Skip to main content

Grill A Christian: How Can You Believe in Hell?

 If you’re a Christian, you have probably tried to share the gospel with someone.  One objection to the Christian faith which I find comes up often here in the UK is the whole matter of hell.  It is an objection which usually closes the British mind to any fair presentation of the gospel. “I could never believe in a God which punishes people like that.  How can I believe in your “loving God” which tortures people for all eternity?”  Often times Christians don’t know how to respond and get intimidated by this objection.  What are we to do?

1.       Understand that this strong emotional objection is partially a cultural one.  In other parts of the world, people do not reject Christianity because of its teaching on hell in the same way.  In the Middle East people often easily understand the necessity of hell.  What they can’t understand is the idea of “God having a son”.  Likewise when the gospel first came to the Angles and the Saxons on these islands, it wasn’t the concept of hell but rather that of forgiveness which offended the honour bound tribes from which we are descended.  Our objection to the idea of hell shows us how much a product of our culture we actually are.  It is based on western, post-enlightenment ideas of the goodness of human nature and individual rights.  Not all humanity in space and time shares these ideas.

2.       I believe in hell because I don’t believe Jesus was a liar.  Often times I am asked, “How could a God of love send people to hell?”  I like to respond to the question with a question: “Who said God was a God of love?”  This usually throws the person a bit. “Umm, err, don’t you Christians believe that?  Didn’t Jesus teach that?”  To which one can reply, “Yes, Jesus did teach that God loves the world.  Also, everything we know about hell comes primarily from the teachings of Jesus.  I don’t believe Jesus lied.  Perhaps we as 21st century Westerners don’t understand everything there is to know about love?”

3.       Ultimately hell shows us how much God loves us.  Hell is the price Jesus paid on the cross to love you and me.  The idea of a God who simply has feelings of love for the world may warm the soul like a vanilla latte.  However a love that doesn’t become incarnate and pay the price of nails and thorns will never transform the human heart.  Jesus drank the hellish cup of a holy God’s hatred of evil in the greatest voluntary substitution the universe will ever know.  Only a Christ suffering the fullness of hell and simultaneously saying “I love you” can make a man leap up and sing with tears, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, which saved a wretch like me!”


Popular posts from this blog

Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend

[Response to the letter Dear Non-Affirming Christian]
Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend,

Thank you for taking the time to write me. Sadly, it seems you misunderstand why I met with you for coffee. Please let me explain my motives by defining the words in my salutation above. Would this be too terrible a way to go about it?
Let’s start with ‘friend’ shall we? You rightly question this term as an accurate description of our relationship. For now, let's simply say I mean it as an expression of goodwill. But we will return to it again at the end of the letter.
Then there's this term, 'pro-gay'. By this, I don't mean your personal sexual urges. There have historically been―and are today―countless godly leaders in the church who have deep sexual and romantic attractions to people of the same gender. In spite of their desires, they remain celibate and teach orthodox views of gender and marriage. In your letter, you repeatedly refer to me as a ‘non-affirming Christian’, but I affi…

Jezebel: Our Whorable Queen

[Extract from the bookElijah Men Eat Meat]

Ahab married Jezebel, then he proceeded to worship Baal.’ -1Kg 16
Queen Jezebel is a Baal-snogging, fake-teaching, boob-flaunting, pride-marching, man-manipulating, Yahweh-blaspheming, prophets’ blood-drinking monstrosity of a female.
And that’s being nice.
This daughter of Ethbaal, the Phoenician King, grows up surrounded by power, education, luxury, and evil. Of course, she doesn’t think of it as evil. No one sees their culture’s sins for what they are. It is like air to a child or water to a fish: it’s so much a part of us that we don’t even know it is there. She thinks her culture is the rule by which others should be measured. Yes, Israel is used to being surrounded by pagan neighbours and their debauched royalty. But now we have a problem. The problem is that this ghoulish gal now has a throne in the midst of God’s holy nation. It’s one thing for a boat to be in the sea. It’s quite another thing for the sea to be in the boat. And the nati…

Driscoll Returns, ‘Christian Today’ Melts.

Sometimes in the course of events, a peculiar thing happens that then triggers a response more peculiar still. This is what we now see with the return of Pastor Mark Driscoll to the church scene.
For those unfamiliar with the drama, Mark Driscoll was a church planter and Bible teacher who made a big impact in the least churched city in the USA: Seattle. Thousands professed faith in Christ through his ministry. But he left the church that he had started under dark circumstances. No, it wasn’t adultery as is so often the case with some of these big-name preachers. Rather, it was heavy-handed leadership―resulting in many spiritually crushed church members―that drove him to resign.
Now, three years later, he is leading a new church and many are downloading his sermons once again. This is not without some valid controversy―for reasons we’ll mention soon. But what is most noticeable is not his peculiar return. It is the reaction among those who lean left of classical Christian teaching: the …