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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fear Tactic Evangelism, No Hell

The doctrine of hell, or at least preaching about it, has become equated with scare tactics. Many people fear that the description of eternal torment is simply an intimidation move to get people to consider the claims of Christ. It seems that a more loving approach is to ignore (or worse yet, deny) the reality of hell.

But in the absence of hell, what is left?

    Define sin
. What's so vile about sin? Isn't it just a minor mix up that certainly God could over look?
    Define helplessness
. What do you mean a debt I can not pay myself? Why would punishment need to be eternal? Why can't I just do some things to make up for it?
    Define the cross
. What's the point of Jesus' death? If there is no place of eternal torment, what wrath did Jesus really need to take up on the cross?

A denial of hell leaves a person with a diminished understanding of depravity, God's righteousness, Christ's atonement, and God's loving sacrifice in the midst of our helplessness. You, therefore, are left to call someone to "accept Jesus" based on the following arguments:

    Your sin will catch up with you.
Whether a disease, the law, your status with others, or even your physical life, eventually your sin will catch up to you and it won't be very pleasant. In reality, our preaching become pragmatism--calling them to pick the scenario that turns up best for them. While the person at the bottom of their rope, may respond favorably to a message of restoration (though they still may not understand the need for redemption), the person who is enjoying life at the present will not see any need from our message. Our only option to get their attention is to paint a dismal picture of their circumstances and convince them they want to avoid it.

In reality, we are placed in a position of greater manipulation and intimidation.

But to accept the doctrine of hell is both Biblical (Jesus spoke more hell than heaven) and rational (a God of justice must punish evil). We are not forced to paint a picture of terrible "what-ifs," but can just present the facts. God is righteous, we are not. He can not ignore our violations, and He didn't. He sent His Son, to be the payment for our sins and to offer us a righteous standing before God Almighty.

We do not submit to Christ simply to escape hell. We submit to Christ because He has been so good to save us, having lovingly offered His life, though we all deserve hell. Frankly, it would be scary if it wasn't that way.

4 Comments:

  • At 8:09 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Preach it!

     
  • At 8:22 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Preach it!!

     
  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    I am compelled to do so!!!!

     
  • At 9:25 PM, Blogger Shirley said…

    Came across this randomly. Good stuff. :) I read recently a big difference between many Christians... some spend their life focussed on escaping hell - it's as if they are saved and walking towards heaven but still facing hell. 'I'm saved FROM that, thank You God that You rescued me FROM Hell.' They are so busy facing what they've escaped that they forget to focus on God and a saved life to glorify Him!
    Whereas others, (and I'm trying to fit into this group) accept they are saved from Hell, but walk away from it facing heaven. Hell is at their back, it's history for them. They say, 'Thank You God for saving me FROM Hell, but I'm now so in awe of what I'm saved FOR - relationship glorifying You, the eternal God.' Their back is to Hell and they're focussed on God and His glory. Hell is still so real, but praise God that when we're saved FROM it, there's so much more to live FOR. I think that's really important to emphasise in evangelism as well... so often it's just get saved from Hell, then you're ok.
    Just my 2 cents. :)

     

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