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Question:
Today our Pastor brought a lesson about Hell. I was at first encouraged because he has typically avoided tough topics like sin or hell. In the end, I was thoroughly disappointed because it ended up being a “life can be hell, and Jesus can fix it” sermon. What are your thoughts about that?

Answer:

This whole “living without God during this life is ‘hell’” or “life can be hell” is just “Osteen-lite”. It’s feel good, watered-down pop culture Christianity. I hate it when HELL is diminished with such pabulum. Hell is a real place of torment, darkness and separation. It is not lightly analogous to an unpleasant and “unvictorious” life here on earth. That is pop culture vomit that only serves to keep people from thinking about the reality of eternal damnation, which is every bit as real as eternal salvation.

NO MATTER HOW BAD THIS LIFE BECOMES IT IS NOT, CANNOT AND WILL NEVER BE EVEN MORE THAN JUST A MOMENTARY AND SUPERFICIAL TASTE OF WHAT THE REALITY OF ACTUAL HELL WILL BE…. To even compare the worst of this life as “hell” is a long standing Satanic ploy to diminish the true nature of the eternal Hell that awaits those who reject Jesus Christ.

I’m amazed at some of my otherwise sound Brethren who teach a real, physical eternal heaven, but deny its counterpart with the doctrine of Annihilation (by whatever name or description) because it is not “God’s nature to punish endlessly”. Of course some fancy prooftexting and interpretation of Scripture is added to give it an air of Biblical support, but in the end, Jesus warned us more about hell than he taught about heaven.

Hell is never shown to be anything in Scripture except a real, eternal, specific place of punishment* that PEOPLE CHOOSE TO GO TO (as opposed to God sends them there because He is vindictive, takes pleasure in punishment, or God forbid, chose from eternity past to CREATE PEOPLE to go there and they have no chance to be saved, aka Calvinism). Hell is real and eternal*, hardly any point could be more clear in Scripture.

(Note: let me save us some time… I won’t debate Calvinism, just agree to disagree please. I’ve been on both sides of the Calvinistic fence; no, I’m not Arminian… but I’m not a Calvinist, and NO, it doesn’t have to be one or the other).

Let me say something VERY judgmental and purposely confrontational: any Bible teacher or Preacher who spits out that kind of pop culture spiritual milk (soured milk) has either 1) not really thought about what he is saying, 2) has been overly influenced by the feel-good “Jesus will improve your life” Christian culture, or 3) is deficient in Biblical understanding and should not be teaching given that they are going to incur a greater judgment (James 3:1, a verse that regularly sends chills down my back).

One of the greatest disservices we can ever do to our family, friends and those we Shepherd is to avoid, water down or diminish what God Almighty and Jesus Our Lord routinely communicated about an eternal hell that awaits all those who die without forgiveness through faith in Christ Jesus.

What does “positive thinking” or “negativity” really mean when the REALITY of eternity is ONLY two choices: heaven or hell? If we only have two choices, do you really think it’s helpful, smart or effective to avoid teaching about one of them? God inspired Scripture about it. Jesus warned about it. Paul taught about it. But I guess we are just wiser than them, right? We realize that teaching about Hell will keep people from wanting to come to Jesus… only “love” and an “abundant” life attracts people, right?

Somebody should have educated God before He allowed them to muck up the Bible with all that negative stuff.

*Hell

  1. The place of disembodied spirits. Ac 2:31.
  2. And a place of torment. Lu 16:23.
  3. Destruction from the presence of God. 2Th 1:9.
  4. Everlasting punishment. Mt 25:46.
  5. Everlasting fire. Mt 25:41.
  6. Everlasting burnings. Isa 33:14.
  7. A furnace of fire. Mt 13:42,50.
  8. A lake of fire. Re 20:15.
  9. Fire and brimstone. Re 14:10.
  10. Unquenchable fire. Mt 3:12.
  11. Devouring fire. Isa 33:14.
  12. Prepared for the devil, &c. Mt 25:41.
  13. Devils are confined in, until the judgment day. 2Pe 2:4; Jude 1:6.
  14. Punishment of, is eternal. Isa 33:14; Re 20:10.
  15. The wicked shall be turned into. Ps 9:17.
  16. Human power cannot preserve from. Eze 32:27.
  17. The body suffers in. Mt 5:29; 10:28.
  18. The soul suffers in. Mt 10:28.
  19. The wise avoid. Pr 15:24.

(This list: Torrey, R. (1995, c1897). The new topical text book : A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos research Systems, Inc.)

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