Categories: books

Book: Erasing Hell

  • Read: May 2012
  • Rating: 8.5/10

Erasing Hell by Francis Chan is an incredibly thoughtful book on the place known as hell. It is biblically based, rather than opinion based, and everything that Chan goes into has scripture to back it up. It’s not your “jump around the topic” kind of book, but instead it jumps right to the point and discusses how hell is a very real place and we need to change our ways. It’s not exactly the best conversation starter, as many a people would be offended if you said they were going to hell. But I believe it’s extremely important to be able to bring up these things and to know what is true. This book offers a good start, and Chan offers many passages for the reader to follow up with. All in all, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to dig a little deeper.

My Notes / Highlights

“Don’t believe something just because you want to, and don’t embrace an idea just because you’ve always believed it. Believe what is biblical. Test all your assumptions against the precious words God gave us in the Bible.”

“When it comes to hell, we can’t afford to be wrong.”

“Be eager to leave what is familiar for what is true.”

“God has the right to do WHATEVER He pleases.”

Universalism - everyone goes to heaven (God saves all)

  • Pluralists - Jesus is one way to salvation

  • Dogmatic - chances to believe in Jesus after death to be saved

    • No biblical references for this happening, ever.
  • God’s Moral Will - can be resisted (His desire)

  • God’s Decreed Will - what God makes happen regardless of what humans decide

When you hear the name Jesus, what do you picture?

  • We do the same thing with the word “hell”

To understand hell, we need to understand Jesus and the Jewish world

  1. Hell is a place of punishment after judgment
  2. Hell is described in imagery of fire and darkness, wher people lament 3 Hell is a place of annihilation or never-ending punishment

Daniel 12:2 is the most relevant: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt”

What Jesus actually said about hell: see 1, 2, 3 above.

  • Hell is assigned to the wicked as a place of punishment
  • Aionios Kolasis -> Everlasting punishment

What Jesus’ followers said about hell

  • Paul (and Peter and Jude) - Mention punishment, judgment, condemnation… repeatedly
    • Never used the word, but mentioned death, and destruction by wrath of God
  • John - Revelation 14+

“Hell is for real. Am I?”

What does this have to do with me?

“Jesus didn’t speak of hell so that we could study, debate, and write books about it. He gave us these passages so that we would live holy lives.”

Racism, greed, fool (name calling/degrading words), misplaced assurance, false teaching, misuse of wealth

  • Things that damn people to hell (in scripture)

What if God…?

Romans 9

  • “we must come to a place where we can let God be God.”
    • Surrender our perceived right to determine what is just and humbly recognize that God alone gets to decide how He is going to deal with people.

“finally confess that I have been embarrassed by some of God’s actions.”

“We need to stop trying to domesticate God or confine Him to tidy categories and compartments that reflect our human sentiments rather than His inexplicable ways.”

“As Jeremiah looked around and saw a bunch of bodies lying in the street, he said, ‘God did that.‘”

Don’t be overwhelmed

Paul had wished was sent to hell so his fellow brothers could live (in heaven) - Romans 9:2-3

FAQ: Fire is a metaphor (fire in hell)