No apologies when it comes to God
Neale Davis, book review
September 13, 2011

No apologies when it comes to God

No apologies when it comes to God
Neale Davis, book review
September 13, 2011

Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things
We’ve Made Up

by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle (July 2011).

“We can’t afford to be wrong on this issue.” — Francis Chan

In a world of retreating convictions and militant political
correctness this book is a refreshing, though quite sobering, reminder that God
is still God. Without apology.

Hell has never been a very popular topic, but it has been a
topic recently forced to the front of our American Christian culture by the
social media, which was driven by a sad case of a popular pastor moving away
from orthodox and biblical convictions on the doctrine of hell.

Chan and Sprinkle artfully but respectfully bring us back to
this extremely important topic and remind the reader that there is no ambiguity
in the scriptures regarding hell.

The authors rightfully approach this important (and heavy)
topic with a great deal of caution and even sadness.

The simple truth is that we often don’t fully comprehend the
ramifications of a biblical doctrine of hell and we need to approach it with
sobriety and seriousness. This is more than a matter of “I’m right, you’re
wrong!” Hell is a topic to be treated with great care because the ramifications
for those who treat this in a more cavalier fashion is serious. And the authors
respectfully approach the discussion with great biblical conviction but with a
healthy understanding of the topic at hand. They describe their motivation for
writing the book (and ours for reading it) not as excited, but as necessary.

Chan and Sprinkle wade systematically, though
conversationally, through the biblical record of what we actually read about in
God’s word. Chapter titles include
“Does Everyone Go to Heaven?,” “Has Hell Changed? Or Have We?,” and “What Jesus
Said about Hell.” He closes in the last chapter with these important words: “We
should not just try to cope with hell, but be compelled- as with all doctrine-
to live differently in light of it.”

And in this direction the authors point the reader to the
more important point. Are we ourselves assured that we are not headed for this
very real destination? Erasing Hell is a definitive endorsement of solid,
orthodox biblical teaching on a most unsettling but real doctrine. It is an
important read for any believer as we navigate the swirling waters of melting
convictions and is a sensitive response to the topic of the day. The authors
bring the discussion back where it belongs: on the flawless scriptures and what
God clearly has to say about himself.

Davis, a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has served with
Campus Crusade for Christ for 27 years.
He is a volunteer counselor at The Summit Church, Durham. He lives in Cary.)