Monday, June 27, 2011

Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell's Love Wins

By Michael E. Wittmer
156 pages. Published by Edenridge Press, 2011

This is the first of hopefully many books to be published in response to Love Wins. The purpose of the book is clear both from the title and from the introduction. Wittmer states in his introduction, “I respect Rob Bell. He wrote Love Wins to start a dialogue about the most important issues of our faith, and this book is my attempt as an evangelical to join that conversation.

I appreciate the tone and clarity that Wittmer is able to bring to this book. He never lashes out or says harsh things against Rob Bell, or even Bell’s book. Wittmer simply points out sections from Love Wins and then seeks to give a biblical response to it. He never leaves a question unanswered, and He communicates what he is trying to say with ease.

I found it interesting that Wittmer agrees with Bell on a couple points. Wittmer agrees with Bell's anti-platonic view of heaven and stresses that we must get away from an 'other-worldy' view of the new earth. Wittmer does a great job pointing out the good points of Love Wins, though it doesn't take very many words for him to do so.

Wittmer does an excellent job explaining Bell’s misuse of Greek words and his poor selection of quotes from Martin Luther and other writers that Bell seeks to use to support his claims. Wittmer explains that Bell is not really teaching anything new. Bell has simply selected what he likes about various men from the past (Pelagius, Origen, Karl Barth, etc.) and put them together to get his own understanding of truth. Wittmer rightly points to the fact that Bell’s book is existential in nature.

Christ Alone is an engaging book that “brings more light than heat” to the controversy surrounding Love Wins. I would recommend this book to anyone who has already read Love Wins or is merely seeking to understand what Love Wins is all about. Wittmer has done an excellent job responding to Rob Bell and has added come clarity to the muddy waters.

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