Francis Chan Warning People About Hell By Proclaiming It Boldly Now
Q: When you say that your study caused you to realize that you had some sins to repent of, what type of things are you talking about?
FC: “As I reread the Gospel passages, Jesus’ words are much harsher than I remember. There’s a tone in some of the things that he said that are really difficult to stomach, and he says things in a way that I would not have.
Because we in America read certain passages over and over to the neglect of others, we start to believe that Jesus had a friendly tone all the time. And that there isn’t any wrath or anger or judgment. When you read it all like you are reading it for the first time, you walk away going, “Wow, he was pretty hardcore.”
Here’s what I had to repent of: I had felt the need to soften a lot of Jesus’ statements, because in my arrogance I think, “Okay Jesus, I’m not going to say that like that. Trust me, people will like you more and be more willing to accept you if I say it like this.” Obviously I’ve never said that to God. But that’s the attitude I’ve taken, and it made me sick. Who in the heck do I think I am? To think that I can make God more palatable or attractive if I try and change the tone in which he says some things. I know people say, “Well it’s just cultural this or that.” That’s garbage. People back then had a much deeper reverence for God than we do. Especially the religious community. Yet it’s to those people whom he speaks so harshly.
What in the world would he say to us today? I don’t think it’d be a softer message. I had to come before God and say, “Lord I feel sick…….”
Q: Is that what makes it compelling for you to continue to affirm the reality of hell? That it’s so frequently mentioned?
FC: “It comes down to God and people. I have to warn people. I don’t want people going there. And if they ignore it, there’s a much more likely chance that they’ll end up there. Obviously I take that in light of the sovereignty of God, but looking at it from a pragmatic perspective, it’s like canoeing before Niagara Falls if you don’t know it’s there or you’ve got yourself deceived that there’s no drop off. So one reason is my desire to love people and care for people and warn people.
The other is what I mentioned about God himself. I want to make sure that I’m being faithful to present him as he presents himself. I’m not ashamed of this, I don’t understand it completely, but I surrender to it, I submit to it. And I want to proclaim it boldly now.”
Quotes from Q&A: Francis Chan on Rob Bell and Hell from ChristianityToday.com