I'm amazed that this book by Bradley Jersak hasn't received more attention. The author writes engagingly, with well-crafted arguments from the relevant biblical texts, good humour, as well as personal humility. On top of all that, the book has an aesthetically pleasing cover design (not always the case with Christian books)!
Bradley Jersak sets forth his case for a non-dogmatic, hopeful universalism with remarkable *BIBLICAL* insight. Make no mistake, this isn't the kind of wishy-washy sentimentalism that overlooks the seriousness of sin, holiness of God, and Jesus being the only way to God. Along with recent works by Thomas Talbot and Robin Parry/Gregory MacDonald, this book will surely enable the universalist position to be a legitimate biblical option among evangelicals - alongside the traditional view (eternal conscious torment) and the annihilationist position (conditional immortality). It's important to note that the author doesn't deny the reality of hell, just the nature, purpose and duration of it; and he does so non-dogmatically. This last point cannot be emphasized enough. The author concedes that the biblical data can be seen to teach the traditional view, as well as the annihilationist position. But what are we to do with the other verses?
I was both challenged and encouraged to read about the fact that God promised in Ezekiel 16:53 that he "will restore the fortunes of Sodom" (future tense), and yet Jude 7 informs us that Sodom serves "as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire". How are we to reconcile these two passages? By sticking to our traditions and minimizing the importance of the Ezekiel passage? Or by re-examining our traditions?
There are many examples in the book where the author takes familiar passages of Scripture and breathes new life into them, allowing for intriguing possibilities. Let's be honest, we are more than capable of reading Scripture through our traditions while all the while claiming that we are being faithful to the clear meaning of the text.
There is also a terrific afterward by Nik Ansell, in which he states his reasons as to why neither the traditional nor the annihilationist view are ultimately satisfying. Surely most of us are at the very least *hopeful* universalists. Surely we all delight in the universalistic passages found in Scripture. If you don't believe they are there, you need to read the book!
Well done to the author for this truly excellent read. If any negative reviews come along, it won't be because the book was poorly written or poorly reasoned. It will be because the reviewers simply disagreed with the position set forth. I suspect that a biblically-reasoned universalism will become an increasingly viable option for evangelicals in the future. Bradley Jersak has played his part in that process. I hope that the book gets a wide readership among evangelicals. It is that good.