Thursday, August 4, 2011
Review: God Wins by Mark Galli
Popular pastor and author Rob Bell shocked the evangelical world with his latest book LOVE WINS. Through his often cryptic writing style, Bell questions the traditional view of hell, and suggests instead that in the end God's love wins over the hardest of hearts. In fairness, I haven't read LOVE WINS, so I can't speak much on what the book actually says, though I've read several in-depth reviews that outline Bell's arguments. Bell has been labeled a universalist by many conservative Christians, though he rejects the term. From what I've read LOVE WINS isn't really conclusive on Bell's views about hell because Bell's style is more about asking questions than making assertions.
One of the benefits generated by the controversy surrounding LOVE WINS is that many have begun to reexamine what the Bible actually says about hell and God's relationship with humanity. GOD WINS is journalist Mark Galli's well thought out and respectful response to LOVE WINS.
Galli unflinchingly engages with the content of Bell's book, graciously pointing out the points where he agrees with Bell. Of course, the points of disagreement are many, and Galli tackles the questions presented by Bell with biblical integrity. He launches into the discussion by examining the nature of our questions. Some ask questions from a standpoint of faith and curiosity about God's ways, and others ask questions from a standpoint of arrogance, trying to push God to give us assurance when we find the evidence to believe him lacking.
Galli does a great job of taking us on a journey of God's nature and how we're reconciled to him. The chapter on heaven shows us where Bell's perspective falls short. Heaven isn't solely about enjoyment for the sake of enjoyment. Heaven is about being with God. A heaven without God as central is a man-centered figment of a fallen humanity's imagination, and the gospel is better news than that.
Galli rounds out the book by discussing what the Bible says about hell and why universalism is actually bad news.
GOD WINS is ultimately about God as lover who has died to rescue humanity from the horrors of hell and reunite us to himself. Along with Francis Chan's ERASING HELL, GOD WINS is a great resource for people struggling for answers over the question of hell and a loving God.
I received this book for free from Tyndale House through NetGalley.com