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Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  12,344 ratings  ·  766 reviews
How could a loving God send people to hell? Will people have a chance after they die to believe in Jesus and go to heaven?

With a humble respect for God's Word, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle address the deepest questions you have about eternal destiny. They've asked the same questions. Like you, sometimes they just don't want to believe in hell. But as they write, "We c
Paperback, 197 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by David C Cook (first published July 2011)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  12,344 ratings  ·  766 reviews

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Alycia Castillo
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rating this book is an extremely difficult task. To rate it one star would do my heart justice, and I'll explain why. I began reading Erasing Hell the day I finished reading Love Wins by Rob Bell. I was feeling pretty good that day, after reading Love Wins and all. I finished reading Erasing Hell today, after which, I didn't feel so great. I was so heavy-hearted.
Chan takes every New Testament passage about Hell and dissects it. This-as Chan warns-could get tedious if you're not into Greek, but
David Gregg

"Erasing Hell" should have been subtitled: Universalism Is Definitely False, But We Don't Know Why

I listened to the audiobook edition of this work, which contains an elaborative interview with the authors (to whom I will refer collectively by the headlining name, though I understand that the greater part of the work was Sprinkle's). In the interview, the authors admit that the book is a response to "Love Wins" – a fact, as I recall, not acknowledged in the book – making Bell's book required read

Randy Alcorn
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In Erasing Hell, Francis Chan speaks with compassion. You can almost feel him trembling over the issues at stake. He recognizes this debate is about God, His nature and His authority. I sensed both humility and prophetic power in this book.

I’ve talked with Francis personally and been at a few conferences where he’s spoken. It’s like watching a fire burn—you don’t know exactly what’s coming next. That same passion is on the pages of his book. Chan lays his heart on the table. It’s rare that a boo
JR. Forasteros

First, I have to commend Chan for the tone of his book.* One major detraction for me in reading and rereading Love Wins is Bell’s (sometimes not-so) subtle jabs at New Calvinist theology. Even though I agree with a lot of Bell’s jabs, they’re subtle and feel underhanded. If we’re going to talk about it, let’s just put it out on the table. To Chan’s credit, he does this for the most part. He directly cites Bell (and other authors with whom he takes issue), and even applauds Bell a few tim
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
“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. Jesus evidently hates it when we tear into our brothers or sisters with demeaning words, words that fail to honor the people around us as the beautiful image-bearing creatures that they are.”

Francis Chan speaks once again about the unconformable truths of the Bible, and this time he writes about maybe the most uncomfortable of them all: that a loving G
Ben De Bono
Apr 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
Erasing Hell is, in large part, Francis Chan's response to Rob Bell's Love Wins. After reading both books. After reading both books, I have to confess to feeling oddly perplexed by the whole debate - not because the topic is unimportant, I believe it's vitally important, but because both books are ultimately very lightweight. For the life of me, I can't understand why two books of such low caliber have created such an enormous debate.

I'm getting a bit ahead of myself though. Regardless of the q
John Strohm
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Suffers from the same faults as most evangelical Bible study books, namely:
* Assuming that God wrote everything in the Bible, and nothing not in the Bible, and that his writing has been passed down without error since then. This is a pretty clearly absurd proposition; there are enough internal contradictions that this can't be true. By refusing to be skeptical about any passages (even ones that don't seem to fit), and by refusing to consider very much that didn't make it into the Bible with a ca
Sarah Johnson
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
The way this book was written is something I incredibly appreciate. When reading a book such as this about such topics, I hate reading things that are constantly people's opinions with not enough Bible foundation to back up their beliefs. Francis Chan writes purely from a Biblical and historical point of view with less opinion and more factual evidence from the Bible itself and his deep theological studies of history. It's not an "I'm-going-to-force-you-to-believe-my-opinion" written book; it's ...more
KC McCauley
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"I really believe it's time for some of us to stop apologizing for God and start apologizing to Him for being embarrassed by the ways He has chosen to reveal Himself" (102). Essentially, that's what Erasing Hell is all about; as the subtitle states, "What God has said about eternity, and the things we've made up."

This book was certainly written in response to Rob Bell's book, LOVE WINS. I thought that Francis and Sprinkle did a great job on tackling this issue by describing the biblical doctrine
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
In 2011, Rob Bell made headlines and caused an uproar in the Christian community with the release of his book Love Wins where Bell (improperly) argued that everyone goes to heaven because hell doesn’t really exist and is not a Biblical concept; Erasing Hell is Chan’s cogent response. Chan counters Bell’s assertion by walking through the first century context of hell in Jewish theology; discussing the Scriptural references to hell; and examining the arguments made by Bell and other universalists. ...more
Dan Jones
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
So I finally got round to reading Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle this week. I have to say it was a good read. Chan and Sprinkle write in a persuasive and agreeable manner and I found myself being drawn towards their arguments. They begin apologetically, seemingly coming along side the reader and admitting how difficult the subject it. I like how they admit straight away (which hasn’t happened with people I’ve spoken with) the reality subject. There is the emphasis throughout t ...more
Jan 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
There are a few good things in this book. I think it's a great essay on what the Bible says about hell. And Chapter 5 is a great thesis on the things we miss as Christians (Jesus condemns those who attack each other with words, he condemns racism, and not helping the poor.) But it's hard to overlook the rest of it.

The point of the book seems to be to label Rob Bell as a Universalist (someone who thinks everyone goes to heaven no matter what) prove that he's wrong about what he wrote about Heave
Kevin Kuphal
Apr 06, 2012 rated it liked it
After reading both Rob Bell's Love Wins and this book, perhaps both authors have achieved what they set out to do. I've spent more time thinking about Hell than I ever had before. I'm just sure if I've accomplished anything with that yet.

In the end Rob Bell's book is an easier read, theologically, because to me it outlined a Hell that is self-inflicted in which a person's rejection of God brings about their eternal fate while God is waiting with open, loving arms, only to be rejected by sinful i
Hope Miller
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book is an excellent source for christians with questions about what the bible says about hell, great read.
Jun 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: american
This is Rob Bell:

he says this:

francis chan thinks rob bell is an idiot... okay he never actually says that, but it's pretty clear he is if nothing else not a fan.

this is francis chan:

I was expecting him to be an old idiot crumugeon I'm not sure what to do with the fact he's actually not bad looking.

he says this:

I think he's an idiot. and a jack ass.

this book is an attempt to prove rob bell wrong.

there were so
Kessia Reyne
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: prsnl-intrst
This book seemed to be a response to Rob Bell's "Love Wins" and the suggestion of universalism. As an annihilationist, I didn't need convincing against universalism, but the quick (and rather shallow) review of the biblical evidence against it was useful. The main thing that I liked about the book was the tone of sincerity and spiritual earnestness. Repeatedly they remind the reader that this topic is not merely fodder for theological debate---these are issues of eternal destinies for real peopl ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to give five stars to a book on Hell.
This is clearly not the kind of inspiring and challenging book that has made Francis Chan so well known, but it is an important book because of all those who want to explain away Hell. In his characteristic way, Chan goes open-handed to Scripture and asks what God reveals about it there.
It is a short book, mercifully. The main book is only about 140 short pages. In the first four chapters Chan unpacks what Scripture says about Hell. This portion i
Neil R. Coulter
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This was surprisingly disappointing. For such a weighty topic—whether there is a literal, eternal hell—the book was really, really “lite.” I haven’t read Rob Bell’s book, which Chan’s book is basically a response to. I don’t need to write more about this, because I see a number of 2-star and 3-star reviews here that already express everything that frustrated me with this book. If you can recommend a book on this topic, but with more depth of cultural and historical analysis, please let me know i ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Flimsy reactionary book written in response to Rob Bell's Love Wins. ...more
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Chan responds to Rob Bell's recent "Love Wins." The quick turnaround shows. When you subtract the page breaks, double-spacing, chapter end-notes, appendix, and sample chapter from another book of his, this 208 page book is actually 50-75 pages of content.

What results is an all-too-simple engagement with the issues. This wouldn't be as annoying if Chan's tone of voice was similar to Bell's: allusive, pondering, reflective. Instead, Chan tries to settle most matters on hell. This backfires in diff
Apr 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
OK, I picked this up over Easter weekend when three of Chan's books were available for free in Kindle editions. And because I've been in several conversations recently about the doctrine of Hell--I decided to read this, mostly in airports and on planes flying home yesterday. And I finished the book during that time--so it is a quick read.

Chan, with the assistance of researcher Preston Sprinkle, takes on the difficult question of is there a hell, what is it like and why should we believe in a God
Joe Woodard
Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it
The voice that stick out in Chan's books consistently is a voice of humility. Chan writes from a humble perspective recognizing that he is not going to have all the answers. He also hands this response to Bell (though Chan wouldn't call it that) very carefully. He starts off the book talking about the many people involved in editing and correcting the theology of the book. Chan's most poignant refutation against Bell is when he pointed out that a historical "fact" that Bell used was misdated abo ...more
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this book 5 stars, not because it is all-encompassing or because every page is strong in both intellectual and writing (although, the book is strong in both of these). Rather, I'm giving it a 5 because Chan has take a difficult subject - namely, the existicence of hell - and fused it with a deep commitment to Scripture, a historical perspective on the church, a hermeneutical healthy practice of looking at the context of the writers, and a deep, deep call to action, humility and gratef ...more
J.S. Park
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Francis Chan takes on the suddenly "popular" topic of hell with a huge dose of humility and careful investigation. His tone plus Preston Sprinkle's research make for a thoughtful yet simple read on a tough issue. Without a doubt, Chan shows from the Bible that there is a literal hell and people are going.

The complaints against the book are expected: a sometimes shallow pop treatment of the subject, long endnotes, and a disconnect between believing there is a hell and being "okay" with it. While
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a popular level rebuttal of Rob Bell's Love Wins. Chan (and Sprinkle) are humble and conversational and tone and review a number of texts. I don't think they are right about everything, but I don't think Rob Bell is either. ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
I have to start by asking that if this book is a response to Rob Bell's Love Wins, why does the cover look similar to Rob Bell's Jesus Wants to Save Christians?

Bell's book and Chan's book were written for different audiences. Bell says his book is for anyone who have heard some version of the story of Jesus that completely turned them off. In other words, people who are told that their friends or family who happen to have the wrong beliefs are going to be tortured for all eternity; those who ha
Stephen Reed
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
My 4 star rating is heart over mind in a broad sense, but in a narrow "literal, inerrant, inspired" regard toward the books deemed collectively as "The Holy Bible", I would rate it 4 stars intellectually also. Not that I have any grounds to rate it since I've barely scratched the surface on the viewpoint of hell as something other than eternal torment. I'm currently an atheist, but I in no way assume the position of "atheist spokesman" since it is a very broad term, encompassing a variety of vie ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Eternity is at stake and every person must decide if Heaven and Hell are real. It is easy to believe in Heaven, but not so with the literal Hell. We tend to think that a loving God would allow such a place to exist. Well, in this book, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle challenge everyone to rethink Hell. Why do you believe what you believe? Through the study of Scripture, the authors look at Hell and make the reader pay attention to the magnitude of his decision. They answer questions like, "Wou ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Really disappointing and I like Chan :( This felt like it was prematurely written and he was admittedly still working through the doctrine. He should have waited to write it, if at all. All the best to Francis as he's done a lot of good for many people. This book, however, is not part of that good. ...more
Benjamin Merritt
Jul 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Reactionary polemic written in response to Love Wins. Not much serious interaction with Christian Universalism, tradition, modern theology, etc. Makes some interesting points, but for the most part this is a predictable defense of the traditional doctrine of hell as eternal conscious torment using the Bible.

Was unsure whether to give it 2 or 3 stars, so I erred generously. :)
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Francis Chan is an American pastor and teacher, who lives in California with his wife, Lisa, and their four children. He is the former pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA, which he and his wife started in 1994.

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“Let us be eager to leave what is familiar for what is true.” 38 likes
“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. Jesus evidently hates it when we tear into our brothers or sisters with demeaning words, words that fail to honor the people around us as the beautiful image-bearing creatures that they are.” 32 likes
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