Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Evangelism and Hell

A letter written to a sister in Christ regarding evangelism and the idea of hell.

That is awesome, P----! Praise the Lord!

Sounds like you handled it great! These kind of conversations about righteousness are the ones we need to have with people, and I'm sure they now have plenty to think about. There's always that "something else I could have said" when a conversation is over, but we can trust that what was said was of God and that He will use it.

Amen on your observation that Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses don't appreciate the consequences of sin. Amen, amen. Reminds me of a very good saying of Anselm: "You have not yet considered the gravity of sin." A couple nights ago I got to talk with B-------'s uncle who is a Jehovah Witness and we were talking about hell and I said this very thing to him: that in my experience those who don't believe in hell don't appreciate how bad sin really is. The correlative to this is that they don't appreciate how good righteousness really is. They think righteousness is merely being a "commonly decent" person, and that sinning is merely making mistakes. According to this view, what possible place is there for hell? To speak of hell is to speak of a bad God.

But righteousness is perfect love, moral wholeness, and everybody knows that this is good and beautiful. Any deviation from this is disgusting. Furthermore, the Creator of the universe holds us to the standard of righteousness, and to not obey the law of perfect love is to not only reject goodness but it is also to reject God (to reject God's command, yes, but also to reject God nature because goodness is God's nature and goodness does not exist apart from Him). And furthermore, any deviation from perfect love is a willful choice, not an involuntary lapse, in which we are fully responsible. We simply choose to do evil despite the beauty of the good and the command and nature of God. We are all sinners, enemies of God, and objects of His just wrath. Due to the nature of the case, there is no appropriate punishment for sinners other than hell. That is the interesting thing: the world thinks hell means God is bad, and Christians think hell means God is good; that if there were no hell, God would be unjust! Crazy extremes.

Be sure to always take a person to their own performance. If they say that obedience to the law is required for salvation, as well as showing them the Scriptures that state that salvation is by grace, hold their feet to the fire and ask them if they obey the law. Since they say they have to do it, ask them if they do it. If they make excuses, deal with their excuses; show them that there are no excuses, and their disobedience is willful. They aren't trying their best. This part, I believe, is so crucial.

Keep it up, P----! Every witnessing opportunity is a huge blessing for you and for the person you're witnessing to. We are all growing and learning.

Love you, sister! Give my love to M--- and the rest of the family.

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