Apr 19, 2011

Bell...Hell...Tell?

There is a lot of dialogue going on right now about Rob Bell's new book "Love Wins." A big part of the dialogue is centered around whether or not a loving God would send people to hell.

I have not read the book yet, but want to go on record saying I believe the Bible teaches there is a literal hell and people who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior will spend eternity there.

My heart breaks to think about anyone spending eternity in hell. And so does God's. That's why He sacrificed His only Son. So that people would not have to perish, but could choose eternal life instead.

Did Jesus die for everyone? Yes. Will everyone spend eternity in heaven with Him? No. Some people choose to reject His outstretched arms of forgiveness and mercy. People will spend eternity in hell, but it will be because they walked past God's offer of salvation while they were alive here on earth.

That being said, let me get to the main point of this post. How does this translate into Children's Ministry?

First, let me say that I do believe there is an age of accountability. I believe the age can be different for each child. I believe God's grace covers children before they reach the age of accountability.

Secondly, I would like to pose these questions for discussion.
  • Is it age appropriate to tell kids about hell? Is it one of the deeper things of the Bible like Revelation...something you should wait to share with kids when they are older?
  • How do you explain hell when you are sharing the plan of salvation with kids?
  • Are we "scaring" kids into a decision when we discuss hell with them?

Personally, here is what I do. I share the plan of salvation as part of our salvation/baptism class for kids. Parents are required to attend with their child. When I talk about the "payment for sin" in Romans 6:23, I explain that a person who rejects God's love and forgiveness will be separated from God forever. I do not use the word "hell" but simply emphasize the eternal separation aspect of it. If a child brings up the word "hell" in class and wants to know more, then I speak with the child and his/her parents privately after class and have a more in depth discussion.

Would enjoy any dialogue, thoughts, or strategies you have when talking or not talking with children about hell.

Posted by Dale Hudson

6 comments:

We don't use the word hell either - we also talk about separation from God. We explain that separation from God means we are separated from everything that is good.

I think the emphasis on separation from God is important and that it is a choice we make are the important things to emphasize.

I think, though, that it is important at some point for ppl to wrestle with the question about our views of hell and how that affects our understanding of God. If anything, Rob Bell does bring light to that huge elephant in the room regardless of whether or not we agree on his specific theological points.

I read have Rob Bell's book and I love it. I think it is hard enough for most adults to wade through some of the theological mud in the Bible to become a "Christian" in the way that other "Christians" will actually believe that these new believers are "Christian" enough to save them from hell - let alone trying to teach those complexities to small children. My aunt and uncle parked me in front of Billy Graham on the television when I was young and then had me say the "sinner's prayer" so that I would be "saved from hell" when I was seven. You can darn well better believe that I was "scared" into becoming a "Christian" at the age of seven. I say we teach the joy and love first - and save the super-scary part for when these precious souls are old enough to understand the complexities of the Christian faith.

Children should know there is a Hell, at what age though, should be determine by the leaders.
I also believe it shouldn't be the focus of the message, but that Jesus died for all and those who don't except are seperated from him...we should also mention that it's the churches responsiblity to bring in the harvest and share the good news.

I am sorry to say, that I don't believe Rob Bell's book is correct, the bible is clear on what hell is...Rob Bell needs are prayers...

I find it much easier to tell children the truth about hell as found at www.helltruth.com - because it shows that God is always and all-compassionate, even tho the wicked will burn in hell as their punishment. Hell is a real place and real event, but a God of love will not. cannot torture sinners for eternity. How could heaven be a happy place if people there knew some of their family or friends are burning in agony at the same time and with no end? Will God have a broken heart for eternity knowing that many of the people He created and loved are in absolute agony all the while? Check out helltruth.com or http://www.helltruth.com/portals/2/hell-fire.pdf and feel free to tell children the truth about our loving, merciful God.

Personally I am very comfortable talking about hell as separation from God, not so much because I am afraid of talking about hell, but simply because parents differ on this topic, and I have to respect that, while somehow still staying true to what I believe and what the Bible tells. Personally I think it must be awful to be separated for ever from this loving God we serve and know.

Post a Comment