My Sunday reading included the final feature article in this month’s Tabletalk on the subject of hell. “The Biblical Evidence for Hell” is written by Dr. Christopher W. Morgan, dean and professor of theology at California Baptist University in Riverside, CA. He has also written previously on this subject, including co-editing the book Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment.
In his article Morgan focuses especially on the NT witness to the truth of hell, demonstrating that every NT Bible writer sets forth the reality of hell as a real place where sinners suffer everlasting punishment for sin. When you read his article, you will be left without a shadow of a doubt about the truth concerning hell in the Bible. Man may deny it or try to explain it away, but God has revealed it plainly in His Word. Which is why this solemn doctrine must also be preached. And Dr. Steven Lawson has a piece in this issue on that too, which I recommend (“Preaching the Wrath of God”).
Here is a portion of Morgan’s article; read all of it at the link given above.
Hell in Matthew
In the Sermon on the Mount, often known for its emphasis on love and the kingdom, Jesus teaches the reality and nature of hell (5:20–30; 7:13–27). In Matthew 5:20–30, Jesus contrasts hell with the kingdom of heaven and warns that hell is a real danger to unrepentant sinners. The fire of hell, the justice of hell, and the extreme suffering in hell are particularly stressed. The unrepentant are warned to use extreme measures to avoid being cast into it by God.
As Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount, He contrasts the kingdom of heaven with the horrors of hell (7:13– 27). Jesus cautions that hell is a place of destruction, depicted as the end of a broad road. Hell awaits everyone who does not enter the kingdom of heaven— even those who profess to know Christ but continue in sin. Jesus is Judge and King who personally excludes the wicked from His presence and the kingdom of heaven (“Depart from me,” 7:23). Indeed, those who fail to follow Jesus are like a house built on the sand that ultimately comes crashing down.
Matthew also recounts Jesus’ surprising warning that Jews devoid of faith are in danger of hell, which is portrayed as outside, darkness, and a place of intense suffering (8:10–12). Jesus addresses hell when He commissions His disciples not to fear humans but God alone, “who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (10:28). In Jesus’ parables of the weeds (13:36–43) and the net (vv. 47–50), hell is seen as exclusion/ separation from the kingdom of God, described in terms of fire and is a place of suffering. Jesus later describes hell as a place of “eternal fire” (18:8) and even warns the scribes and Pharisees of hell, characterizing it as inescapable for the unrepentant (23:33).
One of the other profitable features in the February Tabletalk is the interview feature, this month with Dr.Jay E.Adams, the well-known founder of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation and other nouthetic counseling ministries. The interview is titled “Competent to Counsel”, taken from Adam’s popular work on Biblical counseling.
Below is just a small part of the interview. Through the rest of this interview I encourage you to learn more about this man and his fine counseling work.
Tabletalk: Over the course of your life, what have you found to be your most significant ministry focus? Why?
Jay Adams: As I look back on sixty-plus years of ministry, I suspect that the ministry focus on exegesis has more than anything else been the most significant one. It was my interest from my seminary and college years and has been ever since. That’s why I majored in Greek. I have wanted to know for myself what God’s Word teaches, not what someone else says about it.
Secondarily, I would mention the importance of sound systematic theology. A combination of these two disciplines, in particular, kept me from going off base when I began counseling and began to write about it. Few who have focused on counseling apart from such a background (and such concerns) have been able to maintain a steady, true, doctrinal foundation for doing their “biblical” counseling. This scripturally oriented basis for ministry of all forms is what has made the difference throughout the years.