I post a review of this book filled as one of healthy caution. I remember reading this back in high school. I do admire Bell’s creativity and his way of communicating things in a very fresh way, and I also happen to think he is a polite guy. He has some really cool and colorful ideas throughout this book, but there are some serious theological issues with some of his ideas.
For instance, in chapter one, he talks about some of the skepticism behind the definition of the word, “virgin” when describing Mary. The word can have two definitions generally. One means a mere young woman, while the other means a true virgin. This word has been the subject of some debate around Jesus’ birth. Bell, in talking about faith, says that even if Mary was not a true virgin, we could still have a solid Christian faith in God. While he does acknowledge personally the virgin birth, he is belittling the theological significance behind Jesus being born of a virgin. If the Bible turns out it was lying in all the different parts of prophecies regarding Jesus’s birth, then how are we supposed to have solid faith?
Another example is in chapter six, where he clearly states that both Heaven and Hell are full of people forgiven by God. This is simply wrong. Forgiven people are those who are justified by Christ’s death on the cross. The wrath of God does not touch them, therefore they belong in Heaven with Him. There are no justified, forgiven people in Hell.
In a good way, this book will definitely twist your faith around a bit and make you think. However, if I had a buddy who happened to be a new Christian, I would not recommend this book to him. Be sure you are on your A-game if you decide to pick this one up, because, as the title implies, there is some serious repainting going on within these pages.