Friday, March 04, 2011

Your Hell is Too Small, Mr. John H. Armstrong

To John H. Armstrong, author of the book, "Your Church is Too Small," and to those who buy into his way of thinking, my response is "Your hell is too small."

What do I mean by that? I mean that you are too quick to assume that people don't need to hear the gospel. You figure, "if they call themselves Christians, who am I to judge?" But in the process you lose the chance to convict them of sin and exhort them to repentance and faith in Christ.

By accepting their Christian professions despite their idolatry or other serious and unrepented-of sin, you are not doing them any favors. You may make a lot of friends for yourself (and that will be your reward) but you are not showing them love.

We love our fellow humans and we don't long for hell to be as large as it is. But on the other hand, we need to be realistic and to keep in mind that there will be many who are now saying "Lord, Lord," who will be there. It's not loving to tell someone with a treatable disease that they are fine, even if they don't want to hear about their disease.

Mr. Armstrong, you may think that my definition of the church is too small, but I'm afraid I must tell you that your definition of hell is too small. If I'm wrong, I've shared the gospel in vain. If you're wrong, you've failed to share the gospel with those who need it. If there's any uncertainty about who is right, I suggest you come over to my side.

-TurretinFan

10 comments:

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"It's not loving to tell someone with a treatable disease that they are fine, even if they don't want to hear about their disease."

Let's run with this a little more. (Which by the way is quite a good parallel.)

The person with the disease oftentimes becomes angry with you and calls you names like "unloving", "judgmental", "pharasaic, "ungodly", etc.... They plainly reject your diagnosis and treatment. When you say it's not your diagnosis and treatment, but rather that it's from God, they still think it's your harsh, unloving subjective opinion.

After this response from the diseased person, you oftentimes run into condemnation from *both* his unbelieving friends/family *and* other Christians who will reflexively think that because the diseased person is offended by you, then it must be you who was unnecessarily offensive and mean, no matter how kind and soft you tried to present the Gospel, and not the Gospel of Jesus who was offensive to the diseased person.

Basically, the Great Commission evangelist is condemned and shunned quite broadly in his attempts to love his neighbor with the Gospel.

Whaddya gonna do?

Turretinfan said...

"Whaddya gonna do?"

Keep on building the ark, like Noah did: whether 8 will board it or 8 billion.

Dozie said...

"But in the process you lose the chance to convict them of sin and exhort them to repentance and faith in Christ".

You end up confusing yourself and everyone else, Mr. Turrentinfan. Does salvation finally depend on exhortation and repentance and not on what God has pre-ordained?

Turretinfan said...

Salvation is of the Lord, Dozie, and yet if you will repent and trust in Him, He will save you.

kuyamanny said...

Is this the same man who was once one of the heroes of Reformed theology in the 90's?

Turretinfan said...

You mean Armstrong? If so, I think he is the same one you are thinking about.

-TurretinFan

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Ould said...

and now with my proper account... ;-)

spot on. I reviewed this book a while ago and was pretty depressed with the whole thing. Armstrong simply failed to properly address Jesus' own stated basis of unity - the word of truth.

Stephen Lay said...

You seem to be able to misread and misunderstand john armstrong...this is not at all what he was in mind. I suggest you refamiliarize yourself with his work.

turretinfan said...

Thanks for your comments, Mr. Lay.