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.
I found "Erasing Hell" by Francis Chan an excellent book. Mr. Chan does a great job of placing focus on Biblical truth and helping the reader find other resources that give reason to his views and what he has discovered; whether through scripture or other authors views concerning hell. In reading "Erasing Hell," the reader is provided with a wealth of thought provoking information that the reader can use to decide for him/her self concerning God's truth that many may spend eternity in hell. And if the reader even digs deeper in understand he or she can also find God's truth in His Eternal Love.
In a word, I found this book rather disappointing. The title is deceptive as this book seems to heighten awareness on the topic as opposed to erasing it. I found this to be a rather shallow work with much of the author's bias present in the pages despite his insistence that he left personal bias out.
The author had the good sense to quote such masters as Thomas Talbot but only in so much as it agreed with his own personal bias but he fell short of exploring Talbot's theological insights where they did not agree with his own. For instance, the author's perspective of eternal fire and eternal punishment are that they literally last forever whereas Talbot's view is that "eternal" is not a statement of time but of ownership. The author failed to explore these possibilities which is unfortunate. I found that the author seemed to have a bad habit of quoting portions of other author's statements for the purpose of reinforcing his own beliefs while, at the same time, making statements to try to discredit other aspects of those very same authors' beliefs, very unprofessional.
There are far more authorative works on this subject. Two such works would be Bradley Jersak's "Her Gates Will Never Be Shut" and Thomas Talbot's "The Inescapable Love of God."