Patrick son of Calpurnius was accustomed to preach on the same theme, telling those who believed in the Lord of the rewards of heaven and the punishments of hell.
- Attributed to Adomnan, Fis Adomnan (Irish, 8th century)
"Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
- Matthew 10.28
Contemporary Christians are a little, shall we say, embarrassed about hell.
It seems so negative. So intolerant and judgmental. So unlike God.
Even though Jesus said it was very much like God.
The theme of hell turns up quite a bit in the literature of the Celtic Chrsitian period, as in the Fis Adomnan. Patrick showed the way in this, and God blessed his preaching accordingly.
These days we don't hear much about hell in preaching. In fact, one well known mega-church preacher is happily spreading the news that God's love wins over sin and hell in the end, and no one will have to go there after all. So what the hell! Let's all just live like hell and let the chits fall where they may!
But the bad news of hell goes hand-in-hand with the Good News of the Kingdom. Even when people reject the Gospel, they still need to know what the Bible teaches about hell and judgment. They're still in their sins, and no one but Jesus can lift them out. Their sinful condition will get worse. Five years from now they'll be thinking and saying and doing things which today they would embarrass them. And if they continue in this condition, without repentance and faith in Jesus, eternal condemnation in a hell of torment and separation from God surely awaits them.
We have to tell them what the Bible teaches, even if they don't believe it. They'll probably think we're fools for taking such teaching seriously.
But I'd rather be a fool for Christ than the bon ami of someone heading for hell.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
Check out Chuck's blog on kerygmatic pastoral care. He's got this just right. My blog on reading the Scriptures right is the first in a series (stay tuned). You'll be pleased to know that there is more evidence that science is catching up to the Bible, as reported in today's ReVision column. And if you don't believe the Law of God should have anything to do with public policy, then you need to get into the current In the Gates series, right away. Visit the bookstore, sign up for a course, get yourself a mentor, check out the schedule for the October Pastors' Fellowship. So much to do!
Don't be a stranger. And don't forget to tell your friends (that's what the Forward button is for - thanks in advance).