Yes, a startling title for a very grave book (pun intended). I have been reading Julie’s blog this year and conversing with her on Facebook. She is a lovely confident women who is bold in speaking out about discrepancies and discoveries she has noticed in her spiritual journey. If she lived in Anne Hutchinson’s time she would have been tried for heresy and possibly burned at the stake. What does Julie have to say that is so beautifully dangerous to mainstream Christianity? How could a pregnant home keeper like Anne Hutchinson, cause such a stir that it brings men to the front lines with full throttle hostility toward her and imprison her?
Anne Hutchinson taught grace. Oh yes, the clergy had a slew of other issues with her beliefs, but the bottom line was grace. She simply spoke up about another preacher that she felt taught more on grace than the others. So now we have Julie Ferwerda in the 21st Century and I believe Anne Hutchinson would be standing shoulder to shoulder with her if she could be here today. Julie has dared to go against the grain to proclaim that the Gospel is actually better than we thought. Julie picks up where Rob Bell left off. Don’t get me wrong, I like Rob Bell’s book ‘Love Wins’, but I think Julie’s new book, ‘Raising Hell’ knocks ‘Love Wins’ out of the ballpark.
If you thought Rob’s book was controversial you haven’t seen anything until you’ve read ‘Raising Hell’.
Julie Ferwerda raises hell with Orthodoxy and by golly she ought to! If you are a KJV proponent and think all other versions of the bible are mistranslations then you need to read this hot topic book filled with in-depth research into the Hebrew and Greek languages and just how many mistranslations there really are. Mistranslations that have altered and hidden the Good News under an English blanket of fear mongering fiery threats. Mistranslations that have side stepped a very serious and grave understanding about Judgment that we MUST understand if we think we’re going to live a “good Christian life” that is “well pleasing to God”.
Julie not only dices through the popular topic of hell, she brings to the forefront of our minds and hearts that there is a reckoning day and if you choose to “go out and do whatever you want” you will have “hell to pay”, so to speak, but it won’t be anything like what you once thought. In fact, I think it’s worse than hell.
Keep in mind that I have read Julie’s book with my own filters, as anyone else will. But from what I get out of ‘Raising Hell’ is that there is a consequence and process to our life, and the after life, that is much worse than the traditional hell doctrine. How dare those who force ‘Orthodoxy’ not tell us about this! How dare they! How dare they keep something THIS important away from us!
What could be worse than hell, but brings out how great the Gospel really is?
Julie Ferwerda is presenting, what I believe, is a well balanced view of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She does not candy coat the Judgment in the least bit. In fact, I view her perspective on the Judgment as a very startling wake up call for all of Christianity. She addresses the popular doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism that will shake their followers to the core. Without her mentioning it, I think she also raises awareness of the “once saved always saved” doctrine as well as the “you can lose your salvation” doctrine. Being rejected and thrown into hell forever and ever is the easy way out. What Julie presents is much harder to deal with. We face God and we have no escape. (How could that be an uncomfortable thing? Read the book!)
I do believe that the bigger Story is much larger than we can imagine and I feel that Julie has done an excellent job at trying to bring that larger Story to us and I believe with all my heart that this perspective is a must read. Lets just say that Julie is onto something worthy of our attention(which I believe she has), what has she done? She has given us a glimpse into part of the bigger picture. She has not revealed anything new, she isn’t pulling doctrines out of a hat nor is she diminishing the Gospel. In fact, she is highlighting some things that demand our fullest attention! She has journeyed to the very center of the original ‘Orthodox’.
Here’s a simple analogy. The playground has been all stirred up with kids fighting and arguing back and forth. Even the teachers have not been able to calm the crowd and hostility. In fact, the teachers have entered the fight and all the kids are cheering on the fighting between the teachers! But a whistle blows and while everyone is piled high on top of one another and blood has been flung all around, they look up and there stands the superintendent with the rule book. The detention center doors are open and the time for reckoning is at hand. The teachers are not exempt from discipline, no matter how many years they have been teaching and no matter which union they have to protect them. The parents of the kids will have no choice but to allow their kids to suffer the consequences to their behavior, no matter how wealthy they are and no matter how much community service they have partaken in.
It’s called accountability.
Surely grace has them covered and no matter how much thieving some clergy have done, no matter how many deacon pedophiles they have allowed to walk free, no matter how many folks they have gotten to recite the sinner’s prayer, not exactly…they will answer for themselves.
You might be thinking, “Has Julie cheapened grace?” Oh heavens no! She has brought to our attention how incredibly valuable this grace really is.
Has Julie made the consequences and sentence of hell easier? I don’t think so, not in the least bit.
Is Julie hiding the all inclusive love that Universalists hope for? No, in fact I believe she presents a very good understanding of the reconciliation of all things in Christ coupled beautifully with appropriate personal accountability.
For those deeply wounded and taken advantage of by “Born Again Pastors” who claim they are covered by grace. No need to worry that you are not avenged by the Savior. He hasn’t missed a thing they have done to you. They won’t get off “scott free”.
I believe this book will grab you by the shoulders and shout “Snap out of it!” Or at the very least, I hope it will.
Julie Ferwerda’s book, ‘Raising Hell’ should be an incredible eye opener for all denominations of Christianity. Not only them, but I believe Atheists and Pagans will read this book in amazement. Is this a view of Christ that even they have recognized? Could it be that many Atheists and Pagans have been believers all along and many Christians have been “unbelievers”?
So what could be worse than hell, but better than grace? How could an all-inclusive Gospel still include the Judgment and appropriate consequences for those needing them? How has the ‘Orthodox’ doctrines of hell and judgment caused us to drift so far off course that we desperately need this wake up call?
‘Raising Hell’ by Julie Ferwerda will be available at Amazon.com You can read more about it’s release, here.
Pre-Order at Amazon.com, here.
Additional thoughts, cautions, and recommendations are below.
Now don’t you go and tweet out “Farewell, Julie Ferwerda” so quickly. You may find yourself facing the Almighty one day as he asks “Why didn’t you listen to the messenger I sent you?” and the male ego that tries to dismiss a woman with no formal seminary training as heretical, uneducated, or not Orthodoxy just may be faced with his response, “Did I not send word through Joel and Peter that your sons and DAUGHTERS will prophesy? Did I not already choose unlearned men from the warf to teach you as well?” Perhaps God is humbling us a bit further than simply sending unlearned fisherman to teach us the way of Christ, behold… he also sends women.
This book is not a threat to male theologians and they have no need to be afraid to read it.
If you are a faithful hell doctrine believer, I recommend that you read this book as an opportunity to refine your doctrines. If you believe your literal hell is fact, then you need this book to test your beliefs on hell and quite possibly solidify them. But read it all the way through, even to the last section of resources about Hebrew and Greek before you jump in to debate her view of hell. You will need to be very well equipped with her entire view through this book in order to adequately chop through the first section on hell. Without understanding the full scope of what Julie has presented, any debate you compose based on that first section will make you look like an idiot to all those who will have read this book in it’s entirety. If you want to maintain any integrity you have within the Christian community by debating this book, be sure to read it and study it thoroughly. But not as a way to debate between the views, but to look at the research as it stands. Then draw out your comparison.
This book presents quite a paradox. Parables will look much different in ‘Raising Hell’. It might even confuse some folks and while many believe God is not the author of confusion, scriptures actually do reveal that there are times when he does, in fact, blind people for a purpose. So when you sort through the parables Julie has presented, you may want to take some time to study the chapters rather than simply reading them.
Challenge yourself as a student of scripture. This book is much more than just a ‘good read’, it is an opportunity to be a Berean. No matter what you believe before you read the book and no matter what you will believe after reading the book, ‘Raising Hell’ is one of the best books to challenge our biblical academics.
This book is not for the weak in faith. However, I do not think this book would cause someone to “fall” from Christ either. If your faith is in Christ, this book will not cause you to falter. However, if your faith has been in religion and doctrines have become a sacred cow to you, then I believe this book would reveal that to you and set you upright face to face with God.
If you fear this book would lead people to become Atheists: Some books out there have certainly caused some to become Atheists, but I do not think that would be the case with ‘Raising Hell’. If a person becomes an Atheist it is more likely that they have done so because of the total lack of love among some Christians, in addition to their hypocrisy, than from doctrines and books they don’t agree with. A person who is an Atheist is not automatically a “stupid” person because they don’t agree with Christianity. Many Atheists are quite intelligent and loving people. I believe this book will challenge their intellect and pleasantly surprise them.
For my Pagan friends, I would deeply like to hear your thoughts on this book if you choose to read it. I am deeply interested to hear your thoughts on the section of the Harvests. I know Pagans celebrate seasonal sabbaths and I would like to dialogue with you on the similarities and differences between the Torah feasts and celebrations and the ones you observe, according to Julie’s presentation in ‘Raising Hell’.
Biblical argument for Gays
Stay up to date with articles and resources for your spiritual journey Subscribe by Email