Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Erasing Hell Review

Writing a book on a doctrine is a very large and weighty task. There will always be someone looking to critique every word and tell you how you are wrong when it comes to doctrine. In the evangelical world the scope when it comes to doctrine is incredibly large and to try to pacify all the people in that group is nearly impossible.  Understanding this is something that is helpful before we read any book on doctrine and before we make quick rash decisions on a person or on a book. The task that Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle take on here is enormous considering the doctrine they are covering: Hell. Yes, hell, one of the most hotly debated topics in the evangelical world thanks to Rob Bell and Love Wins. If you have been around Christianity at all you have heard the countless “Love Wins” jokes. Unfortunately, I have been a part of those jokes and I have recognized that those jokes are not profitable. The doctrine of hell is a big deal. You see if Hell does not exist than we have been teaching incorrectly for years whereas, if it is true then Rob Bell is pointing all kinds of people there. In Erasing Hell that question is the question at hand and Chan and Sprinkle do their best to answer the question.

Chan and Sprinkle take the reader through what I would call a mild technical look of the passages describing hell. When I say a mild technical look it means that the authors are showing and explaining the Greek text of a passage but at a level that is very easy to understand.  The authors walk at a reasonable pace so that a wide range of readers can walk through the book and not feel overwhelmed. In walking through the book they hit on six issues when it comes to hell in order to cover again a wide path. This book is only 150 pages and that includes pages of footnotes after the end of each chapter. This means the book is not terribly long and will not bore you.

As far as my opinion is concerned, I would tell all my readers that are in love with Francis Chan to hold on and realize that this is just my opinion. I like Francis Chan as a speaker and he has an unmistakable gift to communicate the Word of God. When it comes to reading I feel like someone who watched the first movie in a trilogy only to find out that two and three are not what we hoped for. I liked Chan’s first book Crazy Love.  I thought that book was well written and held the attention of the reader. Forgotten God kept my attention and I thought it was okay. As far as Erasing Hell is concerned it was least favorite of the three. The doctrine of hell is big issue and I thought that the authors were okay in describing and walking through the passages. The hard thing for me to swallow is that the authors clearly state in the book: “No passage in the Bible says that there will be a second chance after death to turn to Jesus.” This is in my opinion a strong statement that I would definitely agree with concerning life after death. After that stance the authors did not seem to want to take a stance on anything. They repeatedly admitted that they were not sure where they stood on an issue. This is an acceptable response to a question but a poor way of communicating in a book. In my opinion if you are not sure why even bother writing the book. All in all the book is well worth reading and definitely dispels many of the myths that Rob Bell has put out. All I am asking for is a firm stance when we are talking about a doctrine that concerns life after death.

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