In my opinion, the issues of death, hell, and God’s judgment are rarely Biblical and often inaccurate within the Church. Perhaps these issues are too controversial to talk about, intelligently. A few weeks ago I listed to a podcast interview with Brain McLaren. He said, “If most Christians would sit down for five minutes to think about hell, it would likely blow their mind.” He’s probably right. Hell is supposed to be everything God is not yet God is the one that makes the judgment to send them. Christian teachers explain it away saying: God loves you, God is just, God wants the best for you. These explanations bring little comfort or closure to the grieving heart. These questions often end here but if they continue they eventually will stump us then we leave it in the hands of faith. Basically, we stop the conversation by saying, “Please stop asking me uncomfortable questions and just believe what I am telling you.” Hell makes us uncomfortable therefore, we fail to think about what we teach, even if its not Biblical.
Hell did not cross my mind once today. I did not know the young man. I barely knew his sister from youth meetings. I doubt he was from a “church going home.” Maybe he was. But none of this concerned me. Why, one might ask. Because hell in none of my business. God is judge and his judgment is right. How am I to question God. If he sends this young man through heaven’s gates then his judgment is right and I am at peace. If he sends this young man to eternal damnation then his judgments right. My faith should still bring peace. Should it not?
Yet the fear of hell will likely lead many students into the baptisteries and confirmation classes to “get things right with God.” Would someone please tell me what that means? Would someone tell me how this is anything other than salvation by works? But more importantly, would someone tell me why Christian teachers, not only allow this, but tend to welcome these opportunities as “wake up calls?” The problem with fear is that it fades away, even the fear of hell. Their “decision” is to avoid hell, not to make Jesus Lord. The first steps of discipleship is self seeking, faithless, and will fade away in a matter of days. Why does the church tolerate this?
Hell was not on my mind today because I had a room full of students that needed to grieve. I was their to love them the best I knew how. Talks of salvation can come another day. And if that day doesn’t come, and they are killed in another car accident on the way home, then I’ll have to leave in the hands of God. If that makes people uncomfortable then I would suggest they sit down for five minutes to think about death, hell, and God’s right judgment. It might just blow their mind.