Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle is a book that had to be written, and I commend these men for writing it. There are 3 reasons this book needed to be writen:
-There has been an attack on the nature of hell, judgement and the gospel by an ‘evangelical’ and has caused much confusion
-There are very few, if any, books on the eternal destiny of the lost that are accessible and written by authors our people know and trust
-Of all the books I have read on Hell, whilst being sensitive, I have never come away with a renewed awe for who God is, this book does that
The book looks at what hell was in 1st Century Judaism, how Jesus taught on Hell, the other NT writers, what this means to us and then has a short and helpful section of Q & A.
The most striking thing about this book is it’s heartfelt desperation and warmth. Desperation to be faithful to God, no matter what, and warm in terms of the authors love ans trust of God and the portrayal of the gospel at the end. It is also, short, accessible yet stretching and pastoral.
The authors come out clearly on the physical nature of hell and the need to trust in Jesus (as opposed to Universalism), but come t0 a ‘sitting on the fence’ position over the eternal nature of hell (in terms of annihilation rather than an ultimate salvation). But that’s my only query.
I really believe it’s time for some of us to stop apologizing for God and start apologizing to Him for being embarrassed by the ways He has chosen to reveal Himself.
Please forgive me, Lord, for wanting to erase all the things in Scripture that don’t sit well with me. Forgive me for trying to hide some of Your actions to make You more palatable to the world. Forgive me for trying to make You fit my standards of justice and goodness and love. You are God; You are good; I don’t always understand You, but I love You. Thank You for who You are.
- Who should read this book
Every Christian. If you have never thought about hell, you need to read this. If you struggle with the nature of hell, this book will be sympathetic and a huge help. If you believe in, and teach about hell, you should read this book to have a model of how to handle this very sensitive doctrine.
Even though it feel odd to say ‘great’…it is a book that honours God, draws us to our knees and makes us humble.
Here is a video Chan made whilst writing the book that givces you a glimpse of it’s feeling: