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Erasing hell : what God said about eternity and the things we made up (edition 2011)

by Francis Chan, Preston M. Sprinkle

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4311024,588 (4.01)1
Member:rpdan
Title:Erasing hell : what God said about eternity and the things we made up
Authors:Francis Chan
Other authors:Preston M. Sprinkle
Info:Colorado Springs, CO : David C Cook, 2011.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:hell, theology

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Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up by Francis Chan

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Very thought provoking,and helped me to deal with some questions/doubts I've been struggling with recently. Recommend it for any Christian who is troubled by the idea of Hell as most of us have been taught to understand it. ( )
  TeresaKander | Aug 4, 2014 |
I cannot figure Francis Chan out. Some of the things he says, people he associates with, conclusions he draws. He is a riddle wrapped in an enigma in ways, but he is perfectly clear. What annoys me is that he consistently repels any label I try to attach to Him....and boy do I need to label. Is he reformed? Is he charismatic? Is he emergent? What I have come to love and trust is that Francis is honest. And He loves Jesus and reveres the Scriptures. This is why I love hearing Him speak and why I love reading what He writes. I don’t always come to the same conclusions he does, but I always learn and am challenged when God uses Him to deliver a message.

So when David C Cook Publishing decided to bless the world with three free Francis Chan books over Easter weekend, I was super-pumped. Chan's style of writing is so engaging and simple that it allows his books to be enjoyed and consumed quickly. Enjoyed, however, is a relative term, especially in light of the content of the book.

Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and the Things We've Made Up is Chan's latest adult book and it has a very adult topic. Coauthored with Preston Sprinkle, who did most of the research, Erasing Hell is a very straightforward and simple exposition of the Biblical topic of hell. For those familiar with Chan, straightforward is assumed and he does not fail to deliver in this book. On the surface, Erasing Hell is a response to Love Wins by Rob Bell. Chan interacts with Bell's work, but only superficially. Beyond the timing of the release and the cover art, what Erasing Hell really is is an Evangelical apology of the orthodox doctrine of hell in light of recent(Bell) and not-so-recent(Origen) attacks. Erasing Hell is an examination written on a popular level. If you are looking for an in-depth theological treatise, I would look elsewhere. If you are looking for good interactions with common objections to the orthodox doctrine of hell applied explicitly to the heart and life of the reader, Erasing Hell is exactly what you want.

Chan begins with a look at Universalism of all sorts. He then looks at Second Temple Judaism's understanding of hell, arguing that if Christ had differed greatly from the prevailing thought of His day on an issue of such import, He would have been explicit in His correction, as He was in so many other areas. This line of reasoning, to me, is sound and applicable to other doctrines as well.

Chan's greatest interaction with Bell's text is with the concept of Gehenna=Garbage Dump that Bell so readily uses. Chan makes some striking claims that highlight to me, once again, how dishonest(intentionally or unintentionally) so many are when dealing with the culture at the time of Christ. As I read and research things, I am consistently shocked by how fast and loose many are with facts from the pulpit(or the pulpit of some written media). It is almost as if truth takes a back seat to whatever makes a good sermon illustration or blog post or chapter title. The Gehenna=Garbage Dump factoid may actually fall into this category, as would apparently Bell's entire thesis. As a disclaimer, I have only interacted with Bell's work through secondary sources, so my understanding of his work is most often viewed through a critical lens.

Chan's honesty will be shocking at times and can be discomforting for those who feel it is wrong to even question traditional teaching/interpretation. His uncertainty on certain issues(the duration of Hell, Paul's intent in Romans 9:22-23) could be seen as fence sitting, but Chan does that nowhere else on much more hotbed issues. I truly believe we are seeing a man who's thinking is in line with the key tenet(in my opinion) of the Reformation:Semper Reformanda, “always reforming”.

Chan, in all of his works, urges the reader to flee the deep desire to “reinterpret Jesus in light of our own culture, political bent, or favorite theological belief”. To not “believe something just because you want to,” or “ embrace an idea just because you've always believed it.” But rather to “(b)elieve what is biblical. Test all your assumptions against the precious words God gave us in the Bible.” Knowing this about the heart of Chan, even the areas where you end up disagreeing, you still are respectful of the position he takes. Erasing Hell may not be everything it could have been, but I believe it is everything it was supposed to be and is more than worth the 2 or 3 hours you will invest. ( )
1 vote joshrskinner | Jul 30, 2014 |
I found Chan to be open, yet clear in his convictions. I appreciated his willingness to admit that most of us would like some aspects of our faith to be more palatable, but our faith is not of our own making and we cannot dismiss or rewrite what we find uncomfortable.

I thought his use of Scripture as well as his explanation of the history surrounding its interpretation were accurate and the questions he poses to modern authors, including Rob Bell were fair and challenging.

The book was recommended to me and I am glad I read it. ( )
  ChuckS65 | Oct 7, 2013 |
I've always been a fan of Francis Chan since I heard him speak at Worship Central conference in London an 2009.

I ordered this book to compare it to the Universalist proposal by Rob Bell in Love Wins, which I also really like. While Chan rebuts many of the arguments in of Bell, I think it's beautiful to hold these two books and positions in tension.

Chan keeps central the idea of God as sovereign and high above us, so high that we don't have the right to judge what He has declared to be just. He also examines mainstream America's attitudes toward hell and judgment--declaring not that we should judge others, and not that escaping hell should be the main way to evangelize, but that the reality of hell should inspire us to love harder, go farther, and reach as many people as possible--because that is God's heart--to reach everyone.

He also discusses our "embarrassment" of hell, and alternatives to the attitude of "apology" for hell.

I think both books have a lot to offer in terms of rethinking American Christian Culture and our attitudes toward hell and judgment. I recommend reading them together, and spending much time in prayer and group talks over the topics within. ( )
  JennyElizabeth | Mar 31, 2013 |
An analysis of what Scripture teaches regarding hell.

The research behind the book comes from Sprinkle; Chan writes the substance. It is well-researched and well-presented. Chan does well at seeking to strike a balance between not being happy about what is revealed while accepting and emphasizing what is revealed; understanding his personal bias while recognizing how seriously the Bible takes the issue of hell.

The book is, in a sense, a response to Rob Bell's "Love Wins," but unlike some other such responses, Chan tries to seriously deal with the issues Bell brings up, but in terms of Chan's (and Sprinkle's) work in understanding the Bible text.

And they do so quite well: they discuss what is revealed in the Old Testament, spend some time on extra-Biblical Jewish literature between 400 BCE - 100 CE to understand views about hell during Jesus' lifetime, understand what Jesus says in that context, go beyond the word "hell" to see other descriptions of that place without using the term in both what Jesus wrote and also in the rest of the New Testament, and come back to matters concerning not just God's love but also God's justice and holiness while taking seriously what Scripture says about the type of people who will be experiencing hell-- and it goes beyond the stereotype to those who condemn others, do not help the poor, engage in discrimination, etc.

This is an excellent resource regarding the issue of hell, with appendices handling other issues that would have been tangential in the main text. The "altar call" at the end is understandable but bothersome; yes, hell is a serious issue, but so is salvation, and a written "altar call" without proper connection and guidance can cause difficulties.

Nevertheless, Erasing Hell is highly recommended to help understand what Scripture teaches regarding hell. ( )
  deusvitae | Jan 26, 2012 |
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Sprinkle, Prestonmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0781407257, Paperback)

How could a loving God send people to hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven?

With a humble respect for God's Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They've asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don't want to believe in hell. But as they write, "We cannot afford to be wrong on this issue." This is not a book about who is saying what. It's a book about what God says. It's not a book about impersonal theological issues. It's a book about people who God loves. It's not a book about arguments, doctrine, or being right. It's a book about the character of God.

Erasing Hell will immerse you in the truth of Scripture as, together with the authors, you find not only the truth but the courage to live it out.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Addressing a variety of views on hell, the Bible, and the character of God, offers an eloquent response to the recent media storm surrounding questions of eternal destiny.

(summary from another edition)

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