I have just recently finished the book called “The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgement, the hope of holy war” by Joshua Ryan Butler. A title that smacks you in the face and makes you ask “really?” Butler holds back no punches with this book and it’s probably the most helpful apologetic book I have read on the subject of hell, judgement and holy war. We often find ourselves thinking that these three topics are skeletons in God’s closet that Christians like to keep tucked away, but this book reveals that each of these topics are good news for us all.
Let me share with you 5 reasons why I found this book helpful and why I think you will too:
1. It is not afraid to get to the grit and dirt of these questions. These are questions that are not only asked by non Christians but Christians as well. We cannot help but have these at the back of our mind as we read through different narratives in the bible. As we come across Noah, the slaughter of the Canaanites, Jesus taking about weeping and the gnashing of teeth in hell it brings up the question of whether God has any mercy or love. And Butler doesn’t shy away from any of these questions, he presents each section of the book in an upfront way and lays down the argument drawing on scripture and experience. As I said before he holds no punches and is ready to get to the girt and dirt of this. It is refreshingly honest.
2. A refreshing read on hell. That may sound odd, but Butler unpicks the typical Christian narrative of hell (eternal torture chamber) and reveals the biblical narrative of hell, which is different to what we most commonly hear taught. He shows through scripture that hell is not below us but outside the kingdom and it is not a torture chamber. It makes you see the necessity of hell and that it really isn’t some dark secret lurking in the corner of Gods closet.
3. Easy to read and understand. You won’t need a theology degree or a phd to understand this book. Butler has written it in an accessible way for all to be able to read an understand. This is the kind of book you could gladly give to your non-Christian friends and those in your church. Saying that, it is a challenging read and will make you think about the way you see these three questions and how you would answer them.
4. We have Skeletons in our own Closets. This book makes you reflect on your own skeletons and reminds us that while we point our finger at God accusing him, we know deep down that our closet is full of bones. We are all sinners, hiding and ashamed and the book shows us that God is good and has no skeletons in his closet.
5. Offers hope in every area making you glad that there is hell, judgement and holy war. The pinnacle of the book is to remind us of the goodness of God and his glorious news of salvation. Butler does this well and points us to Christ and his resurrection, he points us all the way through with these questions to the good news of the Gospel. This is not a morbid book, but a book of hope and good news.
I have only touched on a few areas and you will need to read the book for yourself to understand where I am coming from.
You can buy this book from here:
The Skeletons in God’s Closet
Whether you have these kind of questions or your mate at work does, it is defiantly worth a read. It will challenge you and help you on your journey of faith as well as help you answer your friends questions on these topics.