This post is a bit of a relenting. A few weeks ago when I saw my former pastor’s name was a Top Ten Tweet, that there was some controversy about his new book Love Wins, that certain evangelicals were Twitter-farewelling him, etc., I made up my mind to keep from throwing my hat into the discussion. For one thing, I prefer to get along with people rather than to debate them. (Not always the most helpful or useful approach, but there you have it.) For another, much of the debating that happens among church folks can be petty and annoying. And I figured that when the book actually came out things would blow over.
The book came out. The blogs and reviews kept scathing/praising. The front page of FoxNews.com one day said that some pastor somewhere had been instantly fired for speaking out in defense of Love Wins. Amazon.com listed the book in its top ten books sold. I’m still waiting to see whether or when it will blow over. In the meantime, practically every day in the last week or two, a close friend or acquaintance has asked me what I think about all this.
I plan to read Love Wins at some point, but as of now I haven’t. I’m hoping that when I read it, I’ll see that universalism isn’t the (or even a) touted theme—I expect it won’t be, especially since the Mars Hill leadership team (which I have worked with closely, which I respect deeply, and which upholds this as its theology) has stood behind it. Also because Rob endorsed Craving Grace, which pretty clearly notes that grace isn’t grace unless sinfulness is part of the equation. I didn’t spell out h-e-l-l anywhere in the manuscript, but human need for atonement is a central theme throughout.