Mike Huckabee to Osama bin Laden: “Welcome to Hell” (Part 2)

Adrian Rogers – [1/3] 5 Minutes After Death

Huckabee on bass

We were convinced that it wasn’t so much the conservative Christian vote that catapulted Mike Huckabee to victory in Iowa as his bass playing. Huckabee played bass guitar with his band, Capitol Offense, at the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Unity Dinner in Des

John Brummett in his article “Huckabee speaks for bad guy below,” Arkansas News Bureau, May 5, 2011 had to say:

Are we supposed to understand and accept that Mike Huckabee is in hell where he has official duties as a greeter, welcoming Osama bin-Laden?

Let us resist the evil urge to say it all makes sense — that the Big Huckster would be in that location and that Lucifer would have tabbed him for special responsibilities on account of his gift of gab.

It would be wrong to say something like that.

I really am uncomfortable with all this kind of lighthearted talk about hell. The traditional Christian view of hell is a very serious doctrine. 

The next few days I will be posting portions of the article “Hell:The Horrible Choice,” by Patrick Zukeran of Probe Ministries. Here is the first installment:

Importance of Understanding the Doctrine of Hell

Why study the doctrine of hell? Very few sermons today are preached on this topic, and most Christians try to avoid the subject. However, this is an important doctrine for Christians to understand especially if we are going to share our faith in the postmodern culture that despises this teaching.

Dr. Peter Kreeft and Ron Tacelli write:

Of all the doctrines in Christianity, hell is probably the most difficult to defend, the most burdensome to believe and the first to be abandoned. The critic’s case against it seems very strong, and the believer’s duty to believe it seems unbearable. . . . Heaven is far more important than hell, we know much more about it, and it is meant to occupy our mind much more centrally. But in a battle an army must rush to defend that part of the line which is most attacked or which seems the weakest. Though other doctrines are more important than this one, this one is not unimportant or dispensable.{1}

Several critics of Christianity grew up in the church but eventually abandoned the faith, and many of them cite the teaching on hell as a key factor. Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in his work Why I Am Not a Christian:

I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. . . . I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture: and the Christ of the Gospels, if you could take Him as His chroniclers represent Him, would certainly have to be considered partly responsible for that.{2}

Charles Darwin grew up and was baptized in the Church of England. Despite his rejection of Christianity, he was buried in Westminster Abbey. Darwin has pointed to the doctrine of hell as one of the significant reasons for his abandonment of the faith. He stated in his autobiography, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother and almost all my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.”{3}

I am sure that many of us have friends who find the Bible’s teaching on hell to be offensive and use this doctrine to paint the God of the Bible as a cruel and vindictive being. However, most unbelievers’ attacks of this doctrine are built on a false understanding of hell. Christians also have difficulty defending the justice of hell with the love of God because we lack a proper understanding of what the Bible teaches. In this article, I will present the biblical teaching on hell so that we can present a sound response when challenged.

The Nature of Hell

Hell is basically a place of eternal separation from God. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 states that those without God “will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power.” To be separated from God is to be separated from all that is good. A person in hell is separated from all the joy, love, and meaning for which we were created. Instead of knowing God as a loving father, one will know God as judge (Romans 2: 5-8). That is the attribute of God an unbeliever will know for eternity.

Many, including Christians, believe that God tortures people in hell. However, a significant thing to note is that in the New Testament, hell is not described as a place of torture but rather a place of torment (Luke 16:23-28, Revelation 14:11). Torture is inflicted against one’s will, while torment is self-inflicted by one’s own will. Torment comes from the mental and physical anguish of knowing we used our freedom for evil and chose wrongly. The anguish results from the sorrow and shame of the judgment of being forever away from God and all that is meaningful and joyful. Everyone in hell will know that the pain he or she is suffering is self-induced. The flames of hell are generated by the individual who has rejected God. It is not a place where people are forced against their will to undergo agonizing pain. Unbelievers often use this image to portray God as a cruel and vindictive being. However, the torment of hell comes from the individual who chooses not to love God and now must live with the sorrow of being aware of all that was lost.

One of the most severe punishments leveled on a criminal is the sentence of solitary confinement. One of the reasons this is a feared sentence is that the guilty are left to sit alone in their cells and live with the regret and sorrow of their crimes with no one to comfort or minister to them. Pain comes from within as they wrestle alone with their thoughts and emotions. It must be a horrible realization to see lost forever what could have been.

Such is the anguish of hell. The pain comes from the regret of all that was lost. A person experiences separation from God, the ultimate good. This is why hell is such a horrible place and a horrible choice.

Notes

1. Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 282.
2. Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Touchstone Books, 1957), 17 – 18.
3. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, ed. Nora Darwin Barlow, with original omissions restored (N.Y.: W. W. Norton, 1993), 87.
4. C. S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan), 69.

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