Fire & Brimstone

To me, a “Fire and Brimstone” sermon is like a bald eagle. I know they are out there, but I’ve never encountered one…Until last night.

Whenever I’m in my car in a different city, I hit the scan button on the radio and wait until I find something exciting. Last night after about 4 laps around the radio dial, I decided to stop when I heard some of those old-timey Southern Gospel hymns. Sweet melodies of Zion, streets of gold, and the old rugged cross. It was magical.

Unfortunately, I caught the Gospel Music Hour as it was coming to a close, but it was followed up by sharp-shooting evengelist. YES! I knew I was in for a treat when he started by condemning people for attending services at “liberal, modern, Christ-denying, Gospel-denying” houses of worship.

Preach on, brother. It’s on now. Bring out a tissue to wipe the sweat off your brow.

I know the term “liberal” is often tossed around casually to describe churches on the move, but “Christ-denying” was some new rhetoric. This preacher brought the heat, and I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m glad he wasn’t so filled with the Spirit that he had the power to reach through the radio and slap me with Acts 2:38.

The next thing caught me off guard. The preacher said, “Without faith in Jesus, you WILL burn in hell.”

Whoa, buddy, this just got real. He said, “Burn in hell.” He didn’t candy-coat it by saying, “Jesus is the way to salvation” or “Salvation is found in Christ Jesus.” He took a more aggressive approach.

I knew those sermons were out there, but I have never heard one that hardcore and direct. I also understand that Jesus is the Way; I’m not denying that part.

Does that tactic only work when delivered in a church or on the radio, or is it a truly effective way to spread the Gospel? Does it have any positive effect to reach the lost?

How would you react if your preacher busted out a “fire and brimstone” sermon?



  1. I would react negatively, as I think would most. Fear is no way to follow. I think some acknowledgement by Christians of the possibility of hell is a good thing; viewing God only as loving and sweet and ignoring the powerful and sometimes wrathful side of Him is only begging for people to abuse his kindness with mindless sin. But focusing only on the “burn in Hell outcome” is encouraging people to become a Christian only out of fear. In my opinion.

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