Tag Archives: Love Wins

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

Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up
Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up by Francis Chan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Somehow people have gotten the impression that Christians, at least the conservative ones, really like the idea of hell.  I do really love the idea of sin and death being cast away for all eternity; can you imagine a world like that?  But people must visualize God as Mr. Burns, wringing his hands just waiting for the chance to make the lowly condemned people in sector 7G get what is coming to them for their shoddy disregard for the task he demands of them.

On the contrary, like a parent warning that a knife is not the best thing to put into a light socket, the Christian who is passionate about the topic of hell is so because of the fervent fear that people will indeed find themselves perishing.  In fact, it is said to be impossible to really understand Christianity without also facing the reality of our due penalty in hell.

In his book Erasing Hell, Francis Chan does a very good job at describing his own pain when he considers the idea of hell and how his quest for the truth from the Bible about this unpopular concept in effort, at least in part, to simply explain it away.

Not coincidentally written on the heels of Rob Bell’s now infamous book Love Wins, Chan debunks the idea that hell is some general concept about reaping what we sow on earth, and how Jesus himself really did teach that hell is a real place and that people will really go there.

Because of the nature and content of this review, I am turning off comments for this post.  If you would like to interact on this topic, hit me up on Twitter or send me a message via the Contact and Connect page.

Audio version of this book available at christianaudio.com.

Legal: a review copy of this work was provided by the publisher as compensation for this review.  No requirements for a positive review were made; these are my honest thoughts about this work.

Rob Bell’s Magnum Opus

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

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 How would you summarize Christianity in 2 words?  Could you maybe say, “Jesus saves”? Or maybe something more relevant like “Got Jesus?”  For Rob Bell, Christianity is this: Love Wins.  Rob has been using the phrase for years at his church and it has even shown up as bumper stickers at my church and printed on Starbucks cups.  The curiosity has been, at least for me, what he meant by that phrase.  Does it really capture the essence of our faith?

Several years ago a read a few books by Richard Bach.  Bach, most renowned for his book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, wrote a book called One.  In the preface he talked about Seagull and another book called Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah and commented that he wrote those other books in essence to have the guts to write the book he really wanted to write: One.  Having now read every book that Rob Bell has written and watched each of his tour videos, I have to say that this book is Rob’s One, his magnum opus if you will.  This is what he has tried to say all these years and what he finally got the nerve to put down on paper and send to his publisher.

Click here to continue reading this post at the Dead Pastors Society blog.

Review: Jesus: The Only Way to God

Jesus, the Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to be Saved?Jesus, the Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to be Saved? by John Piper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love seems to be quite the unusual issue for debate.  However, it seems to be the core issue of so much of how we treat theological issues.  From Rob Bell’s Love Wins to evangelistic methods of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, the way we are called to love one another as Christians has many manifestations and implications.

 In his book Jesus: The Only Way to God, John Piper begins with this assumption: we must define the way we love as Christians by how the Bible defines it.  Afterall, if we are to believe that “God is love,” it would stand to reason that the testimony of Scripture would tell us how God’s actions spell out that love to the world.

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Rob Bell’s New Neo-Calvinism

With the release of his most recent book, Love Wins, Rob Bell and his theology have been a hot-button topic.  Quickly after the book’s release prominent pastors and church leaders came out against Bell’s position on heaven, hell, and the eternal destiny of all people. 

Being called a “universalist,” Bell firmly denied the accusation and affirmed his belief that in every human heart God’s love will win out in the end.  What has been interesting about Bell and his teaching is that he sounds Scripture saturated, even with devoted study.  Yet, with a well-rounded perspective firmly planted in a high view of Scripture, one can discern that Bell starts with his own agenda then redefines theological terms to both avoid heresy and appear stanchly orthodox.

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Review: Hard to Believe

Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following JesusHard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus by John F. MacArthur Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do yourself a favor: get a red-letter Bible and read through just the words of Christ.  Notice what he says about his own message.  He talks about those who rejected him when he ministered and predicted that we would also be persecuted for sharing the same message.  Christ said that he came to cause division, and that those who would follow him would have to give up everything. 

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Matthew 10:34-39 ESV)

In his book Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus, John MacArthur comments not only on passages where Jesus gives these warnings, but makes solid points about how if we are sharing the message that Christ proclaimed and the truth that he died to make reality, then we are guaranteed to experience rejection.  If this is true, then the gospel of Jesus Christ must stand in sharp contract to the message of American churches that bring in people by the thousands in an upbeat, relevant, and relaxed atmosphere where what is taught is an “Oprah-esque” message of how to make the most of life. 

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