Reviews

5 good DVD movies that edify

October 5 2012 by Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Every so often I find a film that not only entertains but also enlightens. Occasionally one comes along that even contains biblical precepts (not so often).

Here are a few new-to-DVD movies I hope you’ll find engaging and edifying.

– “The Geneses Code.” Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), a college journalist and committed Christian, has been assigned to do a story on Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew), the school’s popular hockey superstar. As a relationship between them begins, Kerry finds that Blake is struggling through a difficult personal crisis, but he rebuffs her suggestion that prayer might ease his burden. Blake is convinced that modern science disproves the Bible, especially the opening verses of Genesis.

What’s really fascinating about this production is the presentation of a theory that mixes both science and the creation together. This is a film every student should see. Just don’t plan on seeing it at your local public school.

From American Epic Entertainment, “The Geneses Code” is rated PG. I found nothing objectionable.

– “Escape.” Doctors Paul and Kim Jordan are struggling to find peace in their lives after the tragic loss of their baby. Paul (C. Thomas Howell from ‘The Outsiders,’ ‘The Amazing Spider Man,’ ‘ET’) convinces Kim that they need to escape reality by flying off to the beautiful and mystic islands of Southeast Asia. But Paradise becomes a nightmare when Paul is kidnapped by human traffickers in need of a skilled surgeon.

Paul finds himself captive alongside the wealthy Malcolm Andrews (John Rhys-Davies from ‘Indiana Jones,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’), and the two men bond as they attempt to escape their abductors.

Aided by strong performances by Howell and John Rhys-Davies, plus the exotic locales, this is an exciting, well-produced film. Not rated, there are several action sequences that also include some violence, including shootings and a stabbing. Like I said, it’s an actioneer. But the makers of “Escape” have managed to blend their spiritual message into an exciting action drama. We get caught up in the writer’s substantive script and the director’s lively pacing, and find ourselves moved by the film’s reality –- we do need Christ in our daily lives.

“Escape” is available from Pure Flix Entertainment.

– “Monumental.” Discouraged by the disregard for biblical principles in today’s culture, Kirk Cameron produced this 90-minute look at the lives of the Pilgrims. It presents documented information seldom taught in today’s schools about their sacrifices and how the Mayflower settlers structured the basis of our government, which included a reverence for God and a dependence upon their Creator.

This is another DVD every home and church library should contain. It can be viewed often. And should be.

It is rated PG, and I found nothing objectionable.

– “October Baby” is a life-affirming drama about a 19-year-old woman whose life is upended when she learns she is adopted and the survivor of a failed abortion. Played by feature film newcomer Rachel Hendrix, Hannah sets out with her best friend to find her real mother and discover why she wasn’t wanted. The story deals with forgiveness and the subject of abortion.

This is a powerful parable about healing, one that tenderly reveals the psychological aftermath created by abortion. It doesn’t preach, nor does it accuse, it merely makes a valid point that should be considered.

Perhaps the most effective aspect of the production is how gently Christian teaching is intertwined within the narrative. As with the “Pay it Forward” philosophy, which suggests the need to pass on good deeds in order to turn our world from selfish narcissism to one dominated by kindness, the intent here is to propose the need for forgiving others in order to find true peace within.

Released on DVD and Blu-ray by Samuel Goldwin Films, the “October Baby” disc has several bonus features, including a commentary track. It’s rated PG-13 for mature subject matter, but I caught no objectionable language or crudity.

An exception to the rule

– “For Greater Glory” is rated R. Though I generally steer clear of that rating category when recommending a DVD, occasionally a film’s spiritual profundity outweighs its objectionable content. Read on and you’ll see why I was moved by this film.

An epic chronicle of the Cristeros War (1926-1929), which was touched off by a rebellion against the Mexican government’s attempt to secularize the country, “For Greater Glory” concerns an impassioned group of men and women who each make the decision to risk it all for family, faith and the very future of their country. A compelling, thoughtful homage to religious freedom, this action adventure has style and heart, and forthrightly depicts the need for faith. It stars Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria and Peter O’Toole.

It contains no objectionable language or exploitive sexual scenes. And although the violence (the reason for the rating) is sometimes difficult to view, especially when seen inflicted upon a child, here the brutality serves to stir our hearts and fortify the film’s narrative. It’s a motion picture that reminds us that a person’s life is fulfilled only when he is willing to stand for a greater glory. For content details, visit here.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Phil Boatwright is celebrating 25 years of writing about Hollywood from a Christian perspective. In addition to writing for Baptist Press, he reviews films for http://www.previewonline.org/. He is also a regular contributor to “The World and Everything In it,” a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group.)
10/5/2012 11:56:01 AM by Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



American Bible Challenge – the best game show since Jeopardy

August 22 2012 by Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – I recently viewed the pilot episode of GSN’s new series “The American Bible Challenge,” an original one-hour game show hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy. It premieres Thursday (Aug. 23) at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Now, I’ve only seen one episode, so I may be putting myself out of a limb by declaring that this is the best game show since “Jeopardy.” But I’ll give you a few reasons why this show holds great promise.

First, I must confess, I’m not really a fan of those game shows where people come on down, bouncing around as if they had just discovered the cure for the common cold. My first reaction to such jubilation is always, “Calm down. Breathe. Get a life.” But I admit that there have been quiz shows throughout the years that caught my imagination: “Password,” “Match Game,” and the aforementioned “Jeopardy,” just to name a few. I immediately became interested in this new series once I realized that the star of the program was to be the Bible. How cool is that?

The contestants compete based on their knowledge of the Bible. Utilizing current pop culture as well as historical references, questions are drawn from both the Old and New Testaments. And get this: the contestants aren’t playing for their own reward, but for others. The money they win goes to their favorite charities.
 
I’m a fervent believer that we Christians should spend more time in Bible study than in front of the tube. But here’s an opportunity where we can be entertained by TV and learn about the Bible at the same time.

As I watched the pilot episode, I quickly found myself enjoying every aspect of the program.

1. This is the first show on a non-Christian cable network that offers the Bible as the focal point of the program.

2. The contestants are playing for a church or charity.

3. There’s a joyous atmosphere about the show (at least evidenced by the first episode) that even includes some spirited Gospel music.

4. And then there’s the host, Jeff Foxworthy. Jeff, a Christian, is the largest-selling comedy recording artist in history and a multiple Grammy Award nominee. Most famous for his redneck jokes, Foxworthy bases his comedy on observation, as he explores the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature. While I sense Foxworthy and the producers are still feeling their way around this quiz show format, as host he radiates a charm, warmth and sincerity.

But, I guess the real reason I’m declaring this as the best game show since “Jeopardy” has to do with its presentation of believers. Far too often Americans get a prejudiced portrait of people of faith via the media. On The American Bible Challenge, we learn of the contestants’ compelling backgrounds. These fellow believers are striving to help their fellow man, not just on this game show, but in their daily lives, and this gives the audience a view seldom seen by way of Hollywood cameras. Here, viewers get to see the human side as well as a revealing look at their religious beliefs. It is great to see Christians put their faith into practice.

America’s Bible Challenge airs Thursday nights on GSN. For further information, visit www.gsntv.com.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Phil Boatwright provides a monthly column for Baptist Press, reviews films for www.previewonline.org, and is a regular contributor to “The World and Everything In it,” a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group.)
8/22/2012 1:16:31 PM by Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Ronnie Floyd’s book offers wake-up call, needs follow-up

May 22 2012 by Neale Davis, Book Review

Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission by Ronnie Floyd (Thomas Nelson, September 2011)
 
Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Ark., intended his book – Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission – to awaken and incite the Christian masses to embrace the absolute need of the Great Commission. Being the pastor of an effective and community-penetrating congregation brings certain credibility to this pastor for such a task.
 
Floyd was appointed by the president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to head an important task force on how the churches of the SBC might work together to accelerate the Great Commission. Floyd has compiled his team’s research into Our Last Great Hope.
 
This is a book that could energize and awaken the church toward a more serious embracing of the command to make disciples of all the earth, starting with an honest assessment of where we are.
 
The bulk of the book is inspiring words as Floyd encourages the body toward a greater vigilance in sharing the gospel. He does so by offering the need to be honest about the state of affairs, as they exist now. He encourages the reader to embrace the future God has for us. This simple acquiescence is the foundation of moving forward.  
 
Progressing into the message the reader is given more broad encouragement and reminders than practical specifics and details on how to accomplish the challenge. In the book, Floyd describes the need for waking up the church, understanding the urgency, talking to Jesus daily, and reaching the next generation. As Floyd makes his final approach, the words become more pragmatic with more specific suggestions for the church. 
 
Nevertheless, what seems to be missing in this important book are tactics that move from inspiration to the rolling up of the sleeves in evangelism. To his credit, he does remind the reader that it’s not about “finding new ways to argue for the gospel or debate with atheists.” He says instead, “what we need is beautiful, harmonious music, out where the people are.” Yet, in the 21st century there is no mention of how the church might use such methods as the Internet to reach the lost, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging and YouTube. Virtual evangelism will likely play a key role in reaching the next generation, but sadly this is noticeably left out of Floyd’s call to arms.
 
In spite of that, this book should be seen as an inspirational wake up call for the church in light of the spiritual condition of the world. Our Last Great Hope is a first step. The hope for the SBC, who commissioned this study, is for the churches to reassess, reengage and to reconsider our Lord’s last imperative. 
 
Perhaps Floyd will write a follow-up, addressing practical ways to engage a sleepy church that has become out of shape in handling the most important mission of the world. Regardless, Our Last Great Hope is an important read for every SBC member and, indeed, every serious follower of Christ.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Neale Davis, a graduate of Southeastern Seminary, has served with Cru, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ, for 27 years. He is a volunteer counselor at The Summit Church, Durham, where he is a member.)
5/22/2012 1:12:05 PM by Neale Davis, Book Review | with 0 comments



‘October Baby’ is refreshing & moving

March 27 2012 by Joni B. Hannigan, Florida Baptist Witness

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) – “October Baby” is an unexpected film which takes viewers through one of life’s most vulnerable times, leaving them alternately holding their heart and grabbing for tissues.

In an age when the family increasingly is under assault and ridiculed for its values and every major news outlet shows us the face of an American young woman seemingly comfortable talking about her need for recreational sex – October Baby’s Hannah explodes onto the scene.

Hannah is a beautiful 19-year old college freshman who embarrassingly collapses on stage in her college Shakespeare debut. Battling a number of health issues like epilepsy and asthma, she fends off her parents and doctors from thinking she’s been popping pills or indulging in alcohol – only to find she was adopted at birth after a failed abortion.
 
Rachel Hendrix is a convincing Hannah as she finds her way home in a coming of age movie bolstered by John Schneider as her adopted father Jacob. Overprotective, angry and hurting all at the same time, he takes viewers on what fathers everywhere surely experience as they loosen the reigns to let their offspring discover who they are.

No doubt the movie sends strong messages about the beauty of life, the importance of each life – but it’s not preachy. It doesn’t need to be. It’s pro-life, but October Baby is also about choices. It’s about the choice to save a life. It’s about the choice to adopt a child. It’s about the choice to raise a child. It’s about the choice to forgive. It’s about the choice to forgive others. It’s about the choice to forgive one’s self.

Surprisingly, I found the movie young. And it was refreshing. The choices these young people make are filtered through a Christian worldview. As Hannah embarks on a road trip with her peers to learn the truth about her background, the hotel rooms and beach scenes are natural, but chaste and substance free.

Borrowing a leaf, and an actor, from another recent more serious life movie, “Courageous,” Miami native Robert Amaya plays a cop on the beach. In a warm-funny scene, Hannah simply tells him her tale and he lets the motley crew get away with their vehicle without impounding it. One would almost think humor is misplaced in a movie touted as pro-life, but life is funny and the comedy relief is welcome.
 
There are also simply gut-wrenching scenes in the movie with Shari Rigby, as Cindy, Hannah’s birth mother. In these, I clutched my coat – and learned later why the big screen sparked with emotion. What happened on the screen was real, Rigby explains in an outtake – being able to forgive herself for a past abortion, and being able to receive forgiveness.

In one way the movie has these big, deep issues like abortion and adoption, but in another way it’s just a very real movie about families and the way they work things out.

See the movie. Take friends to the movie. It’s rated PG-13 for thematic content.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – This column first ran in the Florida Baptist Witness, online at GoFBW.)

3/27/2012 2:47:36 PM by Joni B. Hannigan, Florida Baptist Witness | with 0 comments



Re-release focuses on what women can do in the church

March 13 2012 by Ashley Allen, Book Review

The Role of Women in the Church by Charles C. Ryrie (B&H Academic, October 2011)
 
Originally released in 1958, Charles Ryrie’s book, The Role of Women in the Church, was re-  released in its second edition by B&H Academic (2011). The book is written from a complementarian perspective and, using careful exegesis of scripture coupled with historical record, investigates the role and function women should have in the church. Complementarians believe scripture gives precedence for men and women being equal in their standing in Christ, yet different in their function within the church.
 
Egalitarians believe men and women are also equal in their standing in Christ, as well as equal in their church role, meaning any role or office a man can assume a woman can also.
 
Ryrie, an acclaimed theologian and former professor and dean at Dallas Theological Seminary, guides the reader through an understanding of the status of women in ancient Greece and Rome, as well as Judaism. He also examines the way women ministered to Jesus and the way Jesus ministered to women. He notes that Jesus taught women and He received their public testimony, which was different than the way women were treated in ancient culture.
 
But, Ryrie observes, “what is not said about women is as important as what is said.” He points out that women were not among the Twelve disciples, nor were they among the 72 men Jesus sent out in Luke 10:1-17. He also notes that women were not present at the Lord’s Supper. Ryrie concludes, “it is evident that all these significant facts put together are proof that the activities of women were different from those which our Lord assigned to men.” Jesus did not view differences in spiritual privileges between the genders; but certainly differences exist in spiritual activities between men and women. Ryrie continues to prove his thesis using the Pauline epistles and writings of the early church fathers.
 
Ryrie concludes his work by writing that “in the inspired writings we have the mind of God concerning the full development of women.” He fleshes out this statement by explaining, “… this will mean full worth as a creation of God, subordination and honor in the home [and] silence and helpfulness in the church according to the teaching and pattern of the New Testament.”
 
Ryrie’s book was first released in 1958, prior to the wave of feminism that swept across the United States in the 1960s and 70’s.
 
As Ryrie uses historical records of early church fathers in his study of women’s roles, one can see this has always been an issue for the church. But, when one examines God’s Word, it is evident that from Creation, God had different roles for men and women. There is an order given in how God created mankind – Adam was created first and Eve came from one of his ribs. The Apostle Paul reiterates the importance of creation order in his first letter to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:3-16) and in his letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:9-14) in speaking of order within the church.
 
However, the Apostle Paul also notes throughout his letters that women played a significant role in the early church. Women still play a significant role in our churches today.
 
Often the women are the backbone of prayer support for pastors, church staff, church members, visitors and missionaries. Additionally, women are many times the force behind the scenes giving attention and care to people that enable the church to be the Body of Christ.
 
Women are also the teachers of children and youth, as well as teachers of each other. The influence of women in our churches today is still as vast and significant as it was in the early church.
 
While scripture is clear that women should not exercise authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:12), women still play pivotal roles in the church.
 
In his letter to Titus, who was a church planter at Crete, the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus to have the older women teach the younger women (Titus 2:3-5).
 
Interestingly, in the same second chapter of Titus, Paul gave instructions for the older men to teach the younger men. Paul recognized that women have connections with one another and those connections are important for the Kingdom of God. Within the Cretean culture there were people teaching inaccuracies for “sordid gain” (Titus 1:11) and the believers at that church were claiming to know God, “but by their deeds they deny Him” (Titus 1:16). Yet, it is within this context that Paul admonishes Titus to have the older women teach the younger women in areas ranging from the home, relationships and their walk with Christ. Paul is quick to note the importance of why the older women needed to teach the younger women: “… so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 2:5). Even still today women can take part in this important and significant role as women are used by the Lord to influence and teach another generation who has influence in the home, society and the workplace. All too often in the church today we focus on what women cannot do as opposed to the biblical role of what women can do. Much like Paul’s admonishment to the church at Corinth regarding spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12) and the need and importance for each believer to use the gifts God has given, men and women within our churches today need to recognize and rejoice that we have equal standing in Christ, and God desires to use us in His Kingdom – significantly, albeit differently, for each gender.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Ashley Allen is director of Embrace, the women’s ministry at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)
3/13/2012 7:38:34 PM by Ashley Allen, Book Review | with 1 comments



Book urges believers to get back to the truth of the gospel

January 17 2012 by Neale Davis, Book review

Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary
by J.D. Greear (B&H Books, October 2011)
 
“Being able to articulate the gospel is one thing; having its truth captivate your soul is quite another.”
Has conservative Christianity allowed the gospel to be upstaged by moralism and legalism? Have we lost our way in relativistic culture and become distracted by our culture to such a state that we have lost our way?
 
J.D. Greear brings, in this book, a message that is very likely to cause a collective group of “sighs” across Christendom. In a drowning, politically correct, relativistic culture it seems that the church has been drawn into a dangerous flow that is rapidly pulling many out to sea with its strong undercurrent. The author believes that evangelicalism, as a whole, desperately needs to return the gospel to the center of Christianity.
 
With a healthy dose of balance Gospel is a book that successfully attempts to move our thinking, and our heart, toward “gospel-centered” vibrance. The content, following the pattern of the author’s own The Gospel Prayer, J.D. Greear brings the reader back to the revivification of the Living Water: “In Christ there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less. Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy. As You have been to me, so I will be to others. As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”
 
The refreshing part of this book is that it reminds the reader of how the gospel has cut through the artificial nature of religion and restores the extraordinary truth of God’s gracious acceptance of a sinful world in Christ.
 
The gospel helps us move from a life of self-focus to one of joy, radical generosity, freedom and courageous faith.
 
Greear reminds us that sin is not overcome with the will to “do better” but by being captivated by what God has done for us.
 
It points the reader, in helpful and practical ways, toward moving from legalistic obedience to love driven compulsion.  
 
In Gospel, the reader is reminded that God is not looking for well-behaved people, but people who experience a vibrant obedience that can be produced only by the gospel.
 
Greear writes with his conversational and witty style, which makes Gospel an easy and refreshing read.
It is a purchase that is well worth the price of the book.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Neale Davis, a graduate of Southeastern Seminary, has served with Cru, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ, for 27 years. He is a volunteer counselor at The Summit Church, Durham, where Greear is pastor. He lives in Cary.)
1/17/2012 4:49:27 PM by Neale Davis, Book review | with 0 comments



N.C. Baptist pastor’s book focuses on importance of missions

December 6 2011 by Neale Davis, book review

When Missions Shapes the Mission:
You and Your Church Can Reach the World
David Horner (B&H Books, June 2011)

“We need to distinguish between missions from a biblical perspective and the way the word has come to be used as a catchall expression to elevate, validate, or justify nearly anything people have introduced as a worthy cause for their church, denomination, or agency to embrace.”
 
David Horner in his book confronts the importance of missions in a way that is not just a corrective response to the dissolution of what Christ intended in Matthew 28. But thankfully, he provides a very helpful and practical plan to encourage churches to embrace missions in a truly authentic, biblical way. Because of the practical encouragement offered, this is far from just an evaluative critique of the state of missions. It is, in fact, a practical call to refocus on the Great Commission and an encouragement to rethink how we approach missions in the church.
 
Horner walks the reader through the book utilizing his own study of traditionally evangelical churches and making use of lessons learned from his church experience, but also from those churches that participated in the study. From start to finish he challenges pastors, church leaders, and lay people to use their best resources, in people and material, in order to effectively reach the lost around the world.
 
As Horner says, “this book is intended to challenge the status quo and incite more of you to change columns from the majority who are neglecting missions for all practical purposes, to the minority who are stepping up to make the changes necessary to make a difference.” By right, there is much to be concerned about in how missions has been diluted and downwardly evolved into merely helping with human misery without offering truly eternal value. While acknowledging the need for such social and help ministries, which sadly have come to mean “missions” in many churches, Horner encourages the reader to not stop there, but to move into what God has called us to do with the Great Commission. It may perhaps be a challenge that steps on toes, but it is done with appropriateness and a great deal of encouragement. Horner’s book takes on an encouraging “come join us” tone reminiscent of Come Help Change the World by Bill Bright. This book is not a slap on the hand, but good advice from a pastor who has walked the walk.
 
If you think your church may be in need of some great practical input and encouragement in your approach to missions, this is a great resource for you. Horner writes, “Missions is not really biblical missions until it strategically and comprehensively embraces a plan to reach all those areas with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.” With that he lays out helpful how to’s in approaching the important task of helping fulfill the Great Commission.
 
“Let’s dream a godly dream. What if you committed to step up and lead your church in the pursuit of becoming a mission-focused church? Then, what if you invited ten of your pastor friends to join you in the effort – and each of them did the same? What would happen to the available missions force beginning right here in the West?”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Neale Davis, a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has served with Campus Crusade for Christ for 27 years. He is a volunteer counselor at The Summit Church, Durham. He lives in Cary.)
12/6/2011 2:31:18 PM by Neale Davis, book review | with 0 comments



‘Mighty Macs’ is moving

October 24 2011 by Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. ­– It’s 1971 and future Hall of Fame coach Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time. She’s about to make sports history.

“The Mighty Macs,” coming to theaters this weekend, is based on the inspiring true story of Rush and the original women’s basketball Cinderella team: tiny Immaculata College and their improbable run toward sports history, winning the first three women’s college basketball national championships.

Basketball movies are as alike as, well, football movies. But every so often, one comes along with a message, a performance, or a subplot that raises it above the norm. Indeed, the good ones usually provide a metaphor for life (“Hoop Dreams,” “Hoosiers,” “Coach Carter”). I’m not sure I’d put it alongside Hoosiers, but Mighty Macs has valuable messages (perseverance saves the day, teamwork, and “You gotta have heart, miles and miles of heart”), and at some point someone said, “Let’s make this family friendly.”

Devoid of crudity or exploitive sexuality, the story centers on its goal, reminding us how to play the game of life. And despite the fact that it’s as familiar as a Three Stooges rerun, the makers infuse their story with humor, lively pacing and a respect for Christian values. The Mighty Macs is moving, thoughtful and involving.

It is rated G, and I found nothing objectionable.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Phil Boatwright reviews films from a Christian perspective for Baptist Press and is the author of “Movies: The Good, The Bad, and the Really, Really Bad,” available on Amazon.com. He also writes about Hollywood for previewonline.org and moviereporter.com.)
10/24/2011 1:50:15 PM by Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



No apologies when it comes to God

September 13 2011 by Neale Davis, book review

Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle (July 2011).

“We can’t afford to be wrong on this issue.” — Francis Chan

In a world of retreating convictions and militant political correctness this book is a refreshing, though quite sobering, reminder that God is still God. Without apology.

Hell has never been a very popular topic, but it has been a topic recently forced to the front of our American Christian culture by the social media, which was driven by a sad case of a popular pastor moving away from orthodox and biblical convictions on the doctrine of hell.

Chan and Sprinkle artfully but respectfully bring us back to this extremely important topic and remind the reader that there is no ambiguity in the scriptures regarding hell.

The authors rightfully approach this important (and heavy) topic with a great deal of caution and even sadness.

The simple truth is that we often don’t fully comprehend the ramifications of a biblical doctrine of hell and we need to approach it with sobriety and seriousness. This is more than a matter of “I’m right, you’re wrong!” Hell is a topic to be treated with great care because the ramifications for those who treat this in a more cavalier fashion is serious. And the authors respectfully approach the discussion with great biblical conviction but with a healthy understanding of the topic at hand. They describe their motivation for writing the book (and ours for reading it) not as excited, but as necessary.

Chan and Sprinkle wade systematically, though conversationally, through the biblical record of what we actually read about in God’s word.  Chapter titles include “Does Everyone Go to Heaven?,” “Has Hell Changed? Or Have We?,” and “What Jesus Said about Hell.” He closes in the last chapter with these important words: “We should not just try to cope with hell, but be compelled- as with all doctrine- to live differently in light of it.”

And in this direction the authors point the reader to the more important point. Are we ourselves assured that we are not headed for this very real destination? Erasing Hell is a definitive endorsement of solid, orthodox biblical teaching on a most unsettling but real doctrine. It is an important read for any believer as we navigate the swirling waters of melting convictions and is a sensitive response to the topic of the day. The authors bring the discussion back where it belongs: on the flawless scriptures and what God clearly has to say about himself.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Davis, a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has served with Campus Crusade for Christ for 27 years. He is a volunteer counselor at The Summit Church, Durham. He lives in Cary.)
9/13/2011 8:59:00 AM by Neale Davis, book review | with 0 comments