How could a loving God send people to Hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven? With a humble respect for God’s Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They’ve asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don’t want to believe in Hell. But, as they write, “We cannot afford to be wrong on this issue.”
This is not a book about who is saying what. It’s a book about what God says. It’s not a book about impersonal theological issues. It’s a book about people God loves. It’s not a book about arguments, doctrine, or being right. It’s a book about the character of God. Erasing Hell will immerse you in the truth of Scripture as, together with the authors, you find not only the truth but the courage to live it out.
©2011 Francis Chan, Preston Sprinkle (P)2011 Oasis Audio
The logic and exegesis in this book are very inconsistent. Two Views of Hell put out by InterVarsity Press is much better (Although it is not on audiobook).
After reading Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, I felt exuberant, relieved, and liberated. However, because of the amount of controversy it stirred up, I felt obligated to hear an opposing point of view.
In the beginning of this book, Chan urges the reader/listener to pray for God's guidance and understanding. That I did, and immediately a verse came to mind - James 3:17, which says, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy." I am thankful to the Holy Spirit for bringing this to my mind, because what I was hearing from Chan and his co-author was anything but peaceable, full of mercy, or reasonable. But before I elaborate on what I found to be negative, I will attempt to accentuate the positive....
Chan is absolutely correct in his assertion that Jesus was not just talking about the local garbage dump(Gehenna) when He spoke of hell. Jesus was indeed warning about a very real place or state of torment/punishment. This is a valid correction in response to Bell.
Also, Chan rightly points out that when Bell asserts that God's love eventually melt even the most wicked heart in the end, he is crossing over into an area that seems to infringe on human free will. The idea that God somehow loses if every soul is not ultimately saved (and God should always win) doesn't seem to be a strong theological argument, in my opinion.
So now back to what I found to be negative about the book...
Chan puts words into Bell's mouth that he never said and in his attempt to be "biblically accurate" he avoids any semblance of nuance on the subject. It's as if Chan is focusing on getting the "right answer" through knowledge, while Bell is attempting to understand the issue through wisdom and a focus on relationship rather than a dogmatic approach to scripture. I am not suggesting that any scripture should be ignored, only that context and the relational nature of God are necessary in order to see the big picture.
As the book progressed, Chan's writing became more disturbing. I could almost sense him cringing at the conclusions he was coming to, but also being spurred on by the absolute terror of being wrong and possibly risking everlasting torment and punishment for himself. God forbid that he or any Christian should be wrong on this subject and not fully comprehend the extent of God's wrath. Really?
Interestingly, Chan concludes his book with a reassuring quote from Abraham: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Did Chan forget the context of that question? The Lord was standing with Abraham, overlooking the city of Sodom. He declared His judgement - the city and all of its inhabitants would be destroyed (by fire from heaven). Abraham appealed to God's righteousness and mercy, in effect negotiating back and forth with the Lord, finally asking Him to spare the city if only ten good people could be found within it. No, ten weren't found, and yes, the city was destroyed, but the point is that God's judgement was not set in stone. He could be reasoned with. His mind could be changed. It is because God is a relational Being. He is, in fact, love. Ultimately, He is a Father. Without this proper understanding of the character and the heart of God, we are left with only dogma, doctrine. and legalistic thinking about spiritual issues. We lose the proper perspective. We are left grasping for knowledge in order to be right about hell, or heaven, or any subject, while missing out on the wisdom that is from above.
A fair, theologically-sound analysis of what the Bible actually says about Hell. I would recommend for anyone trying to learn more about what we know about hell as a place, and why God would create such a place to begin with.
challenges us most of all to think biblically about all things & be extremely cautious not to attempt to subject God's word to our own feelings & logic. Our God is so unfathomable & beyond our comprehension that we must take caution not to shape our view by anything other than His own word.
Francis Chan is one of my favorite pastors in the world - his sincerity and depth is always top notch.
Preston is new to me, but found the book to be absolutely fantastic. He and Francis did a great job bringing clarity to this complex subject.
A sensitive, sober, and serious analysis of what Jesus and Bible has to say concerning Hell. Thankful for the attention to detail and the open honesty on this heavy issue.
Would highly recommend .
If you have read Love Wins you MUST read this book to give the subject of hell an honest evaluation.
The humility and seriousness these two men addressed such a critical topic of scripture known as Hell, was hands down the most insightful and clear teaching of Hell I have read thus far. They did not compromise the integrity of God's Word for the reader's appeal; yet did so with a delicate and humble touch. This book must be on every Christian's bookshelf who is looking to apply an intellectually and heart-felt understanding of the doctrine of Hell in a world struggling to reconcile its horror with the one Loving and True God.
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