Archive for April 15th, 2011

In political theory, there is a concept called the Overton Window, and its general function is this:

At any particular point in time, there is a range of “acceptable” views on any particular subject.  This “window” of views can be “opened” or “shifted” through the serious suggestion of a view significantly outside the mainstream.  In doing so, even if the “radical” suggestion is not adopted as mainstream, the window of “acceptable” views will be increased.

Opening the Overton Window can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the subject at hand.  Additionally, the attempt may utterly fail if the person trying to open it does not have the perceived gravitas to do so, or if the window of “acceptability” has sufficient rigidity in its foundation.  As I have read Love Wins, read its critiques – from positive to negative and all spots in between – and listened to Rob Bell’s responses to questions/criticism surrounding it, I’ve come to the conclusion that, strategically, the goal of Love Wins was not to promote a particular view of hell as superior to another, but rather to open the Overton Window on the doctrine of hell in order that the Gospel might be better seen as independent from it.

The Thesis is the Thesis

As I have read numerous reviews of Love Wins, I have been struck by an odd correlation.   The way the reviewer interpreted Bell’s thesis paragraph (page vii) almost always predetermined how they would review the entire book.  Here is the thesis paragraph:

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