Saturday, March 19, 2011


The doctrine of hell, an eternal place of justice where sinners outside of Christ are separated from God eternally, is a Biblical truth. I do not relish that thought and I do not profess to know the extent of the horrors of such a place. What I do know is this:

No one really believes in hell.

What I mean is that even those of us that claim to believe in such a place, do it overwhelmingly in the doctrinal abstract. For if we truly believed in hell and allowed that belief to permeate our beings and melt our hearts, we surely would act and feel very differently. If we embraced such a reality, we might weep for our lost loved ones and neighbors. We might push aside our timidity and become a bold witness for the Savior. We might reject this entertainment laden culture and be consumed with spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and the serious nature of that call to redemption.

We might spend hours in trailing prayer begging God to use us to rescue the perishing. We might spend our money sacrificially to help send dedicated missionaries to the four corners of the world. We might feel a sense of fear and foreboding for those who walk in darkness. We might feel such gratitude for our own salvation that we offered our lives as a living sacrifice. We just might experience bouts of sleeplessness as we anguished over the eternal plight of those we know and those we do not know.

The truth is that if we actually believed in the place called hell it would radically change the way we pray, the way we give, the way we worship, the way we loved, and the way we live. But until we believe it on that level, we will have to soothe our conscience by showing our membership card in the club called "doctrinal orthodox". Read our systematic theology and you will see that we do indeed teach that we believe in hell.

Oh yes, false teachers like Rob Bell tickle the ears of millions and help allay the fears of sinners by doctrinally eviscerating what God's Word teaches. But let us not derive too much comfort from the fact that we disagree with men like Bell. In the end, most of our disagreement with false teachers is confined to words spoken and words written but with precious little living demonstrations that would substantiate our professions of faith in such a serious and eternal prospect.

If we say we believe something and it does not deeply and observably change our lives, then we do not believe it at all.

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