Pastor J.D. Greear of The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, recently penned a blog post that made some pretty bold proclamations about humanity and the afterlife. It’s title? “Hell Is the Default Destination.”
The post, which doesn’t mince words, makes it clear that the pastor believes “hell, not heaven, is our default destination,” with Greear offering a deep theological explanation to back his biblical claims.
“Most people assume that as long as they don’t mess things up in their time here on earth, they’ll go to heaven when they die. But Scripture says the opposite,” he wrote. “God created us for heaven, but the rebellion of the human race, in which we are all participating, has destined us for hell.”
In making that point, Greear points to Revelation 21:8, noting that the list of those who will go to hell includes people who are guilty of some horrific sins such as murder and intense acts of immorality, but that it also includes some people he said can even be found in church today — the “faithless” and “cowardly,” for example. His point: it’s not just the “‘really bad’ guys.”
Here’s how Revelation 21:8 reads: “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Greear also addressed a number of questions people might ask, including why it’s fair for God to punish people in eternal hell when they’ve only sinned for, say, 70 years on Earth, with the preacher noting that a sin against God is the gravest sin of all (you can also listen to him address this content in a recent sermon he delivered on the subject as well).
To illustrate that point, Greear noted that punching a wall might mean needing to pay for that wall, whereas punching a woman in the grocery line or raising a fist to the Queen of England would come with increasingly steep consequences. He concluded: “Sin gains its wickedness by the one it’s committed against.”
And on yet another intriguing note, Greear acknowledged that there’s certainly debate over what’s literal and what’s metaphor in Revelation, but said that, either way, what’s being pointed to in an effort to describe hell is “unspeakably awful.”
In the end, Greear said salvation through Christ can save people from hell, but that a refusal to accept Jesus and a continual decision to “push God away” leads to an unpalatable position in the afterlife. Read the post in its entirety here.
As The Pew Research Center noted, 58 percent of Americans said in a 2014 poll that they believe in hell, while 72 percent said the same of heaven.
(H/T: Christian Post)
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