Question: In a future edition of the newsletter, I would like to see an evaluation of Mr. Wiese's book, 23 Minutes In Hell. I have serious doubts that God selected this man to show us a glimpse of hell.
Response: As we have noted, there are any number of books, both secular and purportedly Christian, which deal with so-called eyewitness accounts of heaven and hell (as in the case of Bill Wiese). Along with near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences, we cannot recommend any of these books, videos, or audio presentations. Many introduce clearly extrabiblical ideas and the accounts demonstrably contain narrative contradictions.
In the case of Mr. Wiese, he has highlighted his live presentations with clips from Hollywood productions, where all sorts of imagery are said to greatly resemble what he saw during his "23 minutes in hell." These demons are actively engaged in tormenting individuals in ways that seem to be intensified versions of torments found on earth.
While acknowledging that Satan and demons will be consigned to the Lake of Fire, he then goes on to say, "However, I believe Scripture indicates that currently in hell (Sheol or Hades), God does allow the demons to torment lost souls..." and admits, "This may not be absolutely conclusive in Scripture, and some theologians may disagree; however, I believe there are enough verses to consider this torment to be more than conjecture. What Scripture says is all that matters, not what I have to say. I am simply reporting the events" (p. 130-31).
Wiese may be merely "reporting" the events, but the imagery he has used in his presentations is certainly not faithful to Scripture. He writes, "...truth is found in the pages of the Bible. But there are many who do not want to recognize God's Word as truth because of the light it sheds on our sin" (p. 84). The Word also sheds light on whether any experience we have is biblical and therefore from God. Consequently, though Wiese quotes numerous Scriptures, they have little to do with his supposed revelations.
For example, he quotes Deuteronomy:32:22-24: "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, And shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat and bitter destruction: I will also send against them the teeth of beasts upom them, with the poison of serpents of the dust." Wiese then concludes that in hell "...there are teeth of beasts upon you." Then are we also to believe that there are archers in hell? One can see how careless usage of Scripture opens the door for a number of problems.