"Erasing Hell" is a response to Rob Bell's "Love Wins." Chan and Sprinkle delve into the Bible to see what God said about Heaven and Hell. Using Scripture as their main source, they also discuss what ancient Jewish and Christian writers had to say about Hell, as well as more contemporary Christian writers. Their goal is to present the truth, even if it may be hard to take.
Scripturally sound, this book presents Hell as the Bible does. While Biblical authors do not give detailed descriptions of Hell, we are given impressions of what Hell will be like and who will go there. The question is: will you accept it? Francis Chan freely admits that he asked Preston Sprinkle to help him write this book because of the seriousness of the topic and because of Sprinkle's theological background (PhD in New Testament) and ability (Sprinkle did most of the research). The effort is evident as sources are cited in abundance. This book is the perfect counter to "Love Wins" and Universalism as a whole.
Chan includes a prayer that I think we all should pray as we are likely all guilty of it in some degree:
"Please forgive me, Lord, for wanting to erase all the things in Scripture that don't sit well with me. Forgive me for trying to hide some of Your actions to make You more palatable to the world. Forgive me for trying to make You fit my standards of justice and goodness and love. You are God; You are good; I don't always understand You, but I love You. Thank You for who You are."
This is by no means an extensive work, but I recommend it to anyone who has any doubts about the existence of Hell in the afterlife.
As a Pastor, I was very pleased to see that this subject was handled in depth and with great respect both academically and with the heart. It was a great although sober read and useful to every person. Very highly recommended .
There have been a number of evangelical responses to Rob Bell's "God Wins," in which that author raises doubts about the existence of a literal hell. Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle are to be commended for their attempt to challenge Bell's assumptions in this book on the basis of biblical criteria. Although the authors address most of the main issues associated with an evangelical understanding of the destiny of the wicked, they do so with compassion and offer an appeal to the reader to make certain (through the work of Jesus Christ) that they will escape its horrors. Chan has demonstrated the ability to click with younger audiences, and his appeal is more with those who are seeking to know God and understand biblical truth. In that sense, this book is recommended. At the same time, his books lack the depth that more seasoned followers of Christ are looking for. For those searching for a more detailed study of the subject of hell, as well as a solid response to Rob Bell, there are better resources available. While Chan and Sprinkle strongly believe in a literal hell, they stop short in wholly endorsing the literal biblical descriptions of it or of it existing as a place of unending punishment. These aspects are not denied, but the authors leave open the door for metaphorical interpretations, thus softening the impact of the very point they hope to make.