TOPIC:"So You Don't Believe in Hell"
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
TEXT:II Thessalonians 1:5-10
"He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power" (II Thessalonians 1:8, 9, NIV).
I constantly hear so called "cultured people" say, "I don't believe in Hell. It's just an illusion of the mind." So these people shrink from ever thinking about it at all. Not only that, but much of contemporary theology push it aside as being unrealistic. They will not face up to the unpleasant reality of this dreadful place. And yet, the teaching of eternal punishment for the wicked is not only upheld by Christ and the New Testament writers, but is supported by an impressive list of past theologians - Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley and many others.
There was a time when people thought about Hell and the evil consequences of going there. Today they side-step the truth about it. But the Apostle Paul would do no such thing. Here in the most expressive statement in all of St. Paul's Epistles, he sets forth in clear language the future punishment of those who refuse to recognize God and are disobedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Listen again to Paul's words: "They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord."
I am calling today for an honest look at this dreadful subject of the coming judgment that will one day fall upon the wicked and unrepentant. I will endeavor to answer the popular objections against this doctrine by establishing the Biblical teaching about it and for it.
Let's begin with this: Many people object to the doctrine of Hell because they say RETRIBUTION is not part of God's character. This group teaches that ultimately all people will be saved. It is called universalism. This view is not an option for the evangelical Christian for it is seriously lacking in biblical support. Such a view underlies most forms of liberal Christianity as it continues to be a real and present challenge for evangelical Christians to stand against as it contradicts the clear teaching of both Jesus and Paul on the subject.
Now we know that the one attribute that describes God is love. John the Apostle of love declared: "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God" (I John 3:11). Later on in his Epistle John wrote: "God is love" (I John 4:16). But all of us must realize also that another attribute which characterizes God is that of holiness. Later on this same John declared: "Holy, . . .