In a nutshell, “Hell no? Hell yes?” pretty much summarizes Rob Bell’s book Love Wins and Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell.
I read Love Wins by Rob Bell a couple of months ago. After reading it I felt more compelled to tell people about Jesus. Even more glad that I’m part of the great beautiful bride, the church. I appreciate the fact that Rob is not afraid to wrestle through many of the questions that any thinking person will eventually ask about Hell as eternal, horrific punishment. On the other hand, I dislike that Rob so casually tosses out 2000 years of historical church teaching. Rob gives us good food for thought but not food that should be blindly accepted simply because it tastes appetizing. Read this one with a grain of salt.
Erasing Hell by Francis Chan is a wonderful presentation of what many would consider a theological position on the traditional view of Hell. I appreciate that Chan wrote it in conjunction with a respected theologian. I also appreciate that he takes very seriously the historical Judeo Christian teachings about Hell. What I didn’t like was Chan’s response to some of the troubling questions that we all ask about Hell as a place of eternal, horrific punishment . . . “You have to just believe.” Read this one knowing that it may not taste as good, but it will nourish your soul.
Ethicists tell us that people are motivated primarily in one of two ways: 1) Extrinsic threat of punishment and promise of reward 2) Intrinsic compassion to do what is best for others. As for me, I would much rather motivate people to follow Jesus because it is good and true and brings God’s Kingdom right here and right now and for all eternity. Is there a Hell where non-followers of Jesus will be punished for all eternity? I personally don’t want to take the chance of being wrong. So, compelled by love, compelled by the goodness of God’s Kingdom and all that it brings . . . I devote my life to telling people the Good News of Jesus Christ.