Saturday, September 21, 2013

Eternal Separation from God

Not your grandfather's Hell...

Every American male who occupies a pulpit today, along with every American pew-sitter, has been raised on television.  And the comedies, the dramas, the news, and every other type of programming is a constant diet of the world's wisdom. 

This is important to understand, because the world's wisdom teaches us that the Hell described in the Bible is an unreasonable punishment.  There may be a creator, but Hell is not fathomable.   Hell is the stuff of jokes. 

Based upon everything I've absorbed in 55 years of listening to the world, it's hard for me to believe in Hell.  This is because my default position is to filter God through what I've learned from the world.  I have to stop and think if I want to filter the world's wisdom through what I've learned about God in scripture.

I've been purchasing and downloading sermons by Jonathon Edwards, Wesley, Spurgeon, and other pre-mass-media preachers.  These were serious dudes who talked much more about repentance and obedience than grace.  They didn't tell jokes from the pulpit.  And, for them, Hell was as the Bible described, not the more palatable concept of being separated from God.

Maybe they had read:  “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. – Revelation 14:10

The worst thing that could happen to a soul would be to spend eternity in Hell.  Why would anyone that cared about souls dress up this horror with a euphemism?  Why would they attempt to palliate such a tragedy with the almost innocuous phrase separation from God? 

I think I know why:  The world's wisdom tells them that it's not cool to use the word Hell.  They believe God sounds more reasonable and fair if they use the euphemism.  Simple as that.

So the next time I hear a media-satiated believer with a Bible College Degree honor the world by using the phrase Eternal Separation from God... I'm going to take a stand... I'm going to get up and walk out.

It's the right thing to do.

Evangelist Dwight L Moody died in 1899.  It is said that he never preached on Hell without breaking down in tears.  Obviously the wisdom of the world escaped him.


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