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Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You've Been Taught about God's Wrath and Judgmentby Sharon L. Baker
Synopses & Reviews
The idea of hell can haunt dreams and disturb sleep. Many wonder at the justice (or injustice) of it all, feeling confounded by a God who deems it necessary to send the majority of humanity to burn there forever. Seventy percent of Americans believe in hell, as do ninety-two percent of those who attend church every week. Clearly, it's a hot topic. Baker offers readers a safe space to contemplate tough issues as they rethink traditional views of hell. In her candid and inviting style Baker explores and ultimately refutes many traditional views of hell, presenting instead theologically sound ways of thinking that are more consistent with the image of God as a loving creator who desires to liberate us from sin and evil. This is an excellent selection for general readers, students, pastors, professors, and grief counselors, and will provide clarity for those with questions about hell, God's judgment, and what happens to us when we die.
"Fear of hell has been instrumental in gaining converts to Christianity, Baker asserts in this critique of traditional assumptions about a punishing torment awaiting sinners and non-believers after death. Assistant professor and coordinator of the peace studies program at Messiah College, Baker argues for a kinder, gentler image of the afterlife that better comports with the supposed nature and intentions of a gracious and loving God. One result is that the book includes refreshing ways of thinking about how justice might be reconciled with forgiveness. It frequently relies, however, on popular Christian assumptions about God and a nutshell 'message of the Bible' that not every reader may agree with. This is odd because Baker discusses biblical texts that challenge reductionist assertions. While the book's conclusions are intriguing and sometimes convincing, Baker's vehicle for pursuing and communicating them through annoying anecdotes and exchanges with three individuals cheapens an otherwise sophisticated argument. This should be a useful book for Christians struggling to reconcile Jesus's sacrifice and a loving God with the place of punishment and the necessity for justice." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
In her candid and inviting style Baker explores and ultimately refutes many traditional views of hell, presenting instead theologically sound ways of thinking that are more consistent with the image of God as a loving creator who desires to liberate believers from sin and evil.
About the Author
Sharon L. Baker is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religion and Coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She has published numerous articles and speaks frequently throughout the United States on non-violent atonement and hell. A former stay-at-home mom, Sharon received her Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University in 2006. She is the mother of four grown boys.
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