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.

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