Thinking Out Loud

July 15, 2011

The Last Word on Hell

What an interesting time this is for Christian publishing.  Children’s experiences of heaven top bestseller lists (The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, Heaven is For Real, A Message from God) while the adults — sparked by Rob Bell — debate the existence and/or nature of hell.

The last word on this subject may belong to a book I’m currently reading.  It’s far too early for me to begin anything resembling a review, but Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) by Brian Jones (David C. Cook Publishing/August 1, 2011) seems to me to relate better to the misgivings many people, including Christians, have on the subject of hell.  At 272 pages, it’s also a much longer treatment of the subject than the current bestseller in the refuting-Rob-Bell department.

Jones is senior pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Philadelphia, a rather edgy east coast church.


  1. Whenever someone (especially a “Christian” someone) tells me that God would not send anyone to hell, I have two statements and I am not interested in debate.

    1. God does not send anyone there. In fact He is so determined that no one goes there, that He stood right in the middle of that wide road that leads to destruction and laid down His life in order to give us a way to get out of our natural destination.

    2. Hell is so unspeakably horrifying (in what sense I don’t need to know) that He wrapped Himself in dust, revealed the heart of the Father, and then allowed a brutal mob to shed His blood as a redemption for all the souls of all humanity. He bought my way out. It is not up to me to try to figure out what is there that He does not want me to suffer. And even if it is , as many more liberal people beleive,the total lack of the presence, isn’t that enough?

    Comment by Cynthia — July 15, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  2. For what it is worth, Brian’s book was written before Rob Bell’s book came out and was not written or intended to be a response to Bell’s book.

    Comment by Jeff — July 17, 2011 @ 5:03 am

    • I knew the book was longer in the making, though I’m sticking with the idea that “…the last word on this subject may belong to Brian Jones,” because I believe his book is much more substantial than what I’ve seen or heard of the titles normally counted in the list of books that comprise a direct response to Love Wins. Also there’s no denying the book will do well in the current doctrinal/theological climate.

      I just finished reading Hell is Real about ten minutes before I saw this comment, and I’ll have more to say on Monday about the relationship this book holds to the present debate, and how it’s also more a book about evangelism.

      However, since you seem to be in the know, did the book undergo a title change at any time since Love Wins started to gain momentum? I keep thinking that the book plays into the present debate so strongly, but there are little coincidences of timing that sometimes take place.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 17, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

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