Pseudo Evangelism versus Biblical Evangelism (Part Three....Hell)
"How could a loving God send anyone to Hell"? How many times have we heard these type of statements from people that reject the Bible and the truth of the gospel? Many times, only if you actually are sharing the true gospel of Christ! Four months ago, I read a startling article about the belief system of supposed Christians about the subject of Hell. Six out of Ten professing American Christians believe that there is no literal place called Hell. A staggering Eight out of Ten in Europe claim to hold to the same belief that Hell is not really a place. Obviously, this is a problem when we approach the Bible as a literal book that speaks of a literal place called Hell and the judgement of God over 230 times in the New Testament alone!
Sadly, this is not just a problem amongst "professing" Christians, this is a huge problem when it comes to sharing the gospel. I read five gospel tracts this week, here is the summation about the judgment of God in all five:
"Because you have sinned, these sins must be paid for." - Tract #1
"Sin has a price tag, and that price tag was paid for on the Cross." - Tract #2
"Sin has separated you from God." - Tract #3
"Because of our choices, we have to pay the price for our actions." - Tract #4
"Because of sin, we are separated from God and that separation is unnecessary because of Jesus' cross." - Tract #5
Let me quickly say, I appreciate Gospel Tracts, I believe every Christian should be in the habit of carrying them and distributing them. But I want you to notice how weak all five of these statements are about the wrath and judgement of God. There is a trend in our evangelistic efforts to remove all offense at all costs and "REPACKAGE" the subject of Hell and eternal retribution. We repackage the subject by throwing Romans 6:23 into the mix and claiming that we have warned sinners about the judgment of God. It is almost as if we are selling the gospel by emphasizing the positive points of the Cross but completely eliminating one of the main reasons why the Cross was so necessary. Hell is under fire not only by the unbelieving world, it is also under fire and attack by those who are claiming to be sharing the gospel of Christ.
We would call anyone who denies a literal Hell a modernist or a liberal in the theological world, but our presentation of the judgment of God is so weak, I am afraid that we should classify ourselves as that some times. Hell is not just a place, Hell is a punishment for rejecting the gospel of God, we must warn sinners of this place. The biggest reason we are afraid to emphasize the judgment of God is because we are not bringing men and women to a place of utter helplessness before God. When a man realizes that he is utterly helpless before God to save himself, he will not deny eternal retribution in Hell, he will submit himself to what God says about the subject and believe that Hell is his destiny unless he turns to Christ. Again, this is why it is so important to use the Law of God to bring men to a place where they cannot save themselves and need a Savior.
I was sharing the gospel with a cab driver two months ago who was ready to pray anything that I wanted him to pray and was willing to believe that he had broken God's Law and Christ had taken His place. When I began to deal with the subject of Hell, his immediate response to me was "I know that I am a sinner, but I am not as bad as Adolf Hitler, God surely would not put me in the same Hell as He would put Adolf Hitler in!" Did you catch that, he was still justifying himself and attempting to declare himself as too righteous to accept God's punishment of Hell. The pride in his heart would not allow him to humble himself as a little child and believe the gospel of Christ. A man has no need to be saved until he realizes what he is being saved from.
While speaking with an evangelist friend last week, he relayed this story to me: He was preaching a revival meeting in a well-known church, after the second night of the meeting, a man approached him that wanted to be saved. The evangelist shared the gospel with the man, but the man would not acknowledge that he deserved to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. My friend pleaded with this man to humble his heart before God and stop justifying himself, but the man refused. Afterwards, the man approached a Sunday School teacher in the church and told him that he wanted to be saved, the Sunday School teacher foolishly led the man in the sinner's prayer without ever once asking him any questions. The man approached my friend the next evening and said these very words: "I asked Jesus to save me last night, I am glad that He accepted me even though I do not believe what you believe about Hell." Friends, that man did not reject my friends teaching, he rejected the teachings of Scripture. There is a man whose heart is still lifted in pride against God and His standard, that is not salvation, that is an unanswered prayer.
If a man believes the gospel, that same man will believe the consequences of rejecting the gospel. Do not cheapen the gospel by eliminating the doctrine of Hell from your presentation of it. If a man rejects the teaching of Hell, he is still in his sins. The eternal nature of Hell is simply because the eternal nature of salvation. Either a man will experience the Second Death or He will experience the Second Birth. The only way to escape the Second Death in Hell is to embrace Christ alone and experience the Second Birth. Let us warn men with tears and let us teach the whole counsel of God.