WHERE OUR BOOK FITS IN


March 1, 2011 was a break-through day for Michael Riley and me. That was the day we sent the first draft of our manuscript
Is God Fair? What About Gandhi? to the publisher. It was also the day we heard that Rob Bell was coming out with a new book on the same subject called Love Wins.

A few weeks later when his book arrived, I snatched the last copy at Barnes and Noble and read it in one afternoon. I loved every page! As expected, his book generated immediate controversy because it challenged 1500 years of united church tradition. (I’ll let you pick out the one word that makes that last statement false.)

Many of the offended said his book didn’t offer enough proof. Well, I found that criticism to be unnecessary because it was obvious that Bell was not intending his book to be a thesis, but more as a thought provoking introduction to the idea that love could ultimately win without damning most of mankind to endless conscious torment, or without having to threaten everyone with “love me or else you die.” It’s hard to believe that either of these two dichotomies would become the Christian vision of a victory for love. A victory? For love? Really? (If only one out of three or four people in the world are Christians…I’ll let you finish my thoughts.)

After hearing about this criticism, my immediate thought was that maybe our book was meant to fill in some of the blanks. It was like the time when Jesus healed a blind man; the first touch gave him some limited blurred vision, but after the second touch, he was able to see clearly. We pray our book will serve as a complement to Bell’s book and offer further clarity for those who need a more in-depth answer.

Recently, Dr. Stephen Jones, a gifted author of several books on God’s unfailing love, wrote this about
Love Wins in his monthly newsletter:

Love Wins is a book whose publication at this particular time in history makes it a primary answer to prayer… I believe this book will bring many secret Reconciliationists out into the open. Many will find courage in the face of persecution and loss of positions in their denominations. But it will soon become apparent that the majority of the theologians of most denominations have believed in Universal Reconciliation for a long time but were afraid to admit it.
I recall many years ago hearing of a poll taken among theologians and top leaders of various denominations about their beliefs. Universal Reconciliation was believed by no less than 40% of them and in some denominations it was as high as 70%.
They understood this personally, but were content to allow their parishioners to believe in eternal torment. They did not want to rock the boat.
Christian publishers even were willing to practice some deception by editing the writings to remove all references to their belief in Universal Reconciliation. For example, Andrew Murray, the well beloved author of a century ago, taught Reconciliation, but his writings were edited to hide this fact.
The same has occurred with Hannah Whitall Smith. Her testimony how the Lord revealed this to her was written in her autobiography,
The Unselfishness of God as originally published. Chapters 21-23 were edited out of later editions to hide her belief in Universal Reconciliation.
It seems that men love the depth of understanding and the heart of God in these old writers, but they do not like the revelation that was the source of their inspiration and knowledge of the heart of God.
I believe, however, that
Love Wins is going to show the world that Universal Reconciliation is not just a cult in the corner. It is not the heresy that later Church Councils proclaimed it to be, beginning in the fifth century. It is the revelation of God’s plan and the day for which all creation groans in travail (Rom. 8:20-23).

Well-said Dr. Jones! In total agreement with his assertion that Universal Reconciliation is the revelation of love’s victory, we now offer Is God Fair? What About Gandhi? as a fuller resource for those seeking this larger hope and, as noted, we pray that our book will serve to complement Bell’s book by offering powerful and extra in-depth analysis into this most vital of all topics.

Love Wins 100 (99+1) to 0! There will be no penalties for excessive celebration.