What I think of what other people think of Love Wins
Honestly, I can’t see any good reason to get too upset about this book. A pastor wrote a book on what he thinks about spirituality, salvation, heaven, and hell. I’m sure Bell believes that he is right(why else would he believe it), but I don’t think Bell believes that his opinions are 100% correct. But remember, this is just a collection of a man’s thoughts. A man. A human being affected by our depraved nature. Something in there is screwed up somewhere. So don’t get bent out of shape if you absolutely disagree with something in Love Wins, its normal to have different opinions on grey areas.
And why are there grey areas about theology? Why shouldn’t we think that what we believe is 100% correct? Because, if we know everything about God then we have God figured out. If we have all the answers, what do we need God for? One of the questions I get asked a lot by atheists or agnostics is “How can you hold onto your faith when you have so many questions about salvation, theology, and God himself?” I do have many questions that I can’t answer. There will always be questions and grey areas and, quite frankly, I think its worse to claim/believe/lie to yourself that you have them all figured out. Some things we can know for sure(what is 1+1?), some other things we cannot know(If God is 100% loving then why is my friend dying from cancer?), or know if we ever will know. So why pretend? Why say “HEY I HAVE THE ANSWER AND YOU ARE WRONG IF YOU THINK DIFFERENTLY!” Lets be real about it. We can discuss what we think about it and get good conversations going. We might even learn something new!
But there will always be questions. Sometimes we can answer them, sometimes we can’t answer them yet, and sometimes we never will be able to answer them. God is bigger than us. He operates at a higher dimension and we cannot comprehend how He works. Personally, this is one of my favorite attributes of God; Him being beyond me. There is always ways to fall in love with Him again. And you can’t love something, or someone, after you’ve figured it out; the appeal is gone.
One of the most beautiful things I have heard regarding this idea was from a thread on reddit.
I do not claim to hold the truth. I claim that the Truth has gotten ahold of me, and I am merely doing my best not to lose sight of it.
Anther thing, I covered this above but I want to stress this again just like Bell did, “nothing in this book hasn’t been taught, suggested, or celebrated by many before me I haven’t come up with a radical new teaching that’s any kind of departure from what’s been said an untold number of times”(XXX). This is true. Everything in this book has been said, taught, and believed before. Inclusivism? CS Lewis. Multiple chances for Salvation? Origen Adamantius. Heaven isn’t the end destination? NT Wright. God loves everyone? The Bible.
That’s more or less my attitude towards what the majority of what other people think.
What most people who have a problem with Bell or Love Wins will say is, “Bell says that people don’t need to know Jesus to be saved” Well…what Bell actually says is, “sometimes people who have never heard about Christ and then who hear about Christ say “That’s who we’ve been looking for. Or that’s who we’ve been worshiping. You gave us his name.” Missionaries experience these stories. How common is this? It’s probably pretty rare, but I believe the missionaries are right and that those people were and are experiencing the true Christ. How can they know the true Christ before ever hearing about Him? “What [Jesus] doesn’t say is how, or when, or in what manner the mechanism functions that gets people to God through him. He doesn’t even state that those coming to the Father through him will even know that they are coming exclusively through him. He simply claims that whatever God is doing in the world to know and redeem and love and and restore the world is happening through him” (154). Many, many, many people have a problem with this. I don’t really. As I explained it in part one, I am an inclusivist.
The Big Question
The big question Bell asks, “Does God get what God wants in the end?” Its kind of a loaded question really. Does God get his entire creation redeemed from our corruption and back in harmony with Him? If not, can you still consider Him God if he can’t get what he wants? If God is all powerful why aren’t we all saved if that is His desire? The better question, in my opinion, “Can God get what God wants in the end?” Can it happen at all? If God is all powerful it should be able to be possible, right? Well…here inlies the title of the book I think, Love Wins. In the end, we get what we want. No we aren’t more powerful than God, but He did give us a little thing called free will. He gave us an ability called love, which is a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature(I had to sneak in a Harry Potter quote in here somewhere). Our ability to love or not to love God is our choice to choose or reject him. And that is what ultimately wins, our choice. Our love.
If you want to read some other thoughts on Love Wins then check out my friend’s take on it http://jobandthestorm.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/love-wins/
Check out my other thoughts on Love Wins