Subscribe now

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

By Rob Bell
August 2011 | Review by Philip Venables


Bestselling author Rob Bell offers a provocative book which gets to the heart of questions about life and death.

  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN: 978-0-00-742073-5
  • Pages: 226
  • Price: £9.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

Love wins opens the door wide to universalism — a heresy that ultimately advocates that hell will be empty and all will be in heaven. Scripture teaches something quite different.

Rob Bell’s book has generated a furore in the blogosphere and beyond. One of the best responses has come from Kevin DeYoung.

When The lost message of Jesus by Steve Chalke and Alan Mann was published in 2004, in contesting it the evangelical church was given fresh appreciation of the substitutionary value of our Saviour’s death on the cross. It grasped afresh how the wrath of God was propitiated by the one giving of Jesus our Lord for our sins.

In a similar perverse fashion, Rob Bell does us a service by his book. The ensuing debate has made us more aware of the biblical doctrine of eternal punishment.

This doctrine has recently been sidelined among evangelicals, afraid of sounding harsh in our relativistic age. But Christianity is not about choosing Jesus for a better lifestyle; it is about trusting in the one who is the only deliverer from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). As much as there is an everlasting heaven, there is an everlasting hell.

For this deliverance to be achieved, our Saviour went to the cross to experience hell, so that we might have eternal life in him. He stood in our place and ‘bore our sins in his body on the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24). He took the wrath that should have been ours.

We should not allow eternal judgement to become the only string to our doctrinal bow. But, it certainly should be a part of our doctrinal bow and, as Scripture is faithfully expounded, be regularly brought to people’s attention.

The stark reminder that billions of fellow earth dwellers are hell-bound should fill us with urgency to tell the good news. We need to tell them about Jesus Christ.

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Why Should I Trust the Bible?

We should trust the Bible, says Timothy Paul Jones, because it is ‘grounded in the words of a man who died and rose again’ (p.111). Jones’s basic presupposition is this: ‘If we live in a world where it is possible…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Who Am I? Human Identity and the Gospel in a Confusing World
Thomas Fretwell

In today’s secular society, religion is often regarded as without rational or scientific basis, and therefore irrelevant to life in the modern world and all areas of public engagement. If that is our social context, then it is no wonder…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Pastor’s Life: Practical Wisdom from the Puritans
Matthew D Haste & Shane W Parker

This book highlights ‘some of the many lessons that today’s pastors can learn from the Puritans’ (p.151). As such it is aimed at pastors, but the lessons are really for anyone who is a Christian leader. The opening chapter provides…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
5 Minutes in Church History: An Introduction to the Stories of God’s Faithfulness in the History of the Church
Stephen J Nichols

What a breath of fresh air this book is! Stephen Nichols has given us 40 vignettes from church history that are brief enough to be digested over a bowl of cereal. The book doesn’t aim to be a beginner’s guide…