Book review: “Why Be A Christian? (If No One Goes To Hell)”

This is my latest book review for the SpeakEasy Blog Network.

I received my copy a little over a month ago, and tore into it.  Like you (perhaps), I expected some intriguing discussion over the theological history of hell and the causes of one’s ending up there.

I was a little let down to find out this is really not the author’s interest. Daniel Meeter spend little time (and less explanation and historical development) telling us that hell has never been the intended eternal destination for the lost.  He is, in short, and anihilationist. The argument that everyone gets to go to heaven, but that the lost will find death to be the end.  No eternal torment; no eternal anything.

But being this close on the heels of Bell’s Love Wins probably has many people reading into this title in the wrong direction. Is Meeter another reformed pastor following Bell’s questions about the (recent) traditional Western understanding of heaven, hell and eternity?

He is not. The author, as I said, explains succinctly that hell is not and never has been an eternal destination for the lost. Then he moves on and spends the rest of his focus on the real point, and a good point it is: fear of eternal damnation and torment is not the best motivation for becoming, or at least living as a, Christian.

Meeter’s argument is fascinating and a pleasure to read.  I deeply appreciate such careful yet readable articulation of an affirmative case for following Christ.

As one who began his walk with Christ primarily motivated by fear of hell, I have long since moved over to the other side.  I have no interest in “scaring the hell” out of people to try to win them into heaven.  I find Jesus’ life and way inviting enough.

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