CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Yes It Is Loving To Tell Sinners About Hell

Apr 11, 2019

It always happens: whenever a devout Christian does the biblical thing and calls out sin, pleads with sinners, and warns of judgment to come, plenty of other Christians will come out of the woodwork and attack them. These are usually armchair critics who never share their faith in public, but they sure take offence when real-deal Christians DO share their faith.

Sorry, but I will side with the true believers every day of the week. I want nothing to do with all the spineless wonders out there who do nothing for the Kingdom but are always ready to criticise those who do. They are cowards who prefer to keep everybody happy while allowing lost sinners to effortlessly drift right into hell.

Shame on these carnal Christians. It is time they became a little bit biblically literate. They need to learn about some basic biblical beliefs. And here are a few of these non-negotiable Christian truths:

-we are all sinners
-all sinners are headed to a lost eternity
-Jesus came and died to take our penalty for sin
-those who repent and turn to Christ in faith can be made right with God
-those who do not are still at enmity with God and hell awaits them
-the most loving thing a believer can do for a sinner is tell him these truths

True love warns. A Christian who really loves people urgently wants to tell them the truth. He is not ashamed of the gospel, and he knows it is what every person on the planet desperately needs to hear. He will not remain silent as long as one sinner still needs to hear the truth.

But today’s churches – at least in the West –are filled with cowardly and compromised pew-warmers who actually do not believe any of this. They actually think it is wrong to warn the sinner about hell. They think we should just be ‘nice,’ and seek not to offend anybody.

They obviously have never read much of the New Testament. Everywhere Jesus and the disciples went, they offended people, they upset people, they enraged people, and they provoked people. That is because sinners naturally do NOT want to hear the gospel.

It is what they need to hear, but they hate it when people share it with them. And Jesus made all this perfectly clear in John 3:19-20: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”

All this has erupted once again since a well-known athlete has again dared to share his faith in public. For saying that we are sinners heading to hell unless we repent, rugby star Israel Folau is being dumped on by nearly everyone. All hell has broken loose (no pun intended), and everyone is ready to string him up.

While we expect non-Christians to be outraged at what he said, it is a real worry when so many Christians also go into full-tilt attack mode. As I wrote in my previous article, plenty of these armchair critics have come out to criticise him: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/11/israel-folau-the-apostle-paul-and-the-gospel/

And I have already had to deal with a number of these Christian critics. As but one example, on one social media site where I posted my Israel Folau article, one gal was quick to complain:

How is condemning people to Hell loving them though? Jesus regularly spent time who the Pharisees considered to be sinners, he spent time prostitutes and very gently by love and acceptance of them as a person was able to show them that there is a better way. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 says we have no business in judging outsiders. We need to love and accept them as Jesus did with those he spent time with. It’s only by showing the love and acceptance of Christ and lots of prayer that there may be a seed planted and people turning to Christ. They are a person created in God’s image, their sin does not define them.

I replied to her as follows:

The most loving thing we can do for sinners is to warn them about their lost condition and plead with them to repent and turn from their sin. Allowing them to slide into hell without warning means we really do not love them. And given that Jesus spoke more about hell and judgment to come than anyone else in the Bible, we all need to follow in his footsteps. He knows what is at stake for the lost, and so should we. Since some critics here appear not to have read the article in question, let me offer a small bit here:

“If you see a little girl playing on the street and a big truck hurtling her way, if you cared at all, you would yell, scream, jump up and down and do all you can to save her. You would NOT try to be polite, respectful and calm, making sure no one gets offended. You would act quickly and sound the alarm because a life is at risk. Folau gets it: all people are sinners and they are all heading to a lost eternity unless they repent. They must be warned. They must be told. Sure, it is always nice if this can be done over a period of time with a nice relationship established. But we do not always have that luxury. Some of the people who read Folau’s warnings today may well be dead tomorrow.”

And of course much more can be said here given that this gal manages to get most things rather mixed up. As to Jesus spending time with sinners – um, duh, guess what? Those were the only sorts of people he could spend time with! Everyone is a sinner, so only sinners received the attention of Jesus.

And what does it mean that he ‘spent time with them’? He did, but it was not to say that he approves of their sin, nor that he likes just to chill with them and have a good time. He instead spent time with them to warn them of judgment to come and urge them to get right with God. But I speak to this in greater detail here: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/05/12/thinking-biblically-sin-sinners/

As to 1 Corinthians 5, she really has mangled that one. That text has absolutely NOTHING to do with not warning sinners. If that were so, it would be impossible to share the gospel with anyone any longer. The gospel is the good news that Christ died for lost sinners, and if they repent and turn from sin, they can get right with God.

But if we cannot tell people they are sinners and warn them to flee from the wrath to come, then we have no gospel left to tell them. Good grief, this is not rocket science. And the context of that text is perfectly clear anyway: it has to do with barring an unrepentant and incestuous believer from Christian fellowship.

Excommunicating a non-Christian would make no sense of course, and that is what Paul was talking about there. See here for much more on this: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/03/24/difficult-bible-passages-1-corinthians-512-13/

Lastly, it is just foolish and unbiblical in the extreme to claim that “sin does not define them”. Of course it does. A sinner is defined by his sin and his rebellion against God. Sure, we are all made in the image of God, but that image is now tarnished because of sin. Until we repent and turn from our sin, that is the only world we will know of: we ARE sinners who sin.

That is why Christ came – to rescue sinners. As we find in Mark 2:17: “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners’.” Hmm, he seems to be identifying sinners as, well, sinners!

In sum, if we really care for and love the lost, we MUST tell them the truth. We must tell them why Christ came, and we must tell them about the fate that awaits them if they will not renounce their sin and turn from their selfishness. That is the Christian thing to do. That is the loving thing to do.

But most Christians shrink away from that. Worse yet, most pastors shrink away from that as well. As Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Thousands of preachers who would not dare cut hell out of their Bibles have cut it out of their preaching.”

We must once again put the fate of the lost back into our core gospel message. Without it we are not preaching the gospel. Without it we have nothing to offer lost sinners. Sure, we need to have a tear in our eye as we warn of the horrors of hell. But we must proclaim it nonetheless.

Let me finish with some thoughts by the great saints on this matter:

“If I never spoke of hell, I should think I had kept back something that was profitable, and should look on myself as an accomplice of the devil.” J. C. Ryle

“When sinners are careless and stupid, and sinking into hell unconcerned, it is time the church should bestir themselves. It is as much the duty of the church to awake, as it is for the firemen to awake when a fire breaks out in the night in a great city.” Charles Finney

“No preacher was ever so loving as Christ, but no man ever spoke so horribly about hell.” Charles Spurgeon

“If we had more hell in the pulpit, we would have less hell in the pew.” Billy Graham

“If there is no Hell, a good many preachers are obtaining money under false pretences.” Billy Sunday

“There is rather less in the Gospels about peace than there is about punishment. Jesus does not see his love for the world as incompatible with sending people to hell; the revolutionary nature of Jesus’ teaching over against the First Testament is that the punishment he envisages for his enemies is much worse. There is a tough side to God and to Jesus as well as a merciful side.” John Goldingay

“There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason.” C. S. Lewis

[1771 words]

19 Responses to Yes It Is Loving To Tell Sinners About Hell

  • We need to pray for Israel Folau, that irrespective of the attacks, he remains strong defending in the Christian faith.
    Israel Folau slammed for quoting the Apostle Paul, calls for him to be sacked for believing the Bible
    https://caldronpool.com/israel-folau-slammed-for-quoting-the-apostle-paul-calls-for-him-to-be-sacked-for-believing-the-bible/

  • Those who do nothing can be likened to the servant who hid his talents and did nothing with them. The Christ, in his parable indicated to us how God will view these people as ‘worthless servants’.
    The parable also indicated that even the servant who lost his talents was viewed with more value than the servant who did nothing for at least ‘he tried’.
    Those of us who fear reprisal for the use of our talents are the servant who his his talents.

    John Abbott

  • You know, I am thinking more and more that what passes for modern Christianity could be worshipping a false Jesus- can you set me straight on this?
    Here are my observations- loss of trinitarian worship- particularly worship given to God the Father, in all of His biblically represented character, wrath against sin etc, leading to loss of holy fear of God, awe and reverence.
    -Attributing false motives and characteristics to the Christ of scripture and
    -No knowledge of the Word of God. (The Lord Jesus is called the Word made flesh- stands to reason that if we really loved Him we would be much in the word.)
    So when I read comments such as the one you received on FB, I tremble a little, because I wonder- does that woman even know him?
    Of course, it is not just her.
    I worry about Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:5, when He says that many will come saying that they are Him and deceive many.

  • Regarding Israel Folau.

    If Christians don’t stand up for their rights they will be walked all over. This issue has absolutely nothing to do with Rugby other than Qantas is a sponsor. What this issue needs is for all Christians and those who believe in people’s rights who play and support Rugby to say they will not tolerate a person’s rights being overridden in this manner by corporate monetary manipulation used to impose their immorality onto other people. This is people’s fundamental rights we are talking about.

  • We can only pray that some people might stop and think through why he has made these statements. Perhaps it may cause someone to investigate the Bible and find the truth and salvation.

  • By the way I just happened to have the ABC’s 7:30 report on and, as is always the case, they had a person from outside to push their personal agenda. In this case the fool Peter Fitzsimons was slamming Israel Folau. As usual not the slightest hint of interviewing anyone with an alternate view. The way they get around the bias laws so easily is mind-blowing.

  • I recently watched a program on SBS “Christians like us” – it was a group of Christians from various denominations/beliefs who were placed together to discuss aspects of what they believe or do not believe. It was eye opening to see how so-called ”progressive” thinking has infiltrated the church of Jesus Christ.

  • Dear Michael,

    This issue has absolutely nothing to do with Rugby other than Qantas is a sponsor.

    I am not so sure about that. Like I wrote before all the major football codes have been taken over by the homosexual lobby, and at least two codes are luring young people to watch “women’s football” by promoting the sexual activity of lesbian players. Here and here.

    Mark my words, if Israel Folau want to return to the NRL so he has an income to support his family Todd Greenberg will demand that he commits to their Code of Conduct:

    We are INCLUSIVE
    »Engaging and empowering everyone to feel welcome in our game.
    »Reaching out to new participants and supporters.
    »Promoting equality of opportunity in all its forms.
    »Respecting and celebrating diversity in culture, gender, sexuality and social background.

  • Why is there such anger against Israel Folau? These Bible verses provide an answer.

    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God”.

    Psalm 14:1 and

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. . . .

    Romans 1:20 through to 32

  • There is NO love in hiding the truth, that’s for sure.

    Now…apply this to the Gospel’s testimony of Jesus and we can see what God defines as love. Our ‘milquetoast’ passive-agressive approach is an insult to ourselves and to God’s intention. Sometimes it is fully rational as a display of love to overturn the sellers tables and not complain when they attack back.

  • One of the most least talked about attributes of God is His wrath. He is a wrathful God. In other words, He will judge sin whether anyone likes it or not. But the sad part is, some Christians hate the idea of a God that is wrathful. I call these Christians “Milquetoast Christians.” They are all about God’s love and hold to the motto of “can’t we all just get along.” You will also find that these Christians have never read the greatest sermon ever preached; “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and they never quote Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    But I think A.W. Pink said it best in his powerful work “The Attributes of God” when he wrote about the wrath of god. He writes;

    It is sad indeed to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or who at least wish there were no such thing. While some who would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight; they do not like to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it. Even with those who are more sober in their judgment, not a few seem to imagine that there is a severity about the divine wrath that makes it too terrifying to form a theme for profitable contemplation. Others harbor the delusion that God’s wrath is not consistent with His goodness, and so seek to banish it from their thoughts.

    Yes, many there are who turn away from a vision of God’s wrath as though they were called to look upon some blotch in the divine character or some blot upon the divine government. But what says the Scriptures? As we turn to them we find that God has made no attempt to conceal the facts concerning His wrath. He is not ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong unto Him. His own challenge is: “See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides Me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. I lift my hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever, when I sharpen My flashing sword and My hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on My adversaries and repay those who hate Me” (Deut 32:39-41).  

  • For God so loved he world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son to the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth in Him is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already … (John 3).

    In the end, the good harvest will be gathered in and the rotten harvest thrown into the fire. Unrepentant sinners will have what they wanted, eternal desolation from God in the lake of fire. It’s natural to want to save your loved ones from this, which is all so logical!

  • Lian Staben.

    That should probably be “Christians” in quotes. Don’t be fooled by the SBS and the ABC’s blatant technique of manufacturing situations and controlling which guests they invite to put their point across – in this instance muddying the water as to to what God clearly says about homosexuality and fundamental aspects of sexual morality.

    They are experts at making things look like they are being balanced while all the time manipulating the results and manufacturing agreement with their propaganda requirements. This is how propaganda works. People have a natural tendency to see things and believe them but on TV you can control exactly what people see and hear so if people see nice, accommodating compromising “Christians” and hard, uncompromising people with an inability to get the truth across then the outcome is controlled to portray exactly what the propagandists want.

    If people are put in enough situations it is extremely easy to take advantage of people and edit the footage to say exactly whatever you want without actually saying it directly.

  • WHY is the Truth so very dangerous?

  • Hi Bill. Saw this this morning which just goes to prove your point. Praying for you all and especially Izzy as he stands against the storm
    https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6913819/amp/Hillsong-founder-Brian-Houston-slams-Folau-gay-post.html

  • To Wendy,

    Brian Houston’s slam may or may not be ‘affected’ by a previous critical post by Izzy:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj9gioxhMII/

    Seems like Izzy is once again being truthful and struck a nerve against Brian.

  • Completely agree with Bills article.
    Just in reply to some comments:
    I’m wondering if a Christian has rights?
    Don’t we give up our lives, count the cost to follow Jesus?

Leave a Reply