Why wait for "Love Wins"? - Resources on heaven and hell

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

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.)   


* Four Views on Hell, William Crockett, editor 
*Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World, Dennis L. Okholm, editor
*Pocket Guide to the Afterlife by Jason Boyett 
A Brief History of Heaven, by Alister McGrath
The History of Hell, by AK Turner


Jesus: The Only Way to God by John Piper
Hell Under Fire, Christopher Morgan, editor 
Reason for God (Chapter 5) by Tim Keller 


Universal Salvation? Robin Parry and Christopher Partridge
The Inescapable Love of God by T. Talbott
The Evangelical Universalist by Gregory MacDonald
The One Purpose of God by Jan Bonda  
Updated: If Grace is True by Philip Gulley 


*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:

Did Anne Frank go to hell?
Biblical Considerations for an Inclusive View of Salvation

So how have you worked through the tough questions related to heaven and hell? What resources have been most helpful to you?

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