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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Preaching on Hell—Then and Now

I am reading a book entitled A Time to Laugh…Grandpa Was a Preacher by Leroy Brownlow.  Here is a short take from it:

"At a preachers' conference that was held to discuss the merits of preaching on hell, the chairman pointed him out and asked, 'Do you preach on hell very often?'

'No, not often.'

'Why not?' inquired the chairman.  'Is it because you feel that you are not effective on this topic?'

'No, because it disrupts the service.'

'How's that?' continued the chairman.

'It's like this,' explained grandpa, 'the audience becomes so fatigued fanning that I have to declare a recess about every five minutes.'" (Page 23)

Funny, yes, but while funny there is truth here about the preaching of days gone by versus today.  Growing up in the 50's thru the early to mid 60's I often heard sermons that would figuratively speaking curl your toes and send chills up your spine.  In those days hell was real and man was in present danger of ending up there without faith, gospel obedience, and living thereafter a faithful Christian life.

Today it seems no one is afraid of God and everyone seems to believe that in the end no one is going to hell despite their disregard for spiritual things in this life.  The idea is just so you are a decent person, the way society today defines that, then all is well and you will be okay in the end.  No need to worry about reading your Bible, obeying all those commands, attending worship services, etc.  Why even non-Christians may get to heaven seems to be the thinking of the day.

Many despise all that old-time fear-mongering preaching but one wonders whether or not we are better off today without it than we would have been had we kept it up?  After all, those preachers of days gone by did preach on other subjects as well but they made it clear there were things you had to do to be saved and you left those services not doubting for a minute but what they were right.  If a tornado (think hell) is headed directly for you don't you think you might be better off if the weatherman (think preacher) warned you versus giving you soothing words of peace and all is well?

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