You may wonder why it is important to discuss an unpleasant subject like Hell. Certainly there are more positive things we could talk about?
I couldn’t agree more. Surely topics like Love, Heaven, Faith, Trust, and Goodness are much more pleasant. However, I think that the fact that many people believe that God is going to torture people for an endless eternity after death is such a barrier to their understanding of those positive subjects that it simply must be discussed.
There is also a lot of risk for a believer to challenge a traditional, orthodox doctrine like an Endless Hell. Believers are afraid of being rejected by church leaders for asking these kinds of questions. People often accuse those who hold unorthodox beliefs of apostacy, of not believing the Bible, and even of not being a Christian at all.
I run the risk of being misunderstood by life-long friends. Even though they know my heart, know that I truly love God, study and believe the Bible, and live my life accordingly, they may not be able to make the jump. After all the Bible clearly says that unbelievers will be in a lake of fire forever and ever, doesn’t it?
Even with these risks, I can’t wait any longer to try and reach as many as I can with the message of Timothy Barnett’s book, Endless Hell Ended. The message has the potential to set people free in ways that they can’t even imagine.
My heart goes out to two specific groups of people:
First, I contend that the doctrine of an Endless Hell is a bigger barrier to unbelievers than most Christians realize. It has been so long since most believers have even had a serious discussion with an unbeliever that we don’t really understand them. However, just thinking about the surface of our message can lead a believer to see why non-Christians reject our message. Rob Bell says it well on the back of his book, Love Wins:
“God loves us.
God offers us everlasting life by grace, freely, through no merit on our part.
Unless you do not respond the right way.
Then God will torture you forever.
While I don’t agree with Bell’s conclusions, his questions deserve a response. This is the story we are telling unbelievers. Our justification is “the Bible teaches it, the Bible is the Word of God, therefore you must believe it”. Or, “God’s ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts higher than our thoughts, so we just have to accept things we don’t understand.” How many evils have been foisted on sincere, naive, but honest seekers in the name of “accepting things we don’t understand”?
Endless Hell gives people who don’t believe the message of most Christian Evangelical churches a good reason to reject our Christ. We can’t say that God is a God of love and justice, and that he expects us to be just and loving, while propagating the most unjust doctrine imaginable. Claiming that we don’t understand God’s ways doesn’t help.
Fellow believers, this doctrine is keeping people out of Christ’s family. Isn’t it time to seriously reconsider it? Especially if it can be shown that the Bible doesn’t really teach it?
When I came to understand that the Bible doesn’t teach an Endless Hell, and that I can believe in Christ and the message of the Bible rationally and reasonably, my relationship with God became much deeper and more real.
Many believers push this doctrine out of their minds. Pastors won’t talk about it. Bible study groups avoid it. Motivational speakers ceratinly don’t use it in their messages. Christians simply don’t think about it. We may question it at a funeral of an unbelieving relative, but later we push it out of our minds again. It’s too horrible to consider.
I take the risk of challenging this doctrine because I want to remove a huge barrier from the path of unbelievers. And, I want my brothers & sisters in Christ to know God in a deeper way than ever. I want their respect and love for God to grow. With that deeper relationship, they will share God with others with more conviction, confidence, and love than ever.
If you would like to learn more, please request the free book: Endless Hell Ended today!