The debate surrounding the release of Rob Bell’s new book about heaven and hell has taken such an ugly, polarizing turn that one would think there are only two positions available to Christians—Calvinism or universalism. But the truth is, theologians have been puzzling over these questions for centuries, and there are a variety of views to consider and compare with Scripture.
Earlier this week, I contacted a diverse group of writers, teachers, and pastors to ask which books they found most helpful in developing their own perspectives on heaven, hell, justice, and salvation. I combined them with my own to create a short list, to which I hope you will add your own suggestions. (Books I have personally read and can recommend are marked with an asterisk. I’ve avoided attaching labels to sort the books and instead simply grouped like books together.)
*Surprised by Hope by NT Wright
Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf
*One.Life (Chapter 12) by Scot McKnight
*A Wideness in God’s Mercy by Clark Pinnock
The Last Word and the Word After That by Brian McLaren
*The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
*The Second Vatican Council's Lumen Gentium
*Evolving in Monkey Town (Chapters 6-15) by Rachel Held Evans
Updated: Razing Hell by Sharon Baker
My two favorite books on the subject are Surprised by Hope and A Wideness in God’s Mercy. They influenced much of the content of Evolving in Monkey Town. We also discussed heaven and hell recently on the blog:
So how have you worked through the tough questions related to heaven and hell? What resources have been most helpful to you?