Well, I guess it is time for me to type up these notes I took on the book Love Wins by Rob Bell. He has very good points and very not so good points. My overall analysis will be at the end of the notes. This will also be very incomplete notes because the book is no longer in my possession.


  • The purpose of this book is to help those who would “never be apart of [Christianity]”. [1]
  • He presents the idea that a select few Christians spending eternity in Heaven while all others are in Hell is “toxic and misguided”.[2]
  • “God is practically on trial in the poems of Lamentations.”[3]

To this I want to quickly point out that God is not on trial, He is the Judge (see Lamentations 1:5-18, 2:14). Also, If it is seen that God is on trial, it is reasonable that God could be in the wrong for displaying wrath against sin.

  •  “Can God create millions of people who are going to spend eternity in Hell and still be loving?”[4]

See Jeremiah 18; Romans 9:19-20; John 8:24

  • “Does God punish people forever?”[5]

Why would an eternal God have to die if punishment were finite? (This topic will be explored more further)

  • “How does one become one of the select few?”[6]

Romans 9

  • “What kind of God would select whomever to save?”[7]

Who are you to ask? Psalm 115

  • “Is there hope of salvation after death?”[8]
  • Was God limited to the three year window?[9]

Is God limited?

  • Theology of salvation to get somewhere else is bad.[10]

I like this point due to the fact that salvation’s main point is not getting to heaven.

  • Pages seven through eight contains good emotional persuasion against some ‘jesuses’. This refers to people’s bad perceptions of Jesus. “Some Jesuses should be rejected.”[11]
  • Salvation is not by action or any verb.[12] (So God must have elected)
  • His sins are forgiven because of their faith (see Mark 2 for background on man lowered down through the roof).[13]

He would probably have faith for wanting to be lowered there. ‘Their’ in the Bible could be inclusive of the paralytic as well.

  • All of Israel will be saved…[14]

Romans 11:21

  • On page 18 it should be noted that demons and humans are two different and distinct beings. Human faith saves, demons have no second chances (see Revelation 14/ Genesis 6).

Chapter one consists of an emotionally and ethically driven deconstruction of God and gives Him limits glorifying only His attribute of love. Chapter one also logically persuades one to be confused on the idea of salvation. It is stated that we cannot do any action to gain salvation which would support God’s grace and election; however, the author seems to oppose those views (although that is quite tough to say because the author is not really definitive on anything). Also, the after bringing up the commonality of salvation as being faith, the author states demons also believe as a questionable allusion.

I want to take this time to really explain salvation. The key question of salvation is ‘what are we saved from?’. The Christian has been saved from the guilt and penalty of sin which is eternal death (2 Cor. 2:15); we are being saved from the habit and dominion of sin (Romans 6); we are saved from God’s wrath and judgment (1 Thess. 5:9, Rom 5:9); the Christian will be saved by from our bodily infirmities caused by the fall in Genesis 3 (1 Cor. 15:42-44).[15] This occurred by Christ’s death on the cross to provide the propitiation (Rom. 3:25, 5:10). The Holy Spirit is the immediate help of renewal after salvation and is the sign of the new covenant (as opposed to circumcision as the sign of the Abrahamic covenant; Ephesians 1:13; Titus 3:5). Saving faith is “trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God.” [16]

  • The idea of white robes is portrayed as silly.[17]

Revelation 3:4

  • “… because her family isn’t Christians none of them will be [in heaven], she is told that she’ll be having so much fun worshipping God that it won’t matter to her. Which is quite troubling and confusing, because the people she loves the most… do matter to her.”[18]

Matthew 10:37

  • “God has been looking for partners since the beginning”[19]
  • “God declares a ban on weapons.”[20]

Revelation 2:16

  • There should be clarification on God’s judgment on page 38.
  • “At this present time heaven and earth are not one”[21]

This is good because this was in question until finally stated.

  • “Our eschatology shapes our ethics.”[22]

I love this point because I never really thought of it this way.

  • Is the process of sanctification more than personal?[23]

This is also a good point  see Romans 8:21

  • On Matthew 20 he says, “She understood heaven to be about partnering with God to make a new and better world…”[24]
  1. Who are we to partner with God?
  2. She says, “kingdom” and most likely does not understand that this kingdom is heaven; it is also an interest of pride.
  3. Does God need partners to bring heaven to earth?
  • “reign means to actively participate in ordering of creation.”[25]

This is an interesting point; however there is no citation or reference on where this idea comes from.

  • Clarifications should be made on page 55 with regards to the thief on the cross and Jesus.
  • Heaven is: 1. Meant to mean God (heaven can be substituted for God). 2. Future coming together of heaven and earth. 3. Our present, eternal, intense, real experiences of joy in this life.
  • “God gives us what we want, and if that’s hell, we can have it. We have that kind of freedom, that kind of choice, we are that free.”[26]
  • In reference to the parable in Luke 16, “The chasm is the rich man’s heart! It hasn’t changed, even in death and torment and agony. He’s still clinging to the old hierarchy. He still thinks he’s better.”[27]

When I read this parable I see a Lazarus in torment crying out for mercy and begging someone to proclaim the Gospel to his family.

  • “To respond to violence with more violence, according to Jesus is not the way of God.”[28]

Matthew 10:34

  • There is a logical fallacy on the comparison between Sodom and Gomorrah and the people of Hell on page 84.
  • I think it is important to note that God’s promises for restoration throughout the Old Testament are for His people, the Israelites (page 87).
  • “We get what we want”[29]

But a very important term of economics is insatiability.

  • “Explaining the Gospel as just so we can have a relationship with God puts us at the center and is not complete”[30] (An excellent point).
  • “A Gospel that repeatedly, narrowly affirms and bolsters the ‘in-ness’ of one group at the expense of the ‘out-ness’ of another group will not be true to the story that includes ‘all’…”[31]

What’s the point of all the parables Jesus gives on separation? (sheep and goats, wheat and chaff, productive branches and those that don’t produce, etc…)

  • Logical fallacy on Eminem’s purpose of wearing the cross.[32]
  • Interesting explanation of the numinous.[33]
  • “[Jesus] doesn’t even state that those coming to the Father though Him will even know that they are exclusively coming through Him.”[34]
  • “Jesus is both near and intimate and personal and big and wide and transcendent.”[35]

Good. One of the only times this is stated.

  • The author correctly understands the two rituals Christianity is commanded to uphold[36]
  • Bell defines Hell as, “our refusal to trust God’s retelling of our story.”[37]
  • “If there was an earthly father who was like that (that being, “loving one moment, vicious the next.  Kind and compassionate, only to become a cruel and relentless in the blink of an eye”), we would call the authorities.”[38]

This is maybe my most hated quotes in his entire book. The idea of calling the police on God. “Who are you oh man to talk back to God?” (Romans 9:19). And now we will pause and take a quick hiatus to see what Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem has to say on the topic of Hell. He defines Hell as, “a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked.”  Using verses such as Matthew 25:46 and Revelation 14:9-11. Bell does try to redefine what eternal is, but Revelation 14:9-11 really puts no doubt on what the word means. Some may argue, “well that only refers to people who worship the beast.” But to this I reply, “who do we worship if it’s not God?”

  • After Rob Bell does all his work deconstructing orthodox Christianity and establishing his own religion he claims, “This is a God worth telling people about.”[39]
  • Bell claims (again establishing his own religion) that Jesus died to rescue us from death; not God.[40]

What exactly does propitiation mean?

  • “This is crucial for our peace, because we shape our God and then our God shapes us.”[41]

Can we say, ‘anthropomorphism’? So may argue, “ Well, he isn’t talking about God as objectively, rather a subjective perception of God, more specifically a false perception of God. We often times will mold a false perception of God and then worship that and let that pseudo-God shape us…”[42] Basically this argument misses the point. The problem isn’t shaping God, the problem is who’s shaping Him. What gives us the right to shape God? Is that not the Bible’s job. The Bible: special revelation at its finest, why should we put our opinions in there to mess that up?

  • “When religious people become violent it’s because they are shaped by their God who is violent.”[43]

Because something like the world wide flood didn’t happen… did it?

  • “[God’s love] is a party…”[44]
  • “Love is why [Jesus] continues to come year after year.”[45]

This is a Trinitarian fallacy.

This concludes all my notes on the book and I apologize for my sarcasm in the end. I must conclude that he does have many good points in his book; however the fact that he takes away from God’s justice (2, 173), transcendence (ix, 3), divinity (5, 174), importance (25), omnipotence (47), wrath (80, 170, 183), truth (154), righteousness (173), holiness (173), and judgment (182), then sets up his own god (of love only) as the god we should proclaim to the world (181) then there is a problem. Fin.




[1] viii

[2] viii

[3] ix

[4] 2

[5] 2

[6] 2

[7] 3

[8] 4

[9] 5

[10] 6-7

[11] 9

[12] 11

[13] 15

[14] 17

[15] Holman Christian Standard Study Bible Notes page 1545

[16] Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology page 710

[17] 24

[18] 25

[19] 36

[20] 37

[21] 42

[22] 46

[23] 46-7

[24] 47

[25] 48

[26] 72

[27] 75

[28] 80

[29] 116

[30] 134

[31] 135

[32] 137

[33] 140-2

[34] 154

[35] 156

[36] 157

[37] 170

[38] 174

[39] 181

[40] 182

[41] 182,3,4

[42] Courtesy of Micheal Smith

[43] 183

[44] 187

[45] 189