Saturday, September 03, 2011

Universalism and the Reality of Eternal Punishment

Here are some edifying sermons on Hell and our concept of grace.

Universalism and the Reality of Eternal Punishment:
These 1990 messages from Sinclair Ferguson are sobering and stirring, and still worth listening to:
  1. Universalism and the Reality of Eternal Punishment: Contemporary Preaching

  2. Universalism and the Reality of Eternal Punishment: The Justice and Mercy of God

  3. Universalism and the Reality of Eternal Punishment, Panel Discussion
I also recommend Ferguson’s chapter, “Pastoral Theology: The Preacher and Hell” from Hell Under Fire, ed. Peterson and Morgan (Zondervan, 2004), 220-237. Here is an excerpt:
. . . We have the words of Anselm of Canterbury to Boso: “You have not yet considered how great the weight of sin is.” In fact, here lies the nub of the problem: A truncated view of who God is, combined with a minimalist view of what we have become in our sinfulness, inevitably leads to a myopic view of the Last Judgment. Until I sense how great, glorious, and holy God is and therefore how horrific my sins is, the absolute justice of God’s condemnation will remain a mystery.

The implication of this for our ministry is important. For it becomes clear, therefore, that narrowly focused preaching on the theme of hell is inadequate. Rather, it must be done in tandem with preaching on the character of God, his loving creation of man, the radical character of the Fall, and consequent nature of sin. Then the judgment that leads to hell can be expounded coherently, rightly, and ultimately even compassionately. (pp. 225-226)
And note this one as well:
When Robert M’Cheyne met his dearest friend Andrew Bonar one Monday and inquired what Bonar had preached on the previous day, only to receive the answer “Hell,” he asked: “Did you preach it with tears?” That we cannot do until we have come to recognize our own great need of grace to save us from the wrath to come, the terrible nature of that judgment, the provision that God has made for us in Christ, and the calling he has given us to take the gospel to every creature in the name of the One who did not come into the world to condemn it but to save it.

So we are called to preach as his representatives: with biblical balanced, with a Christocentric focus, with the humility of those who realize their own need of grace before the judgment seat of Christ, with a willingness to suffer in the light of the coming glory, with love and compassion in our hearts, and in a way that commends and adorns the doctrine of God our Savior. (p. 234)

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