Friday, March 18, 2011

Hell yes

Matt Perkins found this great commentary from prolific English author and lay theologian Dorothy Sayers:

There seems to be a kind of conspiracy, especially among middle-aged writers of vaguely liberal tendency, to forget, or to conceal, where the doctrine of Hell comes from. One finds frequent references to the "cruel and abominable mediaeval doctrine of hell," or "the childish and grotesque mediaeval imagery of physical fire and worms." . . .
But the case is quite otherwise; let us face the facts. The doctrine of hell is not " mediaeval": it is Christ's. It is not a device of "mediaeval priestcraft" for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ's deliberate judgment on sin. The imagery of the undying worm and the unquenchable fire derives, not from "mediaeval superstition," but originally from the Prophet Isaiah, and it was Christ who emphatically used it. . . . It confronts us in the oldest and least "edited" of the gospels: it is explicit in many of the most familiar parables and implicit in many more: it bulks far larger in the teaching than one realizes, until one reads the Evangelists [gospels] through instead of picking out the most comfortable texts: one cannot get rid of it without tearing the New Testament to tatters. We cannot repudiate Hell without altogether repudiating Christ.

2 comments:

The Archer of the Forest said...

That's the crux of the whole matter. You can write off hell, but you ultimately have to start refuting what Jesus says. And once you start down that path of knowing more about the subject that Christ himself, everything is pretty much up for grabs.

The Underground Pewster said...

Yeah, but we sure as heck would like to be able to say "No." If we do, that just might be our last word.