Love wins by Rob Bell

The world doesn’t need another review of this book but here are a few thoughts:

  • Rob Bell is a genius. This comes out in the words he uses, the way he sets out his book and the way he argues. He is one talented guy.
  • He has beautifully compelling turns of phrase. I have been challenged to think about how the words I use can be more compelling, more beautiful.
  • Bell uses scripture poorly, e.g. he used the parable of the prodigal son to argue for a type of universalism (163-193)[1]. He uses Jesus’ words in John 12:32 about dying for all as proof that Jesus died for everyone in a way where everyone is saved (151 ff.) which is clearly not what Jesus is talking about.
  • He keeps saying that many Christians in the last two thousand years have believed that God will ultimately save everyone (109-110). Which is not true, Other than Origen (185-254 AD), the idea that people were going to hell was universally accepted until the enlightenment. For more on this read Universalism: a historical survey by Richard Bauckham
  • Bell started off Mars Hill Bible Church as an evangelical. (check out his first sermon he preached at here) This shows we need to watch our life and doctrine very closely because it only takes one or two shifts in our thinking and we are no longer orthodox.

As I have said Bell is an amazingly gifted man. One who I can learn a lot from in the area of communication. But he is not a man I will be going to for sound theology and exegesis. Love Wins is an important book to read but it is nowhere near orthodox.

The Archer and the Arrow by Phillip Jensen and Paul Grimmond

This is a book which Phillip Jensen packages years of thought, experience and wisdom about preaching into a book. That means there is always stuff we can learn from this book whether you have been preaching for years or you haven’t preached yet. He talks about how to think about preaching, giving us a great illustration (the arrow) on what makes a up a sermon. His advice for young preachers is good and wise. If there was one criticism this would be that I think he downplays the human element in preaching. This book is theological in nature but is not one which will teach you how to preach. But none the less a very good book to read whether you are starting out or have been preaching for years


[1] Number is parentheses are page numbers

 

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