Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Erasing Hell – Francis Chan with Preston Sprinkle

Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We Made Up© 2011 David C. Cook, Colorado Springs

Francis Chan talks about Hell in this book. While the book is written from Chan’s point of view, he goes out of his way to give credit to his researcher, Preston Sprinkle. In fact, the Preface (p.9) attributes the bulk of the research and facts to Sprinkle. Regardless, this book is timely.

In a day when author after author is giving their take on what the afterlife will bring, Chan and Sprinkle offer not only an orthodox view of what Hell is, but also a level-headed one. The first half of the book focuses strongly on recent writings about Hell, with a pointed apologetic aimed at Rob Bell’s popular Love Wins. (I’ll not comment on Bell’s book specifically because I haven’t read it and don’t know if I’ll get around to that one or not.) In fact, while if what I’ve read in reviews and responses to Bell’s book are true then this is a needed response. However, since it comes across as a reaction to another’s writing weakens the book to some extent.

Even so, some of the questions that plague Christians are answered from a Scriptural standpoint:
Ø      Is there really a Hell?
Ø      If there is, what is it like?
Ø      Would a loving God really send somebody to Hell?

Chan even tackles the really tough questions that deal with what God is like. I have to ask along with the authors: What if God did do something that I consider unkind, would it make Him less God? (see chapter 6) The point that I cam away with that seems to keep coming back is that I am not God. Since I am not God, is it proper for me to impose my standards on Him? I would suggest that often when we do this we lessen who He is in exchange for exalting our own ethic upon Him.

In the end, I will read at least the last half of the book again and again, just for the challenge of remembering why I believe what I believe about God, Love, Justice, Righteousness, and yes, even Hell. (four out of five reading glasses)

—Benjamin Potter, May 23, 2012

[This is a review of the Nook version of this book.]

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