I decided to get back into the spiritual reading world again after a hiatus from those “types” of books. When I first picked up this book it was in the shadow of quite a bit of controversy in the twitter world. Even some mainstreamers in the evangelical world were writing off Rob Bell for his words in this book as no longer “part of the fold” so to speak. Greg Boyd makes a great point on this here.
All I want to say about this book is that it was inspiring and said a lot of things that not only I have been thinking about, but I know other “doubting Christians” have been thinking for a long time. And even though some might argue that this books encouragement toward questioning and its suggestion of new answers might be “unhealthy” or a threat to Christianity, I believe that this is a hopeful book that makes God bigger than perhaps we have viewed Him as in our current Christian faith circles.
And to those who find this book threatening I would just like to say that it is important for many of us to reflect on how accurate you believe you are concerning your accuracy of your theology. Don’t hear me wrong, I appreciate critical readings, and feel free to read this book critically, but if you read it and if it doesn’t agree with your church or your personal theology try to remember that we are all trying to figure it out and do not have it all together all of the time. To read this with that in mind, might give more life to your reading. I can appreciate those that want to find the “final” answer, but I guess in my mind (right now) that doesn’t seem to be the point.
One thing that I appreciated from Rob’s book that I would like to share here is that Rob looks at the many different views of atonement in Chapter 5 and makes a great point that many of the explanations provided by the writers in the Bible (and thus interpretations from others since) were ways to describe the life eternal and not to point to one final theory. We would do well to embrace more theories in order to expand on the richness of the gospel itself. This in turn makes God bigger to me, not smaller. I think we would all be amazed how many of those theories we embrace even though most evangelical Christians say they only embrace the substitution theory.
I think this is an important book and give 5/5 on my CP scale.