Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Erasing Hell

Let's forget about all the hoopla with Rob Bell and Love Wins. After all, that was so 2011. Let's forget about everything you might wish were true about the afterlife. We should finally admit that maybe God knows what He's doing. Let's just look at this one book...just this once.

Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle, is a good book to begin with when discussing the topic of Hell. You should probably also forget that this book came out about 15 minutes after Rob Bell wrote his. It's not that Francis and Preston ignore Rob's work. They do reference it, but I could imagine Erasing Hell being a textbook on Hell within 5 years, or whenever people begin to forget about what caused it to be written.

The authors do an organized job at looking at the Biblical references to Hell, including everything Jesus, Paul and Peter said. They go section by section and verse by verse. They discuss what the original authors had in mind and why it makes sense.

Nobody who loves people enjoys thinking about these matters, but that is the point. In fact, that is exactly what they write:

Yet that's the whole point - we shouldn't just go on with life as usual. A sense of urgency over the reality of hell should recharge our passion for the gospel as it did for Paul, who, "knowing the fear of the Lord," persuaded people to believe (2 Cor. 5:11). We should not just try to cope with hell, but be compelled - as with all doctrine - to live differently in light of it. 

You may have other ideas about Hell. You may certainly wish it were different. But until you have looked at the teaching, in the context as it was written, it is really difficult to have an intelligent opinion about what's going on. I highly recommend this book. Give it a read, then decide.

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