Naturally I want in.
However, I must be brutally honest and confess that I still have not read this book. In fact, apart from the promo video, I haven't got passed the cover. Nevertheless, in the interest of staying relevant with the culture, I intend, in this review, to give my honest, unashamed, critique of this very book cover and what I believe its implications are for the future of evangelicalism.
|The Book that Inspired the Legend|
Joshua Harris: I Kissed Hell Goodbye
Joel Osteen: Your Best Afterlife Now
AC/DC: Bell's Hells
(And my personal favorite)
Robert Palmer meets Charlie Sheen: Might as Well Face it, I'm Addicted to Love Winning
It's not rocket science Rob. But after going over your title again and again, I just can't help but feel you were so concerned about what you believe, that you forget about the world you are trying to reach. Frankly, I don't think that's the example we see set out for us in scripture.
|A Theologically Correct Christian Book Cover|
Actually my idea for a better cover would have been a depiction of the devil, sitting in an alleyway outside Bell's church with a cardboard sign that says "homeless". But that may have to wait for the sequel.
Last of all, I want to take an honest look at what so many people forget about when reviewing the cover.
The back page.
It is here that we find what many would deem the most controversial subject matter and that is the quotations from others who have read and endorsed the book in question. I'm speaking of course about the Eugene Peterson quotation which (in all appearances) gives a hearty amen to the book's content.
‘It isn’t easy to develop a biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ…Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination — without a trace of the soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction.‘”
- Eugene Peterson, Author of The Message
Now what stands out to me, (as I'm sure it does to every astute critic) is that this quotation is entirely without reliable evidence. Why should we so quickly assume that just because it's printed on the back, we should accept it as truth? Eugene Peterson has ACTUALLY read this book? Furthermore, he has ACTUALLY written and submitted this quotation? Really? We have evidence of this? Someone was there, reading over his shoulder, who can attest to this? We have photographic evidence? Or are we all just to accept it, simply because we've been brought up believing the quotations on the backs of our books are always accurate?
Is this the kind of arrogance the world needs?
In summary, while I'm sure this cover may lead to some interesting discussions, it may be that it causes more division than it's worth. I'm not one to judge a book by its cover, though I maintain that as far as covers go, Love Wins certainly doesn't play passively. It's a cover looking to (no pun intended) raise a little Hell. As for impact on the church of tomorrow, I anticipate that there will no doubt be many more controversial covers of this same caliber. But that's never been something new for the church. So next time you're in the bookstore don't be shocked if there ends up being more to a book than meets the eye. The era we live in calls for discernment in what we choose to read, how we read it, and how we choose to respond. But a need for wisdom is nothing new. It's human nature to assume we're smarter than we really are. In fact, it's the fate of every person who ever lived.