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Altar to an Unknown Love: Rob Bell, C.S. Lewis, and the Legacy of the Art and Thought of Man

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For centuries, the world of professing Christendom has faced countless contests regarding the nature of God's justice and love, as well as the doctrines of Heaven and Hell. Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, is just another illustration of this reality. The entire protest revolving around Bell's book was fairly dramatic, however, it produced more smoke and heat than productive li For centuries, the world of professing Christendom has faced countless contests regarding the nature of God's justice and love, as well as the doctrines of Heaven and Hell. Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, is just another illustration of this reality. The entire protest revolving around Bell's book was fairly dramatic, however, it produced more smoke and heat than productive light. Despite the loud complaints leveled against the controversial author of Love Wins, what he unveiled in his book should have produced little surprise. There is a very important and untold story behind the whole Bell debate that must be passed on for the sake of future generations. The mystery and oddity of this conflict has revealed a systemic problem - one that is much greater than the premature protests surrounding Rob Bell. Altar to an Unknown Love addresses the untold story which stands behind the scenes of Bell's particular views of theology. What the reader may find surprising is that Bell's teachings are remarkably familiar, and have even been promoted, whether directly or indirectly, by some of Bell's loudest critics. All of this points to a great opportunity for the church in the present day. The conflict surrounding Rob Bell actually supplies an opportunity to rediscover our need to go back to the Scriptures themselves, rather than to the teachings and traditions of men. This is an opportunity for the church to rediscover the priority of Sola Scriptura, now, and for the generations to come. Back Cover: "Rob Bell's Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person who Ever Lived, has been condemned by evangelicals who are, at the same time, professed admirers of authors from whom Bell has drawn, namely, George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis. Beasley challenges the consistency of this procedure, and if his book is taken seriously - as it deserves to be - it must promote more controversy, for MacDonald and Lewis are widely respected figures. A reconstructed presentation of the love of God - to be found in all the authors Beasley is critiquing - produces teaching which carries no offence to the natural man. What is more offensive to the natural man than truth concerning the justice of God and his wrath against sin? But that offence is eliminated by the subjective, man-centered teaching here reviewed. Yet, instead of starting with Scripture, Lewis believed that considering love in man can help us to understand love in God. A major part of Altar to an Unknown Love is a refutation of this error. The love to be found in unregenerate man is self-love - love centering around the pursuit of pleasure and identified by the Greeks (and by Lewis) as eros. But the love of God (never called eros in the New Testament) is altogether different, and is unknown until a person is born of God (1 John 4:7-10). To our mind he proves the case that Lewis is now so widely acceptable in American evangelicalism because non-biblical ideas are not being recognized for what they are. Artistry in writing, effective story-telling, with a mixture of 'disconnected scriptural references and thoughts', are able to achieve wide success in a day when discrimination has given way to popular appeal." Reverend Iain H. Murray Former Editorial Director & Joint Founder of Banner of Truth Trust


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For centuries, the world of professing Christendom has faced countless contests regarding the nature of God's justice and love, as well as the doctrines of Heaven and Hell. Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, is just another illustration of this reality. The entire protest revolving around Bell's book was fairly dramatic, however, it produced more smoke and heat than productive li For centuries, the world of professing Christendom has faced countless contests regarding the nature of God's justice and love, as well as the doctrines of Heaven and Hell. Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, is just another illustration of this reality. The entire protest revolving around Bell's book was fairly dramatic, however, it produced more smoke and heat than productive light. Despite the loud complaints leveled against the controversial author of Love Wins, what he unveiled in his book should have produced little surprise. There is a very important and untold story behind the whole Bell debate that must be passed on for the sake of future generations. The mystery and oddity of this conflict has revealed a systemic problem - one that is much greater than the premature protests surrounding Rob Bell. Altar to an Unknown Love addresses the untold story which stands behind the scenes of Bell's particular views of theology. What the reader may find surprising is that Bell's teachings are remarkably familiar, and have even been promoted, whether directly or indirectly, by some of Bell's loudest critics. All of this points to a great opportunity for the church in the present day. The conflict surrounding Rob Bell actually supplies an opportunity to rediscover our need to go back to the Scriptures themselves, rather than to the teachings and traditions of men. This is an opportunity for the church to rediscover the priority of Sola Scriptura, now, and for the generations to come. Back Cover: "Rob Bell's Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person who Ever Lived, has been condemned by evangelicals who are, at the same time, professed admirers of authors from whom Bell has drawn, namely, George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis. Beasley challenges the consistency of this procedure, and if his book is taken seriously - as it deserves to be - it must promote more controversy, for MacDonald and Lewis are widely respected figures. A reconstructed presentation of the love of God - to be found in all the authors Beasley is critiquing - produces teaching which carries no offence to the natural man. What is more offensive to the natural man than truth concerning the justice of God and his wrath against sin? But that offence is eliminated by the subjective, man-centered teaching here reviewed. Yet, instead of starting with Scripture, Lewis believed that considering love in man can help us to understand love in God. A major part of Altar to an Unknown Love is a refutation of this error. The love to be found in unregenerate man is self-love - love centering around the pursuit of pleasure and identified by the Greeks (and by Lewis) as eros. But the love of God (never called eros in the New Testament) is altogether different, and is unknown until a person is born of God (1 John 4:7-10). To our mind he proves the case that Lewis is now so widely acceptable in American evangelicalism because non-biblical ideas are not being recognized for what they are. Artistry in writing, effective story-telling, with a mixture of 'disconnected scriptural references and thoughts', are able to achieve wide success in a day when discrimination has given way to popular appeal." Reverend Iain H. Murray Former Editorial Director & Joint Founder of Banner of Truth Trust

32 review for Altar to an Unknown Love: Rob Bell, C.S. Lewis, and the Legacy of the Art and Thought of Man

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    So I was already a fan of Rob Bell before I picked up this book and clearly I didn't realize what it was going to be about...at least warm me up to the idea of why you're going to tear down Rob Bell and C.S. Lewis! Nope, the author just dove straight in, talking about how disgusted he was with their work. So it was difficult to read, especially without a strong Scripture or theological background. So I was already a fan of Rob Bell before I picked up this book and clearly I didn't realize what it was going to be about...at least warm me up to the idea of why you're going to tear down Rob Bell and C.S. Lewis! Nope, the author just dove straight in, talking about how disgusted he was with their work. So it was difficult to read, especially without a strong Scripture or theological background.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Todd Wilhelm

    This book is an excellent treatise on the love of God. Beasley compares Rob Bell's deficient view of the subject to C. S. Lewis' view and concludes that they are quite similar; he then continues on by comparing what both men have written on the subject of love to what the bible says. Beasley handles the Scripture well, as I have found him to do in two previous books of his that I have read. Well worth the read. "On the one hand, Bell's treatment of the subjects of love, Heaven and Hell was indeed This book is an excellent treatise on the love of God. Beasley compares Rob Bell's deficient view of the subject to C. S. Lewis' view and concludes that they are quite similar; he then continues on by comparing what both men have written on the subject of love to what the bible says. Beasley handles the Scripture well, as I have found him to do in two previous books of his that I have read. Well worth the read. "On the one hand, Bell's treatment of the subjects of love, Heaven and Hell was indeed disturbing on several fronts - the details which are examined in the fourth chapter and Appendix of this book. However, the controversy surrounding Bell's book was especially troubling. The premature rush to judgment over what he had written effectively sidelined some very important issues. In the end, it is my contention that Bell is not a Universalist, strictly speaking, but that he does espouse a confused teaching that strongly reflects the views of C.S. Lewis and George McDonald. The great oddity of the Bell controversy is this: nearly all of the loudest and most popular critics of Bell also happen to be some of the strongest advocates for C.S. Lewis and his writings. When I competed Bell's book, my disdain for what he wrote was eclipsed by the bizarre treatment he received from many within the Evangelical community, especially in view of this yet unanswered question: If Bell is worthy of such a stern rebuke, then why not C.S. Lewis?" "I would suggest to the reader that much of what is wrong with modern Christendom's treatment of the subject of God's love is attributable, in part, to the influences of both Lewis and his chief mentor - George McDonald. I would also submit to the reader that Bell's book, Love Wins, is the veritable canary in the coal mine - yet few have noticed the warning-sign of its demise. What we should learn from such a warning-sign is that Lewis' legacy is quietly dangerous, and yet in God's providence the Bell controversy has sounded a loud and needful alarm exposing this lurking problem within Christendom. Because of this, those who have openly promoted C.S. Lewis, while openly critiquing Bell, should reconsider the consistency and integrity of their actions. Bell's fawning devotion to Lewis is strangely similar to that of some of his harshest critics, making the conflict of interest in this dispute rather bizarre. Those who aspire to be the watchmen of Christ's church are right to warn others about the teachings of Rob Bell: but they are wrong to ignore Lewis." Here is the table of contents of the book: Introduction Chapter 1: The Art and Thought of Man Chapter 2: The Greatest Love of All Chapter 3: The Affections of Love Chapter 4: The Freedom of Love Conclusion: A Solemn Message from Hell Appendix Love Wins - A Message of Uncertainty Love Wins - a Missed Opportunity C.S. Lewis and the Use of Language

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike Barber

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  6. 4 out of 5

    Louisebryant

  7. 5 out of 5

    Danny

  8. 4 out of 5

    Josh Marquez

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rj

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eugen Olsen

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tim Lawhead

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  14. 5 out of 5

    Don Martin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paul Flynn

  16. 5 out of 5

    Steve Laube

  17. 5 out of 5

    S. Tarr

  18. 4 out of 5

    Doc

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Thomas

  20. 4 out of 5

    Samprabhu

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Franzone

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wilma Coate

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nick Charalambous

  25. 4 out of 5

    Debborah

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tony Lettkeman

  27. 5 out of 5

    Haad

  28. 4 out of 5

    carol king

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adam Miller

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  31. 4 out of 5

    Bilbo

  32. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Andrews

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