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