As I stated previously, I was raised in a fundamentalist religion that was often referred to as “those who preach hell, fire and brimstone.” I sat through more sermons than I can count on the terrifying accounts of eternally burning flesh and how to avoid that reality. As a child or an adult it CAN scare the hell out of you. Was that a good method to use to reach the lost? Was it effective then? Would that same methodology be effective today? Let’s see what NT has to say:
“Perhaps we should return to the preaching habits of former generations, warning people to repent in case they end up frying in hell forever. Or perhaps we should recognize that in passages like this, as we have seen throughout this book, John is working with symbols, and that it’s important not only to feel the force of them but also to probe through, to enquire about the reality to which they point………these things-which are themselves symbolic, evoking yet more biblical passages, and not literal descriptions-can only be heard with awe, and with recognition that the deep seduction of evil can really swallow people up whole…John is eager to prevent Jesus’ followers from being sucked down into the dark whirlpool of wrath.”
What a nicer way of saying the same thing. Whether it is a literal pit or lake of fire called hell and burns eternally ( which is referred to in others biblical passages) or a dark whirlpool of wrath as the concept is raised by NT, or both, the solution to avoid the consequences of sin is the same, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. (Acts 16:31) Does methodology count as much as results? By changing methodology over the years have we lost some of our effectiveness to convert the lost? Are we still scaring the hell out of people?