8 Reasons Why Belief in the Wrath of God is Rejected
The Bible continually warns of hell, a place where the wrath of God is released upon unrepentant sinners. There are over 162 references warning of hell in the New Testament alone. Over 70 of these references were uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus and the apostles were not afraid to bring up this subject. Even John the Baptist referenced this when he said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come.” (Luke 3:7)
When speaking about sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness, and idolatry, Paul the apostle said, “Because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-7). Paul also said that he always made it his aim to please God because we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ; therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others (2 Corinthians 5:9-11).
Furthermore, the Book of Revelation, written by John the apostle, culminates with the day of judgment and references people being thrown into the lake of fire if their names were not found written in the Book of Life (Revelations 20:11-15).
That being said, it seems as though there are very few references to the wrath of God in modern-day sermons. Even mentioning the word hell is almost taboo in many contemporary seeker-sensitive Evangelical churches.
The following are eight reasons why belief in the wrath of God has been rejected:
- There is no concept of sin in culture.
The scripture tells us that God’s moral law is the schoolmaster that leads us to Christ ( Galatians 3:24). Hence, because many of the laws and mores of our society presently celebrate things the word of God forbids, it’s much harder for people to feel the conviction of sin.
- The fear of the Lord is lacking.
Job 28:28 says, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Because of a lack of understanding regarding the holiness and nature of God, there is very little fear of the Lord in society.
Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil…” Instead of hating evil, society calls good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20).
3. The belief in original sin has been rejected.
The meta-narrative of scripture makes it clear that the posterity of Adam and Eve are by nature born in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). Romans 5:12 says that death passed to all men because all have sinned. Church father, Saint Augustine, has been criticized for coining the phrase “original sin.” I once heard a theologian say that Augustine’s original sin was original sin! Because of the secular humanistic worldview regarding belief in the goodness of all people, original sin has been roundly rejected by many in the Church.
4. Pastors are afraid to preach on sin and repentance.
Many pulpits are silent on this subject because they are afraid of offending people in the Church. Others, like myself, are also cautious in the way they bring up the issue because of previous generations of hellfire and brimstone preachers.
5. All boundaries are gone.
The moral boundaries of the law of God mentioned in the 10 Commandments used to be the ethical foundation of the United States and other nations in western civilization (Exodus 20). Now, many of the laws and policies of nations are based on the prior decisions of judges and situational ethics. Absolutes regarding right and wrong have been largely replaced by a postmodern subjective view of truth. Truth seems to be merely a matter of one’s own private interpretation and feelings.
6. Self actualization is worshipped more than Yahway.
The greatest taboo in western society today is denying a person’s right to express themselves the way they want. Thus, in today’s society, self-actualization and human autonomy is presently worshiped more than Yahway.
7. The divine inspiration of scripture has been rejected by most Protestant denominations.
During the 20th century, most mainline Protestant denominations capitulated to higher critical views that robbed the Scriptures of authority and divine inspiration. Most believers who adhere to historic orthodox views of the faith believe that the original authors of scripture were fully inspired and God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
According to liberal scholars, the Bible is just another human, historical artifact to be studied through the lens of anthropology, psychology, sociology, critical theory, liberation economics, and political theory. Thus, they believe that the values of scripture should be adopted, changed, and implemented according to human progress and development related to other disciplines and sciences. That being said, those who reject the scriptures think the biblical view of hell and the wrath of God is no longer relevant because it was written for the pre-modern, mystical, unenlightened world of 2000 years ago.
8. There is no understanding of the holiness of God.
The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the holy one is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). When people lack understanding of God’s knowledge, nature, and character, they do not respect or fear Him. The primary answer for this ignorant state is for holy men and women of God to preach under the authority, power, and inspiration of the Spirit. They should preach about themes dealing with knowing God, especially related to His justice, holiness, righteousness, and love. This is because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).
Without this kind of expository preaching, people in both the Church and the world will have a watered-down view of God as merely “a higher power.” They will know a pantheistic God or a God of love who lacks holiness and justice and approves of every person’s lifestyle irrespective of their faith and obedience to His standards.
(I just released my latest book, The Purpose, Power, and Process of Prophetic Ministry. To purchase click here. )