Hell is a subject that many Christians avoid. They live and interact with strangers every day without thinking about their eternal destinations.
If the ultimate goal of a Christian’s time on earth is to show the love of Jesus, would warning others about the realities of hell be the best way for a Christian to show that love? Groups of Christians are still arguing over many salvation issues, such as, do people have a second chance after they die to say yes to Christ? After all, why would a loving God, who desires all to be with him, say no?
The book “Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and the Things We’ve Made Up” by Francis Chan, can be a helpful, challenging and convicting piece of literature for any Christian interested in learning more about salvation, along with similar topics.
The questions mentioned above are addressed and met with a studied historical and contextual setting of the Bible by Chan in the recent book.
Chan often suggests that, although Christians may not always want to believe the word of God, that does not mean that they can ignore it. He believes that humans have a limited understanding of what is good and just, and God has much higher thoughts. Therefore, a Christian thinking they have thought out a situation more than God has is mistaken.
Instead of making excuses for God as to not offend nonbelievers or make Christianity unattractive, Chan says believers should tell His truths with a passion for the fate of their friends, family and those they pass on the street.
After the release of his book, Francis Chan spoke at the 2011 LifeLight festival.
“[Chan shared a story in which] he asked his congregation if they would trust him to hit an apple with his beebee gun, and undoubtedly everyone raised their hand. But when he asked who would trust him to hit it if it was between their teeth, only one man raised his hand, walked up to him and let Chan actually do it!” said senior Megan Herlyn, who listened to Chan’s message at the event.
“He brought up the point that Christians can’t say they believe in something without acting on it—our faith can’t be situational,” Herlyn said.
Herlyn said she had wondered about this statement. For instance, what about when Christians are in the middle of difficult situations and need to be honest with their God and question what is the right thing to do?
“He brings a convicting message, but we need to internalize it and develop our own faith so we don’t just speak about it but act on it as well,”she said.
Matt Dowell, a senior who also attended the LifeLight festival and heard Chan’s message, had a different opinion from Herlyn.
“[Chan] talked about how we often pray for something while having issues with God or other people, and we should make those relationships right before we pray,” said Dowell.
“We must ask for wisdom and strength, and that our prayers should be of pure motivation,” Dowell said. “Asking God for things without showing any dedication in our actions is an abuse of prayer. Ultimately, I believe that is what Chan was conveying.”