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Erasing Hell

December 16, 2011

Erasing Hell” by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle.  David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, CO. 2011.  176 pages.

Review by Steve Hyde

I almost didn’t read this book.  I do believe in a literal hell, so it doesn’t apply to me.  As I only got a few pages into this book, I knew its purpose.  It is an apologetic defense against Rob Bell’s teaching that there is no such thing as hell.  Here’s my problem.  I have no idea who Rob Bell is!  After a quick Wikipedia search I got some basic info about Rob Bell.  Ok, back to the book. . .

It was written in a scholarly format, much like I would write a theology study.  Periodically, throughout the book Francis tells a good story, or highlights a great point in typical Francis verbiage so that made it easier to read.  It was a quick book for me to read.

Does hell matter?  I almost view hell the way I view theological viewpoints on eschatology (end-times).  Debates over Post-trib, pre-trib, a-trib to me are complete waste of time that will not be settled until we all are face to face with Jesus on judgment day.  And even if we could settle it, it still would make no difference in how I live my life at all. This issue of “hell” however, does affect your view of God, your passion for evangelism and your motivation to help others.  Essentially my thought is: if there is no hell, then why bother on trying to stay out of it! So, I can see why one needs a correct view of hell.

Who should read this book?  Well, if you think hell is not a real place and there will be no eternal judgment, then you should read this book.  It will convince you through the words of Scripture itself that this is the case.  If you actually know who Rob Bell is, and even more so, read his book “Love Wins”, and you are beginning to wonder if there is a hell or not, then you should read this book too.  Apart from that, don’t bother.   There are plenty of more helpful books to read.

If I were Francis Chan, why would I write this book?  It doesn’t make sense.  Maybe there was a lot of controversy in his church over Rob Bell’s book.  But, it seems to me after his bestselling book “Crazy Love” maybe a publisher offered him a great deal to do another book and he took it.  His name alone will sell books, like the one I got.  If I were Francis I would never write an apologetic book again.  I would write about loving the poor and living the genuine Christian life which I think his real passion is.  I would read a book like that any day.

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