Ron’s #32: Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle

Rob Bell’s Love Wins made quite a stir in March as it proposes that no one will go to hell, and that all will, in the end, go to heaven. Because of God’s love, the salvation of all mankind is a reason to rejoice that “love wins.” Sounds like a good story, but the problem is that Jesus spoke of hell often, and he seems to disagree with Rob Bell’s premise. Between Jesus and Rob Bell, I’ll choose Jesus, even if Bell has cooler hipster glasses.

The doctrine of hell is not one that excites me and brings me joy. In fact, I try to avoid thinking about it when I can. If Jesus is telling the truth when he says that he is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man may go to the Father except though him, that means there will be others—many others—outside of the Father in hell. This is troubling and motivating.

I’m usually not interested in books that spring up to counter or critique another book, and I was a little shy about reading this, thinking that it would attack Rob Bell on his views of non-hell. Gladly, I was wrong in my fears. While this book addresses Rob Bell a few times, the content is more on the bigger debate on hell, its presence, its purpose, and its punishment length. It’s a good cross between being scholarly-technical and clear for the average reader (like me). Erasing Hell is not about knocking Rob Bell down, or even in revealing that our neighbors will burn in everlasting fire like some sideshow preacher; rather, it is a sobering look at a doctrine that is in the Bible, discussed by Jesus, preached by Paul. Shouldn’t we look into it ourselves to see if these things are true?

If it is true, Chan and Sprinkle contend, this should change the way we speak, think, and pray.

Here is an excellent quotation that I think captures the essence of the book:

“This is not just about doctrine; it’s about destinies. And if you are reading this book and wrestling with what the Bible says about hell, you cannot let this be a mere academic exercise.  You must let Jesus’ very real teaching on hell sober you up.  You must let Jesus’ words reconfigure the way you live, the way you talk, and the way you see the world and the people around you.”

This book helped me to see this a little better.

 

(Post script) I just read Mark’s review after finishing mine, and they are remarkable similar, even down to the one quotation. This goes to show why we are such good friends! He is a bit better because he has a video. Mark Wins.)

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One comment

  • August 23, 2011 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

    In Ron’s defense, I shouldn’t have used that quote… it was a group discussion we were both in where Ron pointed out that quote… I just happened to agree with him as to the quotes centrality to the books overall message and goal.

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