Book Review: 23 Minutes in Hell – Author Bill Wiese

by Bill Wiese
Published by Charisma House
Publication Date: 2006
Format: Color – 169 pages
Price: $12.99

I read an amazing book today. You could easily call it a work of fiction and a horror novel. Though the intention was not that at all. Bill Wiese the author of “23 minutes in Hell” had the rare experience of going to hell and back and living to tell about it. No i’m not talking about suffering though life’s hardships or anything of that nature. Bill’s journey was literal in that one evening he was yanked out of life’s comforts and plunged into the eternal abyss. In fact the whole purpose of this book was for one reason along. Message….

It might seem a bit of a stretch to lump a christian book into a collection of fiction based on imaginative horrors and supernatural phenomena, though this book seems as horrific as any book reviewed here. The book was an act of following though with the visions Bill had been given. Bill a self confessed christian explains his fateful night when he found himself dragged into the bowels of hell to experience it in all it’s unfortunate darkness. A painstaking scene by scene description reminded me of a movie that hadn’t been filmed yet but could possibly now in the telling of his experience. While the book goes from chapter to chapter ending with bible quotes and notes from religious historians, the quotes and passages are simply there to reinforce his explanations.

I was reminded in reading this of that film where the man was abducted by aliens and returned to tell about it. The details are at times hard to to believe while more easily dismissing them off in favor of the ranting’s of a madman. This was not unlike that at all except instead of aliens Bill had gone to place where no-one returns to tell about it.

As we are revealed his horrific details, we are also given resolves for everything seen and unseen when he finally is greeted by the Savior himself. In review it is apparent that Bill was given a purpose to spread the word on his experience. Bill believes it to be real even though he confesses to experiencing it once falling asleep. So whether you by into it or not the horrifying reality does present the question of what if? What if this place exists and everything you’ve learned or been told is a fateful reality for those who stray from God? What if external suffering is not just a metaphor but a spiritual reality. In other words a real place you can get pulled into once you die.

These and many other questions will cross your thoughts in this telling. As we journey further into the book, Bill take’s us though several chapters. One titled “confirmations” reveals stories from others who were inspired by the book or seminars that Bill has given that have led them to seek salvation. Bill dedicated a whole chapter on the issue of “can good people go to hell?” It is made very clear that hell is only avoided through acceptance of God and not good deeds. This is clearly clarified with metaphors of scenarios Bill used to drive his point home. Lastly we are entertained with Bill’s Q&A from his experience and research on hell questions. One thing that is never discarded is proof provided by scripture phrases and proverbs. I sensed that many of these inclusions came from Bill’s need to find them and reaffirm his experience rather than to simply impress readers with his bible knowledge.

The book itself I found engaging and easy to read. Rather than mixed with tiring bible speak, the bible phrase are only there for reference if you need to dig further. Though the telling is well told , clearly visually enticing and filled with purpose and reason. Horror fans may sway from such books as they often become overly preachy, though in this case I think Bill provides enough chills to scare any believer in potential outcomes. A definite read worth visiting and sitting down with. It’s not as detailed as Dante’s Inferno but in the same breath you know he’s speaking of the same place. Christians will of course see the advantage of this read and its message. Non religious types will appreciate the level of honestly given of ones own experience if not to solely convince you then to open your thoughts to the alternative of not being convinced. A great book all around that serves many purposes. Though as is it is stated many times, the real purpose is to educate on the realism and dangers of Hell itself.

http://www.charismahouse.com/

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