The Disappearance of Hell

Hell is not a popular topic nowadays. To believe that God would send people, any person, to a place of painful perpetual punishment seems backward and hateful in today’s world. Today, nobody wants to hear that they’re wrong. Nobody wants to hear that what they believe or do is false and wrong. But hell is a proclamation that God does indeed punish sin, and that those who die without trusting in God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ for salvation will be lost forever.

I just read a post from Pastor James Hein of Rochester, MN (hey! that’s the city where I spent my vicar year!) on his aptly titled Pastor James Hein’s Blog. The post talks about a book from a Pastor Rob Bell that will be coming out soon. If the reports of this book are true, it will espouse a universalist approach to salvation. In other words, it says that no one goes to hell and everyone is saved. Pastor Hein does a good job of showing how this is simply not true from God’s Word. Read his post here. I’ve also added his blog to my “check out these blogs” list on the right hand side of the page.

One last thing, the existence of hell does one great thing for us: it reminds us that hell is what we all deserve. We’ve all fallen short of God’s perfection and deserve nothing but his punishment. But God sent his Son. Jesus lived perfectly in our place. He was punished and endured the pain and suffering of hell to pay for the sins of the world. And by the faith that God gives us to trust in him, we are rescued forever. The truth about God, hell, and salvation is not a story of hate and a barbaric deity; it’s a story of grace, forgiveness, and eternal love.

 

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Will the Real Valentine Please Stand Up?

Maybe Valentine’s Day is your favorite holiday that you look forward to all year. Maybe you think it’s a trite, overly-sentimental way for greeting card companies and florists to make money.

Either way, you might be interested to know that St. Valentine was a real person, and that he died for his faith. Check out the short bio over at Cyberbrethren. Then you can impress people with your Valentine’s knowledge!

Proud of Our Confessions

I mentioned the Lutheran Confessions in a previous post when I showed you a video on what the Confessions are and why they’re important.

I think it takes a while for the importance of these Confessions to sink in, though, especially for those of us who have gone to church and been Lutheran all our lives. It’s easy to start to think that these Confessions just aren’t that important or relevant.

The best way to remedy this, of course, is to actually read and work with the Confessions! That’s when we see how relevant they really are for us in our faith now, instead of just museum pieces that were important almost 500 years ago.

I ran across an interesting post from Pastor Johnold Strey, a WELS pastor in Belmont, CA. He shows how one of his members recognized that our confessional heritage isn’t something to forget or put on a shelf, but rather something to be proud of. So, please, go check out his post!