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Love Wins: At the Heart of Life's Big Questions [Paperback]

Rob Bell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Mar 2012

Now in paperback, Rob Bell’s Sunday Times Bestselling Love Wins is the world’s most talked-about modern Christian book. Creating controversy and discussion, Love Wins gets to the heart of questions about life and death. Its perspective will surprise and challenge both Christians and atheists, and will inspire people of all faiths and none.

Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God's love and God's judgement: Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell? Is this acceptable to God? How is this "good news"?

Troubling questions—so troubling that many have lost their faith because of them. Others only whisper the questions to themselves, fearing or being taught that they might lose their faith and their church if they ask them out loud.

But what if these questions trouble us for good reason? What if the story of heaven and hell we have been taught is not, in fact, what the Bible teaches? What if what Jesus meant by heaven, hell, and salvation are very different from how we have come to understand them?

What if it is God who wants us to face these questions?

Author, pastor, and innovative teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the "good news" is much, much better than we ever imagined.

Love wins.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (29 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000746505X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007465057
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Bell fights every impulse in our culture to domesticate Jesus [and] challenges the reader to be open to surprise, mystery and all of the unanswerables… Bell has given theologically suspicious Christians new courage to bet their life on Jesus Christ.’ (Christian Century)

‘Claiming that some versions of Jesus should be rejected, particularly those used to intimidate and inspire fear or hatred, Bell persuasively interprets the Bible as a message of love and redemption. . . . His style is characteristically concise and oral, his tone passionate and unabashedly positive.’ (Publishers Weekly)

‘One of the nation’s rock-star-popular young pastors, Rob Bell, has stuck a pitchfork in how Christians talk about damnation.’ (USA Today)

‘It isn’t easy to develop a biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ… Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction.’ (Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, and author of The Message and The Pastor)

‘A bold, prophetic and poetic masterpiece. I don’t know any writer who expresses the inexpressible love of God as powerfully and as beautifully as Rob Bell! No one who seriously engages this book will put it down unchanged. A ‘must read’ book!’ (Greg Boyd, senior pastor at Woodland Hills Church and author of The Myth of a Christian Nation)

‘In Love Wins, Rob Bell tackles the old heaven-and-hell question and offers a courageous alternative answer. Thousands of readers will find freedom and hope and a new way of understanding the biblical story – from beginning to end.’ (Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity and Naked Spirituality)

From the Back Cover

Here’s how the traditional story goes...

‘God loves us. God offers us everlasting life by grace, freely, through no merit on our part. Unless you do not respond the right way. Then God will torture you forever. In hell.’


Acclaimed author, pastor and teacher Rob Bell presents a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the ‘good news’ is much, much better than we ever imagined.

‘He could be one of the most important 21st century Christian leaders.’ Time

‘Rob Bell is a central figure for his generation.’ New York Times

‘The next Billy Graham?’ Chicago Sun-Times

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is your rhino wearing a suit of armour?* 19 May 2011
Back in 1515, German artist Albrecht Durer produced a famous woodcut illustration of a rhino (yes, this is a review of Love Wins!) Having been nowhere near a rhinoceros he based it on a written description of a rhino and an anonymous sketch.

Durer gave his rhino plates of armour and an extra small horn, based on the limited information he had.

As centuries passed, artists got a the chance to draw and paint the rhino from first hand. But, in spite of the evidence of their own eyes, many artists persisted in portraying it as wearing a suit of armour. Why? It is argued that Durer's woodcut became so established as the 'definitive rhino' that even real rhinos themselves couldn't compete with what had become the accepted portrayal of rhino-ness.

So... Love Wins...

A plea from the heart: do not dismiss what Rob Bell is saying out of hand because his portrayal of the Gospel looks unfamiliar to you. If you have decided exactly what the Bible says about the life to come before you even open it, you will constrains God's words with your own preconceptions. In other words you will plate it in suits of constricting armour. Scripture is not best served by being squeezed into suits of armour.

Whatever your preconceptions - positive or negative - may I urge you to approach Love Wins with your mind open. Bell has done rather more theological homework than his detractors suggest. And while you read Rob's book, be prepared to pick up your Bible with an open mind too - don't just say 'scripture plainly teaches' - it's the very least that scripture deserves that you don't presume upon it.

* Advance apologies to any art historians or semiologists if there are any inaccuracies in my retelling of the Durer story.
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163 of 174 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could two wrongs make a right? 22 April 2011
Rob Bell has done some great work in opening up a bit of space for people who have grown up in conservative Christian circles to exercise their brains a bit. Even those who don't agree with him are working hard to combat him. Putting aside their obvious hatred for someone they seem to see as a turncoat, that can't be such a bad thing.

The irony is that this book uses the evangelical methodology to prove the opposite of what evangelicals normally believe. Instead of God as a cosmic bouncer, joyfully pronouncing, 'Your name's not down, you're not coming in,' Bell suggests that God always leaves the door open, even throughout eternity. Not that everyone is saved; just everyone that wants to be.

In the evangelical style, Bell takes a few verses that he likes (stuff about God 'reconciling all things to himself') and then imposes them on the verses he doesn't (anything about hell). He flips between reading texts poetically, symbolically or literally, without reference to literary or historical context. To all those evangelicals criticisng Bell for this weakness, I say, 'Take the log out of your own eye first; he learnt it from you.'

And his habit of making sweeping assertions without reference to any authority other than himself (there are no footnotes in the book, so we have to trust him on everything) leaves him open to the same kinds of critique one might give of a crazy-looking street evangelist: who gave YOU the right to speak for God?

The writing style.

The style.

Reminds me.

Reminds me of an advert for an expensive car in a Sunday newspaper magazine.

It's short.



Conversational, yet persuasive.

It feels cool.

Maybe too cool.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love Wins, but Truth is Better 29 May 2014
I came to this book with very mixed feelings. I'd been told Bell was a universalist, or even a heretic.
I was prepared to be angry at this book and scribble lots of things out and was imagining that I was reading this book simply to be sure of myself how wrong Bell was.

I am sorry to say that I judged this book by the media hype it caused rather than the content. I was pleasantly surprised and found myself agreeing with some of what I read inside. The keyword here is "some". Bell is NOT the big bad wolf I had imagined.

The trouble lies in his communication. In his videos and talks online, he is a great communicator, and the church can learn a lot from him. However, this style doesn't translate very well to the written word. He writes very short paragraphs, sometimes with only one of two words in them. Like this. On. Every. Other. Page. It can get quite frustrating, but makes it an easy read.
Secondly, the style leaves massive room for misinterpreting what he says. You can't quite pin him down on what he actually believes, rather than what he offers as mere suggestions. Concerning the charge of universalism for example, he never quite says it explicitly, but he suggests its something we should want to be true.
Third, when quoting from the Bible, he only offers book and chapter, not verse, meaning that its easy to decontextualize or forget the rest of the passage he is quoting from. (See below for why this is a problem).
Fourth, there are no footnotes to anything he suggests. I'm sure Bell has done some further reading (this is listed at the back), but you don't exactly know where he's getting his ideas from. As an historian, when he takes quotes from Origen, Augustine or Martin Luther, one wants to know where these occur.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Controversial and challenging. I always learn from Rob Bells ...
Controversial and challenging. I always learn from Rob Bells books. It's important to weigh up what he says and not just accept it-I don't think Rob would want you to any way. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Mrs. Valerie J. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is the God I know!
Published 19 days ago by Mrs. Jane A. Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a book for all to learn from
Published 1 month ago by Wally
5.0 out of 5 stars Love won!
Excellent book. Lots to think about. Full of hope. Challenging pre-set ideas. Love the idea of letting God tell your story!
Published 1 month ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Answered a lot of questions, but raised others...
This is a very thought provoking book. Really enjoyed it and found it very influential in the growth of my faith.
Published 4 months ago by Gaz Gill
4.0 out of 5 stars I never liked hell anyway.
Rob gathers quite a few arguments towards universalism, which I have thought true for years. As a former logistics expert, how could I accept that a high proportion of the human... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ian Fordyce
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Excellent book. Rob Bell shows us that the problem with accepting that Love Wins, is that we have been conditioned to limit God to a state of 'too good to be true. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Anthony Linford BA(Hons)
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Brave Book
Rob Bell wrote what I feel is a very brave book. He challenges established evangelical theology in a way that has caused controversy, but he asks questions that as Christian we... Read more
Published 5 months ago by mrs julie m burchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about God 's Perfect Unconditional love which cast out...
Great Book About God 's Perfect Unconditional love which cast out every fear in life. Must read for everyone. True meaning of the Gospel became simple .
Published 6 months ago by UDANA SILVA
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly orthodox, but thought-provoking
Even before the book came out, it prompted a vicious backlash from some quarters of the christian blogosphere, denouncing Bell as a heretic and declaring the book harmful. Read more
Published 7 months ago by S. Meadows
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