Overall, I had the same feelings the authors told me I was going to have: I wasn’t “excited” to read it or “excited” after reading it, but I felt it was a “necessary” read.
Talking about hell is not an easy thing to do, nor should it make a person excited or comfortable. It’s not just a doctrine I was reading about; it’s people’s destinies. It’s eternity.
On a side note, I respect and admire Francis Chan more than any author and pastor. I just truly admire the guy. So I tend to love what he writes more than most.
Here’s the conclusion if this book: If you believe what the Bible says is true and believe that the words are God’s words, then this is the book to read about hell.
There are no assumptions.
There are no deconstructions.
There are no “hopeful” and “wishful” thoughts.
There are no theories.
There are no inaccurate conclusions about what the fate of those are who don’t believe in and give their lives to Jesus Christ.
In other words, this is a response to “Love Wins” by Rob Bell. While Bell’s book did provide some beautiful insights into the love and grace of God, he ultimately made some false conclusions about what hell is and what the Bible says about hell.
Chan and Sprinkle do not make the same mistake.
In short, I would encourage someone to read it. It’s not light reading, but it’s short. You can read it in a day or two.
As a pastor and a teacher, I feel the weight of this responsibility. Like most, I fear being seen as someone who thumps a bible and tells people about damnation and hell. But at the same time, I fear NOT accurately warning people of the “many” who will end up there. Jesus talked about hell. A lot. Paul and others wrote about the destinies of those who don’t believe in hell. It’s my responsibility to accurately describe the fate of those who won’t believe in and love Jesus.
BUT, there is a greater challenge I felt from this book. Do I truly love Jesus? Do I truly imitate his life? Am I truly moved and changed by the Spirit? Am I living a life that is wholly dependent on God and not on my talent, my actions, and my opinions? Am I desperately in love with the God of the Universe? Or am I one of the “many” who think they will waltz into paradise and end up not?
God is God, and He can do as He pleases. If I were God, I would send everyone to heaven. But I’m not God. The question is: Are we willing to submit our lives and our hearts to a God who has mercy on whom he has mercy and hardens the hearts of those who chooses to harden the hearts?
Read this book. Be challenged. Wrestle with this real destiny of some of the people in your lives.