Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Is it possible that we talk about Heaven and Hell too much? I know that most of you are thinking "NO! We don't talk about them enough." Hear me out though. When we talk about becoming a Christian, our language seems to focus exclusively on our salvation from Hell into Heaven at the end of this life. While Heaven, Hell, and the opportunity for salvation are all facts, I think maybe we are missing the point here. Shouldn't we be talking more about our redemption for the purposes and dream of God? Shouldn't we recruit people for the mission of the kingdom of God? Shouldn't we be bringing people into the way of Jesus? You see, salvation is a fact, but it isn't the only fact of Christianity. I believe that our exclusive focus on this aspect of Christianity has worked to our detriment. We've would up selling salvation to consumers who seem to retain the idea that their lives, their churches, and the world are all about them. Maybe instead of scaring people out of Hell and into Christianity, we should cast the vision of being used with others to fulfil something bigger than ourselves in community with other believers...the very dream of God.


Gilbert said...

Great thoughts. I have been thinking about this lately, and it has started to bother me. If you were to ask people why they became a Christian they would probably say, "So I can go to Heaven." But, is that really why we should become Christians? Shouldn't we want to be Christians so that we can be with our Messiah? Some may say that is the same thing as saying they want to be in Heaven, but is it really the same thing? Would we still be willing to follow Jesus to Hell if that is where he was going? Do we want to go to Heaven because Jesus is there, or do we want to be with Jesus because he is in Heaven? Does that make sense?
I better stop. I'm starting to ramble. Hope I didn't confuse you too bad.

Garry Brantley said...

Good thoughts. It seems that "going to heaven" is the longing to escape our world for a "better place" or dimension of living. It's almost the New Age sense of "Nirvana." Biblically, it appears, that this world is involved in the redemptive work of God (Romans 8). Our call, then, as an eschatological community, is to inflitrate our world with God's future, overcoming the falleness of this world by his grace. Just as our bodies somehow will be a part of the eschaton, so shall this old world. I'm not talking about the eschatological theory associated with disp. premil., but about God's redemptive scope. He wants to reclaim His entire creation--and we are to join in that struggle.

Thanks for your thoughtful reflections in this regard. It's easy to be misunderstood while treading these theological waters.