Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

evangelism and hellfire

5/6/15

 

One might wonder if there are any Christians out there who reject the idea of eternal torment and yet retain a commitment to the necessity of evangelism. Many would probably ask why being a Christian is important if there is no hellfire to escape from. It is a very pertinent question.

 

An associated question could be directed to those who do claim belief in eternal punishment- How can you appear so nonchalant about that professed reality? How can you be so calm and largely unaffected given the obvious enormity of what you say you believe? Of course, if you look more closely you will see certain professed Christians acting in a seemingly irrational manner, expressing extreme fear and anxiety at every imagined sign of the ever expected end, with hellfire to follow. These are the rare exceptions who seem to grasp the horrific nature of what so many claim to believe.

 

Intriguingly, the most prominent pronouncement of Jesus concerning hellfire, at least in the traditional understanding, is recorded in Matthew 25. In that account the reason for some being consigned to everlasting fire is that they failed to feed the hungry, visit those in prison, and give water to the thirsty. No mention of serial killers, child molester, abortionists, or homosexuals for some strange reason. A general lack of concern for the physical welfare of fellow human beings is the cause of experiencing the fire. We don't hear much from the evangelical church about these unsettling words of Jesus. Taking Matthew 25 as the hellfire proof text includes an inherent challenge to most of the current day political rhetoric espoused by Christian evangelicals. They'd probably rather listen to something from Paul which they find more soothing to their propensity to condemn, piously preen, and self congratulate.

 

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