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Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Francis Chan , Preston Sprinkle

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

How could a loving God send people to hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven?

With a humble respect for God's Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They've asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don't want to believe in hell. But as they write, "We cannot afford to be wrong on this issue."

This is not a book about who is saying what. It's a book about what God says. It's not a book about impersonal theological issues. It's a book about people who God loves. It's not a book about arguments, doctrine, or being right. It's a book about the character of God.

Erasing Hell will immerse you in the truth of Scripture as, together with the authors, you find not only the truth but the courage to live it out.


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
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  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 208 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0781407257
  • Editeur : David C. Cook (1 juillet 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0054QAY8I
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  365 commentaires
509 internautes sur 540 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Chan & Sprinkle Leave No Doubt 24 juin 2011
Par Benjamin Zimmerman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
After watching the promotional video from David C. Cook Publishing I was excited to read a book by an author whom I deeply respect and even admire for their previous emotional & challenging works. After watching the video I expected Erasing Hell to be a exegetical and challenging study of the topic of hell from a Biblical perspective by an author passionate about the truth.

I had expectations when I started reading Erasing Hell. Were my expectations correct? Yes.

Francis Chan and co-author, Preston Sprinkle (whom Chan admits did . . . "the majority of the research" pg. 11) do a phenomenal job of examining the context of scripture and presenting the Biblical truth about the realities of hell. This book is a sobering reminder of how we as Western Christians and the Western church have watered down the language of hell to appeal to our own comfort, when in reality the words that Jesus and others used in the Bible are both intimidating and clear: Hell is a real place and many people will go there.

WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE

Maybe I missed the point but after watching the promotional video I was expecting Chan & Sprinkle to present their own Biblical study of hell, which they did, however I did not expect them to spend so much time challenging the book: Love Wins by Rob Bell. I am not 100% sure why I did not expect this from Chan, but regardless it was my expectation. In no way do they "bash" Bell or throw him under the bus like many other Evangelical authors, pastors and leaders have been doing over the past few months, but they definitively challenge quotes, thoughts and passages of scripture directly from Love Wins. Although this challenge does not overwhelm the entire book, in the seven chapters of Erasing Hell there are 87 footnotes, fourteen of these footnotes directly reference Love Wins, all within the first three chapters. The fact that Chan & Sprinkle have done this make the book relevant to it's counterpart and possibly irrelevant to the general population of readers. It makes me wonder if this book will be relevant in a few years when Love Wins fades off the bestsellers lists.

Another minor thing that bothered me was the cover. I know it sounds petty, and I might just be that in this scenario, but the fact that the cover of Erasing Hell resembles another book by Rob Bell, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, leaves me wondering why they choose the design they did. Maybe it was just happenstance but I wonder the context of why it was chosen.

Lastly, and more importantly the one thing I struggled with from Erasing Hell was the fact that the authors spent so much time emphasizing the context of scripture. Context can be a great thing, in fact it may just be the most important thing other than the words themselves, but when it came to the chapter titled: "Has Hell Changed? Or Have We?", the authors provide numerous references to first century authors yet they provide very little context to the passages they reference. At the end of the chapter I wrote: "I feel like I am supposed to take their word for it, but I know nothing about the context of the passages the authors quoted."

WHAT I LOVED

Maybe I shouldn't use the word love. It is too nice. Hell is not nice, and nobody, myself included should love a book that frames up the realities of what hell is about. After reading this book some may want to use words like: sobering, humbling, motivating and convicting. Chan & Sprinkle do a great job of intertwining truth and emotion. Some authors write only from an emotional perspective, others only from a knowledge-based point of view. Hell is difficult topic to wrestle with, but manipulating the conversation to make us feel comfortable is both irresponsible and selfish; however, so is forgetting that peoples lives are at stake. Chan and Sprinkle make this point clear on many occasions: "This is not one of those doctrines where you can toss in your two cents, shrug your shoulders, and move on. Too much is at stake. Too many people are at stake." Pg. 14/15

The one thing that I struggled with most from Rob Bell's book was context. The exegetical study of the passages of scripture seemed sloppy at best. Erasing Hell flips that on it's head. If context is everything, as one of my professors always pointed out, then Chan & Sprinkle have done the groundwork for the reader to lead them to a solid conclusion based upon research and Biblical truth. I am grateful to the authors for the sincere effort to present both sides of the argument in context.

After reading Erasing Hell, I am deeply challenged by the honesty, transparency, and conviction that Chan & Sprinkle write with. As a reader I am left wrestling with what I believe about hell and how far I am willing to go to know & share the truth. "Coming face-to-face with these passages on hell and asking these tough questions is a heart-wrenching process. It forces me (us) back to a sobering reality: this is not just about doctrine; it's about destinies." pg. 72

The reality that destinies are at stake makes my stomach turn. It turns Francis Chan's stomach and it should turn yours. Hell is tough to read about, study or talk about. However, we must read about it, talk about it and study it. I agree with the authors that hell is too important to get wrong, so if you have read Love Wins you MUST read this book. If you haven't read Love Wins but you are curious what the Bible says about hell, then I highly recommend you pick-up this dynamic book from Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle.

"While hell can be a paralyzing doctrine, it can also be an energizing one, for it magnifies the beauty of the cross." pg. 148
227 internautes sur 251 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Chan's least interesting book.... 5 juillet 2011
Par C. Bennett - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I picked up Chan and Sprinkle's book on hell and read it in a day. As other commenters have noted, it is not a bad book. But, it also is not a compelling read either. It appears to have been written as a counter to Rob Bell's book "Love Wins" and, in that sense, it presents some notable rebuttals to some of Bell's points. But, unfortunately, after reading it, I felt like I had not actually read a whole book, but only a "Cliff's Notes" version. Too often, I got to the end of a chapter or a section and thought "where's the rest of it?" There were many points that were tossed out there interestingly, but then not expanded on. I was often left wanting more on the subject and feeling like I had just gotten a summary rather than an analysis.

To me, Chan and Sprinkle were not really attempting to explain hell in more detail, but only to rebut a few limited points from Rob Bell's book. As such, it should not be subtitled "What God said about eternity, and the things we've made up." Rather, it should be something much more limited and simpler, like "Rebutting some misconceptions about hell." That is really all it does -- although I do think it does that effectively. But, to give the impression it is a more detailed discussion of hell is not really accurate. Perhaps this is because Chan and Sprinkle are wrestling themselves with where they come out on understanding hell. From comments in the book, they clearly give both annihilationism and eternal conscious torment views a fair seat within orthodoxy. And, although Chan clearly supports eternal conscious torment, he also goes to some length to indicate that annihilationism is a possible view from an exegesis of the scriptures. (in all honesty, the book would have been better if it discussed this issue more)

At times, though, it appears that Chan and Sprinkle do the very thing they warn against. Namely, they read scripture in a way that supports their theology rather than taking it at face value. For example, in chapter 1, they discuss 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and the meaning of the passage that says "God wants all men to be saved." They say that "all men" must mean "all kinds of men" because surely God is not telling Timothy to pray for every person on earth in verse 1, where Paul encourages prayers for "all people." I think Chan and Sprinkle twist the passage to fit their theology. There is no reason the passage cannot mean what it says - namely prayers should be offered for everyone. In the passage, Paul is not telling Timothy himself to pray for everyone by name. Rather, the passage is directed to the church and the point is that we are to pray for the whole world. Namely, we are called to love the whole world, and not just some people. It is not impossible to pray for the whole world. There is no requirement that we pray by name for everyone! For example, I can fulfill that passage by praying something to the effect of "God, bless our president, our senators, and give them wisdom. And, not only them, but I pray that everyone throughout the world would come to know you." Boom! Just like that I prayed for everyone! I am not trying to be trite, but I am just trying to show that reading "all kinds of men" into that passage is simply a theological gymnastic exercise to try to fit into a certain theology, rather than taking it for what it appears to say on its face. One reaches the "all kinds of men" interpretation usually to try to fit into "reformed" theology - not because anything in the passage demands "everyone" or "all men" to mean anything less than what it says. Call me crazy, but I think God really meant what He said - namely, He wants me to pray for everyone and He wants all men to be saved! This is only one example, but there were plenty of other examples throughout where it appears that Chan and Sprinkle offer a weak interpretation designed to match their theology rather than to take the passage at face value.

But, all that aside, I still agree with most of their rebuttals of Bell's book and think that this book would have value if used specifically as a rebuttal to Bell's book. I just don't think it has much value as a stand-alone book on hell.

BTW, to be clear, I am a big fan of Chan and very much liked Forgotten God and Crazy Love, so please do not mistake me for a "hater!" :-)
125 internautes sur 142 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Challenging Reminder that Eternity is at Stake 5 juillet 2011
Par Aaron Armstrong - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I had some trepidation about even reading Erasing Hell, let alone reviewing it. Part of that stems from a desire to not continue to tread the same ground, over and over again. The rest of my uneasiness came from another (greater) concern: Am I spending too much time thinking about hell? Worse, am I turning thinking about it into another academic exercise that doesn't really have any impact on my life?

If you're concerned about that tendency in your own life, you'll be thankful to read Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up. Here, Francis Chan and co-author Preston Sprinkle offer a foundational understanding of what Scripture actually says about hell while explaining why it actually matters.

In case you were wondering, yes, this book is a direct response to Rob Bell's Love Wins. Chan and Sprinkle interact heavily with the former work, carefully addressing the significant issues raised in its pages in Chan's now-trademark conversational style.

One of the big questions in the Love Wins controversy centers on whether or not Christian universalism and the opportunity for post-mortem salvation is defensible from Scripture. The authors quickly move through a handful of the major proof texts offered in defense of universalism to focus on to the larger issue of post-mortem salvation. In their search for proof texts in its defense, they found exactly none.

"No passage in the Bible says that there will be a second chance after death to turn to Jesus," they write on page 35. "And that's frightening . . . because the idea of an after-death conversion is the most important ingredient for the Universalist position. It makes or breaks the view."

Chan's horror that anyone would offer the possibility of post-mortem salvation without explicit biblical reference is palpable, particularly when some passages explicitly speak against this view (see Luke 13:22-30, Hebrew 9:27 among others). Indeed, throughout the book, Chan's emotional investment into the subject matter forces us to confront our own attitudes toward doctrine. He not only believes but feels the truths of Scripture deeply, in a way that sometimes I find lacking in my own life. It's not an appeal to emotionalism vs. intellectualism, but it's the fruit of head knowledge that has become heart knowledge.

Have you ever noticed how there are some things in Scripture that you never really pay attention to until someone points them out? An area like that for me is Jesus' teaching on hell. He speaks repeatedly of the judgment to come... and no one questions Him on it. It's as if they had a pretty solid grasp of what He was talking about. Chan and Sprinkle suggest a reason for this:

They did.

The authors offer several passages, ranging from second century BC to first century AD Jewish sources that clearly indicate a strong belief in hell. "In fact, so ingrained was the belief in hell among first-century Jews that Jesus would have had to go out of His way to distance Himself from these beliefs if He didn't hold them" (p. 49). Jesus was certainly not one to shy away from necessary controversy, yet the fact that He didn't on this point is telling. He did not distance Himself from these doctrines because He had no need to--He believed them, as did His contemporaries.

This was probably the biggest "Oh yeah..." moment I've had reading a book in a good long while. Not because it necessarily taught me anything completely new (although it certainly gave me a greater understanding of the context in which Jesus lived and preached), but because it gave a greater appreciation for what is clear within the gospels. Jesus believed in hell, as did those to whom He preached.

Chan and Sprinkle likewise proceeded to debunk a common argument used in the debates surrounding hell--gehenna. Most of us have heard (and possibly even written or preached) that gehenna was the town garbage dump. However, the authors share, this is a myth that gained traction c. 1200 AD in the writings of David Kimhi, who incidentally, lived in Europe, not Israel--and "even [he] saw it as an analogy for the place where the wicked will be judged" (p. 60). The Hinnom Valley was, according to 2 Kings 16:3, the place where the apostate Israelites offered child sacrifices to the Canaanite gods Molech and Baal; by Jeremiah's time, it became synonymous with the place where the bodies of the wicked would be cast. But there's no evidence it was ever used as a garbage dump.

Throughout Erasing Hell, Chan and Sprinkle return to a consistent theme, that of letting God be God. "God has the right to do WHATEVER He pleases," they write. "And whether or not you end up agreeing with everything I say about hell, you must agree with Psalm 115:3. Because at the end of the day, our feelings and wants and heartaches and desires are not ultimate--only God is ultimate. . . . Expect then, that Scripture will say things that don't agree with your natural way of thinking" (p. 17).

Nowhere in the book is this better exemplified in chapter 6's discussion of Romans 9:22-23. As they look at this uncomfortable text of Scripture, they repeatedly come back to the reality that God can do what He wants.

"I often hear people say, "I could never love a God who would..." Who would what? Who would disagree with you? And do things that you would never do? Who would allow bad things to happen to people? Who would be more concerned with His own glory than your feelings? Who would--send people to hell?" (p. 132)

The absurdity of this idea, that God is somehow answerable to us, when we look to Scripture is clear. And it should cause us to weep at our own arrogance. This was a difficult passage for me to read as I don't like to think that I am guilty of this, but I know that I am. I hate the idea of hell, yet it's there. I'd love for it to go away, but it won't. And all I am able to do in light of it is submit myself to the reality that God is greater than I am--and my questions, while not unimportant, must be submitted to His Word.

Prior to reading Erasing Hell, I had some concerns about how the authors' would present their case. What would be their tone? I suspect many of us would admit that there have been times when our tone has been full of truth, but perhaps lacking in love. And perhaps the best way to describe the authors' tone would be to say that it felt as though they were urgently pleading for repentance--both to those of us who have erred in turning hell into a mere intellectual exercise as opposed to a life-altering doctrine and to those who have rejected hell (and perhaps even Bell himself). In this the authors show that they are living in light of the book's closing words:

"God extends mercy to us all now, He wants us to know Him now, He urges all of us now to be reconciled to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. This door is open now--but it won't stay open forever." (p. 150)

The urgency of this plea cannot be overstated, neither in the tone of the book or in our need to extend God's mercy through the proclamation of the gospel. Our responsibility, if we embrace the historic understanding of hell as presented in Scripture, is not to spend our time in endless debates. Our responsibility is to plead with those who are separated from God to flee from the wrath to come. Our responsibility is to plead with those who confess faith in Christ yet emphasize His mercy at the expense of His judgment to examine the Scriptures with fresh eyes.

Chan and Sprinkle are right when they write that people's destinies--their eternal destinies--hang in the balance on this issue. We dare not take our responsibility lightly. I am extremely thankful for this reminder from Erasing Hell; I trust that as you read it, you will be as well.
89 internautes sur 109 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Doesn't Contribute to the Discussion. Skip it. 13 juillet 2011
Par JR. Forasteros - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
THE GOOD

First, I have to commend Chan for the tone of his book.* One major detraction for me in reading and rereading Love Wins is Bell's (sometimes not-so) subtle jabs at New Calvinist theology. Even though I agree with a lot of Bell's jabs, they're subtle and feel underhanded. If we're going to talk about it, let's just put it out on the table. To Chan's credit, he does this for the most part. He directly cites Bell (and other authors with whom he takes issue), and even applauds Bell a few times.

It seems at the outset that Chan is going to nuance his arguments carefully, and pay great attention to detail. He says, for instance: "It's important to understand that Universalism comes in many shapes and sizes. This is why we have to be careful about slapping the label Universalist on people who say that everyone will end up being saved. The term Universalist is about as specific as the term Baptist. If you call someone a Baptist, all you've said is that they don't baptize babies--beyond this, it's pretty much up for grabs.... It's important, then, to understand that Christian Universalists believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ and Christ alone. There's nothing untraditional about this. The difference is that they believe people will have another chance (or many chances) after death to believe in Jesus and be saved."

These are a couple of really good, charitable distinctions Chan offers to the larger conversation happening right now. Frankly, they're distinctions that no one else who's got a big beef with Love Wins is making. I applaud him for trying to steer the tone of the whole discourse in a healthier (and more Christlike) direction.

Chan calls for humility on the part of everyone involved in the conversation, and he models that attitude throughout the book (though not consistently; see below).

A section of the book I found particularly good was Chan's exploration of the term gehenna (the most common New Testament word for Hell). He argued persuasively that Bell relies too heavily on later Rabbinic sources to build his picture of Hell. This is a criticism that has often been lobbed at Bell (and more academic New Testament scholars). Chan argues convincingly that while the Valley of Hinon (Gehenna) may well have been the city dump, it occupied a much more important space in the first-century Jewish imagination as a metaphor for judgment.

Finally, Chan's passion came across clearly in the pages. The same has been said loudly and often by Bell's critics (phrases like, "He's clearly writing as a pastor who is tired of doing funerals" and the like). Here, though Chan's passion seems to be for the Bible itself rather than for persons to whom he's ministering. The closest he gets is observing the people around him at Starbucks while he's writing the book.

That said, he does offer a pretty good chapter about what the doctrine of Hell ought to mean for Christians. Though he notes that most statements about Hell were directed at insiders - Jews or Christians, he doesn't follow this line of thought any further. Even so, he offers some great reminders that Hell is reserved for everything from harsh words to wealth at the expense of others. He observes, for instance: "Jesus preaches hellfire against those who have the audacity to attack a fellow human being with harsh words. It's ironic--frightening, actually--that some people have written books, preached sermons, or written blog posts about hell and missed this point completely."

THE BAD

A problem with the book is its focus. Is this a direct response to Bell's Love Wins? It's been marketed that way. But the book begins as a more general exploration of the doctrine of Hell. But then Chan lobs a few shots at Bell, and quotes him directly. So which is it? Ultimately, this lack of focus damages the credibility of Chan's arguments.

When he sets up straw men, is he specifically teasing out arguments Bell makes in Love Wins? If so, he doesn't represent Bell's position fairly. If not, then why cite Bell so often as a poster-child for the views he's combating? For instance, early in the book, Chan says, "I don't want anyone to go to hell. The fact is, I would love for all people to stand before Christ on judgment day and have a chance to say, 'They were right all along, Jesus.'"

Bell never says anything like this in Love Wins. Neither do any other authors Chan cites. So against whom, exactly is he arguing here? Chan's tactics don't help the conversation along. Rather than taking Bell's (and others') statements and questions as serious challenges, we're left to wonder if Chan read the same Love Wins as the rest of us. Or why he bothers to bring it up at all if he's not going to engage the book's central points.

Another glaring problem with Erasing Hell is Chan's inconsistent handling of Biblical texts. He's often very good (though nowhere near as poetic or artistic as Bell). But often enough, Chan is flat-out awful.

Take his discussion of 1 Corinthians 15:22, for instance. Paul says, "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."

Focusing only on the back end of the text, Chan argues: "The verse by itself could mean that everyone will end up being saved, but the context doesn't support this interpretation. When Paul says "all will be made alive," he's clearly thinking about the resurrection of believers at the second coming of Christ."

He goes on to argue this from Paul's use of the word `all' in later verses clearly to mean believers that in this verse, the `all' who will be made alive in Christ must also refer only to believers. But a foundational rule of interpretation is that we start from the inside and work out. Do only believers die in Adam? No, of course not. So the `all' in the first half of the sentence has a different meaning from the `all' in the second half of the sentence? Maybe. But Chan doesn't address that. He skips over it, ignoring it through some clever selective quoting.

Nor is that the only place Chan oversimplifies or simply ignores portions of texts; I found his handling of Paul's sermon to the Athenians on Mars Hill particularly awful. Which isn't ironic at all.

Mistakes like these cast a suspicious light on the rest of Chan's work in the Scriptures. Ultimately, he seems to be doing the exact thing Bell's critics claimed: reading the Scriptures through a lens that helps him to see what he already wants to see.

THE UGLY

My biggest problem with Chan's book is his seeming inability to be self-reflective. Not once does he acknowledge his own influences or biases.

Chan assumes an air of final authority because his reading of the Bible is absolute and uncontestable.

He says of his observations, "Everything I've said thus far seems clear to me from Scripture."

Chan beings by writing about how much he agonized over writing the book, over not wanting to get this stuff wrong. He challenges his readers to pray as they read (which I did). This is the same thing the Mormons do when they ask you to read the book of Mormon. The problem is that when we read the Bible isolated from a healthy diversity, we can't hear the Spirit speak to us. We only hear people who already agree with us. Chan mentions several times that he only used `conservative' commentaries. No surprise his views come out so traditional - he already agreed with his `conclusions' and only listened to people who did too.

Chan's reading of the Scriptures (like all of ours) is bound to a particular perspective he doesn't (can't?) see, or at least doesn't acknowledge. He assumes, for instance, that the Bible's picture of Hell develops over time, but not the Bible's image of God, somehow. We are allowed to confess that the picture of Hell in the New Testament is different and better than the sheol of the Old. But God's character isn't more fully revealed in the New. Whatever attributes and characteristics God displays in the Old must be uncritically smashed into the character of Jesus. Why? Chan doesn't answer. He doesn't seem to see a conflict.

Something Bell got right in Love Wins is that this discussion isn't really about Hell. It's about the Character of God.

And here, Chan suffers most of all. He doesn't seem to have a clear, compelling picture of God. Chan's God is distant and incomprehensible. We can't question, we can't wrestle. To do so is an affront to God (the Bible's Wisdom literature be damned, apparently). Jesus' incarnation doesn't seem to offer us much help. We are left only to tremble in fear and hope we don't wind up in Hell.

At this point in the conversation, Love Wins offered some excellent reflections on just how complicated this issue is in the Scriptures and in our conversation.

Chan says, for instance,

"God is love, but He also defines what love is. We don't have the license to define love according to our own standards and sensibilities."

Fine... I agree. But Jesus did define Love for us in John 15:13: Love is giving up his life for his friends. And then Jesus modeled that by giving up his life for his friends. This has some serious implications for the discussion of the character of God and the nature of Hell, but Chan doesn't seem to take this seriously as an insight into God's character. (Whereas Bell does.)

Or, take Chan's claims about God's other attributes. Chan claims that the attributes of God the Bible lists - just, holy, loving - are all true, but that God's justice, holiness and love are not at all like ours. If that's true, then why even use those words? They become meaningless. We can't have real conversations about God's Justice as the source for human justice if those concepts are radically, unapproachably different. But if they're similar, if in fact one derives from the other, then we end up where Bell does, in a complex conversation about God and Love and Justice and Holiness and how that all plays out. We take the Bible, we take our own experiences of God, and we listen to others' perspectives and we all try to make sense of it all, all the while confessing we probably won't in any lasting sense.

Which brings us back to Chan's take on the Bible. For Chan, the Bible is the final word. God will broker no further discussion or questioning. The problem is that Chan's god - at least in Erasing Hell is a small, tribal god. He loves penal substitutionary atonement and is absolutely sovereign when it fits Chan's arguments (otherwise, we totally have free will). Chan tells us we just have to take the Bible (and by extension, God) at its word. But what he means is that we have to take Chan's reading of the Bible (and by extension, Chan) at its word. And that's the insurmountable problem in Erasing Hell for me.

Bottom Line: Chan's book seems rushed to press. He brings virtually nothing new to the table, and doesn't offer much to the conversation you can't get from watching the video. Skip it.

Have you read the book? What do you think of Chan's position? Of his attitude towards Rob? Is this book ultimately helpful or hurtful?

*Even though there's a coauthor, Chan notes early on that they wrote the book in Chan's tone. So I'll only address him in the review.
38 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Like his style and heart, but was not convinced by his reasoning 8 juillet 2011
Par Steve Sensenig - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
After reading Rob Bell's "Love Wins" and then hearing this book was coming out as a response to it, I eagerly pre-ordered it. While I'm very sympathetic to Bell's position, I really wanted Chan to swing the pendulum back for me and help me balance out my own thoughts.

I ended up disappointed. While I thoroughly admire Chan's heart and attitude, he made some big mistakes in his logic (in my opinion).

First of all, Chan was way too dismissive of the "ultimate reconciliation" passages, in my opinion. He just sort of brushed them aside. For example, he quotes from 1 Corinthians 15 "in Christ shall all be made alive" and proceeds to say that "all" can't possibly mean "all". However, the significant thing about that passage is that the phrase he quoted is the second half of a parallelism. The verse says "AS IN ADAM ALL DIED, SO in Christ shall all be made alive." (caps mine for emphasis) This lends a lot of weight in figuring out what "all" means because no theologian or Bible teacher (including Chan) believe that only a small subset of humanity died in Adam. It's very hard grammatically to define the first "all" as "all" and the second "all" as "some". Furthermore, he says that the passage in question talks about enemies being defeated. However, the passage defines those enemies, and they are not necessarily unbelievers. They are, in fact, systems and powers. So, it would appear that Christ defeats the world systems and tears down those systems of power, and in the process makes "all" alive by freeing them from those powers and principalities. Even more interesting, the LAST enemy to be defeated by Christ, according to this passage, is death itself. Chan completely glosses over this and throws the passage out as not possibly referring to universal reconciliation.

To further complicate the situation, after exploring several "ultimate" passages and then attempting to restrict their scope, Chan then turns around and says that the Bible offers not even a HINT of the idea that all will eventually be saved. This is, in my opinion, circular logic. The reality is that those passages DO offer a hint of that idea, whether you think the idea is right or wrong. It IS hinted at in the Bible. So it's not necessarily fair to explain passages that hint at universal reconciliation away, and then say that the Bible doesn't hint at it. If it didn't hint at it, you wouldn't have to explain those passages away. And you certainly wouldn't have to resort to redefining the word "all" to do so!

I won't bore you with my complete analysis, but let me point out two other things that were very disturbing to me.

First, Chan actually makes that statement, with regard to how we might feel about a God who sends people to hell, that he (Chan) sometimes has been like a kid trying to hide his drunken father from others. The very fact that Chan used this metaphor should send up a red flag about his thinking. If that's the best analogy he could come up with, he might want to rethink what he really thinks about his heavenly Father.

Second, Chan has a section near the end of the book where he addresses some FAQ about God and hell. He asks the question about God being love. Then he goes on to say that while God is love, God defines love and we can't hold God to OUR definition of love. Therefore, from God's perspective, and since God himself defines love, sending people to eternal conscious torment in hell might actually be love, according to Chan. Here's the huge problem with this: God defines love for us in the very Bible that Chan says should form the basis of our beliefs. It's found in 1 Corinthians 13. And in that definition of love, we find things like not holding to any record of wrong, love enduring, staying faithful, etc. Nowhere in that definition of love do we see an allowance for retribution or final banishment of others to eternal conscious torment.

Bottom line: Easy read, made some good points. Faulty logic, and falls way short of settling the issue or even fully responding to other points of view. I love the guy's writing style, and I so appreciate his attitude and attempt at being true to revelation and not full of himself. But he failed to convince me of his major thesis, which is that the Bible clearly teaches a real hell that is eternal (either in terms of annihilation or eternal conscious torment) for all who reject Christ in this life.
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