Evangelical Christians take hell literally, especially the Neo-Calvinists. At Desiring God recently Greg Morse wrote a post about hell. This blog would like to use that article to raise some questions about hell and make some observations. Having seen a lot of scandal and working with dark topics this blog has some questions and would like to ask, could hell be like heaven when you consider the people who are going to heaven yet who are deeply corrupt?
“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Revelation 21:8 NIV
Cemetery in New Orleans
Al Pacino from The Devil’s Advocate
Evangelical theology, but especially the Neo-Calvinists take the topic of hell seriously. Evangelicals have written a lot about the topic and here are some examples to feature which I found at The Gospel Coalition.
- Erik Raymond, “Is Hell for Real?“
- J.I. Packer, “What is Hell?“
- Aaron Armstrong, “Erasing Hell.”
- The Gospel Coalition, “Don Carson on the Permanence of Hell.”
Greg Morse at Desiring God on Hell
At Desiring God the other day Greg Morse had an article called, “What Does Hell Say About God?” In the article Greg explores the theology of hell and the seriousness of it. He states that some people can’t face the issue of hell and can’t deal with it. Then Greg breaks it down into four categories. For example who will be in hell? The luster, adulterer, the person who rejected God, etc… In the next point he reminds people as to what hell says about God. God can not be glorified in hell. Hell shows God’s wrath. The lake of fire and the gnashing of teeth are a reality that is to be feared. The third bullet point is about what Jesus knows about Hell. Jesus knows it better in that he once descended into hell. Was the King of Glory rejected by some who chose pornography and ESPN over God? Finally Greg closes out his post by reminding people that they should pay more attention to fairy tales. This is a brief synopsis and I would encourage you to read the article at Desiring God in full.
Evangelical Scandal and Corruption and Hell
Here is what staggers me. This blog has written frequently and regularly on evangelical Christianity and scandal. The enormity of it stuns me in the end. I have ended up writing about nearly every church that I have once called home. The material that people have emailed, told, and shared has been difficult at times. Domestic abuse, child pornography, rape, child sex abuse, financial greed, and more. Writing this blog has taught me a lot about so many issues. My prior understandings about domestic abuse and more was changed by this blog. Its much worse then I thought it to be. And yet evangelical churches are drowning in such corruption. And usually many of the same churches mired in scandal work to warn people about hell.
Why Would God Trust a Church Overwhelmed with Scandal to Convey His Message? Can Hell be Like Heaven When You Consider Some of the Evangelical Christians?
Greg Morse’s article comes from Desiring God. Desiring God is the brainchild of John Piper. Let me break down something to make a point. One of C.J. Mahaney’s strongest defenders has been John Piper. As all the child sex abuse has poured out of Mahaney’s ministry Piper has defended Mahaney and claimed that Sovereign Grace has had perfect pr sound doctrine. The theologian who has most influenced John Piper is Jonathan Edwards who left on the psyche the image of God dangling people over hell in the Puritan interpretation of that doctrine. So the sexual assault of a child is fine with John Piper as long as he organization covering it up has sound doctrine. Does that not embody corruption?
Now here is what I don’t understand. Hell is real according to many evangelical Christians. And yet many evangelical churches charged with preaching the Gospel are bogged down in scandal and problems. Why would the Lord entrust such an important message about people’s salvation to organizations that cover up child sex abuse, rape and so much more? When I stop and consider a large number of evangelicals I think of their teaching on hell. For example Matt Chandler, Kevin DeYoung, D.A. Carson, Mark Dever, etc… Then I contemplate those that engage in Christian Nationalism who teach about hell. People like Robert Jeffress, Robert Morris and more. Many of these people on both sides of the fence are convinced they are going to heaven. After all they serve the Lord or are part of the elect, etc… So here is the question if people like C.J. Mahaney or Robert Jeffress or Mark Driscoll are going to be in heaven, then why would I want to go there? I wouldn’t want to be in the same room…why would I want to spend an eternity with them? But here is an alternative thought as well. When you see the people and other evangelical Christians who are going to heaven, could hell be a blessing? After all would you be around as many people that are as arrogant, and condescending? In theory no….so why is that bad? I write this post as means to raise some issues about evangelicals and their teaching of hell in context of evangelical corruption.