I’ve always been a fan of Francis Chan and his preaching. I’ve met him in person and he is just a fantastic guy, but what I love about him is the way he portrays his shortfalls. That may not sound like a good trait but it is. Francis approaches this new book, Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity and what we’ve made up, with a transparent notion that He doesn’t have all the answers.
Overall this book presents some very misunderstood facts about what the Bible actually says about the doctrine of hell and what it doesn’t. This book was mainly a response to Rob Bell on the subject of eternity and the things that will happen after we leave this life. As you would imagine, the book is filled with scripture from the preface to the appendix, with no letting up in between. Francis does well to bring the text to the reader in a clear and understandable way, with little room for misinterpretation. Chan does well not to completely destroy Bells theology, yet commends him on points where Bell does have it right.
The question raised about hell is this, can we afford to get it wrong? According to Chan, “When it comes to hell, we can’t afford to be wrong. This is not one of those doctrines where you can toss in your two cents, shrug your shoulders, and move on. Too much is at stake. Too many people are at stake. And the Bible has too much to say.” I think the majority of those in evangelical christianity can agree wholly with this statement. We truly cannot afford to misunderstand what Jesus has to say about our eternal destiny.
The book is any easy and short read, and I would whole heartedly commend it to any christian, or any skeptic for that matter, who thinks the doctrine of hell is irrelevant or superfluous. Even if you know about hell you should probably pick this book up and have a little refresher.
The fact is, Scripture is filled with divine actions that don’t fit our human standards of logic or morality. but they don’t need to, because we are the clay and He is the Potter. We need to stop trying to domesticate God or confine Him to the tidy categories and compartments that reflect our human sentiments rather than his inexplicable ways.
Hell is the backdrop that reveals the profound and unbelievable grace of the cross. It brings to light the enormity of our sin and therefore portrays the undeserved favor of God in full color.