In the following review I first give an overview of my impressions,
then I give a detailed rebuttal to much of what the book contains.
read Brian McLaren’s The Last Word and the Word After That and William P. (Paul)
Young’s The Shack, I find it remarkable how all three, and other universalists, write in
such a starkly similar way. I’m referring to how they interpret the Bible. It is my conviction
that Rob Bell is a follower of universal reconciliation, as are the other two. Paul Young as early
as 2004 wrote a 103 page document in which he explicitly embraced universal reconciliation and
repudiated his “evangelical paradigm” (these are his words). From the content of
the works of McLaren and Bell it is clear that they too are on this path and
turning from the evangelical Gospel.
What binds such writers together? There are several things. First, there
is a refusal to explicitly embrace universal reconciliation (although
in his unpublished paper Paul Young is the exception). Such writers are
deceptively adroit at embracing all the basic tenets of universal reconciliation
while avoiding the label (they spurn all such labels, even the name “Christian”).
While they may not make explicit statements they raise questions about evangelical
faith that intend to show that such faith is suspect in dealing with the great questions of life
and faith. Bell even goes so far as to present universalism as the best alternative.