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Weekend Reading: Erasing Hell

August 26, 2011

Although they do not specifically say so, it is pretty clear Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle wrote Erasing Hell (2011, David C Cook) in response to Rob Bell’s controversial Love Wins. I have not read Love Wins, so I cannot accurately compare the two, but I can say that Erasing Hell is a good and needed recourse.

Chan and Sprinkle do a great job in laying out the format of the book. They did great research on the topic of hell and answered most reasonable questions. They looked at the historical Christian understanding of hell. They examined the first century Jewish concepts of hell. They pointed out what Jesus said about hell. They looked at Paul’s writings, as well as the authors of the rest of the New Testament epistles. They closed the book with an appendix of frequently asked questions about hell. Most importantly, they did a good job of answering those questions, and the answers were based in scripture.

I see two problems with the book. The first is not their fault. The book, to a large degree, should not be necessary. If pastors and teachers did a more complete job in teaching the truth, all Christians would immediately recognize and avoid error (such as Bell’s likely views on the non-existence of hell).

The second problem has to do with the book, itself. I have not read Love Wins, but I have read other things from Rob Bell. He is a good writer. Not really my style, but still good. There is a real artistic quality to his writing. Erasing Hell is technically good, but it does not have that quality of artistry that Bell’s writing does. I fear the ones who most need to read it will not because it is not crafted as well. This does not take away from its truth nor accuracy.

Personally, I appreciated reading Erasing Hell. Chan and Sprinkle keep the focus where it belongs. Hell is a real place where real people are going. We do well to not forget that fact. I recommend Erasing Hell for any believer, especially one who has read information that needs to be corrected.



From → Book Reviews

  1. In 2011 world population will reach 7 billion (vs. 3 billion in 1960). There are now approximately 2.2 billion Christians. Chan and Sprinkle seem to be saying that 4.8 billion people may be facing eternal hell.

    Concepts of afterlife vary between religions and among divisions of each faith. Not all Christians agree on what happens after this life, nor do all Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or other believers. Rebirth, resurrection, purgatory, universalism, and oblivion are other possibilities…none of which can be proven.

    Mystics of all faiths have more in common than the followers of their orthodox religions. True mystics realize that eternal life is here and now; it does not begin after mortal death. The age of Earth is said to be 4.5 billion years, of the Universe 13.7 billion, yet few humans live to be 100. This lifetime is a fleeting moment.

    Scriptures are subject to interpretation; people often choose what is most beneficial for them.

    • Great points, I’ll add this to them:

      How dare Rob Bell suggest God might be more merciful than we think! If God’s love & mercy endures forever, shouldn’t it translate to the afterlife as well? If it only endures for this lifetime then what good is it really? Let’s not forget who chose to make whom. We did not ask to be born.

      1 Timothy 4:10 says that God is the savior of all men, particularly those who believe.

      That’s like saying track is for everyone, particularly those who like to run. God is the Savior of all, especially those who have put their trust in Him. There is still a very real judgment day from a very real God. It’s just not eternal punishment and the Scriptures do not teach that.

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