God hates sin and so does author Mark Allen. Thus, Allen offers his hard-hitting manifesto, God Loves People, But He Hates Sin. If you’re not clear about what such a title means, the author add this unflinching subtitle to clarify: Heaven or Hell: The Choice Is Yours.
Allen argues that, “a lot of pastors will not talk about the topics that I cover in this book.” With boldness, he drives home his unquestioning belief that sin separates people from God, leading sinners down the crooked road to hell. Hell is real, he adds: “…if you are wrong about God…, you will spend eternity in hell where you will suffer in torment forever.”
To save his readers from such a destiny, Allen spends his longest chapter detailing “Who Are the Unrighteous?” Citing Bible scriptures, Allen rolls out a targeted list of sinners: fornicators, adulterers, idolaters, thieves, revilers, gamblers, drunkards, extortionists, the covetous and, finally, homosexuals–for whom Allen devotes an entire chapter. Folks in these groups are “unthankful and unholy and have no convictions about the sins they commit or how they treat others,” says Allen. “Simply put, the unrighteous are people who will go to hell if they do not repent.”
That’s a lot of hard preaching, and it makes up the whole of Allen’s short book. That approach, however, can feel more condemning than convicting. An epilogue statement that “I am not writing to insult or attack anyone but to help set free those who are lost or confused” doesn’t soften this sting. Moreover, reminders that “God loves us” are overwhelmed by Allen’s harsher putdowns and warnings.
The author might have written instead a simple personal story, revealing his own struggles with sin and explaining how faith and a loving God helped him overcome. Such a treatment could bring more readers to his view. Instead, Allen chose to preach. Did he succeed? Many will feel otherwise.
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