Former pastor and author Francis Chan has jumped into the debate on heaven, hell and eternal punishment with book titled Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and the Things We've Made Up to be released in July.
Although he doesn't directly mention Rob Bell's controversial book, Love Wins, in a YouTube video discussing the topic, Chan expresses concern for carelessness in discussing eternal matters.
"We can't just have these theological discussions about a doctrine when we're talking about people's eternal destinies here," he said. "We've got to lay everything on the table, I want to just present all of the facts, everything I can think of in this book [holding a Bible] and let you decide, not sway you."
In an interview in Relevant magazine, Chan admitted that Bell's book challenged him and caused him go back to the Bible to reexamine his views on hell.
"This whole study has been so sobering to me," he noted. "Some things I feel more strong about, and other things I realized, 'OK, I always thought that was a lot clearer than that,' and it wasn't."
But Chan's study led him to a more solid belief in a literal hell and eternal punishment for unrepentant sinnersâ€"as well as a deeper awareness of scriptural warnings for believers.
"It's a very real. It is a place we need to avoid at all costs. It is a terrifying thought to fall into the hand of the Living God as Scripture tells us," he noted. "But I was also surprised that these passages are really written to people who call themselves believers. Usually we only talk about Hell in this evangelistic, 'I'm going to preach the gospel' and 'Hell, fire and brimstone' to these unbelievers, but these passages really were written to those who called themselves the church. It's a very sobering thought, and a very interesting warning."
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