Non-Christians don’t like hell. Some Christians like hell and want to tell all heathens, pagans and democrats why they are going there, but there has been a move in biblical scholarship to question the traditional belief in hell. Scholars like N.T. Wright posit that the immortality of the soul is not a Biblical idea but a Greek one. Likewise, it was the Greeks that posited a division between the soul and the body. The Hebrew understanding when your body is dead, your soul is dead. The resurrection and is the promise to God’s people (Jews and Christians). If you want eternal life, you need resurrection. So while some Christian evangelists still want to dangle non-Christians like spiders over an open flame, and defend hell like it was a central Christian doctrine, others have raised questions (Rob Bell’s Love Wins was good at raising questions).
In Why Be A Christian (If No One Goes to Hell)? Daniel Meeter argues that the traditional view of Hell is wrong but that there are still lots of incentives for becoming a Christian. Becoming a Christian opens the way for us to be spiritual, to prayer, to being fully human, to knowing God and his story, to dealing with guilt and experiencing the reality of grace, to love God and know Christ, to love our neighbors, to be transformed into the image of Christ and yes, to go to heaven when we die (in the Resurrection).
Meeter wrote this book with apologetic/evangelistic intent to help non-Christians who have been put off by the doctrine of hell and judgmental Christians understand what the Christian faith had to offer. He is no stranger to ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue and he writes in a way that is respectful of other world faiths but labors to show the uniquely Christian vision of the world.
This book is available in a variety of ebook formats from Shookfoil Books. Some Christian readers will find Meeter provocative; however I think he does a good job at articulating Christianity in accessible ways for non-Christians. There are places where I disagree with Rev. Meeter but he still presents the faith in ways which are in keeping with the ancient creeds (the Apostles’ Creed frames his reflections). This is a good book for those who are exploring the Christian tradition or a primer for those who need a refresher for what God in Christ has on offer for all of us not going to hell.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.