Brian Jones is a pastor who, for the first 4 years of his ministry, did not believe in hell.
Following a decision to rush into a burning apartment complex and rescuing some of the tenants, he felt an urge to reconsider. At a monastery, he fell on his face and made the decision that hell was for real and it was his job to rescue as many people from ending up there as possible.
Hell is Real is Brian's addition to this global discussion on hell. He never mentions Rob Bell. In fact, the pastor he aims for is "The Smiling Pastor".
This book is divided into 4 parts:
If Hell is Real ... Why Don't I Believe It?
If Hell is Real ... Why Am I Afraid To Admit It?
If Hell is Real ... How Can I Get Serious About It?
If Hell is Real ... How Can I Help Others Avoid It?
His stance is one that caused me some concern. He tells the story of how his church wanted to raise money to plant a church in New York. The week before they were to collect the special offering, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The church decided to take up two offerings but Pastor Brian urged his congregation that if they could only give to one, they should give to the possible church plant in New York instead of those in New Orleans.
He goes out of his way defining his biblical views of an angry God seeking justice and claiming that our top priority is to tell others about hell. He says Christianity was only set up to rescue people from hell. Then he steps back from the fundamentalist, crazy talk to say the only way to talk to someone about hell is to first take the time to be their friends.
Brian has his feet in both camps and it comes across as a little iffy.
I admire his passion for wanting to "save" as many people as he can. He includes a website where pastors can go to access sermon outlines and ideas for hell topics.
I'm just not prepared to jump into Brian's bandwagon.
This book was provided for review, at no cost, by David C. Cook Publishing.