What is God like?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about eternity, hell and what God is like.  I recently discovered an American pastor called Francis Chan.  I am very impressed with him both as a scholar, and as a person.  His humility impresses me.  He is currently writing a book on Hell called ‘Erasing Hell’ that in some way seems to address issues written by Rob Bell in ‘Love Wins’.  He does not take the same path as Rob, and I find myself being drawn to his arguments.  The book isn’t out yet by the way.

Some people seem to have been assuming they know exactly what I think and what I believe about Hell and the eternal destiny of everyone.  I have never once said that I believe everything written in ‘Love Wins’, only that I thought it was really interesting and I’ve been thinking a lot about it (although I am concerned that so many critics of the book haven’t actually read it).  I did not want to immediately dismiss it just because it is different to so much I have been taught.  I think there are some wonderful insights in the book that are accurate, and I would truly like to believe it’s all true, but I just don’t think it is.  Boy would I love to be wrong.  I want everyone to be in heaven, I really do, but I don’t think the Bible leaves us with that option.  I think, like Rob says, that God’s love is so great that he lets us choose.  We are free to reject him.

Anyway, I don’t think I can say it very well, so watch this short video by Francis Chan about his thoughts on Hell.

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7 Replies to “What is God like?”

  1. Pretty impressive guy. I know there are moments when I read parts of the Bible I certainly wonder what on earth God was thinking, but to presume that just because I wouldn’t think or do it that way, Chan is right in saying by doing so we’re imposing our own perceptions and standards on God. The book should be interesting.

  2. Megan
    I love that youre willing to engage with the non/safe part of our Faith. It causes me to think and ask WHY do I beleive THAT. I think Bell does the same thing. It’s all good. I love that you engage and question, if not we’d all be reading HIS words in Latin and murmuring” ah yes”: I treasure you Megan……Blessings….Jack

  3. I used to think Francis Chan was great, especially when he boldly walked away from his American mega-church and went off to feed the poor. Compare his demeanour with that of, in particular, Mark Driscoll (aka Pastor Mark):

    However, when he returned from his sojourn to feed the poor and serve the needy to make this expensive looking video, I had to change my opinion of him.

    Chan makes so many assumptions in his arguments and works off from the presupposition that HIS interpretation of the Bible is right and correct. He seems to be implying that only HE has researched the scriptures with the right heart-attitude, whereas people like Rob Bell haven’t.

    It’s also clear, to me at least, from his other books that Chan’s God is a reflection of his own father; harsh, aloof and stand-offish at times, a disciplinarian whom we must strive to love even when his behaviour is weird and unloveable.

    Finally, Chan says that he tries to read the Bible with fresh eyes, as if he’d found the book on a desert island. However, it’s impossible to approach text like the Bible when you’re a Christian “pastor” and read it a priori. You’re always going to inflect your own experiences, prejudices and presuppositions to the text.

    This is particularly notable when he quotes Isaiah 55:9 to imply that, yes, it’s possible God WILL torment people in agony FOR EVER even though this is an abhorrent idea to most humans.

    Isaiah 55 is about God’s MERCY, not his wrath or judgement. In other words, we should be gobsmacked and in awe of his forgiveness and compassion and mercy, even towards people we do not think are deserving of it. Sort of like imagining that love wins….

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