I just finished Francis Chan’s latest book Erasing Hell and I have to tell you, I could not put it down. From start to finish this book is one of his most accessible books for me to read and I could see his points connecting and it was a great book. Chan seeks to discuss what Scripture says about eternity. The title of the book comes from his inward desire to not want to talk about hell. I must confess, I have avoided talking about hell in many circumstances because it is just uncomfortable for me. The idea of people spending time in torment is not an easy subject to discuss. So often we try to “erase hell” from our vocabulary, sermons, classes and conversations. Chan seeks to give a thorough treatise of the subject and offer his critique of various opinions (Rob Bell’s Love Wins gets a hefty treatment in chapters 1-3). His chapters are…
- Does everyone go to heaven?
- Has hell changed? Or have we?
- What Jesus actually said about hell?
- What Jesus’ followers said about hell
- What does this have to do with me?
- What if God…?
- Don’t be overwhelmed
- Easy to read
- Delves into the Greek substantially but on a simplified manner
- Addresses most of the major issues
- Has a high view of inspiration of the Scriptures
- His sincerity, compassion and humility is obvious in his pleas to the readers.
- Placed Jesus in his historical setting as a First Century Jew and that shaped Jesus’ view on hell. Loved that!
- Sometimes Chan is too simplistic in that he does not flesh out issues enough.
- He really did not add much to the debate. As much as I want to say he did he simply reiterated what many have at least discussed from the evangelical perspective. He adds his eloquent touch and I agree with a lot of what he says but most of it is not new. (maybe that is good?)
- Chan’s view of “submission to God regardless of our questions” seems t0o dismissive to me. I agree that at the end of the day “God’s ways are not our ways nor his thoughts our thoughts” but does that mean we accept that at face value and not question why things happen? Chapter 6 basically is a sermon telling the readers that the clay cannot be the potter so we should simply (and fearfully) submit. I struggled with this one.