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C. Bennett RSS Feed (The Lone Star State)

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StrongArm 6351 Acura TL 2004-05 Hood Lift Support, Pack of 1
StrongArm 6351 Acura TL 2004-05 Hood Lift Support, Pack of 1
Price: $17.66
17 used & new from $13.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Great product. Easy to install; works great., January 18, 2013
They shipped it quickly. It was east to install. It saved me money. (The dealer wanted $190 to replace my hood struts; these cost $35 and took 5 minutes to install). What more could you ask for? :-)

Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up
Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up
by Preston M. Sprinkle
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.68
261 used & new from $0.01

253 of 277 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chan's least interesting book...., July 4, 2011
I picked up Chan and Sprinkle's book on hell and read it in a day. As other commenters have noted, it is not a bad book. But, it also is not a compelling read either. It appears to have been written as a counter to Rob Bell's book "Love Wins" and, in that sense, it presents some notable rebuttals to some of Bell's points. But, unfortunately, after reading it, I felt like I had not actually read a whole book, but only a "Cliff's Notes" version. Too often, I got to the end of a chapter or a section and thought "where's the rest of it?" There were many points that were tossed out there interestingly, but then not expanded on. I was often left wanting more on the subject and feeling like I had just gotten a summary rather than an analysis.

To me, Chan and Sprinkle were not really attempting to explain hell in more detail, but only to rebut a few limited points from Rob Bell's book. As such, it should not be subtitled "What God said about eternity, and the things we've made up." Rather, it should be something much more limited and simpler, like "Rebutting some misconceptions about hell." That is really all it does -- although I do think it does that effectively. But, to give the impression it is a more detailed discussion of hell is not really accurate. Perhaps this is because Chan and Sprinkle are wrestling themselves with where they come out on understanding hell. From comments in the book, they clearly give both annihilationism and eternal conscious torment views a fair seat within orthodoxy. And, although Chan clearly supports eternal conscious torment, he also goes to some length to indicate that annihilationism is a possible view from an exegesis of the scriptures. (in all honesty, the book would have been better if it discussed this issue more)

At times, though, it appears that Chan and Sprinkle do the very thing they warn against. Namely, they read scripture in a way that supports their theology rather than taking it at face value. For example, in chapter 1, they discuss 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and the meaning of the passage that says "God wants all men to be saved." They say that "all men" must mean "all kinds of men" because surely God is not telling Timothy to pray for every person on earth in verse 1, where Paul encourages prayers for "all people." I think Chan and Sprinkle twist the passage to fit their theology. There is no reason the passage cannot mean what it says - namely prayers should be offered for everyone. In the passage, Paul is not telling Timothy himself to pray for everyone by name. Rather, the passage is directed to the church and the point is that we are to pray for the whole world. Namely, we are called to love the whole world, and not just some people. It is not impossible to pray for the whole world. There is no requirement that we pray by name for everyone! For example, I can fulfill that passage by praying something to the effect of "God, bless our president, our senators, and give them wisdom. And, not only them, but I pray that everyone throughout the world would come to know you." Boom! Just like that I prayed for everyone! I am not trying to be trite, but I am just trying to show that reading "all kinds of men" into that passage is simply a theological gymnastic exercise to try to fit into a certain theology, rather than taking it for what it appears to say on its face. One reaches the "all kinds of men" interpretation usually to try to fit into "reformed" theology - not because anything in the passage demands "everyone" or "all men" to mean anything less than what it says. Call me crazy, but I think God really meant what He said - namely, He wants me to pray for everyone and He wants all men to be saved! This is only one example, but there were plenty of other examples throughout where it appears that Chan and Sprinkle offer a weak interpretation designed to match their theology rather than to take the passage at face value.

But, all that aside, I still agree with most of their rebuttals of Bell's book and think that this book would have value if used specifically as a rebuttal to Bell's book. I just don't think it has much value as a stand-alone book on hell.

BTW, to be clear, I am a big fan of Chan and very much liked Forgotten God and Crazy Love, so please do not mistake me for a "hater!" :-)
Comment Comments (27) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2014 10:27 AM PDT

The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith
The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith
by Timothy Stoner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.99
79 used & new from $0.01

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good truth, but a bit combative at times, April 8, 2008
(Review Update - I am posting this at the top of the review, although this is being written a number of weeks after my initial review. I went back and read this book a second time. Apart from my criticisms that are noted below in my initial review, I really do think this is a good book. I really have been impacted by the chapter "David's Dance." What a great story. I still believe my initial criticisms are valid, but in my second reading, I was already expecting those and I was able to look at the book freshly despite them. I really hope that Stoner writes another book with the focus just on his own personal experiences and wisdom, rather than feeling a need to respond to segments of the church he is concerned with).

I just finished this book that was given to me by friends. I think that Stoner presents some very good points in a clear and interesting way. His writing is best when he sticks to personal stories and relates how God has used those to teach him deeper truths. However, at times, he is a bit too combative when critiquing statements by Rob Bell or Brian Mclaren.

Unfortunately, I felt that Stoner misrepresented Rob Bell's views frequently. For example, on p. 111, Stoner discusses comments by Rob Bell (from p. 21 of Velvet Elvis) that Jesus showed us the best way to live. Stoner then implies that Bell is leaving the door open for Jesus to just be a good teacher or for there to be other ways to heaven. However, the rest of Bell's comments on p. 21 and 82-83 of Velvet Elvis make clear that is not what Bell is saying. For example, Bell says that Jesus "was telling those who were following him that his way is the way to the depth of reality" and that Jesus was showing people "how things are." Further, Bell acknowledges that Jesus and God are one and says Jesus is "the design" and that "Jesus is how God put things together," being present since before the beginning of creation (pp. 82-83). In fact, Bell makes the statement that "we have to believe in a big Jesus." Bell goes further and says that "for a Christian, Jesus' teachings aren't to be followed because they are a nice way to live a moral life." Rather, they are to be followed because they are the best possible insight into how the world really works. "They teach us how things are." (p. 83). To me, this is clearly affirming that Jesus is the source of truth and is the way into truth (note that Bell used the term "the way" not "a way.").

Moreover, if you look at the doctrinal statement of Mars Hill (the church Rob Bell pastors) you will find it to be entirely orthodox in its views on sin, redemption, the inspiration of scripture, the fact that Jesus is the only way to heaven, that people are only adopted as children of God through trust in Jesus, etc. So, many of the criticisms that Stoner has of Bell are unfounded in my opinion and are simply a basis for Stoner to set up a straw man to knock down.

I focus on the issue of Stoner's criticism of Bell's theology simply because I think it was the greatest weakness of Stoner's book. Had he just focused on his theological points without directly or indirectly attacking Bell or others, then it would have been a better read.

Having said that, I think that Stoner is a talented writer who has put together a very good first book. I look forward to reading other books of his in the future. (I certainly hope he will write more!)
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2009 6:01 PM PST

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