I started re-reading "Love Wins," and am once again challenged and blessed by this book.
Bell's idea (well, not just his, but in this book) is that the Lord does not stop pursing us, even after death. Now, while that totally rocks what I have been taught my whole life, it does not change Christ's message, Christ's purpose or what hope He brings us today! What a beautiful picture of His love, that even after death, He still seeks us!
Bell talks about how many people have been shown "jesuses" in their lives that in no way look like the Jesus of the bible, so it's no wonder people have chosen to reject Him. This book has encouraged me greatly to pursue God's heart, to become more like the Jesus of the bible and to be an active role in the restoration of His creation.
What really saddens me, are the reactions of many Christians. It's an attitude that Christ only died on the cross so we can go to heaven. I love how Bell challenges this. If we are only living for "someday," we are missing out on how the Lord not only wants to bless us on this earth, but to bless others today, not someday. For far too long, Christians have spent their lives "being good," and waiting for their reward after they die. How sad. I want to live this life to show the hope of Christ.
I think the attitude that makes my heart saddened the most, is the attitude of "well, if others can go to heaven after they die, that's just not fair." It's an attitude of thinking that we have somehow earned our place in heaven, and that those who haven't given up a lifestyle of serving themselves shouldn't get to go be with God someday.
Isn't that exactly how the brother of the prodigal son felt? He didn't think it was fair at all that the son who left the family, spent all of his inheritance was welcomed home with joy and forgiveness? And given a party?
Is that also not the story of Jonah? God asks Jonah to go to an evil city and share the hope of Christ with them. Once Jonah finally goes to Nineveh and does what he is told, God forgives an entire city of their sin. Jonah doesn't think it's fair.
All through the bible there are stories of redemption where it isn't deserved. Restoration. And somehow we Christians feel justified in saying, "Well, they are in hell, and getting what they deserve."
So, what if Christ IS up to something bigger here. What if he does choose to bring salvation after the grave? I'm not sure what to believe. But, the fears of many, is that people will choose to then live this life doing whatever they please, if they are given the "option" of heaven later on in life. But I think the point of the book is to show Christians (not non-believers) that we need to be actively seeking Christ and HIS heart in this life, and to do what Christ did while he walked the earth. It is incredibly sad to think most read the book and were caught up in his idea of hell...
After reading the book a few times, I'm not sure why people feel that Bell suggests that hell doesn't exist, or that everyone will be in heaven someday. Bell doesn't say that all will be saved, in fact, he says quite the opposite. And he also doesn't say all who end up in hell will "choose" to enter heaven. Just as there are people on this earth who choose to remain in the "hells" they are living in don't seek the Lord, neither will those who are separated from God for eternity. Bell is just suggesting that the Lord never stops seeking His children.
"Love Wins," suggests that in the end, God is Love, and in the end God never stops seeking and pursuing his Children. So the Love of God, wins. Beautiful.
I REALLY recommend this book. Even after reading it, I don't have an ounce of fear that you will read it, suddenly change your views, and live a life apart from God. I have been challenged, blessed, and encouraged to step outside of my own selfish life and to be an active member of the body of Christ. The world needs more people who care more about the heart of people than where they will go when they die. If people fall in love with Christ, they will be changed.
"I think what happens for many people is they heard about [God's] judgement before the love. But if you start with the love, and the judgement flows out of that, God's love is for us to flourish in God's good world. In order for us to flourish in God's good world, judgments have to be made. Now that then, puts judgement in it's proper place." -Rob Bell
I read this blog post after writing this. I LOVE it. It's a challenge for everyone, myself included.