Last week John Starke blogged at The Gospel Coalition about four new books that respond to Rob Bell’s Love Wins. (Since that post, I see that two more are coming: Bobby Conway’s Hell, Rob Bell, and What Happens When People Die and Larry Dixon’s Farewell, Rob Bell.)
Here is Randy’s analysis of how the two books compare:
I would describe Erasing Hell as passionate, biblically reasoned and pastoral. God Wins is historically rooted, theologically reasoned and journalistically precise. Someone who prefers thoughtfully presented theology and history might favor Galli’s book, while someone who enjoys careful exposition of key biblical passages and likes to connect with an author on an emotional level might prefer Chan’s.
I deeply appreciated both books; their content is sufficiently unique to justify reading both. I think it’s a God-thing that these small books are so different, yet complement each other with minimal redundancy. With their different backgrounds, personalities, life experiences, and writing styles, Mark Galli and Francis Chan each bring to the table things the other doesn’t. Reading them back to back, I found they produced a stereo effect that made the sound fuller than either on its own.
These are both small books. Combined, they are less than 80,000 words, which would total one medium-sized book, still smaller than most theological books. If you are thinking a book can’t be that great if it’s just a critique, realize that both of these authors don’t just respond to Bell, they set forth a positive case for a central biblical doctrine. . . .
I love that these authors don’t throw anyone under the bus for raising questions. But neither do they throw orthodox Christians throughout church history under the bus for believing the most difficult teachings of Jesus.
. . . God Wins and Erasing Hell will be invaluable tools for pastors and lay leaders to guide believers in evaluating these doctrines.
. . . The best part about Chan’s Erasing Hell and Galli’s God Wins is that as I read both these books, God became greater and I became less.
If you haven’t seen it yet, below is a video of Francis talking about his heart behind the book, followed by an interview with Preston Sprinkle, who talks about working with Francis on the project, what the Bible actually say about hell, whether hell as important as we sometimes make it out to be, the best way to approach a study on hell, and what types of people (in the first-century world and in our modern setting) are the Bible’s warnings about hell directed toward.