Author, Hell is Real (But I Hate to Admit it)
Sr. Pastor, Christ's Church of the Valley, Philadelphia, PA
Graduate: Cincinnati Christian University
MDiv, Princeton Theolgical Seminary
Wife, Lisa, 3 daughters
Brian Jones: Hell is Real
The 700 Club
WATERED DOWN THEOLOGY
During seminary, Brian’s concept about hell changed. After four years in college, Brian began to embrace a watered-down theology and skepticism about biblical authority. Brian thought, “How could God send people to hell that haven’t heard the Gospel?” Even though he was raised in a conservative-evangelical home, Brian started to believe that the Bible’s teaching about hell was inaccurate and hateful. He started to believe that what he was taught as a child was a lie, and now that he was becoming a pastor, he decided not to perpetuate that “ridiculous myth” again.
Basically, Brian believed that sending someone to hell for all eternity was like sending someone to death row for stealing a postage stamp. He asked, “Who would propose such a punishment on anyone for anything done in this life?” Brian decided that he wouldn’t tell anyone about his disbelief….not his staff, not the people at his church, his wife nor his friends.
After seminary, Brian was driving with his family in the car from Dayton, Ohio to Dallas, Texas. They had just stopped in Louisville to get gas. As they were pulling back on to the highway, Brian noticed something out of the corner of his eye: smoke rising from the rooftop of a small apartment. He decided to stop and realized that the flames had already engulfed the roof.
To his surprise, no one had called in the emergency. Brian asked his wife, Lisa to call 911. Brian bravely ran up to the third floor knocking on doors, warning people to get out. Several people responded to the knocking and soon the fireman showed up. After all the adrenaline wore off, Brian says a bizarre thought popped in his head. You are willing to run into a burning building to save someone’s life but non-Christians all around you are going to hell and you don’t believe it, let alone lift a finger to help.
DON’T BE CREEPY
A few months later, Brian, who often went to a monastery once a month for a spiritual retreat, felt an overwhelming sense of spiritual pressure. That day, Brian locked himself into a cold, cement-block room and asked God to show him what the source of this spiritual pressure actually was. For five hours, Brian read the Bible randomly. The first passage was about eternal punishment. The second was about God’s wrath. The third (he couldn’t believe his eyes) was about eternal punishment again. Brian felt an overwhelming sense of conviction.
“I was wrong,” says Brian. “Hell is taught everywhere.”
He realized he needed to make a decision. Brian dropped to his knees, fell prostrate on the monastery floor and stayed there weeping. He got up and drove straight home. Brian told Lisa everything and begged for her forgiveness for his unbelief. Later that night, he gathered his staff and did the same thing. A few days later, in front of his church, Brian completely fell apart. “Four long years of strategic rationalizing couldn’t protect me from the inevitable,” says Brian. “My sin had indeed found me out.”
Brian says it is important to share hell with others. The heart of Brian’s message is simple: apocalyptic urgency. He defines it as an all-consuming conviction that overtakes you when you realize that hell is real and that it is within your power to help people avoid going there. Brian says there are things you can do to share your faith in a way that will make a difference in people’s lives.
(1)Be an interesting person. If all you talk about is Jesus, you will creep people out. Cultivate other interests beyond spiritual stuff.
(2) Chill out. Make sure you don’t come on too strong. Try to be real and authentic.
(3) Love people into the kingdom.
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