Christian doctrine about things such as hell and heaven – and how a person can be saved from hell and find entry into heaven. 

Now there are a few issues at play here for me!

First, I am amazed as the dismissive attitude displayed by the folks who are criticizing Bell and his yet to be released book.  Nothing is more intellectually dishonest than offering a critical review of a book you haven’t even read.  One of the things people look for in the church is people who live with uncompromising integrity.  That has not been on display from these self-appointed defenders of orthodoxy.

Second, I am amazed at the power controversy has in driving such a large segment of the Christian church.  I must confess, by the way, that I am have been driven by this controversy as well.  I have read every blog I could lay my eyes upon about this subject.  I have listened to audios and watched videos by Bell looking for some hint that he was slipping away.  Now I am entering the fray, writing my own little blog for the handful of people who read it.  If we spent as much time, energy, and effort doing evangelism, feed the hungry, caring for the elderly, or any of the other things that the church is suppose to be known for, imagine the difference that could be made in people’s life. 

Third, I amazed by the power of free publicity.  Since the Bell video was released, the name “Rob Bell” has become a top-ten trending topic on Twitter, Facebook, and most things internet.  News stories have been released via television and print media.  Bloggers are furiously blogging their approval or displeasure.  What does Bell think about all this?  Few people beyond his family and closest for friends know, because he has stayed silent – waiting for the book to answer the questions or start a new round of controversy.  His publisher, however, must be elated by all of this.  Controversy has always sold books.  Bell’s book will be a best-seller for several weeks.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see it crossover beyond the Christian book market and sell like hotcakes with bacon among the agnostic, atheist, and seeker crowds.

What does this say about our society (about the church) when we so easily get enticed by conflict and controversy?  Especially when the controversy is about a large UNKNOWN (cause the content of Bell’s book is largely unknown)!

Well maybe there is another way to look at it?  To paraphrase Genesis, “What Bell’s critics meant for evil, God meant for God!”

A dear friend of mine – an avowed agnostic who acknowledges some leanings toward the reality of some universal source or divine – saw the video and asked:   

“Bill, I love that video … does your interpretation of the Christian bible corroborate his interpretation?  Bill what is your opinion specifically on the notion of love being your ticket to heaven…?”

Now, obviously, I could not respond as to whether or not I agree with Rob’s book or if my interpretations of the Bible corroborate with Rob Bell’s.  You see I have not read the book.  Nor can I base any conclusions on a video that simply asks questions.  What I can and will do is start a conversation about faith (which is what the video intended).  Oh, and I can get a copy of the book as soon as it is release.  Then I can review it (after reading it) and continue the conversation.

Beyond that, for now, I am going to do what Bell’s critics should have done.  I am going to stop talking, posting, and tweeting about it.

If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, it will be available on March 15 from Amazon in both print and Kindle format.

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2 Responses to “Does Love Win?”

  1. Pamela says:

    “Bill, I love that video … does your interpretation of the Christian bible corroborate his interpretation? Bill what is your opinion specifically on the notion of love being your ticket to heaven…?”

    Wow Bill – from an atheist? That proves it – Love really DOES win!

    When is the last time an atheist listened to anything a ‘christian’ had to say?

  2. Pamela says:

    woops…. I meant agnostic 😳

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