C. S. Lewis suggested that we make one of two errors concerning the devil: either we think too much of him or we think too little of him. I wonder if the same thing isn’t true about hell.
I am recently concerned about teachers who say that hell is temporary or not as bad as we think or non-existent. Yet, I am also concerned about preachers who can’t seem to stop talking about hell. The people in their churches fear hell all the time because preacher says they had better be careful to do right or they will go there. So one side proclaims that hell is nothing to worry about; while the other side proclaims that hell is hanging over all our heads.
But why are we proclaiming hell at all? Isn’t the job of the church to proclaim Christ? Whatever you believe about hell, the message is still Jesus. Every person needs Jesus (for a lot more than just fire insurance).
One of my favorite stories is about Calvin Coolidge as the Speaker of the House. There was a very heated argument between two representatives and one told the other to go to hell. The offended man sputtered and turned to Coolidge, who had been flipping pages of a book during the argument. The man asked if the Speaker had heard the terrible thing the other had said. Coolidge responded, “I have been checking the rule book. You don’t have to go.”
It’s as simple as that. Our message isn’t about hell. Our message is about Jesus. Because of Jesus, no one has to go to hell.