Wednesday, October 04, 2006


On this day, October 5, 1703, Jonathan Edwards was born in East Windsor. Best known, perhaps, for the sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards' graphic language has been much criticized, by friend and foe alike: "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some other loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like fire."

It is a fair question to ask: Would we dare preach this sermon today? Sentimental secularism has hobbled the church, shrunk God out of sight and made personal comfort more important than revealed truth. We harbor views of man that shrink from viewing the torment of hell as just deserts for offences committed against God. Bible language suggesting hell as a place of fire (incineration) and darkness, of weeping and grinding of teeth, of destruction and torment (see, Matt. 5:22; 8, 12; 13:42, 50; 18:9; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; 1 Thess. 5:3; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 2 Pet. 3:7; Jude 7, 13; Rev. 20:10 and especially Luke 16:23, 'The Rich Man and Lazarus') are dismissed as 'symbolic' in an attempt to tone down crass portrayals of literal anguish. In the surge towards 'demythologizing' Scripture, hell is banished from sight.

There is a well known story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame) who sent a telegram to twelve respected people in London stating: "Flee--all is revealed." By the following night night six of them had left the country!

In the end, it is our Savior who spoke most graphically on hell--warning of its reality and horror. To be faithful to him, we must consider with the utmost seriousness the nature of hell.


Noah Braymen said...


Last year Mark Dever preached this was so smooth it almost sounded like one of his normal sermons...almost:)

In Christ

Anonymous said...

Amen to that. Who are we to say that Hell is not real and that Jesus did not mean it literally. Sounds literal to me. Jesus said it, I believe it. In the Bible, it's usually literal unless it is revealed right afterwards that it is symbolic.