February 2010 – There Are No Atheists In Hell
By Dr. David M. Berman
It is quite clear that the topic of Hell is one that many Preachers today are afraid to talk about. The “Emergent Movement” in particular has an aversion to speaking about it. Sometime over the last number of years the trend has gone away from preaching about the Savior who will save you from Hell fire to a so called “kinder, gentler” gospel. Hell is indeed a four letter word that the church should speak. What is the reason that modern American Christianity seems afraid to speak of it? Is it that people may be offended? Perhaps the thought is that it is better to be “positive?”
I think it is quite clear as to why American Churches don’t speak much about Hell. The modern American Church has become enamored with the idea that the church and the Bible are simply life enhancements. The thought now seems to be that Church should be sort of a Christian version of positive thinking and life coaching. Hell after all brings up negative thoughts and emotions so the modern American Church has given in to the thinking of the world rather than being salt and light.
I have had people tell me that I should not be preaching sermons that offend people. I wonder what The Apostle Paul would say? The Apostle often said things that offended. Consider the following:
Galatians 3:1 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”
Here we see Paul give a strong rebuke concerning the falling away from the true gospel of grace into a heretical teaching of salvation by works and human merit. He calls them “bewitched.” This word means to malign against, to fascinate your mind (by implication) against the truth of God. This is a strong rebuke.
Galatians 4:11 “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
Here Paul says that he is concerned that he may have wasted his time on them…strong words indeed.
Galatians 4:16 “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
The Apostle makes a statement here in which he shows his understanding of what often happens when he must speak truth to rebellion, when he must set things right according to the Word of God. Some will get angry, offended, and falsely accuse the Preacher.
How about James?
James 3:12-15 “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”
James calls people who behave like the world “devilish.” That is a serious breach of modern American Church etiquette. After all, we can’t say things like that and be loving can we?
This mind-set has led to the rise of massive media Preachers like Joel Osteen and others who sound more like the power of positive thinking, believe in yourself secular gurus like Tony Robbins than they do Gospel Preachers. The world now sees Preachers as one of three things.
1) Nice positive guys who say nice things that make them feel good with nothing expected.
2) Crazy prosperity money hungry charlatans that are self absorbed and self serving.
3) Intolerant, Bible thumping judgmental Preachers who actually believe the Bible is the Word of God.
Due to the so called “positive message” of the Joel Osteen types, and the money focused prosperity types, the world has a twisted interpretation of what a true gospel Preacher is. Men of God who actually have the guts to preach the Word of God, and warn of impending doom for those who reject the Savior, are not popular in American culture. Preachers like me are called intolerant, judgmental, backward, unloving, bigoted, and worse because we dare mention Hell. We know that simply telling people that God loves them while leaving out the message about what Jesus did to show that love, and why he had to do it, is not going to save anyone from eternal Hell fire judgment.
Hell is a real place. Jesus said;
Matthew 13:39-42 “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 25:41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”
Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
We see here that Hell is indeed a real place and that those who reject the Savior will go there for eternity. This is the reason for the gospel news. Without this truth there would be no need of our Savior. We have all heard the saying; “There are no Atheists in fox holes.” I will say to you that there are no Atheists in Hell. People who reject the creation evidence of the Creator, who also reject their sinful state, and reject He who paid the price for their sin, will go to Hell. At that point all Atheists will become believers and yet it will be too late!
The modern American Church movement to make the Word of God more palatable, more pleasing to the fallen human state, more agreeable to the temporal goals of the human condition, is nothing more than a disservice to the nation and all in it that so desperately need salvation in Christ Jesus.
Those of us Preachers who still have the guts to preach the Biblical gospel in America will be called names. We will be reviled, falsely accused, have our character maligned, and Satan will work through his willing participants to do what he can to shut us up. As it has been many times in the history of God’s people, even many in the Church will revile us, question our motivation, and reject us….but woe unto us if we do not warn, if we do not preach the gospel, if we allow a personal desire to be liked to stop us from fulfilling the mission that God has called us to. Hell is a real place. I do not want to go there and I will do whatever I can to see that as many as possible are saved from the horrible consequences of Man’s sinful state.
The only hope of salvation is found in the message of the gospel which contains the facts of all Mankind’s sinfulness, and the grace found only in Jesus Christ. The message at its core is salvation, and sanctification. Surely there are great natural blessings that come to God’s people. Having said that, if all Preachers do is make the Bible and God about the temporal benefits of biblical principles (and there are many) than numerous will miss the eternal blessing of everlasting life with God.
I end with these profound words of Jesus Christ
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the 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 into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Good works will not save anyone, only surrendering to Jesus and receiving Him and His Word will;
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”