Book Review: Erasing Hell, by Francis Chan

As promised, this blog will occasionally delve into “other stuff”. Today, I want to give a shout out to the most recent book that I started and finished (we won’t speak about the other ones).

Truth be told, Erasing Hell isn’t really the type of book that you would “give a shout out” to. Francis puts it best with the opening paragraph saying something along the lines of…

“If you’re excited to read this book, then you’re sick”

That’s the point at which I knew I was going to enjoy this book (and author). Erasing Hell is a book about hell. Francis attempts to ask, and answer, the tough questions that we all have about hell.

Does hell exist?

Who goes to hell?

How long will hell last?

With questions that deep and important, this isn’t exactly the type of book you give as a Christmas gift. Its best suited for reading by tiny flashlight in a pitch black room. Or you could get one of those computer screen privacy filters that secretaries use so the document remains “for your eyes only”–what do secretaries do that’s ever that secretive?

Anyway, my purpose is not to write a book report and ruin the content, but to share with you what whupped me the most about this book.

At one point, Francis equates the danger of hell to the danger of life threatening situations we experience on Earth. For example, I cross a busy street everyday to get to my job. I have a personal mantra that goes like this: “Cars and vans will slow down, but semis I’ll never test.” I have confidence that if I were to cross the street in front of a car, they would slow down for me (as foolish as this belief may actually be). However, I will never test this theory against a semi. Especially not a dump truck; those things are hell on wheels–hehe. Even if I have the animated, little, white man telling me its safe to cross the street, I make sure that semi comes to a complete stop before I step out in front of it.

Why? Because I really, trully believe that the semi could crush me. In fact, I believe that, so much, that if I saw someone else step out in front of a semi I would go berserk–scream, sprint, shove and then finish it off with a flying superman tackle onto the safety of the sidewalk. I would do anything in my power to save that person and prevent them from being crushed by the semi–mopeds are a different story.

Perhaps you’ve experience the same feelings upon witnessing your child (I’ll insert my dog) run into the street after a loose ball. You know that heart-jumping-through-your-throat reaction that we get when we percieve danger. Whether or not there were any cars coming, you probably went berserk. Emotions take over and, as time slows down, we scream, spring tears, and, later, scold our loved one because we really, truly believe that their careless actions put them in danger.  

What about hell? How would you react if you really, trully believed that people who are living in sin are going to hell?

Just like the danger of me being crushed by a semi, hell is a real place where people will go for punishment of sins. This isn’t a fun topic to write about, but there is some good news. The good news is that there is still time for action. There is still time for warning. And, most importantly, there is still time for people to be saved from the immediate danger of hell.

We are saved from the danger of hell when we choose to accept forgiveness for our sins, which comes from faith in the bloodshed (sacrifice) of Jesus Christ. Please, if you are unsure about your fate on this topic, seek immediate help. Email me, call your christian friend, ride in an armored car to church this Sunday and seek help for the questions that you have.

In conclusion, Francis Chan and co-author, Preston Sprinkle, put a lot of work into providing Biblical answers for the questions we have about hell. I think that anytime you study a subject that is so critical, it is vitally important that the author’s ideas agree with the only standard for absolute truth–the Bible. There is ample opportunity in this book to draw connections back to the Bible and understand the context in which the original truth was written.

I suggest this read for anyone who has serious questions about hell. Or maybe you just feel like reading something a little different from the norm–this would be a great selection!

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