The biblical doctrine of eternal punishment is part of the warp and woof of historic Christianity. Prominent theologians from Augustine to Calvin and Wesley have boldly taught this doctrine. Luther remarked, “The fiery oven is ignited merely by the unbearable appearance of God and endures eternally. For the Day of Judgment will not last for a moment only but will stand throughout eternity and will thereafter never come to an end. Constantly the damned will be judged, constantly they will suffer pain, and constantly they will be a fiery oven, that is, they will be tortured within by supreme distress and tribulation.” Despite the widespread support for this crucial doctrine, several writers in recent years have either discounted the doctrine of hell or denied it outright.
After the release of Rob Bell’s Love Wins (see my review), there was a huge chasm between Bell’s work and people in the pew. The net result is a large audience who either affirmed or were sympathetic to Bell’s compromised position. Thankfully, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle stepped up to the plate and not only offered a response to Bell; they also affirmed the biblical doctrine of eternal conscious punishment.
Chan and Sprinkle serve up an impressive number of arguments that bolster the case for hell and provide a rational, biblical defense of this important doctrine. While Erasing Hell is written with the laymen in mind, it is not simplistic. Nor is it compromised in any way. The authors do not claim to have all this answers, which may appeal to younger readers more inclined to postmodern literature. Rather, they merely spell out the basics of the biblical doctrine.