The Gospel You’ve Never Heard: Who Really Goes To Hell?

I am always grateful for authors who aim to challenge my own established beliefs. If I only read a diet of books that confirm what I already believe, how can I learn anything? I want to be challenged to think. Such a challenge may change my beliefs, or cause me to study harder to reaffirm my convictions. In either case, learning takes place.

For this reason, I was excited to read “The Gospel You’ve Never Heard: Who Really Goes To Hell.” The author’s convictions about heaven, hell, and who goes where, it certainly outside the mainstream of evangelical Christianity. He tries to do this from a scriptural viewpoint, revealing a high view of Bible and a desire to make it foundational in the development of his theological convictions. He wants to cut away the theology that has developed around the preaching of western evangelicals. These are laudable goals which I greatly appreciate.

Still, I have to say that the book was a major disappointment.

It lacked the depth necessary when addressing such a challenging topic.

It made bold assertions about the need to redefine certain biblical concepts (such as “justification” and “atonement”), but does so without meaningful explanation as to why.

It offered the typically trite “Jesus vs. Paul” conflict, which seems overstated, but has become fodder for many authors of late.

Beyond all of this, the book also was poorly edited. This made it extremely difficult to read on several occasions.

When the author makes conclusions, I did not agree with many of them. That wasn’t the problem, though. The problem was that the book simply did not come close to making a case. It did not challenge me nor get me to think.

So, while I respect authors and books that challenge the status quo, this book failed to do so on many accounts.

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