Monday, March 14, 2011

Reviews of "Love Wins"

Kevin DeYoung and Denny Burk have posted their reviews of Rob Bell's Love Wins. I strongly encourage you to read both reviews. They are models of thoughtful engagement and sound theology.

Kevin's Review

Denny's Review

Denny Burk also references Richard Mouw's review of Love Wins. Dr. Mouw is the president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Bell is a graduate of Fuller and friend of Mouw.

USA Today reports on Mouw's favorable review:

Richard Mouw, president of the world’s largest Protestant seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary based in Pasadena, Calif., calls Love Wins “a great book, well within the bounds of orthodox Christianity and passionate about Jesus.

The real hellacious fight, says Mouw, a friend of Bell, a Fuller graduate, is between “generous orthodoxy and stingy orthodoxy. There are stingy people who just want to consign many others to hell and only a few to heaven and take delight in the idea. But Rob Bell allows for a lot of mystery in how Jesus reaches people.”

Dr. Mouw repeats a tired and irresponsible accusation against those who uphold the biblical teachings on hell and the judgment of God: that they "take delight in the idea" of hell. Richard Mouw and Fuller Seminary are coming to represent what "big tent evangelicalism" has become. Surely Dr. Mouw would not make this accusation against Jesus who himself said that the way to life is narrow and few find it while the way to destruction is wide and many find it. Does this make Jesus "stingy"? Does this means Jesus "takes delight in" hell? As far the Rob Bell allowing "for a lot of mystery," of that there is little doubt. They only thing Rob Bell seems to make clear is that Jesus cannot possibly mean what he said.


Mike said...

Why are we encouraging folks to read reviews of "Love Wins" and not the book itself? This reminds me of Christians who scoff at those who criticize the Bible and have never read it themselves but have heard what others say about it.

I am OK with reviews but not if that is all we read/know...let's tell people to read it and decide for themselves before we Montag it.

Todd Pruitt said...


Bad example.

The Bible is God's Word. It is the means by which God produces faith in the heart of the sinner (Rom 10) and sanctifies his people (John 17). We WANT people to read the Bible.

I do not WANT people to read the false teachings of effective communicators. You may not have noticed but evangelical churches have not been producing the most discerning folks.

God is not honored with false teaching. God's people are not helped by false teaching. Why would I want God's people to give their precious time to reading that which contradicts the very words of Jesus and the apostles?

"Montag it" - C'mon.

Todd Pruitt said...

One more thought - Pastors such as myself are not in the business of being agnostic regarding false teaching. Have you read the pastoral epistles? Have you read the apostle's instructions concerning the pastor/elder's responsibility to contend for the faith and protect the flock from false teaching?

So why in the world would I "tell people to read it and decide for themselves"? First of all, I can't stop anyone from reading rubbish. Further, I can't stop anyone from deciding anything for themselves. But I would be failing my calling if I told people to read well crafted false teaching from a persuasive communicator.

I'm not really sure what you don't get about that.

Mike said...

what are we so afraid of? I don't get that. If God has predetermined who is saved and who isn't and nothing can snatch us out of his hand who cares about Rob Bell? or what he thinks, or what he writes?

Todd Pruitt said...


I really have no idea what you're talking about?

Are you asking a rhetorical question? Or are you asking a sincere question?

If you are asking a sincere question then I would direct you to read carefully the pastoral epistles and Galatians for starters.

Charlie said...

Right on the mark. Well put.
I am getting hammered by some for just this argument, "read the book, then comment."
Personally, I am responding to people heaping accolades on Rob, before they read the book. The scheduled live stream event before the official release, when was the last time a work of theology was preceded by a party?
"well crafted false teaching from a persuasive communicator" Perfect description.

Small Group said...

Todd, I see now why you are constantly reminding us on Sundays thatour biggest problem is that God is Holy and we are sinners. It is obvious from Kevin's review of Love Wins that Bell does not understand that fact or he simply chooses to sweep it under the rug. I was struck by the following comment in DeYoung's review: "For all the talk of social justice, there is apparently no need for God to receive his justice!". What a great summation!

Small Group said...

Todd, my name is Dan Thomas. I had to use my wife's google account to leave that last post. Just in case you were wondering who "small group" is.