Rob Bell ignited a firestorm in the evangelical community with his book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, which questions whether the Bible actually teaches that there is a literal and eternal hell. Now, the controversial Mars Hill Bible Church pastor has a companion study guide for those who "want to go deeper" and "take the next step."
Bell, who announced this week his resignation as pastor from the Michgan church he founded 12 years ago, and HarperCollins Publishers (under its HarperOne imprint) will have the Love Wins study companion available for purchase beginning Nov. 15.
HarperCollins, which describes Bell's March 2011 Love Wins title as "one of the most important books since the Bible," describes the companion study guide as offering:
"Insights and commentary by theologians, Bible scholars, scientists, and pastors; deep analysis of all relevant Bible passages on heaven, hell, and salvation; excerpts from works throughout Christian history illustrating the variety of teachers also debating the issues Bell wrestles with; and new material by Bell on his mission for the book and how people can take the next step."
David Vanderveen, editor of the Mars Hill Review and editor of the Love Wins companion study guide, announced the completion of the book on his Facebook profile Sunday morning.
Vanderveen wrote: "FYI, I just compiled and wrote the Love Wins Companion with Rob Bell that will be out shortly and includes powerful perspectives on faith from a variety of brilliant minds and exceptional leadership in the Christian church globally."
Although Bell, 41, garnered some praise for his "bold" and "prophetic" Love Wins title, the consensus among evangelical leaders was that the Michigan pastor was espousing heretical teachings.
The book was concerning enough to many evangelicals that some released their own writings to counter Bell's claims about hell. Among them, Francis Chan recently released Erasing Hell, Mark Galli authored God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News Is Better than Love Wins, and a group of theologians including R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and J.I. Packer collaborated for Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven?
With the companion study guide, Bell puportedly offers greater support for the relevancy of his questions regarding the Bible's teaching on a literal and eternal hell.
Bell announced this week and explained in futher detail Sunday, Sept. 25, his departure from Mars Hill Bible Church. Saying he felt God had placed a "new calling" on his life, Bell revealed to the 7,000-member congregation that he would be moving his family from Michagan to Los Angeles in the coming months and would be undertaking a variety of projects.