If you frequent the blogosphere, you’re probably glad to see the recent controversy surrounding Rob Bell subside. I know I am.
But amidst the aftermath of Love Wins’ release, I had the privilege (?) of reviewing the book in the May edition of my denominational magazine, the MB Herald.
You can read my review here - “Heaven and Hell, Here and Now.”
I’ll admit, I was a little nervous publishing my opinion on what has become such a polarizing issue. I didn’t anticipate so much prayer going into a book review! Likely I’ve pegged myself in some way - Bell sympathizer? Evasive? Fair? Unfair? We’ll see. There isn’t a comments function for the online version of the article, so it will be hard to gauge people’s specific response (maybe that’s a good thing!).
But the process got me thinking about the role of pastoral ministry. In particular, the public nature of being a church leader. Prior to my life as a pastor, my wife helpfully reminded me that there are times when I’ll have to make up my mind on issues. Leadership rarely happens on the fence. Wise words from a wise woman!
And so I offer my review of Love Wins tentatively, yes, but also confident in my assessment of the book. I don’t want to get caught solely trying live up to others expectations (or perceived expectations at least). For the review, I wondered, what will happen if I’m not critical enough of Rob Bell? Or overly critical? I tried not to let this sway my opinion. It was my book review after all.
I also think good leadership is more than authoritative opinion. If I reflect on leaders I admire their lasting influence usually relates not to their ability to provide authoritative answers to difficult questions, but how they lead others through the transformative process of answering these questions for themselves. Christian leadership, then, is about whole-person discipleship not just authoritative opinions. I wonder what would happen if people could read Bell and others through this leadership grid?
Hopefully my review is seen as but one voice on the journey of faith and life as people wrestle with the reality of heaven and hell, here and now...