by Mark Galli
Reader Appeal: Teens, Young Adults, Adults
Genre: Christian Living / Apologetics
PopFam Rating: A
In college I took a language class in which we examined the ways advertisers use words to manipulate and make a product more desirable. Ultimately, we examined political speeches to fully understand how all of us can be easily influenced by carefully placed words. What does this have to do with God Wins you're asking? Well, I had heard about the book Love Wins, and knew it was a bit controversial, but wasn't aware of the extent of the hullabaloo until I heard our local Christian bookstore wouldn't carry it. Which of course, made me all the more curious. Like another notorious Christian book, The Shack, Love Wins holds truth alongside statements and ideas that are, well, questionable. Hence the controversy.
God Wins is a response to Love Wins. And as I read Mark Galli's reply to Love Wins, I was reminded of my college lessons. As Galli points out, Love Wins is full of truth, but it's placed alongside information that isn't biblically or historically accurate. Which for most of us is dangerous, as we aren't seminary-trained theologians or church historians. Let's face it, if it sounds biblical and is written by a pastor, it's got to be right. Right?
Well, one of the problems with Love Wins, is that it all sounds so good. Who wouldn't go for the feel-good story about a loving God who desires to give his creation whatever they want? That's what love does, right? (which is an over-simplification of the book, but one of the points made) Not according to Mark Galli. Based on biblical truth and historical Christian teaching, he confirms the truth in Love Wins, but challenges points that aren't in line with God's Word. Case in point, God is loving, but he's also righteous and judges the actions and intentions of man's heart. You can't remove or minimize some of God's character traits to make him more understandable or likeable. That just makes him a man-made creation, and isn't a true reflection of who he is.
Something I appreciated about God Wins, is that the author in no way accuses Rob Bell, the author of Love Wins, of being a heretic or purposefully trying to mislead Christians to believe a different gospel. In fact, he goes out of his way to give Mr. Bell the benefit of the doubt. Yet, he recognizes that the American church is in a place of being taught feel-good Christianity, which is contrary to what Christians throughout the ages understood, and what much of the world currently experiences. It would be like eating the outer peel of an orange, but never getting to the inner, sweet juice. There's truth, but not the whole of it.
God Wins is a book that should be read if you've read, or plan to read, Love Wins, as it gives a deeper insight into some of the questions raised by Love Wins. It rounds out and fills in some of the points Rob Bell makes, and reminds the reader that "the God of the Scripture is fuller, richer, deeper, and more real than the one painted in Love Wins...."
And isn't that the God you want to know?
Let’s Talk About It
If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:
• Who do you say God is?
• Mark Galli says, "There are questions, and then there are questions." What is one question you would humbly like to ask God?
• What surprised you in God Wins? What did you find most interesting?
Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.