Over Christmas we attended a Sunday service where my parents worship. What could go wrong on a Christmas Eve service Right? Man it was ugly. The title of the service the, and I’m not kidding you here, “The Dark Side of Christmas”. I’ve never heard a hell fire and brimstone message on Christmas Eve before but I guess there is always a first time for everything. It was really sad to see that there was such a need to convince everyone that we were in the “wrath box” before extending grace. I couldn’t help but keep thinking about the quote from the youtube video on aids about extending grace before trashing with the condemning sin talk, yah I’m there. It was even replete with the famous Spurgeon quote “We are all standing on a plank over hell and the plank is rotten”, and I think he was thinking that it was a hot molten snowball free one at that. I couldn’t help think that I don’t think that I could serve a God like that and in fact I found my mind wandering down the thought line of if that is what God is like then I don’t want to be a part of it. I think that God has been doing some cool stuff in my life over the last 20 years or so, but those kind of sermons are trigger points for someone like myself who has been brought up in the more Fundamentalist fire breathing side of the God Camp,
There is quite a predominant movement afoot that is actually teaching pastors and others that we cannot extend grace to people until they feel the full weight of the law, their guilt and Godâ€™s wrath. How truly sadâ€”as if sin isnâ€™t its own worse punishment! Whatâ€™s saddest to me is that these people have not yet found the treasure of life in Christ to be some compelling that God is worth loving for himself. Heâ€™s not just the better alternative to hell. He is the most incredible Father we could ever know, and he rescues us from sin, not bashes us with it. But they have no idea.
I honestly think weâ€™ll see more of this as religion implodes from within. Not knowing how else to motivate people or keep the faithful contained, there will be more of this people-bashing with hell and wrath to try to keep whatâ€™s left in line. All of it breaks my heart.