"LOVE WINS" BOOK REVIEW
The instant best-selling book, "Love Wins," authored by Rob Bell, is an excellent fresh examination of the Christian Faith. This author examines Christianity from an Evangelical perspective and asks many thought-provoking questions in regard to whether what Christians in general, and Evangelicals in particular, have been taught is actually what the Holy Bible teaches. In some cases, thankfully, it isn't, especially in regard to what most all Christians have been taught about literal hell fire—forever. Contrary to what some Fundamentalist and Evangelical bloggers were saying even before the release of, "Love Wins," is that Bell does not believe in hell so he is a heretic. He does believe in hell but not literal fire.
Since sinners have free will which God will never violate, they are free to say, "No," to being saved as long as they want to but, but sinners can stop resisting God's saving grace and say, "Yes," to God's never-withdrawn offer of salvation and be saved because LOVE WINS! The Apostle Paul, in the "love chapter," I Cor. 13, says, about God's divine love—Greek "agape"—"love never fails" and "love is the greatest;" how, then, can God's love not win? Bell correctly points out that the gates to the New Jerusalem are never shut so purified sinners can return to their heavenly home where they will be reconciled and restored to God. Bell is spot on with these two statements, "Failure, we see again and again, isn't final, judgment has a point, and consequences are for correction." "Love Wins" presents the view of hell being corrective and thus the possibility it is time limited.
This author listed each occurrence in which Jesus used the word "hell" and there are only a few of them, unlike what many Christians say about Jesus saying more about hell than heaven. Bell also addressed the passages of Holy Scripture in which Jesus talked about judgment and the after life in which He did not use the word "hell." A prime example is Matthew 25:46 in which Jesus said that the sheep (the righteous) will be separated from the goats (the unrighteous). "The goats are sent, in the Greek language, to an aion [actually the Greek adjective transliterated, "aeonian"] of kolazo. Aion, we know, has several meanings. One is "age" or "period of time"; another refers to intensity of experience. The word kolazo is a term from horticulture. It refers to the pruning and trimming of the branches of a plant so it can flourish. An aion of kolazo. Depending on how you translate aion and kolazo, then, the phrase can mean "a period of pruning" ... or an intense experience of correction." It is not God's will that any perish but all come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9). Shall God ever get what God wills? The answer: Job said to God, "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted" (42:2).
Based on this conception of love winning, readers would logically conclude that he must believe in Christian Universalism, but he left himself wiggle room in that, if sinners in hell continue saying, "No," to God's love, since love gives freedom, love still wins. But to contend that sinners in hell saying, "No," to God's love forever, is a very perverse sense of love winning. After publication of "Love Wins," Bell made the front cover of "Time Magazine," and, in the interview, denied believing in universal salvation. "Love Wins" is a book of only 200 pages. For in-depth study of hell: unquenchable fire, lake of fire, fire and brimstone, and Jesus' mixed metaphor "salted with fire;" spiritual terrorism due to the false teaching of eternal torture in literal fire; Christian Universalism, the universality of salvation in all major religions, and hope for world peace read Purcell's book of about 500 pages, "Spiritual Terrorism: Spiritual Abuse from the Womb to the Tomb."
Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D. author