“He also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” Revelations 14:10-11
I realize this post will not get many “great post” comments from people but I have been burdened by this question. I think the abundance of silence about the reality of hell is what has caused me to think about why we are silent. Why exactly are fewer people warning about hell and what has been the effect on our society?
Ok so lets get past the obvious- hell is not a fun, uplifting or joyful conversation. Even now the thought of it makes me tremble. I get that and understand that no one wants to talk about hell…but that leads to a big problem. If churches and by extension, Christians, are not warning people about hell, then who is? If not us, who will? I can guarantee that I won’t find anyone writing about this topic in any fashion magazine. I know I won’t hear about it on The View or a Ted talk. It is barely even spoken in “those churches.” Even evangelists and missionaries rarely mention it. As historian Martin Marty noted, “Hell disappeared. And no one noticed.”
The church is overwhelmingly silent on the most pressing issue before man- God’s judgement. We speak about God’s grace, forgiveness and salvation yet fail to mention why those are necessary. Hell is the big, fat, smoking red, burning elephant in the room. I will say this plainly…If nobody talks about hell, not even the church, how will anyone be warned of it? And even more importantly, why should anyone even consider it something to take seriously if we – the church, don’t take it seriously enough to warn about it?
If we believe hell is real, then we should be pleading with others. The church should be shouting and warning and praying. We should be getting dirty in the trenches, on our knees in prayer weeping for every unbeliever that we know. The silence of the church concerning hell is one of the greatest victories of the devil.
We wonder why the church’s influence in the culture is diminishing…I believe it’s partly because we have spent so much time telling the culture that “God loves them” and less time warning them that the cross of Christ is a foreshadow of the wrath to come. After all, why would Jesus bear God’s wrath and die a sinner’s death if what awaited us wasn’t frightening?
Oh Christians, we must warn them! We must take courage, accept the cost of being faithful to the full counsel of God and look at those we love and warn them to flee from the wrath to come. We must suffer the reproach of the Gospel. Do we not realize that the cross and the gospel make no sense outside of the actual, terrible reality of hell? Should we really be silent about hell when our Savior wasn’t? The Gospel isn’t about God helping man live their best life, the cross is a literal, visual warning to every human being of what awaits them.
Unlike every other religion, only Christianity speaks about a fixed, definitive end. We are warned that there is no escape, no second chance, no temporary punishment. There is only this one brief lifetime for man to repent and believe the Gospel. If you truly believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then go out and boldly proclaim that outside of Jesus man will die in their sins.
Yes, speaking about hell will cause us to lose friends and churches to lose congregants, but at least we will have known we were faithful to God, not man’s truth. At least their blood will not be on our hands: “If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.” Ezekiel 3:18
Should Christians warn about hell? You better believe we should. As author Maurice Rawlings noted in his book “To Hell and Back”, outside of Jesus it is not safe for man to die. The full weight of the debt of sin hangs upon every last person who has not believed the Gospel. So yes, we should speak about grace but we must no longer be silent about hell.