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Altar to an Unknown Love

By Michael John Beasley
July 2012 | Review by Philip Venables

Synopsis

For centuries, the world of professing Christendom has faced countless contests regarding the nature of God's justice and love, as well as the doctrines of Heaven and Hell. Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, is just another illustration of this reality. The entire protest revolving around Bell's book was fairly dramatic, however, it produced more smoke and heat than productive light. Despite the loud complaints leveled against the controversial author of Love Wins, what he unveiled in his book should have produced little surprise. There is a very important and untold story behind the whole Bell debate that must be passed on for the sake of future generations. The mystery and oddity of this conflict has revealed a systemic problem - one that is much greater than the premature protests surrounding Rob Bell. Altar to an Unknown Love addresses the untold story which stands behind the scenes of Bell's particular views of theology. What the reader may find surprising is that Bell's teachings are remarkably familiar, and have even been promoted, whether directly or indirectly, by some of Bell's loudest critics. All of this points to a great opportunity for the church in the present day. The conflict surrounding Rob Bell actually supplies an opportunity to rediscover our need to go back to the Scriptures themselves, rather than to the teachings and traditions of men. This is an opportunity for the church to rediscover the priority of Sola Scriptura, now, and for the generations to come. Altar to an Unknown Love addresses this untold story which stands behind the scenes of Bell's particular views of theology. What the reader may find surprising is that Bell's teachings are remarkably familiar, and have even been promoted, whether directly or indirectly, by some of Bell's loudest critics.

  • Publisher: The Armoury Ministries
  • ISBN: 978-1-935358-08-4
  • Pages: 144
  • Price: 6.97
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Book Review

Altar to an Unknown Love

Michael John Beasley
The Armoury Ministries
144 pages, £6.97
ISBN: 978-1-935358-08-4
Star Rating: 3

 

Michael Beasley has written this book to draw attention to a hypocrisy that evangelicals are probably unaware of. He stands firmly with those whose ire has been raised by the ‘Love Wins’ book written by Rob Bell. However, he argues that such antipathy does not sit comfortably with the fact that the despisers of Mr Bell can so easily accept the works of Mr Lewis without discernment.

      He sets forth that Rob Bell consistently aligns himself with the thrust of C.S. Lewis in respect of the love of God. Beasley also notes that Lewis was following his mentor George Macdonald. The book is something of a wake-up call thereby for evangelicals to critically examine what C.S. Lewis was actually writing in respect of the Love of God.

      For those interested in examining this issue this book is, no doubt, a welcome addition to the available literature. It has something of a feel of being for those with a specialist interest in looking at the works of Lewis. The material throughout is wholesome and sound. The footnotes add to a sense that here is a man who writes with some weight.

      However, I have to say I found the main bulk of the book examining Lewis’s teachings a bit ‘stodgy’. What it did alert me to, however, was the fact that C.S. Lewis is not necessarily all that he seems to be. I must note as well that the appendix on ‘Love Wins’ was helpful.

      If you are a Lewis specialist then read this book. If you are given to reading a lot of Lewis then read this book; it will sharpen your discernment. He writes in a compelling way to prove that too many people have been too easily taken in. As for the rest of us if we are to be discerning Christians we need to be aware of the message of the book while not necessarily reading it.

      As a final note, the things revealed in the book show some of the benefits from the ‘Love Wins’ book. The book in different ways has caused evangelicals to examine where they stand with regard to many key issues. This book shows we need to stand carefully (and discerningly) as regards to C.S. Lewis.

 

Philip Venables,

Feltham

 

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