That Hell-and-Damnation Stuff

The best reli­gious inspi­ra­tion is humor, not the hell-and-damna­tion stuff. Barb (or is it Mary?)

Reli­gion might thrive on ear-pleas­ing humor; the same can nev­er be said of true Chris­tian­i­ty, for the source of our faith spoke a great deal about Hell & damna­tion. If we are being hon­est in ful­fill­ing the Great Com­mis­sion, teach­ing believ­ers all that Jesus has taught us, then our mes­sage should be quite full of “the hell-and-damna­tion stuff.”

8 thoughts on “That Hell-and-Damnation Stuff”

  1. While we can debate what Jesus said to whom and when, Jesus was most­ly uplift­ing when speak­ing to a gen­er­al audience.

    You have not been giv­en the author­i­ty to rant at God’s chil­dren. If your neigh­bor’s child is mak­ing too much noise, do you go and scream at the child? Do you tell the child of all the awful pun­ish­ments his par­ents are going to mete out to him? No, you gen­tly instruct the child to play qui­eter. If that does not work, you go to the child’s par­ent. You do this out of respect to both the child and the par­ent. How much more should you respect God as Father?

    If you scream at the child and issue dire warn­ings, the child will only fear and resent you. Soon you will have accom­plished your pur­pose as the child will cer­tain­ly avoid you as much as pos­si­ble, but was that real­ly the best result? Would it not have been bet­ter for you to have earned the respect of the child and to have instruct­ed him in prop­er behavior?

    In the same way, we can­not help the lost chil­dren of God by hop­ing to instill fear in them. A prop­er fear of God does not come from some­one else. It comes from an under­stand­ing with­in. What we must do is love and lead and help and pray to the Father. That is all we have the author­i­ty to do.

  2. Hell is real. Hell is eternal.

    Both state­ments are denied and reject­ed by the reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tives in my neck of the woods. It makes me pray more.

    Thank God that in Christ, we are tru­ly safe.

  3. Paul, I fear that you have for­got­ten the exam­ple of the Bible. It is true that when speak­ing to com­mon sin­ner’s Jesus did not speak much of hell or judg­ment. Sin­ner’s already knew that was their lot, and were already con­vict­ed of their sin. It was most often to the pious reli­gious hyp­ocrites that Jesus spoke of hell and judgment.

    How­ev­er, the apos­tles did not mince words when speak­ing about hell. They spoke long and loud about it, but always brought it into the con­text of God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice.

    Your anal­o­gy of the ‘Child next door’ breaks down in many places. If your neigh­bor, unbe­known to the child, was going to come home and dip the child in brim-stone and fire, I would cer­tain­ly warn the child. So would you. We are not speak­ing of a mere spank­ing but eter­nal judg­ment. “Flee from the wrath to come” is the most lov­ing mes­sage we can give to a world doomed for destruc­tion. Any­thing less is anti-bib­li­cal, un-lov­ing, and anti-sym­pa­thet­ic to peo­ple that will in <100 years be in hell.

  4. If you wish to win them back, you must walk with Christ, not the South­ern Bap­tists. Mod­ern fun­da­men­tal­ism, cre­at­ed in the 19th cen­tu­ry to stand in oppo­si­tion to mod­ern cul­ture, is a failed method of win­ning souls to Christ.

    I will let you say, “Flee from the wrath to come!”, and I will pick them up and cher­ish them in their times of need. Then we will see who wins their hearts to God.

  5. It is one thing to give a warn­ing, but to give a warn­ing to some­one who does not believe you is use­less. We mis­un­der­stand the chal­lenge. We have lost the faith.

  6. Paul Zan­nuc­ci: Thanks for vis­it­ing King­dom Front, Paul, and thanks for your comments!

    I have to respect­ful­ly dis­agree with what you have said, though, agree­ing with both those who have already commented.

    I strong­ly sug­gest Ezekiel 3:17–21. That pas­sage above all oth­ers comes to mind when think­ing about the task of evan­ge­lism. Ezekiel is told by God that if God says the wicked will die, then if they are not warned, the peo­ple who are charged with warn­ing them will be held account­able. The mes­sage is not sug­ar­coat­ed: Repent, or per­ish! That is the mes­sage of John the Bap­tist, Jesus Christ, the Apostles…

    When we go forth and preach, “Believe, and go to Heav­en,” we soft­en the mes­sage and tick­le plen­ty of ears, but we miss the sever­i­ty of the Gospel. Far too many peo­ple believe for the sake of what they can gain. I see this far too often in the Word-Faith, pros­per­i­ty, and oth­er such move­ments today, and I see it in the mul­ti­tudes which fol­lowed Christ around look­ing to be healed or oth­er­wise blessed.

    When peo­ple do not per­ceive the depth of their sin and the wrath which they have invoked from an angry God, it is quite like­ly that they will not seek to expose the sin of oth­ers, “snatch­ing them out of the fire” (Jude 23).

    We are giv­en a mes­sage to preach, and the mod­el of Jesus was “Repent or per­ish, believe or per­ish… Those who believe not are already con­demned.” You see, I don’t have to claim some spe­cial author­i­ty to tell an unbe­liev­er they are Hell-bound; Jesus has already pro­claimed it, and as a saint, priest, and ser­vant of Christ, I am tasked with teach­ing the whole of His Word, even those parts which I may be uncom­fort­able with.

    The bot­tom line is, the Gospel is offen­sive. To preach it will offend many, and that is to be expect­ed. It isn’t the telling of the Gospel which lures peo­ple in; it isn’t the tone of our voice or even the words we choose. God expects us only to be obe­di­ent to His call to preach. Those who will be saved will be dragged by the Father to the feet of Christ and giv­en faith to believe in Him. We “play a part” only in our obe­di­ence, but it is God who gives the increase. Nev­er lose site of that, even if you don’t appre­ci­ate some­one else’s means of telling the Gospel. (Bot­tom line is, every­one who God has cho­sen to be saved will be saved, regard­less of how screwed up our meth­ods of evan­ge­lism may or may not be. We’ll be held account­able, sure, but we’re not going to throw off God’s plans; He would­n’t be much of a God if we could do that!)

  7. Paul,

    Thank you for com­ment­ing at King­dom Front! :) It’s always nice to see new faces and hear (well, read, but that’s just tech­in­cal stuff that nobody but peo­ple like me real­ly care about) fresh opinions.

    But, like Rick, Todd, and Bran­don, I must respect­ful­ly dis­agree with you. I appre­ci­ate your con­cern for the love of God, I real­ly do. I think that’s an awe­some trait for all Chris­tians to have. But when I think about it, and maybe when you think about it, the love of God in Christ is nev­er more pre­cious when con­trast­ed to the wrath of God in hell.

    Let’s be hon­est here, Paul. Sin­ners love their sin too much to even begin to desire God’s love. Yes, it is true that Jesus came to take away our sins, and that is an act of love. But why should any­one real­ly care about that when noth­ing bad is going to hap­pen if we per­sist in liv­ing in sin?

    John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eter­nal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

    That is the entire Gospel mes­sage, and it is a dis­ser­vice to any­one if we should ever for­get or refuse to tell them the last part. Jesus was unashamed to tell us that, there­fore we should be unashamed to tell oth­ers that.

    Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heav­en against all ungod­li­ness and unright­eous­ness of men who sup­press the truth in unrighteousness.”

    Any­one who is not a Chris­t­ian is nat­u­ral­ly sup­press­ing the truth of God in unright­eous­ness, and it is those peo­ple who you and I are try­ing to save, those peo­ple with whom “the wrath of God is revealed.”

    Rev­e­la­tions 14:9–10, “Then anoth­er angel, a third one, fol­lowed them, say­ing with a loud voice, ‘If any­one wor­ships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his fore­head or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tor­ment­ed with fire and brim­stone in the pres­ence of the holy angels and in the pres­ence of the Lamb.’ ”

    Look at that direct bib­li­cal state­ment. It’s not a pret­ty one, I’ll tell you that much right now. Jesus want­ed John to record this prophe­cy, warn­ing any­one and every­one that if they wor­ship the beast instead of Jesus Christ, they will be “tor­ment­ed with fire and brim­stone.” They will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger.” I know that you don’t want that to hap­pen to any­one, but no one is going to lis­ten to you unless you tell them about the pun­ish­ment they will sure­ly receive.

    Let me try to explain it this way: A sci­en­tist dis­cov­ers the cure to omnipolyleukiscol­iri­ousis, a very, very, very rare dis­ease. Sure, that’s great news. But I don’t suf­fer from omnipolyleukiscol­iri­ousis, and nei­ther do you, or any­one else. Only five peo­ple in the entire his­to­ry of the world have been record­ed to suf­fer from this dis­ease, and none of them are liv­ing right now. So what good does a cure do for me when I don’t even have the disease?

    On the oth­er hand, every­one suf­fers from sin. Not only are they sick with sin, but they are dead in sin. Jesus not only is the cure, but He is the Life. Since I’m dead in sin, I need this Life. But I would nev­er know I was dead in sin unless some­one had told me I was dead in sin, and no one would have ever told me I was dead in sin unless they felt the God-giv­en need to tell me. And sure, in my sin­ful state, I resent­ed their act of char­i­ty. I avoid­ed them, hat­ed them, scorned them. But when God con­vert­ed me to His Son Jesus Christ, I felt noth­ing but love and grate­ful­ness for that per­son who, in love and faith, spoke the truth to me. It was the best thing she had ever done for me, best thing she ever could have done, and it was the thing she was sup­posed to do because faith can­not come but by the preach­ing of God’s Word.

    You are right, Paul. We are meant to do every­thing in love for one anoth­er. But let us not for­get what came first.

    Eph­esians 4:15, “Speak the truth in love.”

    Always speak the truth, even if it is a “hell-and-damna­tion” kind of truth. But speak that truth in love.

    It was a plea­sure talk­ing with you, Paul, and I hope you will con­sid­er what we have all said. If you have any ques­tions, please don’t hes­i­tate to ask.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rick Beckman