I use and love Logos Bible Software for my Bible study and seminary work. It really is an amazing piece of software. You can amass such a huge library of books and resources that all connect and sync up to one another.
The one problem is that they can only put the time and resources into putting out books that people will actually buy. This means that their library selection has long been skewed towards a certain demographic: American Conservative Evangelicals, usually of the “Neo-Reformed” variety.
I don’t tend to like the books that are geared for this market. Their theological assumptions seem to come first, and the text seems to often come second. I love reading robust, scholarly commentaries and books that help grow and stretch me; books that focus on the messiness of Scripture and how it is historically and culturally conditioned. Yes, this means I end up preferring writings from “liberal” (God, I hate that term) perspectives and institutions, even if my actual theological conclusions are fairly conservative.
So it’s been frustrating to me that Logos was lacking in this scholarship and thinking for some time. But in the past year, I’ve noticed this changing. More and more commentary series and scholarship book bundles are coming out by Logos that I am loving (though my bank account hasn’t). Maybe I just never noticed them before, I don’t know. But either way, I’m noticing it now, and I’m really happy.
Or rather, I was.
A couple of nights ago, I was perusing their sales, and ran across the book Eliminating Satan and Hell (here’s an Amazon link). Now this is really different than what they normally put up. And I was happy to see it! Not necessarily because I agree (or disagree) with it, but because I love seeing diversity and opposing views present within this setting.
But I was in the severe minority, I guess. These are actual comments from other Logos customers that were posted on the page:
Nice to know when deciding which logos books to buy I need to watch for blatant heresy…
It seems to me that there has been a change of some sort out there in Washington State [where Logos is based]…and NOT a good one. I’m sure that you’d say you’re becoming more “scholarly” or more “academic” or (yuk!) more “inclusive”.
I am truly appalled…I have always been comfortable in the past when I open Logos to go into my study of the word; to be quite frank I guess I thought of the whole organization as a part of my Christian family. Now I have to brace myself when I click that icon because I don’t know what I might see. Our school systems have given way to evolutionism and rejected creationism…Logos has been like a supply house of Christian resources and helps, but apparently the battle for this ground is underway. I have invested a decent amount of my resources into Logos, but I am struggling now every time I think of adding to my library because I’m not so sure what I am supporting anymore.
“All Scripture is inspired by God,” and the Bible’s truth and accuracy has stood the test of time. Why would Logos want to publish a book, the avowed purpose of which is to “challenge the myths” in it, because “our conclusions about hell and Satan must not conflict with the basic science that we know today?” History has shown that it is science that has been forced to change over the centuries, ever bringing it more and more in agreement with what the Bible has said all along.
One more example of all that Logos is offering as a “bookstore”. Sad really. Even sadder..the Logos people defending this litter. I may borrow this from a library one day (afterall keeping up with recent heresy is occasionally important) but I would never actually pay for it or pollute my Logos books with this.
Oh good Lord. There are so many problems with this.
But unfortunately, don’t we see this all the time? Evangelicals can’t seem to stand the very existence of there being something out there in the world that they disagree with that still calls itself “Christian”. There seems to be, at least according to their actions, only one singular “right” way to be a Christian (doctrinally, politically, ecclesially, etc.).
They might pay occasional lip service to ecumenism and cooperation with other views, but the boundary lines have often been drawn so narrowly as to keep Evangelicals from having to engage with someone they truly and deeply disagree with. I suppose they’re afraid they’ll “catch it” or something.
Now, I’m not being angry and sarcastic just because, as a fairly young man, railing against the powers that be is sort of what we do. I’ve watched this Evangelical insecurity ruin lives, churches, institutions, people, families, and cause countless people I’ve known to leave Christianity altogether. Heck, I was a pretty good solider for Evangelicalism back in the day. And I hurt a lot of people.
We’ve got to get over this fear. Jesus and Satan are not in some arm-wrestling match (see above) for the sake of the world. The world and Jesus’ victory do not hang in the balance of people’s views on Hell, gay rights, women in ministry, baptism, inerrancy, or even Adam and Eve. We’ve got to stop seeing Christianity as a zero-sum game where we’re all fighting for limited territory, all other Christians be damned (literally).
As one of my favorite thinkers might say, we need to move away from a theological economics of scarcity, to a theological economics of abundance.
As I wrote the other day, as the world grows ever more secular, and Christianity loses its societal privilege, my hope is that these sorts of disagreements seem more and more petty, and we truly learn to live, love, and serve one another well.
As for the whole hell aspect, and whether this book’s view is such an aberrant opinion, I’ll leave you with my old post of random thoughts on hell and this list of early Church Fathers speaking in favor of Universalism. Have fun.