The Evangelical Universalist Forum

God Wins: A weak rebuttal to Bell’s “Love Wins”

Ran across this in the latest (Aug 2011, p 72) Christianity Today… It’s an excerpt from this current book:

God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News Is Better than Love Wins – by Mark Galli Tyndale, July 2011
(And here is a longer CT article by Mark Galli… From all the stuff by Galli in CT on Bell’s recent book, looks likes he’s the designated hit man against it.) … dwins.html

Wow – that seems a bit snide to take a swipe at Bell by subtitling one’s book “… and Why the Good News is Better than Love Wins…”
Huh? God Wins is superior to Love Wins because it somehow manages to incorporate ECT?? Really??? OK lets move on…

I assume if one prints an excerpt in CT magazine, it represents the best stuff they’ve got. As such, it is shockingly weak. Begins by asserting that “The problem with speculation is that it knows no bounds.” OK – it goes on to say that “The universalist idea for solving the problem of unbelief is to speculate that God will eventually win people over after they suffer enough judgement.” Well then – if speculation is the order of the day, why not speculate reincarnation? People returning over and over again until they “get it right”? “Why not suppose that all language of judgment is culturally conditioned, that in the end God doesn’t judge anyone for anything?”

Is he kidding? That’s an astonishingly awful, willful – and ignorant – thing to state about Universalism. That we have hidden behind “speculation”; that we have no apparent place for judgement in our theology. Man – I appreciate knowledgeable and informed criticism, but this is pathetic! To build such a straw man, and proceed to knock it down, simply shows he’s only trying to calm the riled masses who actually worry that Love Wins actually may have a genuine point!

It is incredibly condescending of him to further state that the “problem with these scenarios is that in the end we know that we’ve made them up to comfort ourselves in the face of life’s sobering realities.” This is patronizing in the extreme; so ludicrous as to be instantly dismissable. Your theology is your own fantasized creation: Mine is truth… Pull-EEze!!!

OK, it only gets worse. It seems that there are “apparent” contradictions to God’s “love and justice”. And oh my, how can an all powerful God coexist beside the presence of evil. And a God who comes as both divine and human. Seems it’s all so very deep and mysterious. So in the face of all this mystery and contradiction, God simply asks us to “believe”. And to share the “good news”. So… the answer to Universalism is… a “mystery” that we are just to believe by faith…

You can be certain that I will not be reading this book. If this is any indication, it’s a pathetic misrepresentation of Universalism to those who are unlikely to search out the matter for themselves.

A book this inadequate can only mean that the doctrine of Universalism is making deeper inroads into the evangelical consciousness than we’ve imagined…
At least I hope so!


I don’t think I’ll be reading this one either, as it sounds painful.

When people tell me that God can’t stand evil, firstly I remind them that He already has since the Fall because He’s been sustaining us, then I point out that Jesus embraced sinners (even calling Judas, “friend”), then I question what ECT/P is, if it isn’t putting up with evil forever. The best way for God not to coexist with evil is actually EU! i.e. converts all sinners so there isn’t any more evil anywhere. :mrgreen:

If there is no room to question, and speculate, then we slip dangerously back into the tyranny of the iron papacy that was the Church of the medieval age. It is a grand hypocrisy that says “cast off the traditions of men” with one side of its mouth, and with the other says; “thou shalt not speculate, thou shalt not question, thou shalt not cast into doubt the teachings of thy elders, the teachings of thy man-fathers.”

Those with the time and inclination might consider reviewing and/or commenting on review(s) of *God Wins *at Same for Erasing Hell.

Since I haven’t had the chance to actually read the book, I could only comment on a (confused) review, which I did here under the handle of “tm55:” … hisHelpful

I’m sure a few of you have some thoughts on Galli’s characterization of EU as “speculation!”

sounds like a big fail!

this is one of the nails in the coffin of non universalism…the arguments against it are SO WEAK. i am honestly shocked that some have looked at the universalist logic and Scriptural foundation and NOT been convinced?

The problem is that we all wear interpretive lenses when we approach the scriptures. These interpretive lenses actually prevent you from seeing things that run contrary to your view. Or, if you see them, you quickly re-interpret them without giving any significant thought, to make them fit in with the others. Everyone does this to some extent. The arguments for evangelical universalism are quite strong, but it takes quite a while to actually SEE those arguments. As a result they often have little effect on others.

I hope you are equally as critical on Rob Bell’s book as you are on this one? It misrepresents “OUR GOD” as well. It doesn’t take a theologian to see how woefully inadequate “love wins” is.

As far as universalism in “evangelical consciousness”? I would be shocked if it wasn’t. The state of the evangelical church is becoming more and more of a hash from breath prayers, pole dancers for Jesus, yoga in the church, secular songs, allowing Muslims to use the church to worship their Allah, evolution Sunday (my favorite), “the king” elvis presley singing on the pulpit-what else “How great thou art”, motor cycles jumping over the head of the pastor because the gospel isn’t powerful enough to grasp, clown communion (google that bad boy) The cool, hip, relevant youth pastor teaching the youths the biblical fundamentals of how to eat peanut butter from one another’s arm pits…ummmm…what bible verse is that? and the list goes miserably, sadly and pathetically on.

Not a great accomplishment universalism has made in its deeper “inroads” as today’s evangelical church would accept pretty much anything. I mean ANYTHING! and yes even sexual orgies. Give it time.

The evangelical church lost it’s way a long time ago because we weren’t vocal and forthright enough with the other Rob Bell(s) of the past that slithered their way in. All in the name of how we interpreted “Christian love” that was more influenced by our flesh than the spirit…and look where that got us.

Well, I called Rob Bell a “cheater” against his opposition more than once in both my informal long commentary and in my more formal short review.

And quite a few of us (especially among the site leaders) were complaining about his presentation, too, back when the book was new.

We haven’t been total fanboys(-and-girls) about it, including TGB. (“No, not a perfect book at all. And yes, Rob’s style and apparent elusive coyness can be oddly frustrating.”)

On the other hand, I also pointed out in both reviews (the longer more informal version can be found starting here) that oppositional reviewers tend to badly misrepresent Rob’s various positions (as well as sniping at some things worth sniping at). One of which is that opponents rarely bother to mention that Rob’s key chapter, toward the end of the book, is totally designed around an orthodox Nicea-Chalcedonian Christology presented for evangelical purposes.

So Rob, even in the worst case scenario, isn’t “misrepresenting ‘OUR GOD’” as much as opposition reviewers tend to report to their readers.

(Interesting moniker: has it ever been discussed here?)

Critical of Bell? Oh my God – if you only knew. (Besides, you’ll not cross a more brilliant – and thorough – criticism of Bell than by our own Jason Pratt…. Have you, by chance, actually read it? Are you prepared to tell me Jason is unfair in his critique of Bell?) Yet Bell resonates with me because he is unafraid to question tradition and comprehends that God does not look too good with the ECT paradigm (which you embrace) so that alone puts him at least one leg up on the entire ECT crowd.

Your second paragraph is fascinating though oxy: I sense deeply your anguish at what you see as ever more common, coarse, and pedestrian articulations of the gospel you so love being sidetracked, neutered, and minimized by all these interlopers (pole dancers… yoga…. secular songs… allowing Muslims to… evolution Sunday… “the king” elvis presley singing on the pulpit-what else “How great thou art”… motor cycles jumping… clown communion…)
Sadly, and wrongly, you place Universalism in their midst as just one more adulteration of what you see as truth…

Seems we are both jealous of, and eager to defend, the character of our Lord and our God. Yet the God you defend, and fiercely endorse, tortures forever; mine doesn’t. That’s a pretty big difference.

We here at EU respect sound and principled arguments against UR. The book by Mark Galli which I speak to, is anything but: it is an insult to both our intelligence and to our claim to the Total Victory of Christ. It does not come close to realizing who we are, or where we stand. It’s bad scholarship, and worse community.


I can’t help but feel that there has been a gross error in lumping “Christ will be perfectly victorious and save everyone who he came to save, which is everyone, and make everyone good, remove all evil, and give every thing to God the Father for his glory without anyone being hopelessly damned, or annihilated” - with pole dancing, and letting Muslims do this or that, or oddity; clown communion, and peanut buttery.

As for yoga - lays down in savassana pose, and then enjoys a sun salutation to the glory of Christ This is a thing for another thread…

As for youth pastor - I blame Hopeless Damnationalism. Its awfully hard to get the youth to actually care about what the church calls “Good News” when they’re smart enough to figure out that Hell as the church presents it is nothing short of a Holy Auschwitz, and the cross too close to a swastika for comfort. The Gospel as per the Damnationalist church? “Love me or DIE!”

In the end, it feels less and less like a defense of God and God’s honour, and more like a defense of “our esteemed protestant papacy, and the traditions of our beloved church, the culture of our great legacy of faith.”