Q. It was a bit disconcerting to read your response to a reader with a question about the book “23 Minutes in Hell.” Hell is a real place and people need to be aware of it. I’ve read the book. While it was upsetting to read the reality of it, it seems irresponsible to tell someone to throw the book away and not be concerned about it. The author of the book seems to be a sincere, humble person and not at all a person out to create sensationalism.
A. As I recall, I didn’t say anything good or bad about the author. What I said was that I didn’t think the Lord was in the business of giving tours of Hell, especially since He had Abraham refuse the only request ever made for such a thing anywhere in the Bible. (Luke 16:19-31) He also made it illegal for the living to communicate with the dead in any way. It was a crime punishable by death. (Deut. 18:10) Then there’s the matter of making a believer experience the punishment of Hell when Jesus died to prevent such a thing.
We’re not to judge the correctness of what we hear by the appearance or even character of the one who says it. We’re to judge it based on its compatibility with God’s Word. 23 minutes in Hell is incompatible with the Bible and therefore can’t have come from God.