A “KINDER THEOLOGY”

“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.
Hell,
Hell-fire,
the damnation of Hell,
eternal damnation,
the resurrection of damnation,
everlasting fire,
the place of torment,
outer darkness,
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

TRUE CHRISTIANITY IS A FIGHT!

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“Let me warn everyone who wants to be saved — not to be content with the world’s standard of Christianity. Surely no man with his eyes open, can fail to see that the Christianity of the New Testament is something far higher and deeper than the Christianity of most professing Christians. That formal, easy-going, do-little thing, which most people call ‘religion’ — is evidently not the religion of the Lord Jesus. The things which He praises — are not praised by the world. The things which He blames — are not things in which the world sees any harm. Oh, if you would follow Christ — do not be content with the world’s Christianity! Tremble, tremble and repent!”

— J C Ryle

“True Christianity! Let us mind that word “true.” There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday and call themselves Christians. They make a “profession” of faith in Christ. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die.

But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritual strife and exertion and conflict and self-denial and watching and warring — they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness. True Christianity is “a fight!”

The principal fight of the Christian is with . . .
the world,
the flesh, and
the devil.
These are his never-dying foes! These are the three chief enemies against whom he must wage war. With a corrupt heart, a busy devil and an ensnaring world — he must either “fight” or be lost!

To be at peace with the world, the flesh and the devil — is to be at enmity with God and in the broad way that leads to destruction! We have no choice or option. We must either fight — or be lost!

It is a fight of universal necessity. No rank or class or age can plead exemption, or escape the battle — all alike must carry arms and go to war.
All have by nature a heart full of pride, unbelief, sloth, worldliness and sin!
All are living in a world beset with snares, traps and pitfalls for the soul.
All have near them a busy, restless, malicious devil.
All, from the queen in her palace down to the pauper in the workhouse — all must fight, if they would be saved.

We may take comfort about our souls, if we know anything of an inward fight and conflict. It is the invariable companion of genuine Christian holiness.

The saddest symptom about many so-called Christians, is the utter absence of anything like conflict and fight in their Christianity. They eat, they drink, they dress, they work, they amuse themselves, they get money, they spend money, they go through a scanty round of formal religious services once or twice every week. But of the great spiritual warfare — its watchings and strugglings, its agonies and anxieties, its battles and contests — of all this they appear to know nothing at all.”

— J C Ryle