I found Erasing Hell to be a well throughout, easy to read, bible study on hell. In an age of political correctness Hell is a very unpopular idea – the idea of God eternally punishing and rejecting people doesn’t sit easily with anyone. But the choice that we have is to either reinterpret what the Bible says about Hell to make it more palatable and God more understandable or we can accept what the Bible says about hell being a real place. Erasing Hell is not just a book that sets out to defend the existence of Hell in the light of Rob Bell’s assertion that the only hell we face is hell on earth, but instead it is a very thoughtful book looking at what the bible says about hell and also asking the hard questions of what hell says about God.
I had expected this book to be more defensive, after all it is largely a response or reaction to Bell’s book ‘Love Wins’ but yet this is not a book of gloating – Chan and Sprinkle find no joy in the existence of hell. Instead they invite us to allow God to be bigger than we can grasp or limit and spurs us on to action – if people really do face hell what are we going to do about it? Chan’s book restores a reverence for God’s word, awe of God’s character, wonder at His grace and a call to evangelism. This is not only a book on doctrine but a call to believers to share God’s grace.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Erasing Hell on Universalism
“No passage in the Bible says that there will be a second chance after death to turn to Jesus. And that’s frightening. It’s frightening because the idea of an after-death conversion is the most important ingredient for the Universalist position. It makes or breaks this view. But there is no single passage in the Bible that describes, hints at, hopes for, or suggests that someone who dies without following Jesus in this life will have an opportunity to do so after death.”
- Erasing Hell on Bell’s theory that Gehenna is a rubbish pit outside Jerusalem
“Much of what Bell says about hell relies upon a legend from the Middle Ages”
- Erasing Hell on hell being more than just a doctrine
“It forces me back to a sobering reality: This is not just about doctrine; it’s about destines. And if you’re reading this book and wrestling with what the Bible says about hell, you cannot let this be a mere academic exercise. You must let Jesus’ very real teaching on hell sober you up. You must let Jesus’ words reconfigure the way you live, the way you talk, and the way you see the world and the people around you.”
- Erasing Hell on understanding God’s character
“God never asked us to figure out His justice or to see if His way of doing things is morally right. He has only asked us to embrace His word and bow the knee, to tremble at His word, as Isaiah says (66.2). Don’t get so lost in deciphering that you forget to tremble.
“God is love, but He also defines what love is. We don’t have the license to define love according to our own standards.”
“Hell is the backdrop that reveals the profound and unbelievable grace of the cross.”
- Erasing Hell on hell being a real place
“All I know is that from my best understanding of Scripture, hell is real place for those who choose to reject God. Yet God is not licking His chops looking for any poor soul that He can send to hell.