by Thor Ramsey /
I’m going out on a limb here, but I would bet (if only there were a biblical precedent) that the readership of this site doesn’t need to be convinced that eternal damnation is a longstanding biblical doctrine, that there will be a separation of the sheep and the goats, and that people who don’t repent and believe will suffer a Christ-less eternity. But if a preacher is truly convinced of the reality of hell, how should that affect his preaching? How should that affect the tone of our witness as Christians?
If there were evangelical action figures (and there probably are—I just haven’t been to my local Christian bookstore lately), I would have a 12-inch-tall Martyn Lloyd-Jones displayed on my bookshelf, wooden pulpit to scale included, robes sold separately. Plastered on the wall in front of my desk is the next best thing, though, a customized Fathead filled with MLJ quotes, one of which says: “The apostle Paul tells us himself that he preached with tears.” Lloyd-Jones believed in the urgency of preaching because hell is real. “Nothing can be so terribly urgent,” he reminds us. Or at least he reminds me every day of the week, because there it is—right in the middle of that Fathead poster!
[tweet “”I don’t need to be reminded of the reality of hell. I need to be reminded of tears.””]
It’s not that I need to be reminded of the reality of hell. I need to be reminded of tears. But I don’t come from a family of huggers. We’re Germanic. We might salute each other, but we’re not about to hug. I’ve never seen anyone from my dad’s side of the family cry, and we’ve attended funerals together. My relatives are more apt to bean bunnies over the head with shovels than wiggle their noses at them.