for a lot of you,the name rob bell means absolutely nothing. to some you may be familiar with him from his best selling nooma videos if not his books. but for others,rob bell has been a profound influence. this appears to be the case for many who came out of the woodwork to defend bell and his just released book, “love wins:a book about heaven,hell,and the fate of every person who ever lived.”

i haven’t read the book yet (it just came out tuesday), but bell and his publishers did plenty of pre-release p.r.to get the idea and the message of the book out, not the least of which were interviews and videos of bell himself discussing the book’s thesis and content as well as advanced copies (in part and in full) sent around to those who then read them and posted excerpts and insights on line. so even before the book was released,there was a pretty good idea of what was in the book- because of the author and his publisher themselves.

alot of people have decried the opinion of anyone who hasn’t read the book yet. usually, i would agree in at least some part with that. but if i wrote a book that you hadn’t read,but you’d seen the video about the book that i made, read/heard interviews i’d given about the book & its contents, or have read excerpts from advanced copies of the book- feel free to critique my thesis based on those things. if i work so hard to tell you whats in it before it comes out, then i should expect you to react to what ive told you.

so no, i haven’t read the book-but i have listened to the author himself tell me what he says in it. i will read it as soon as i can borrow it or buy a used copy. until then, here is an article from randy alcorn who does a pretty good round up of the brouhaha and its responses. here’s an excerpt:

I think the doctrine of hell may be the single biggest test of whether the Bible is our authority, or we and our culture are our own authority.

Of course, we can always say the Bible is our authority while reinterpreting its plain, straightforward meaning into something that we believe or want to believe. But if we do this, no matter what we say, it is not the Bible we are believing—it is ourselves. It’s what we want to believe and/or what our culture believes.

Someone can claim that they believe the Bible, yet declare that Jesus is not God. Someone can claim they believe the Bible, yet declare there is no hell. But the claim is meaningless when it requires that we reinterpret the Bible to mean something that the original writer/speaker (e.g. in the case of hell, Jesus) clearly did not mean.

We’re not God’s speech writers. He appoints us to deliver His message, not to compose it. He’s already done that—it’s called the Bible. He doesn’t need editors and PR people. He needs faithful messengers.

read his post and checkout all of the reviews/ videos, etc. here

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