First of all, to anyone (especially any Christian) who has never heard of Christian Universalism: Please do not be scared by the name! Please consider reading this book and learning about the God of Love who never fails! If you are tired, frustrated, and scared, wondering about the fate of yourself, your loved ones, or humanity in general, I highly recommend you check this book out. If you have a truly open mind, you may find yourself overjoyed at what you find within its pages.
Now for the actual book review:
Having stumbled upon this belief system of Christian Universalism a little over three years ago, I have read several books, articles, and essays defending and promoting it. When I first heard that Ms. Ferwerda was going to release a book about it, I was pleased but not enthralled, as I have read so much about the subject already. Despite this, I read through the book and am very pleased with the results.
I think the thing I’m most pleased with about this book is that Ms. Ferwerda takes an approach to writing that is scholarly and yet, at the same time, has a personal touch to it that makes you feel as if you’re receiving a personal letter from a friend. The language is simple and easy to understand and avoids jargon (although I may be biased, having been raised in Christianity from my youth). Ferwerda’s book, to me, finds a sort of happy medium between Andrew Jukes’s “The Restitution of All Things” (which is very scholarly but may not be the layperson’s cup of tea) and Rob Bell’s recent “Love Wins” (which, though very informative and enlightening to someone who has never heard of Christian Universalism, is not necessarily a “scholarly” book).
Parts 1 and 2, “Hell: Fact or Fiction?” and “Love Does Not Fail…”, respectively, cover the basics when it comes to Christian Universalism and offer compelling evidence as to its validity in Scripture. I’ve read most of it before, but there are several gems that I’ve never considered before and greatly appreciate. It’s Part 3, “Hebrew Perspectives On Scripture,” however, that offers several ideas and concepts I had never truly considered to the extent I did after reading this book. Granted, I had heard of the idea that the harvest festivals and seasons written about in the Old Testament were types and symbols of future things (in books such as Jukes’s “The Restitution of All Things”), but I haven’t seen it explained so clearly and simply as I have in Ms. Ferwerda’s book.
I also greatly appreciated the “Resources” section at the end of the book, especially the section on “Talking Points.” It offers Scriptures to use in response to certain questions about “Christian Universalism” in order to discuss these issues with people. I’ve always subconsciously wanted a tool like this to help me out but Ms. Ferwerda thought of it and I’m sure it will be a benefit to many, including myself.
All in all, I found this book to be a very welcome addition to the growing list of books about Christian Universalism, and I feel it is quite likely that it is the best book on the subject to read if you want a clear, easily readable, scholarly introduction to the subject. If your life has been changed by Jesus but you can’t reconcile His love with His justice, please consider reading this book. It may just make you fall in love with Him all over again.
If you are interested in reading this book, feel free to download a free copy right here! (I have permission from the author). Raising-Hell-Complimentary
Also, if you feel so compelled, you can purchase the book here for cheap.