It’s been a little while, but I saw the usual suspects again today (aka the Toronto street preachers I write about sometimes), and I got into a bit of a disagreement with them that I felt I should write about. You see, some of them were insisting that, “if there were no hell, Jesus wouldn’t have even come to die.” I pointed out that there’s no scriptural basis for this assertion at all, but the elder of the group insisted it was true, and then asked me why Jesus would come to die if there wasn’t a “hell” to save us from. Of course, I told him exactly what those of us in the body of Christ are well aware of, that He died to save us from mortality, death, and sin. He didn’t seem to like that answer, though, and spouted out a few verses that had nothing to do with the idea of “hell” or an afterlife at all (although that goes without saying, since “hell” isn’t even found in Scripture in its original languages to begin with), and then went on to quote the commonly used passage from Matthew 25 that’s mistranslated as talking about “everlasting punishment” (which also has nothing to do with “hell” or an afterlife, as anyone who has actually studied eschatology should really know), and eventually went way off topic by talking about “fornication and pornography,” neither of which had anything to do with what we were discussing (although it did demonstrate that he clearly doesn’t understand what Scripture says about those topics either), but that’s what you do when you run out of good arguments to support your point, I suppose.
Apparently, Christ dying to save us from sin, mortality, and death isn’t enough for some Christians (even though these are three things I would have thought we could all agree that humanity needs saving from). No, there has to be a “hell” to save us from as well, and they won’t allow for a Gospel that doesn’t include one, seemingly convinced that Christ doesn’t care enough about us to die for our sins if we aren’t first destined for “hell,” which makes it sound like they believe He would have been happy to leave humanity to never escape the clutches of mortality, sinfulness, and death, but only cares enough to do something about it if the stakes are high enough (which tells me they don’t actually take sin quite as seriously as they claim they do).
Thankfully, those of us in the actual body of Christ are well aware of what salvation is really from, but those in bondage to the Christian religion need God to threaten us with an inescapable torture chamber as well, for the News to be truly Good, so He can then also offer to rescue us from it (if only we accept the teachings of the Christian religion, of course). As for me, though, I’m sticking with what Scripture says over what those in the Christian religion say, since I’m not aware of anything the Christian religion got right about what Scripture actually teaches.