Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Erasing Hell

It's incredibly arrogant to pick and choose which of God's incomprehensible truths we will embrace and which we will cast off. A sound statement from Francis Chan in his new book Erasing Hell that was released to rebut the notions of hell and universalism put forth by Rob Bell in his controversial work Love Wins. In Chan's new book, he carefully and systematically examines what scripture has to say about hell, relying on assistance from his co-author, Bible scholar Preston Sprinkle. Chan's approach is to examine and interpret the Word with humble respect and with special care to understand the viewpoint of its authors, making every effort to understand the full context of what is written. His conclusion is that hell is all too real of a place where all will go (and remain) who do not know Jesus, whether they are a murderer, child rapist, Buddhist monk, or your sweet spiritual neighbor. Hell is not a metaphor and God does not lose if He does not save all of his children.

Chan respectfully warns us to be careful with the Bible so that we do not twist what it says to align with our own personal preferences or our own definitions of fair and unfair. Our feelings, wants, and desires are irrelevant. We need to understand that God's ways may not agree with our natural way of thinking, for His ways are not our ways. We must surrender our perceived right to determine what is just and humbly recognize that God alone gets to decide how He is going to deal with people. He alone is the judge and jury, and it is entirely up to Him what happens to us. We only need to remember that He alone is the paradigm of grace and mercy.

"While hell can be a paralyzing doctrine, it can also be an energizing one, for it magnifies the beauty of the cross."

I suggest that before reading Erasing Hell, you read Love Wins. Just think what is at stake here. If hell is what scripture says it is, then most of the people around us are doomed to an eternity of unspeakable suffering. This is so much more than some academic debate, who's right, who's wrong. This is eternity. You see, this is about that.