Monday, May 14, 2012

Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell….2

LONG. TIME. NO. SEE.  I have been AWOL for a few weeks now.  What can I say….a big chunk of those days were spent getting ready for….and going on….my first cruise.  Reluctantly, and with much trepidation, I went.  And I loved it. 

We sailed out of New York….two days at sea…stop offs at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and then Nassau.  I drank pina coladas on the beach….on a lounge chair….nestled under the shade of a coconut tree…looking out at cream colored beaches and water that was several shades of aqua.  Beautiful….lovely…..amazing.  Then two more days at sea on the way back to New York.  I waved to the statue of liberty on my way to Pier 90 last Sunday morning at 8 am…told her I would be seeing her again sometime…and then four hours later…. home and back to real life. 

I had planned to spend so much time reading and writing blog post drafts.  But alas…the only thing I read was a Christian novel(surprisingly not hokey) Very unusual for me to read fiction. I did next to no “blog” reading or research. 

But now it’s a week and then some since we arrived back home…and this Erasing Hell nonsense has been on my mind since I read the book….time to put cyber pen to cyber paper. 

I was kind of spurred on by a blog post I read last night….a post that showed up on my FB feed…..from a blog called “What God Does.”  While I was goofing off, the author of the What God Does blog was writing….a series no less….presenting long, well thought out counter arguments to Chan’s conclusions about hell.  Check out the series HERE.

Perhaps one of the reasons I’ve been lolly gagging and putting off getting on with this series is because there is so much to say about the subject. I don’t know where to begin. As I mentioned in the first post about Erasing Hell, Chan comes across as disingenuous and manipulative.  Like he’s selling me a Kirby vacuum for goodness sakes!!! Important pieces to the puzzle are left out, skimmed over or hidden in the appendix in the back of the book.  He’s not playing fair….and he seems to have a severe case of confirmation bias. 

He says so many things I disagree with….not sure where to throw my two cents worth first. 

Tomorrow….yes…TOMORROW…or at least soon…I’ll address one of his arguments proving hell….a biggie….since it came “right from the horses mouth” From Jesus no less.  And since we all know that “Jesus talked more about hell than he did about heaven.” How can you argue with Jesus?



Kansas Bob said...

Glad to hear you have been enjoying life Cindi!

I got the Chan eBook free a month or so ago and have not even started it. Maybe you can convince me to read it or not?

Cindi said...

I must have missed this comment. Sorry. Always glad when you stop by and say hello.

My biggest problem with Chan's book is that, as I said on my blog, it sort of feels like he is trying to sell me a kirby sweeper. Perhaps he has the best intentions. If he truly believes non believers will burn for eternity then he should probably be speaking out.

But I just don't like the deceptive wording...important facts and quotes "hidden" in the footnotes...and his cherry picking the data.

For example (and I plan to write a post about this...eventually) He says things like "no major theologian in the past 1600 years has been a universalist" That is paraphrase. The thing that irks me is the 1600 years thing. Sort of when Christianity started its descent into debauchery...Constantine...the Dark Ages...etc. etc. And what about those "theologians" who lived the 400 years before that. You know...the ones who lived closer to Paul and ahhhh...Jesus.

And he quotes William Barclay in guessed it....footnotes in a short paragraph about hell being corrective (along with several sentences in the same paragraph quoting Bell) He attributes the quote to Barclay's autobiography. Now Barclay is, in my opinion, a major theologian. If you type Barclay into Christian Books there are 97 books that come up. He's written extensively. Fundamentalists read Barclay's books and commentaries. There are about a dozen or more of his books in the bookcase from Keith's more fundie days.

Barclay has an the autobiography I think...entitled "I Am A Convinced Universalist." He does not mince words like Bell did. Nothing is in the form of a question. He is a convinced universalist. Chan never mentions that essay.

I think truth can stand on its own. You don't have to be deceptive and sneaky in your writings/searchings/ponderings. And he does say the book is the written form of his pondering/searching out the truth about hell.

As far as whether I would recommend that you read the book...I would say there's very little new that you haven't read/ searched/pondered before.

If you do read it, I would be really interested in your opinion of it.


Kansas Bob said...

Mostly I see the hell issue a one that is filled with historical extremes based on the flawed idea that all people are born immortal. In my thinking humans are not born immortal but can become immortal through a spiritual birth. Those who are not spiritually born do not face hell because they have nothing that survives the death of their flesh.

Cindi said...

Bob...and that view, although to me it falls short of what God can do, is infinitely better than the eternal conscious torment view. I don't know how a person can believe God would do that to anyone/anything and still love him. It would be a fearful kind of servitude labeled as love as far as I can see.

I would be interested to know what verses lead you to believe we are not born "immortal." Not in a cherry picking kind of dispute...sincerely curious.

Blessings. Gotta' go...already running late for work. The story of my life....

Kansas Bob said...

A reading of John 3 would cause one to believe that:

1) There are two different kinds of births - one of the flesh and one of the spirit. (v6)

2) Not everyone born of the flesh is born of the spirit (v3)

3) The one who believes has eternal (i.e. spiritual) life. (v15)

4) The one who believes does not perish but the one who does not believe perishes. (v16)

In contrast, those who believe that all are born immortal (fundamentalists and universalists) profess that there is no need to be born of the spirit because all people have an immortal spirit and will survive death.

In my thinking the onus is on the fundamentalists and universalists to show the verses that lead them to believe all humans are born "immortal."