I’m about two-thirds through Rob Bell’s controversial new book Love Wins. So far the main thing I’m getting from his writing is this question: Is Hell an eternal punishment for transient sins? And is that justice?
To where I’ve read so far, Bell is offering up a view of Hell not as an eternal punishment, but more of a purposeful punishment, or even a corrective punishment.
I would really, really, really love to hear discussion on this, especially from those of you who have read the entire book. I plan on posting my thoughts (for better or worse) once I’m done reading.
Thoughts? Questions? Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?
14 responses to “Love Wins”
Hi! I’ve missed you.
I haven’t even heard of this book, but I guess it’s on the list now. Okay, list was misspelled and auto-corrected as “lust.” Is that a transient sin? Will pick it up after next book club selection.
I seriously would LOVE to hear your thoughts on it, specifically from a Jewish standpoint. The author makes a lot of claims based on the Torah and the original Hebrew translations of certain words, and I’d like to know how accurate he is.
Haven’t read it, but heard a lot of the brouhaha.
Does it come off as intentionally controversial or an honest examination of an idea?
Bell obviously means to stir the pot by asking controversial questions just to get our attention, but he also has the chops to answer them earnestly. I can’t wait to finish it just so I can reread it more thoroughly, doing my own biblical research. Of course, I might need to switch that Ph.D over to theology.
When the book came out I got a couple phone calls from friends who were reading it and wanted my take. I still haven’t gone through it but have had a lot of conversations about it. I know Francis Chan just came out with a response that was considered pretty fair. I think that’d be a good place to go as well.
I’m going to have to check out Francis Chan’s writings, too.
One day let’s all meet at a Chick-Fil-A, mooch their free WiFi, and have a video chat about it. That’s my pipe dream.
Obviously, the reconciliation of the all-loving God and the eternal damnation/judgment has been a long, ongoing debate. I’ve always been intrigued with the concept of hell being not an externally applied place, but something created in ourselves. Hell is something we create through guilt, wrong-doing, self-loathing, etc. and it exists not as a geographical counter-point to harmony/peace/heaven (call it what you will), but the spiritual state of dis-ease that is created when one corrupts/turns away from good.
In other words, God – whether one believes in literal, figurative or cosmological – does not “send” someone to hell, one creates it through the rejection of God/harmony/good.
Agreed — Hell has always been, to me, the complete absence of God.
Whether it’s now (and there are some pretty hellish experiences going on in the world) or later or some sort of alternate reality, whether it’s permanent or used as a sort of purgatory…these are questions I’m just now asking.
And even though I’m saved (I’d put the word “saved” in quotes, but I believe that literally), what does that mean for others who, by my beliefs, are not?
Good stuff, Byrnie Mac.
The Bible does not teach eternal punishment. God’s love and mercy endures forever. Does it really endure forever or only in this life? How can it be Good News if it doesn’t translate to the afterlife?
1 Timothy 4:10- This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
Thanks for commenting. I look forward to researching Scripture for myself on this!
I have read it… all of it. and while i’m sometimes still processing through it, i think the majority of my “hang ups” with it come from it’s contradiction to every tradition i’ve been taught growing up in church and Christian education. i appreciate Bell for asking the questions, and for giving his take on the answers. not sure i agree with everything he said, but it’s def. challenged my thinking. Hubs got me Chan’s book (which is actually another guy’s book that Chan allowed him to pick his brain periodically) for my birthday, but i haven’t been able to read it yet. would love to hear your thoughts when you finish!!
I’m actually rereading Bell’s book cross-referencing the Scripture he uses. It’s an interesting viewpoint, to say the least.
I read it when it first came out, and I agree that it is hard to hear at first because it definitely shakes up many of the beliefs I grew up with. However, I had recently read a book by a Universalist, so Bell’s interpretation was much less of a shock. I’m really interested to hear your thoughts when you are done reading! I want to re-read it and hear what you all have to say. I think I was wary of conversations at first because people seemed pretty polarized about the book. The only thing I can say now is that it was refreshing to know that it is okay to have honest discussions and questions about the issue of hell.
Let’s all go get coffee and discuss. WHY DON’T YOU LIVE CLOSER.