Orthodox in the sense that the ideas presented in Love Wins conform to the beliefs, attitudes and modes of conduct that are generally associated with Jesus.
Orthodox in the sense that it is sound in opinion, and theological and religious doctrine.
I’m sure this summation won’t make a lot of critics happy with me; but I’ve come to this conclusion after actually READING Love Wins. It has been disappointing for me to see all of the hasty opinions spouted about Bell and his book without adequate study and dialog.
Here is what Love Wins actually includes
- Chapter One – a look at Biblical ‘conversion’ experiences.
- Chapter Two – a look at the Biblical descriptions about Heaven, eternal life, and the age to come.
- Chapter Three – a look at the Biblical descriptions about Hell, Sheol, Gehenna, Tartarus and Hades.
- Chapter Four – a look at the Bible passages about God’s will, his power, his purpose and his passion. A look at how the theme of reconciliation is developed throughout scripture.
- Chapter Five – a look at what the Bible passages say about Jesus’ work on the cross, what was accomplished, and what his resurrection means for his creation.
- Chapter Six – A look at what the Bible says about Jesus.
- Chapter Seven – A look at the implications of Jesus’ story about the prodigal son, a loving father, and a self-righteous brother.
Here is what Love Wins isn’t
- A treatise about universalism.
- A love-in with Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, or Islam.
- A watering down of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
- A widening of the narrow way.
Love Wins is actually a call for Jesus’ followers to consider if what they have thought about God, his nature and plan is what is actually presented in the whole of scripture.
The Bereans weren’t afraid to do this. They are described in Acts as people of noble character who would take a teaching and with great eagerness examine the Scriptures to see if what was presented were true.
Rob Bell doesn’t claim to be a scholar or even a theologian for that matter; but in very simple, laymen’s terms he tackles some central themes of faith and life in the Bible. What is somewhat embarrassing to those of us who would like to consider ourselves as being experts in rightly handling the Word of Truth is that he does a more than admirable job of presenting Biblical words and themes in context—having used solid inductive study methods. He may have just hit on a point or two (or seven) that should cause us to eagerly go back to the Scripture—with openness and humility—to gaze intently on Him who is Truth.
To not do so would be, well, unorthodox.