Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Believe in Hell

I'm often amused (and grateful) at how people misquote me for the good.  They will tell me how a sermon changed their life but when they tell me what I said I know I never said that!  But I'm glad their life was changed!  That's sweet. Or people will read a book from some spiritual giant and then forget where the idea came from but assign it to me by mistake. Excellent. Bonus points for me!

But the downside to being a public speaker or leader in general is that  you get misquoted in bad ways and often misunderstood. That can be very discouraging because there is often nothing you can do to recover. You feel defenseless in the face of gossip and much good is undermined because people assumed something to be true that wasn't.

I've appreciated being able to post written and audio versions of my messages online so people can see/hear what I really said. It would be nice if people would go to the source to get the real story but unfortunately that doesn't always happen.

I mention all this because I spoke a message on hell this summer and it seems that some people misheard me.  That happens. So let me briefly clarify my view on hell just to help those who are interested.

I believe that...

  1. hell exists because the Bible talks about it in  many places.
  2. hell is a logical result of a judgment that must come at some point from a just God.
  3. the Bible often speaks figuratively, using metaphor, so we need to  be careful  in assuming we know exactly what hell is and who will go there.
  4. put simply, hell is a place where God is not.
  5. God loves us so much he sent Jesus to save us from hell.
  6. Jesus is an expert Savior and therefore will save many more people than will be lost to hell.
  7. anyone who believes in  hell and speaks of it should speak with great humility and compassion.
  8. we are called to judge each other's moral behavior but not our eternal destiny. That's God's job.
  9. thinking Christians shouldn't be afraid to question and struggle with the concept of hell because the rest of the world does and they would appreciate hearing that we do too. But wrestling with the concept doesn't mean you disbelieve it.
  10. Christians can  hold different views on hell than me without being labeled a heretic. ( I can even learn from people that hold different views from me.)

I hope this helps to clarify any confusion that people have about my views on hell. Pass the word!

1 comment:

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