Book Review: Hell, Rob Bell, and What Happens When People Die

Title: Hell, Rob Bell, and What Happens When People Die
Author: Bobby Conway
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Publishing Year: 2011
Pages: 78
My Rating: 3 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

This week on the blog I will be trying to catch up on some old book reviews I’ve been putting off.  So, be prepared for about three reviews this week.

Today I want to review the first of these books, Hell, Rob Bell and What Happens When People Die.  The book is answer to Rob Bell’s Controversial Love Wins which challenges the tradional, orthodox view of hell as an eternal place of torment for those who reject Christ.  According to the author, Rob Bell “holds out a big promise – postmortem salvation, the idea that everybody has another opportunity after death to get right with God.” (page 13)

This book is written by Bobby Conway, the pastor of Life Fellowship Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.  You might also know Pastor Conway as the One Minute Apologist as seen on Youtube.  From the very first page of this book you can tell the author has a pastor’s heart.  This is not an academic work taking Rob Bell to task line-by-line and engaging intellectual debate.  Instead this is a pastor sharing his concern about a book and heresy that has the potential to lead his flock astray.

This really is the book’s strength.  Pastor Conway’s pastoral concern is admirable.  He simply works through the main themes of Love Wins and answers them with Scripture and easy to understand illustrations.  The book is also intensely evangelistic.  Conway constantly appeals to the unbeliever to realize his fate before God and the wrestle with the idea of what the afterlife may actually have in store.  The resources listed at the end of each chapter are great and very helpful.

The book’s weakness is the failure to interact in-depth with any of the actual argumentation Bell presents in Love Wins.  Rarely does Conway even quote Bell directly choosing most of the time to summarize statements in the book.  I think it would have been helpful to actually engage the book and philosophy you are trying to refute.  The serious student might question just how much the author actually researched the works and thoughts of Rob Bell and is left wondering just what was actually refuted here.

However, this book does have some value.  While I would not to give it to a person really grappling with the big issues at hand, I could see this a valuable tool in the hand of a Christian already assured of his faith and is just curious about what the Bible has to say about the after-life.  I could also see this used as an evangelistic tool in some circumstances.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

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