I started reading it over the weekend, and am now near the end. I think what I find most refreshing about it is Bell’s accessible, this-feels-so-familiar-and-comprehensible style. I had not even heard of Rob Bell or Mars Hill until earlier this year. Actually, my first exposure to Bell was probably a few months ago, via a very succinct, almost matter-of-fact youtube video someone recommended.
Okay, so, as I began reading it, I was under the impression, based on comments I had heard, that Bell does not actually espouse universalism. I was chuckling while reading because I thought: perhaps he doesn’t use the “u” word (or does he?), but the entire gist of the book is clearly a call to us all to consider the vastness of love, the unfathomable dimensions of a God whose love is most assuredly capable and willing to reach all creation, a love that seeks out the lost 99, a love that is steadfast and patient, a love that refuses to lose anyone within its reach–and its reach is mighty. So I chuckled because it was about as universalistic as it could possibly be without blatantly declaring it.