Everlasting hell and divine judgment, a lake of fire and brimstone - these mainstays of evangelical tradition have come under fire once again in recent decades. Would the God of love revealed by Jesus really consign the vast majority of humankind to a destiny of eternal, conscious torment? Is divine mercy bound by the demands of justice? How can anyone presume to know who is saved from the flames and who is not?
Reacting to presumptions in like manner, others write off the fiery images of final judgment altogether. If there is a God who loves us, then surely all are welcome into the heavenly kingdom, regardless of their beliefs or behaviors in this life. Yet, given the sheer volume of threat rhetoric in the Scriptures and the wickedness manifest in human history, the pop-universalism of our day sounds more like denial than hope. Mercy triumphs over judgment; it does not skirt it.
Her Gates Will Never Be Shut endeavors to reconsider what the Bible and the Church have actually said about hell and hope, noting a breadth of real possibilities that undermines every presumption. The polyphony of perspectives on hell and hope offered by the prophets, apostles, and Jesus humble our obsessive need to harmonize every text into a neat theological system. But they open the door to the eternal hope found in Revelation 21-22: the City whose gates will never be shut; where the Spirit and Bride perpetually invite the thirsty who are outside the city to "Come, drink of the waters of life."
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Excellent book, poor audiobook
Only the very poor production quality of the audio presentation. The source material is wonderful.
This is the worst audiobook I've ever heard, from a technical standpoint. It was edited poorly and seems to contain more chapter breaks than the printed book, sometimes at very strange intervals. The narrator repeats lines throughout the book, and within the first half hour the book repeats an entire ten minute section. I almost stopped listening then.
Jersak's final chapter and afterword are beautiful.
The narrator is not a terrible reader, but he is clearly not prepared or qualified to read this title. For example, he fails to interpret the author's biblical abbreviations correctly. When the text of the book reads "Rev.", he says "Revelations." When it reads "1 Cor." he simply says "Corinthian." And most befuddling, he reads "Mal." not as "Malachi" but as "Malthusians," which is not a Bible book at all. Under any circumstance this would be unacceptable, but in a work of such scholarly distinction it is an offense. Jersak's work deserves much better.
Read the paperback of Her Gates Will Never Be Shut. It is a valuable and commendable book.
- Josh Way
Rare balanced thought on theology