Do we really want people thinking God is an angry wrathful God ready to punish us? Don’t we want a balanced view? How will people who have been abused response to this “angry parent” picture? What about those who have had a bad experience with Christianity? Aren’t they looking for love and not condemnation?
Well the problem with your question is that it approaches the “Truth” from the viewpoint of what we humans would PREFER. Therein lies the problem….
It doesn’t matter what flavor we want, what kind of dish we want it served in, or how much sugar we would like sprinkled on it. The Truth is the Truth and it should be delivered exactly the way the Word of God delivers it.
Fully – all of the truth should be revealed, not just the easy parts, the blessing parts, the feel-good parts, the wonderful parts, etc. The awful, terrible and horrific parts are just as important and just as emphasized in Scripture.
Compassionately – the full truth should be delivered with love, compassion and concern. How can you know if it is? If your motivation is the salvation of a soul destined for hell then it is compassionate. If your motivation is to see a wasted life turned around for God’s glory and blessing, you are compassionate. If your motivation is to have the sinner see their dangerous and precarious state at all costs because you don’t want them to die without Jesus – then you are compassionate.
With Balance – the truth should be delivered with the same balance that Scripture delivers it. Heaven an hell are equally disclosed in the Bible. Neither are just a passing comment, or a quickly covered point. God’s love and His justice are equally revealed in Scripture – neither is brushed over or lightly mentioned.
In Biblical Language – we are masters at making bad things not sound so bad (fibs, affairs, alternative lifestyles, etc.). We cannot “package” the Gospel to make it more palatable to sinful men. We must proclaim it the way the Bible proclaims it. If Scriptural describes an awful, tormenting, eternal hell – we should describe it that way. If the Bible speaks of God’s anger, jealousy, wrath and vengeance – we should use the very same words. We are not a liberty to “tone down” God because we think the Bible vocabulary is too “harsh”.
So to answer your questions:
Do we really want people thinking God is an angry wrathful God ready to punish us? Yes, because the Bible declares it so. Of course, the whole reason for telling people that is so that you can tell them the GOOD NEWS that God has provided a ways to escape the punishment. God is only “ready to punish” those who reject him.
Don’t we want a balanced view? Of course. I’m have not ever taught that we should run around just preaching “hell, hell, hell” without including the answer to hell: salvation through faith and obedience to Jesus Christ.
How will people who have been abused response to this “angry parent” picture? I’m not sure how to answer that. I can only deliver the message of the Gospel how God has delivered it to us in the Bible, and trust God to deal with hurting abused people. I can explain to them the difference between a perfect loving God who has a right to be angry at sin; and a sinful, angry, human parent who in no way reflects the true nature of God in their anger.
What about those who have had a bad experience with Christianity? A bad experience with Christianity only highlights the truth about sinful men and their need for a true Savior. Our duty is to proclaim the truth. God will deal with the myriad excuses and obstacles that mankind throws up in objection to Jesus Christ. The truth is the Truth regardless of our experiences.
Aren’t they looking for love and not condemnation? Exactly. That is why it is important to teach people that they ALREADY HAVE CONDEMNATION whether they like it or not, realize it or not, believe it or not. People are looking for love. That is why we teach them the truth about heaven… and hell.