God is Not Present in Fire-and-Brimstone Preaching

Fire-and-Brimstone preaching is a style of Christian preaching that uses vivid descriptions of judgment and eternal damnation to encourage repentance especially popular during historical periods of Great Awakening.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_and_brimstone

Notice this excerpt from one of the most popular fire-and-brimstone sermons:

It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisitehorrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration,before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your souls; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance’s, and end, any mitigation, any rest at all; you will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite.

Jonathan Edwards (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God)

Compare this passage from his sermon to 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Do you see the sharp contrast between the two quotations? Does the god of the first sermon take into account a wrong suffered? Does the god of the first sermon bear all things and endures all things?

The sermon above attempts to convert people to the God of 1 Corinthians 13, but it is impossible. Why? Because of what John declared:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

1 John 4:18

Perfect love casts out sermons like the one above. The God that Jesus reveals to us would not infinitely punish someone for a finite sin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *