“I believe that the time has come, when it is a positive duty to speak plainly about the reality and eternity of Hell. A flood of false doctrine has lately broken in upon us. Men are beginning to tell us that God is too loving and merciful to punish souls forever; and that all mankind, however wicked and ungodly some of them may be — will sooner or later be saved. We are invited to leave the old paths of apostolic Christianity. We are told that the views of our fathers about Hell, and the devil, and punishment — are obsolete and old-fashioned. We are to embrace what is called a “kinder theology” — and treat Hell as a pagan fable, or a bugbear to frighten children and fools!
Against such false teaching I desire, for one, to protest. I, for one, am resolved to maintain the old position, and to assert the reality and eternity of Hell.
It is a question which lies at the very foundation of the whole gospel. The moral attributes of God — His justice, His holiness, His purity — are all involved in it. Once let the old doctrine about Hell be overthrown — and the whole system of Christianity is unsettled, unscrewed, unpinned and thrown into disorder!
The Scripture has spoken plainly and fully on the subject of Hell.
If words mean anything — then there is such a place as Hell.
If texts are to be interpreted fairly — then there are those who will be cast into Hell.
If language has any sense belonging to it — then Hell is forever.
The drowning of the old world by the flood,
the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah,
the overthrow of Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea,
the judgment on Korah, Dathan and Abiram,
the utter destruction of the seven nations of Canaan —
all teach the same solemn truth. They are all given to us as beacons and signs and warnings — that we may not provoke God. They all remind us that there is such a thing as the wrath of God. They all tell us plainly that “the wicked shall be turned into Hell” (Psalm 9:17).
Settle it firmly in your mind, that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has spoken most plainly about the reality and eternity of Hell. No lips have used so many words to express the dreadfulness of Hell, as the lips of Jesus.
the damnation of Hell,
the resurrection of damnation,
the place of torment,
the worm that never dies,
the fire that is never quenched,
the place of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth,
everlasting punishment —
these, these are the words which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself employs! Away with the miserable nonsense which people talk in this day, who tell us that the ministers of the gospel should never speak of Hell!
He is the kindest friend — who tells me the whole extent of my danger!
The watchman who keeps silence when he sees a fire — is guilty of gross neglect!
The doctor who tells us we are getting well when we are dying — is a false friend!
The minister who keeps back Hell from his people — is a wicked and cruel man!
What is the use of hiding eternal punishment from the impenitent and the ungodly? Surely, it is helping the devil!”
— J C Ryle
By Steven Kozar
Don’t be shy about it-admit it: false doctrine is fun and, well, it just feels good. Here are some handy tips to keep you fully deceived and incapable of discernment:
2. Here’s a handy saying: “No church is perfect!” The assumption here is that it’s not of any value to carefully examine doctrine because all churches are wrong in one way or another, so just accept anything. If you go to the church because “you feel comfortable there” and the “worship team really rocks” you’ll probably never have to think much about doctrine anyway. This can also be modified as: “No pastor is perfect!” False teachers and mediocre pastors really appreciate it when you think this way.
3. Focus on your feelings rather than the clear teachings of Scripture. Because you’re a sinner, this will be very easy. For added validation of your false beliefs, convince yourself that God told you to disobey Him and somehow violate His word; but don’t use such obvious language. For example, say: “I really feel that God spoke to my heart, that’s why I believe it’s okay to (fill in the blank with whatever sin and/or false doctrine you want). A great little catch phrase to instill this principle would be something like this: “Theology will never change a man as much as a direct encounter with God.” Of course, if you really had a direct encounter with God you’d probably be dead…
4. Allow false doctrine from a teacher because “he has some good things to say, too…” A handy little phrase to repeat is: “Chew on the meat and spit out the bones.” Although this concept isn’t Biblical, pretend that it is. It will probably help you to imagine yourself “open-minded” and “non-judgmental” when you repeatedly ignore God’s clear instructions to hold fast to correct doctrine.
5. Consider “doctrine” the same thing as “religiosity” or “legalism.” If you realize that doctrine is just another word for teaching (and the Bible demands correct teaching) you might decide to become more discerning, and remember, false teachers everywhere are counting on you to stay ignorant and gullible.
6. Promote false teaching “for the sake of the un-churched.” You want to have lot’s of new people coming to church, don’t you? Well, give the public what they want and watch attendance skyrocket! Remember, the unrepentant sinners out there will show up if they are promised something to appease their selfish desires. Better sex? Bigger paychecks? Well-behaved children? God can give your un-saved neighbor all of that-and more! The seeker-friendly pastor already knows this dynamic growth program, and with your blind support (and weekly tithe checks) he will craft emotionally appealing motivational speeches to convert pagans into regular attending members! And let’s not forget that these same pastors (“leadership experts”) will provide your community with a sense of purpose and identity (and a six-figure salary for themselves), so don’t bog them down with Biblical requirements that would stunt the growth of the organization.
7. “Group Think” is a major component of false doctrine, so, “go with the group!” Fortunately for you, there are plenty of groups that are teaching and promoting false doctrine, so just pick the one you’re most comfortable with and buy into their twisted version of Christianity. Here are some of your choices:
First, there’s the “What do we believe this month?” “Emerging”, Post-Modern church (think: Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, etc.). Millennials love this one; it’s hip and it only get’s hipper as it dumps Biblical doctrine in favor of pagan mysticism and cultural sensitivity (which is usually just capitulation to the culture). Remember, you’re never actually believing false doctrine, you’re just “having a conversation!” Wink wink, nudge nudge.
Second, for the suburban soccer-mom crowd, there’s the “seeker-friendly” mega church (think: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, etc.). These churches are a mash-up between a cinema-plex, a shopping mall and a Starbucks. Bigger is better, right?! And if you ever (accidentally) start to question whether anything lines up with Scripture, you can just take a look around the vast auditorium: this many people can’t be wrong! As long as you think so, you clever little conformist!
Thirdly, for the truly adventurous, you can find a vast number of Charismatic churches that aren’t even close to orthodox Christianity! (Think: Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, T.D. Jakes, etc.) What’s not to like about a church that believes anyone can come up with new doctrine anytime by hearing directly from God?! Oh sure, they give lip service to the Bible, but with proof-texting, they can make the Bible appear to say anything! Does God just want you to be rich, happy and successful? Sure He does! Do we just have to “speak that into existence?” Sure we do! Remember, the Holy Spirit is your personal genie in a bottle, and after you’ve swayed back and forth with the praise band for an hour or two, you’ll actually start to believe that. Key words and phrases: “Woooo!” “Fire!” “More, Lord, more!” “Shaba!” “I feel a releasing of the anointing that is beginning to shift the atmosphere, and the mantle of His presence is about to come down so that the glory of His anointing can release His presence into the manifold destiny of His glory…”