Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Heaven and hell: an inconvenient truth?

The pioneers of the Primitive Methodist movement had a very clear view on the realities of heaven and hell. They were heaven-bound, and life here on earth was simply a temporary, or probationary existence. Heaven was a real place, and they knew that was where they were heading. By the same token, they believed in the existence of hell, and they were unafraid to proclaim loudly and clearly, “flee from the wrath to come”.

The reality of heaven and hell is a consistent New Testament theme. Jesus himself clearly teaches on the existence of hell, particularly in the parable of the net in Matthew 13:47-50. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares “if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:30). These are strong words indeed.

The apostle Paul frequently refers to the wrath of God (in other words, God’s righteous anger). “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” (Romans 2:8) For other references, see Romans 3:5, 4:15, 5:9, 9:22, 12:19 Ephesians 2:3, 5:6 Colossians 3:6, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 2:16, 5:9. The core of the gospel is that it is Jesus Christ who rescues us from the coming wrath.

In our contemporary Christianity we have emphasized the love of God and rarely talk about God’s righteous anger. We tend not to teach or preach on judgment.

The Primitive Methodist pioneers preached an uncompromising version of biblical truth.

1 comment:

  1. Wesley is wrong on hell.

    "for when thy judgments [are] in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
    Isaiah 26:9