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Book Review: Love Wins by Rob Bell

January 25, 2012

Love Wins by Rob Bell 

Here’s the thing.  I knew nothing about this book before I picked it up other than that it is considered “Controversial.”  I didn’t know why, but I’m not afraid of controversy so I was up for it when it was proposed as the next book-to-be-read in my book club. I purposely did not read any reviews or talk to anyone about it before I read it because I wanted to form my own opinion.

Confession: I’m a little prejudiced against any “Christian” book that gets RAVE Christian reviews. My prejudice makes no sense. Call me a rebel.   Also, I had seen some of Rob Bell’s Nooma Videos and while I had appreciated things about each of them, I have to admit that his style rubs me the wrong way.  Is it the way he talks?  Is he TOO cool?  Too confident?  Too know-it-all?  Does he try too hard to be poetic? Maybe all of the above??  Whatever it is… it’s something that just… kind of annoys me.  And, I’m not easily annoyed, really.  Most of the time my friends tell me I’m too easy on things/people.  My usual kind of comment is something like “Well, it was really awful, but you know they TRIED so hard and so I thought it was great.”  Anyway, so I was predisposed to not like this book, which is not a great start. But, I’m willing to give anything a decent chance. So, I picked it up with an open mind. (Ok, I admit.  It was more like a semi open mind.)

There were things about this book that I liked.  I liked some of his analogies.  I liked some of the things he said.

Things I didn’t like: He asked 1,975ish very leading questions. (I exaggerate.  There were really only something like 350.  I didn’t count them myself but I read a review written by someone who had counted. Still, though.  350 questions.  In 200 pages.) There’s nothing wrong with questions. I think people should be allowed to ask questions. And I have lots of them. But, I don’t like being told what questions to ask, or having questions phrased to me in a way that makes me think a certain way or start my thoughts going down a specific trail that ultimately leads me into a forest of confusion where Rob Bell will magically appear with an Answer, that I’m pretty sure I wasn’t asking for.

Here’s my other big beef.  Rob Bell says so much stuff… without actually SAYING anything.  He dances around controversial statements.  He flirts with ideas and gives you the impression he believes them and then later on contradicts his own previous statements implications.  It’s hard to know what exactly he’s trying to say or not say when he won’t say (or not say) anything.  And most of what he implies is… well, just that.  Implications that are open to interpretation.  No wonder it’s so controversial.  Our book club talked for hours and all we could really discuss were the implications of his implications.  Don’t get me wrong, though.  It was a very good discussion. 🙂

I’m not even touching on the doctrine.  Mostly because there are people much more qualified to deal with that.  I don’t personally agree with the doctrines implied in Rob Bell’s book.  But, like I said, there are better, wiser people out there that can explain all that.  Here’s a review I found helpful.

So, all that said… this may be one of the first times I’ve ever given a book only one star.  😦

I don’t regret reading it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to others.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susannah permalink
    January 25, 2012 8:34 am

    “There’s nothing wrong with questions. I think people should be allowed to ask questions. And I have lots of them. But, I don’t like being told what questions to ask, or having questions phrased to me in a way that makes me think a certain way or start my thoughts going down a specific trail that ultimately leads me into a forest of confusion where Rob Bell will magically appear with an Answer, that I’m pretty sure I wasn’t asking for.”

    Spot-on sista! This sort of leadership in the church is counterproductive, by dictating the questions and issues/struggles of the congregation and then answering the contrived confusion there is more harm done than good done. It circumvents the work of God in the individual(s). There is a delicate and intricate work being done in the hearts and minds of each child of God, a work being done by Him alone. It’s all about timing, His timing! Questions will be asked! Asking questions is fundamental to living an active Christian life. Seeking God IS growing in God! The leadership/pastors/ministers are there to care for the flock and yes help answer questions. But please let’s not force the “babes in Christ” to grow up too fast; we’re in danger of stunting their growth.

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