After hearing so many mixed reviews ranging any where in between love and hate, I decided to read "Love Wins" by Rob Bell for myself.
My overall opinion is confused and cautious. As I read through the book I found myself offering an equal amount of "yay"s and "nay"s. Rob Bell was bringing up points that I whole-heartedly agreed with and other points that I was saying, "uh...not too sure about that."
Then it got to a point where Rob brought up a question that I was not at all comfortable with hearing and I was ready to close the book and never look it again thinking, "How dare he ask that." But then I thought, "What am I so afraid of? He's asking questions that 1000's of people ask everyday." So I pressed on.
The more the pages on the right dwindled the more I found myself disagreeing. Scriptures refuting his points were popping into my head. I repeatedly was unable to understand his interpretations of Scripture and failed to see how he sometimes got from one point to another. Then it got to the point where I found his words and insinuations downright dangerous; questions and statements challenging God, challenging His character, verging on idolatry.
What worried me was that he didn't boldly state his ideas and then draw a thick circle around them to exclude them and say, "these are my ideas; right or wrong." But rather it was as if he loosely insinuated his theories and then drew a dotted line around them, leaving room for other ideas and questions to slip out; then you're not sure if he actually said ____ or if he just insinuated it, if that's where he's leading, or if that is an idea coming out of you. Definitely uncomfortable quick sand in my opinion. My biggest issue with it all is that in the very last chapter he pretty much refutes every point he made against hell in the previous chapters and leaves you feeling irritatingly confused. I'm still not sure if the same person wrote that last chapter.
Now that I've got that out of the way, onto what I liked. I really like the questions that he raised concerning life as we know it. I found it beneficially challenging. I also appreciated his thoughts on heaven; they really got me thinking and inspired me to search Scripture more on the subject. Since neither he nor I, or anyone else for that matter, know what heaven will truly look like; it's not something that I worry or wrestle with. Nonetheless, he had some really interesting thoughts on the subject.
Overall, would I recommend this book? Yes and No.
If people around you are talking about the book and are discussing it, it might be good for you to have an opinion on it yourself instead of going off of hearsay. On the other hand I can't really say that my life was changed by it, my relationship with the Lord is better because of it, or that I'm better because of it; so I have a hard time recommending it with the same enthusiasm that I have recommended other books with. My only real concern is the way in which his ideas are so loosely conveyed, as I previously discussed. So if anything I would say to be careful.