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Review

Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity and the things we've made up by Francis Chan


Chan is a gracious and godly man whose love for people is undeniable. It comes through loud and clear as he shares his brokenness over the lost. This is evident in all his writings.

But for all the good and sincere that Chan represents, on the issue of the nature of hell I believe he must be challenged. Please do not think that Chan has settled the issue. First of all it probably goes unnoticed but among all the arguments Chan gives for his viewpoint he admits his bottom line is that he is not willing to say with certainty that he believes in the eternal nature of hell:

"The debate about hell's duration is much more complex than I first assumed. While I lean heavily on the side that says it is everlasting, I am not ready to claim that with complete certainty. I encourage you to continue researching..." (pg 86)

However many who have read the book do not follow his humility but rather conclude, "Chan leaves no doubt" and, "Erasing Hell settles the debate". Please take his advice and continue researching.

To the Christian who has assumed the traditional view, he frames a very convincing argument for an eternal hell. Without someone presenting the other view alongside Chan's, one could easily believe that the case is settled. Proverbs says, "The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." (Prov. 18:17)

I appreciate Chan's book in that he sincerely believes that we must get this right on account of the lives that could be at stake through presumption. But if you will allow some very real and valid challenges to Chan's arguments to enter into the debate I believe you will see that the conversation is far from over and has just begun. But yes, there are lives at stake but I don't believe it is in the way Chan is perceiving it.

Unfortunately "Erasing Hell" may become the clincher against any hope for what many Christians hold secretly, that God has loved and redeemed all. Bell cracked open the door for some hope and Chan and Sprinkle perhaps shut it tight for many. Again, this is done in good conscience by Chan, Galli and others, and I get it. An eternal hell should mean an extremely radical lifestyle to do whatever it takes to save every person within our power from this fate. But I believe these books are being rushed to the publisher and are shutting down the conversation when it is far from over. I know that sounds unreasonable given that we are told the Ultimate Restorationist view has long been tried and found wanting. But first we must realize in God's economy timing seems to be everything and second, what we are told has been the "majority view" is suspect since it has been held to this point out of assumption, fear and very often secretly wishing it were not true.

INTRODUCTION
Chan's first paragraph demonstrates the very foundational conundrum this teaching creates:

"Do you understand the weight of what we are about to consider? We are exploring the possibility that you and I may end up being tormented in hell [forever]." (pg 13)

One wonders how we can remain sane with the burden Chan presents here. (And he includes himself in that possibility? Chan, the 'Crazy in love with God' Christian?) As long as we have this uncertainty and this possibility of being damned forever (and those we love) how can we live the life of peace, joy and freedom that Jesus so assuredly says should be our experience?

I appreciate Chan's transparency in relaying how he doesn't want to think about it, how it made him feel sick, how it brought him so much anguish to think about his grandmother in hell, and how he would like to "erase it" from the Bible. But this begs the question as to why is there something about God's character that we'd rather not think about and which makes us sick when in fact we are commanded to love God with all our minds? This should make us pause.

Chan states on page 14, "I'm scared to death...so much is at stake...I may lead people into the very place I convinced them did not exist...we can't afford to be wrong...too much is at stake. Too many people are at stake." Wow, really? The Almighty Sovereign Creator of the universe has given us that much power? To be the linchpin for determining the eternal destinies of other human beings? How could we ever live at peace under such a strain and burden?

A comment about how we may "lead people to hell" if we do not teach this doctrine. I would say that the Church has been doing a knock-up job of leading people down the road to destruction very well indeed with this doctrine in place. (We would say destruction not an eternal hell of torment). Since I have become convinced of the restoration of all I have shared my faith with more people than ever before. It removes the unnecessary stumbling block of an incoherent eternal hell and allows the true Stumbling Stone to do His work...Christ.

"Part of me doesn't want to believe in hell" (pg 15). Chan is a believer who is devoted to the Lord. The Scriptures say that he has been given a new nature which we are told means God's laws are written on his heart. Chan has the "mind of Christ"! (I Cor. 2:16) Therefore he needs to heed this angst and unrest that keeps cropping up over this doctrine and listen to his God-given conscience created by the law of God written on his heart.

"...Don't embrace an idea just because you have always believed it. Believe what is Biblical." (pg 15) I appreciate this advice.

Chan's summary statement of the book: "[This is a] book about embracing a God who isn't always easy to understand, and whose ways are far beyond us: a God whose thoughts are much higher than our thoughts". This is Chan's first of many references to this primary verse cited to defend an eternal hell. But Chan has walked right into a major defense of the view he is opposing. THIS PASSAGE IS ENTIRELY ABOUT THE MERCY AND GRACE OF GOD--NOT JUDGMENT OF AN ETERNAL HELL! In fact it is how GOD'S MERCY defies our reason and our thoughts!!! This passage is about how God's free pardon of the wicked is off our human charts of reason. The point of the verse is the very opposite of how Chan uses it!

"Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts." (from Isaiah 55)

Chan states that we need to pray about this issue and shares how he has spent lengthy times in prayer and fasting over it. So have we. I believe one of the results of Chan's sincere and humble heart before the Lord is the way in which he has been kept from saying an absolute affirmative to the eternal view of hell. God wants us to continue to work this out together. We must not cease praying and searching the Scriptures together.

Chapter One
"Does Everyone Go to Heaven?" First of all this isn't even the question Jesus asked, answered or addressed. His message was about a living breathing Kingdom inaugurated by Christ Himself which is "at hand" and "among you". He said you could have eternal life NOW by knowing Him. Jesus equated knowing Him with eternal life (John 17:3). Knowing Him was being in the Kingdom. But knowing Him was evidenced by how much you were aligned with His heart for the "least of these". (Matt 25) In fact He said if you never connected to these brothers of His you never knew Him. There's a Kingdom Jesus is building and bringing and the time is within this age to participate. There are no second chances at this. Paul says those who squander away this life will be saved but only as though by fire. "For it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment." (Heb 9:27)

Chan asks: "Do I want to believe in a God who shows His power by punishing non-Christians and who magnifies His mercy by blessing Christians forever?...Here's my gut-level honest answer: No. No way." Ok, Chan first muddies the waters by not stating that he means eternal punishment of non-Christians. This omission tends to tweak the mind to think, "Well, yes of course I want God to punish sin". But the Evangelical Universalist would wholeheartedly say that unrepentant sin will be punished, just not eternally without a purpose. (Chan here in the first of many omissions does not distinguish between punishment for sin and eternal punishment for sin. This is confusing).

Regarding eternal torment: "That seems a bit harsh according to my sense of justice". Again, Chan is a believer with a new heart, the mind of Christ and therefore a redeemed sense of justice and morality. God has invited him to use it: "Judge for yourselves what is right...Come let us reason together...(Luke 12:57, Isa 1:18)

Regarding "A Brief Survey of Universalism": "Origen's beliefs were later deemed heretical." Indeed this is a brief survey. Chan relegated to the footnotes that,

"Origen's views were deemed heretical at the fifth ecumenical church council held at Constantinople in AD 553. However, a great deal of politics drove this council, as well as other early church councils, so we shouldn't consider Origens views heretical based solely on the decisions made at Constantinople."

Also what you are not told here is that Origen's universalism was not deemed heretical until nearly 200 years after he died! Also it was omitted that it was the evil pagan despot Justinian who anathematized the doctrine of the restoration of all. See document on Justinian HERE. It would also be a good exercise to study the life of Origen. He was a highly respected and faithful follower of Christ who exuded love and holiness. (Was he a Christian? Or is he in hell? Can someone believe what Origen believed and still be a Christian?)

We thank Chan for defining what the differences are among universalists. We among "God's Love Wins" would be as he defined, those who find the view of ultimate reconciliation "not just possible but probable". Also we appreciate him for saying that we believe, "that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ and Christ alone". (pg 25)

On page 25 Chan states: "The difference is they believe they will have another chance...to be saved". This is where we would object. Another chance at what? A ticket to heaven? We believe, "In Adam all died and in Christ all will be made alive." Therefore God took care of the death penalty of sin and the condition of the sinful nature by His grace alone. But until we are made aware of our redemption and if we rebel against the Lord of the universe there are consequences to our "ways of death". Hebrews again says that after death there is judgment. We have only one life to live and its fruits will be realized in the next age of the Kingdom. We will reap what we sow, God will not be mocked. How many Christians plead grace to defend their sinful lifestyles? We would assert that the inescapable love and grace of God covers the entire human race. But to run from it, deny it, live outside its reality will bring about a reaping of regrets and pain and loss. ( "...he will suffer loss as though one escaping through the fire" I Cor 3:15)

The Evangelical Universalist is not presenting a paradigm where banking on a second chance would be favorable. Let's make one thing clear, there will be no second chances beyond death to change what you've done in the body on this earth for anyone. The only chance an unrepentant rebel will get after death is a fearful expectation of judgment that will burn away the dross of the sin nature, the false self. The goal is restoration but the journey will be regrettable for the unrepentant and proud. When David was restored to God after repenting of his sin and going through the fire of discipline he did not consider the sin to be worth it. He was restored but at what cost? He was saved by grace from ultimate death but he reaped what he sowed in this life. There are no second chances for David to undo what he did in the body on this earth. He lost something that could have been his had he obeyed. Did he lose God or His love? No never. But was there pain and loss, and were some of his works "burned up"? (I Cor 3:15) yes.

Chan states, "I want everyone to be saved. I do. I don't want anyone to go to hell ...I want to believe in a God who will save everyone in the end." (pgs 22-23) So is God's goal to change Chan, and you and I, into people who are ok with God sending the majority of all humankind to irreversible torment in hell? Is this His way to make us into His disciples who "do justly and love mercy"? Is this how He is preparing us for the new heavens and the new earth and for "judging nations"? Is this not inconsistent with the legion of passages that command us to love, forgive, and have mercy and compassion on others? It seems that Chan is stuck in the tangled web of how to love and forgive others better while trying to be more ok with God not loving and forgiving others in the new Kingdom. Talbott says,

“If I approve of a God who fails to love [most] of my neighbors and I am grateful for this fact, then I do not truly love or will the good for all my neighbors: and if I DO love them, then in the very act of willing the good for them I demonstrate my disapproval of any God who does not likewise will the good for them.”

Regarding "every knee will bow..." Chan weighs it with the other verses of Paul where he talks about destruction of the wicked etc., But this fails to consider two things. First, Paul says here that this worship of every knee and tongue is to the glory of God the FATHER, not Judge. What would bring you glory as a father? A child who grudgingly and rebelliously confessed you were the boss or a child who had come to their senses and proclaimed the truth about your love with sincerity?

Second, destruction hasn't seemed to be a deterrent, a problem, a hitch, an obstacle or a vexation for God in the past:

"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand." (Deut 32:39) "I am the resurrection and the life". (John 11:25)

Chan on I Corinthians15 (pg 29) leaves out the last verse where Paul says, "the last enemy to be destroyed is death" and that God "will be all in all". How can death be destroyed if God is employing it in hell for most of His creatures forever? How can God become all in all if most of the "all" is in hell rebelling against Him? Is a holy God going to keep death, sin and rebellion alive forever in a compartment of His universe never to be healed? This is incoherent to us.

Chan punches it at the end by saying that Paul ends his book with "everyone who does not love Jesus will be damned". (I Cor 16:22). The word is cursed. Not damned. A curse is not good but it's not eternal torture in hell.

On page 31 he states, "It's probably the case that Paul wants Timothy to pray for all types of people because God is on a mission to save all types of people." Now does that really excite you...does it go above all you can ask or imagine? Does it take your breath away? Does it sound like "Good News"? Does it sound like the plan and mission of the almighty Creator and God of the Universe? If it doesn't then maybe it isn't.

The above statement is the position of a Calvinist, or the Reformed view. Most Christians would have major problems with this teaching that Jesus was only on a mission to save a few elect. According to Calvinists Jesus did not die for, nor actually love, the world, only His elect.

Francis then goes on to try and explain how God wills all to be saved morally but in His decreed will it cannot be so. Again he is a Calvinist who is trying to make the doctrine of predestination palatable. He states, "The point of 1 Tim 2 is that God is not a bigot; He's not a racist; He loves to reverse social-class distinctions because His love knows no boundaries." Really. That's an example of a love with no boundaries? What about the fact that this sovereign God has decreed that many ethnic groups have little or no exposure to the gospel, resulting in their damnation? Why are some ethnic groups more blessed with opportunities to hear the gospel while most are not? That doesn't sound like boundless love and equality.

Chan states that the Christian Universalist view depends upon the belief that there will be second chances after death. He then goes on to affirm that there is no Scriptural evidence for this. First, we would say the idea of a second chance is a moot point. For what Jesus is proposing, no, there are no second chances because it's not about an eternal hell. God already conquered the grave and will destroy death. God was (past tense) in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. His love and redemption for all mankind is forever in place. What remains is for each of us, in his own order, within the plan of the ages to come to grips with this--to awaken to it, to embrace it, and then to walk in it. This is the new life of the Kingdom. It will produce a love for God and others and for "the least of these" that is undeniable to yourself and to others. So the Kingdom is RIGHT NOW. The world is waiting to be saved spiritually and physically by Christ and His Body. If we are not acting like His Body, going where it would go and doing what it would do, then we are missing the chance to be just that in the next age. The Bible says we will rule and reign with Him, judge nations and rule over cities. There are no second chances to redo this life that we are to live by faith and Jesus says to miss this part of the kingdom will be painful. It will bring "weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Will we lose God and His love forever? Never, the cross took care of that. But the Bible says there are consequences for what we do on this earth, even for the Christian. "The Lord will judge HIS people. For it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb 10: See also Romans 2 and the book of James. We compartmentalize these verses because in the traditional view they threaten eternal hell over us. Therefore they never have the affect of creating a healthy fear of God our Father who has said to the Church, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." (I Cor 5:10)

Can someone damn themselves into a state of eternal rebellion, sin and death? No, never. Jesus is the Savior of the World. It is finished. But can someone miss the one-time opportunities to enter into Christ's plan for the Kingdom which will continue throughout the ages? Yes. Can someone die unrepentant of their evil ways and miss some very important blessings of God while "in a far country...coming to their senses"? Yes. There are no second chances to learn what we are to learn only within this lifetime. Think about it, there has to be a correlation with how aligned you are with God's heart now and the level of joy and fulfillment in the next age when all is being restored. If you don't care about the people God cares about, if you are not a savior here on this earth in this life, then you don't know His heart and you can't say that you know Him. And there are no second chances with this. Whatever has been done in the body on this earth will be dealt with and then all will be brought into alignment with God Himself. Call it a refiner's fire or a consuming fire but God's passion to be all in all will not fail.

Obviously no matter what your interpretation there will be questions left unanswered. But let us just summarize what we believe we have been told through the Scriptures:

1. God has a plan of redemption
2. He is working it out through a series of "ages" (the Bible mentions at least 5)
3. Jesus came to bring the good news of the Kingdom (Isa. 61)
4. Matthew 25 talks about what is important in that Kingdom
5. We are told the elect will rule and reign with Him. (Who will we be reigning over if everyone else is in hell?)
6. The elect are called the "firstfruits" which imply more to come
7. We are told we are a "kingdom of priests". Priests represent man to God and God to man, so who are we priests for?

As far as a second chance to be ultimately restored after a life leading to destruction we must not gloss over the restoration of Sodom in Ezekiel 16 or of the restorative placement of Egypt and Assyria over Israel in Isaiah 19. Jeremiah logs chapters of punishment, exile and destruction followed by "I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first...I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them...Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab...But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites...But in the latter days I will restore the fortunes of Elam etc., (Ez 33:10-13; 33:26; 48:47; 49:6;49:39) The ESV notes say this is a future prediction of the salvation of the Gentiles. Isaiah 61 notes the restoration of the ruins and devastations of the generations. Isaiah 25 says the veil will finally be removed from all the peoples and that He will "swallow up death forever". Paul says the last enemy to be destroyed is death till God is finally "all in all". These are implying not a second chance but the fact of the ultimate restoration of all. And this is the foundation and context for the Church to finally grasp the warning that there indeed will be no second chances to experience fully the Kingdom that God is bringing NOW and is among us.

Also, while not explaining how, Philippians 2 leaves us with the undeniable fact that every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. How does everyone get to this point? Not sure. But there is plenty of speculation on the traditional side as well. What happens to babies when they die? To mentally disabled citizens or to severely abused children of the sex trade? Are they saved apart from direct faith in Christ? When are children accountable? Is there a particular day that is the turning point in their accountability? How do you have degrees of absolute darkness and absence of God's presence in order to punish by degrees a Hitler vs. a Hindu teen who has never heard the gospel? How is injustice put to rights among two pagan people groups who are in hell? How can there be "justice for all the oppressed" if most die before they ever see it? Are they resurrected to the judgment, given justice and then later thrown into an eternal hell along with their oppressors? Consignment to an eternal hell devoid of God's presence, meaning the absolute absence of all that is good, loving and happy, means there is one level of punishment and one only. It would be impossible to have degrees of punishment in such a place. Hitler and a 13 year old Hindu girl would have the exact same fate.


On page 38 Chan writes, "For those who follow Jesus, there is everlasting life in the presence of God, but for those who don't follow Him, there will be punishment." Well, that sounds reasonable. We totally agree. Again Chan muddies the waters by saying "punishment" and not "eternal punishment". He also avoids saying that while followers of Jesus will be in the presence of God, unbelievers will be without the presence of God. If he had stated the obvious here it should elicit a bunch of additional questions from thinking Christians. One being that if God withdraws His presence from those damned to hell how are they existing? Without God's sustaining grace how can a single human being continue? Does God graciously give them breath and hold their molecules together so that they can be tortured forever? But then He would actually be with them for all of eternity.


CHAPTERS 2 and 3

Chan claims that when Jesus spoke of Gehenna He was most certainly understood as meaning a never-ending punishment because that was, according to "historical evidence", the Jewish mindset already in place at that time. Therefore, he claims, for Jesus to speak of this place/mode of punishment and never clarify or qualify that He didn't mean a forever punitive punishment means he intended for them to take it as exactly that, eternal punishment.
(The following is a comment by Gerry Beauchemin)

"Not so, because Jesus' message was not geared exclusively to Pharisees even when speaking directly to them. He ultimately had the whole world on His mind because He knew His teachings would be transmitted to the world through His followers. Remember also that the very first time Jesus discussed Gehenna fire in Matthew (chapter five) He clearly referred to it as lasting only "until" (verse 26). That short parable is sandwiched between two Gehenna fire references ( verses 22 and 29) and could refer to no other judgment in that context. And note how he preceded it with "Truly I say onto you..." That is a very serious introduction that must be taken to heart! The other thing we must keep at the forefront of our minds is the priority of the Scriptures (Old Testament) and not how the Jews may have evolved in their thinking since they were written. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Scriptures not the Jews' heretical beliefs inherited through pagan sources."

I refer you to: HISTORY OF OPINIONS ON THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE OF RETRIBUTION
EDWARD BEECHER, D. D.Chapters 8-12, esp 12

On page 133 Chan AGAIN commits his contextual and exegetical "faux pas":

"Yet sometimes from our human perspective, it's tough to see exactly how God is perfect and just and good. That's why God says in Isaiah 55: 'My thoughts are not your thoughts...' "

I hope you read the whole chapter and are astounded by the grace of God (and the absolute misapplication of this passage!)

Again he drives his only passage to defend his incoherent interpretation of God, "As I have said all along, I don't feel like believing in [an eternal] hell. And yet I do...God is perfect. And I joyfully submit to a God whose ways are much, much higher than mine."

If only we all knew just how high.

On page 145: "The thought of [eternal] hell is paralyzing for most people...how can we carry on with life if we are constantly mindful of a fiery place of [eternal] torment?"

Jesus said, "My yolk is easy and my burden is light".

On Paul's lament over his Jewish brothers and wishing he could be accursed and cut off from Christ: Paul must be talking about a temporary state or this is incomprehensible. Also it makes Paul out to be more merciful and compassionate than Christ if he is speaking about an eternal hell. I remember often thinking while reading this passage, " I wish Paul was my savior because if it were up to him he would ensure my salvation."

Page 148: "This is the same wrath that will be ultimately satisfied, either in hell or on the cross." First, the penal substitutionary theory was not developed until the Reformation. For the first 1000 years+ the Church adhered to a combination of Christus Victor and the ransom theories until Anselm. (See Scot McKnight's, A Community called Atonement. Also Leon Morris on the Atonement in the Study section HERE). Second, on a logical level, how can a sentence be paid for and justice satisfied by means of a punishment that never ends?

"God IS love". Chan leaves this element out of the discussion until the end. But not just the end of the book but relegated to the last question of the appendix! Here it is, the question we almost forgot to ask after being barraged by all those images of eternal torment: Question 7: How can God be loving and still send people to [eternal] hell?

He answers, "God is love, but He also defines what love is. We don't have the license to define love according to our own standards and sensibilities..." Yes God defines what love is and no we don't have the freedom to make up our own rules. Chan did not even cite I Corinthians 13, the love chapter. Nor did he mention I John. God has indeed defined love in His word. How else would we have the ability to comprehend what it is? He states in I John, that "this is how we know what love is, Jesus laid down His life for us and we ought to lay our lives down for one another".

How can God have a secret standard and definition of love for Himself (that defies our logic and sense of God-given justice) while He reveals a different one to us in His word? Does I Corinthians not apply to Him? Does "love your neighbor as yourself" not apply to Him?

"God is love but He is also holy and just". We propose that God doesn't have any ultimate buts except when it comes to His love. The "buts" in Scripture are those of "But God in His mercy..." Also you can't pit his love against His holiness. His love will always be just and holy and His justice will always be loving. You can't divide, pit against or compartmentalize his eternal attributes. And holiness encompasses love: Leviticus 19 commands us to "be holy as I am holy" followed by a delineation of the commandments of God ending with the summary of the law: "Love your neighbor as yourself". So there you have it, holiness is loving your neighbor as yourself. The holy law, which is love, condemns us while at the same time the holy law of love is what saves us when Jesus laid down His life for us. Is He not called both the Just and the Justifier in Romans?

Chan says on page 163, "Most importantly, we must understand God's love in light of God's freedom. As we have seen in this book, God, as the Creator, is free to do whatever He sees best. He is compelled by none other than Himself...which means, that God can withhold love."

In answer to the above statement: God is first unchangeable. Chan has painted a God who is arbitrary, who can lay down truths and change them up again at a whim. This God is contradictory to His word. I am not talking about the temporal Job or Joseph kinds of injustices sovereignly orchestrated by the hand of the Lord but the belief in an irreparable eternal state of destruction, despair, hopelessness, chaos and death which goes against all we have been taught of His purpose and character.

Second, since God is unchangeable and while He may be progressively revealing more and more about Himself throughout history He is going to remain consistent and true to His word. God is indeed the freest Being in the universe but that doesn't mean He must prove it by contradicting His word. Psalm 145: 9 says, "The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made."

Third, if God is love then it is impossible for God to not love just as,"it is impossible for God to lie" (Heb 6:18). He is not "free" to contradict His word which reflects His character.

Chan ends with Genesis 18:25, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Given the fact that,
that He is the Resurrection and the Life,
that He is the Savior of the world,
that He will be all in all,
that what Satan means for evil He can turn to good,
that He is good to all He has made
and that He is making all things new...

...we will answer with a resounding, yes! And there is no need to deny or bury our God-given sense of morality, conscience or justice.

For any points in Chan's book not covered in this review please see question topics HERE. There are 160+ questions under 27 topics.


Note: We must comment on Randy Alcorn's endorsement of Chan's book. He says,
"...thanks to Francis Chan for calling on us not to apologize for God, but to apologize to God for presuming to be wiser and more loving than our Savior."

We are not presuming we are wiser and more loving than our Savior. We are presuming that He is actually wiser and more loving than we have been led to believe. We are not questioning God but the religious leaders who have protected the doctrine of eternal hell from a thorough examination. We are not questioning God but the pastors who do not allow us to ask questions because they feel threatened and who threaten us with being disfellowshipped if we demand coherent answers.