Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hell Is Real (But I Hate To Admit It): A Book Review

About The Book:

Recently, the media has ignited in a brimstone blaze of controversy over the question of Hell, and the idea that’s generating so much attention is that Hell isn’t real, and even if it were, a loving God wouldn’t possibly send people there. Is Hell real, or is it a concept that is misguided and out of place in today’s Christianity? Many believe the answer to this question will have profound implications on the future of the faith, and important personalities on both sides of this question are drawing lines in the sand.

Brian Jones, a pastor in suburban Philadelphia, can relate to this controversy. Jones had a secret he’d been hiding for years: He didn’t believe in Hell. In Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) (David C Cook, August 2011), Jones relates that after seminary he came to the conclusion that “the Bible’s teaching about Hell was inaccurate at best and hateful at worst. What I was taught as a child was a lie, and now that I was becoming a pastor I was sure I’d never perpetuate that ridiculous myth again.”

But after an amazing experience that required him to rescue several people from an apartment fire, Jones began to re-think his stance on Hell. His uncertainty on the subject led him to Scripture, and as he studied God’s Word, he felt an overwhelming sense of conviction. “What I discovered shocked me. I had always assumed that the Bible contained only a few scattered references to Hell. I was wrong; it is taught everywhere.”

Drawing upon Scripture and his own experience as a pastor who didn’t believe in Hell, Jones began writing Hell Is Real with the hope that he would humorously and transparently push readers into a head-on collision with what he calls “apocalyptic urgency,” the all-consuming conviction that overtakes someone when they realize that Hell is real and it is within their power to help people avoid going there. The key to this apocalyptic urgency, according to Jones, is for Christians to realize that the largest need that faces mankind is the need to be saved from God’s wrath, which results in a real, literal Hell. Without the urgency that a belief in Hell instills, Christians “will inadvertently create the single greatest holocaust human civilization has ever seen.” In the end, Brian believes that the reason most Christians don’t tell their friends about Jesus has nothing to do with not knowing how—it’s because they don’t think they need to. “Hell Is Real is about transforming apathetic Christians into sold-out evangelists,” states Jones.

In a world eager to toss aside the distinctive beliefs of historical Christianity, voices like Brian Jones’ must be heard. It’s imperative that Christianity is represented by people who have wrestled with these relevant questions, but who’ve come to more thoughtful and traditional understandings on such crucial matters. Hell Is Real is interesting and entertaining, but it is, above all, unflinching in its endorsement of a literal, biblical Hell.

About The Author:

 Brian Jones is the senior pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley, an innovative community of faith in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Brian is a graduate of Cincinnati Christian University (B.A.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (M. Div.) and has served in leadership positions in churches for over twenty years. His humorous and raw style has made him a popular speaker for conferences, seminars, churches and retreats.

My Review:

With all the controversy in the news this year regarding individuals making certain statements about belief's in Hell, etc. a number of Christian authors have come out with books to help understand the issue. One of these books is Hell Is Real (But I Hate To Admit It).

I have to admit, when I first saw the title of this book, I was a little skeptical. I did not really know what the book was about but chose to read it, and was very surprised at how much I did in fact enjoy it.

The book outlines the author's journey from not believing in Hell (even as a Pastor and Seminary student) to absolutely believing and making sure everyone knows it. As a Christian,  I grew up with the traditional Christian thought of Heaven and Hell and still believe that.

 However, this book shows you just how important it is to reach out to those around you and beyond, to bring them to belief in the Lord and be certain they are going to be in His Presence when they die. Jones' writing style, harness at times, and humor may not appeal to all, and honestly, it took me a bit to really appreciate it, but Hell Is Real (But I Hate To Admit It) is a book that needs to be read (along with the Bible) by all Christians.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.

BUY IT: You can purchase Hell Is Real (But I Hate To Admit It) by Brian Jones at your favorite bookseller, from David C. Cook

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of The B and B Media Group and David C. Cook, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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