Ever since I read Heaven by Randy Alcorn, questions have been rolling around in my head about hell. After purchasing Erasing Hell, I discovered that is was written in response to Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins. While I haven’t read that book, I still found this one helpful and easy to follow, despite the frequent references to Bell’s assertions.
The biggest question I’ve wrestled with is whether hell is a place of eternal punishment or if it’s a place of annihilation. Either way you slice it, hell is hell, but in my heart, non-existance is a more palatable punishment than experiencing pain and suffering for all of eternity. While this book didn’t answer my question, it did spend quality time on verses relating to this topic and reminded me that regardless of the outcome, I should be deeply concerned for the fate of others and, as a result, be moved to action.
I really liked the way Chan and Sprinkle (what a fun name!) structured the book. It made sense and flowed well. The first four chapters are spent examining the facts of Scripture and extra-Biblical evidence to show what 1st Century Jews believed about hell, what Jesus taught about it, and what Jesus’ followers went on to teach about hell. The final three chapters of the book challenge the reader to look inward at what their own beliefs about hell, what those believes indicate what they believe about God, and how they relate to Him. These chapters also serve as a challenge to really feel the weight of the severity of hell, rather than living a life content in our own “fire insurance.”
I don’t think I could’ve handled a super heady book on hell. As I was reading, I didn’t feel like anything was over my head, but I didn’t sense that the authors watered it down either. Perhaps now I’ll pick up Love Wins and see what the fuss was all about.