To further help Christians know what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it, from today the eBook editions of R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series will be free forever.
I didn’t go to church as a kid, but I did watch a lot of horror movies so I felt pretty educated when it came to the subject of hell. From the The Gates of Hell (1980) to Hellraiser (1987), and everything in-between, Hell was a scary but fictional place. Hell didn’t bother me. It was thrilling. Fun, even. Until 1989.
I’m convinced that we as pastors have to go a bit deeper than what’s offered at most conferences. We need more intimacy, more depth, and more encouragement than the average conference can afford. Many pastors graduate from seminary and never experience the same level of teaching just about the time that they can really benefit from it. I’m not talking about abstract, theoretical work. I’m talking about digging into the Word of God and thinking in depth how it applies to our lives and ministries.
My entire childhood is documented in the space of three photo albums. Two photos stand out in my memory: one, infant-me having my diaper changed from a rather compromising camera angle; the other, 2-year-old me seated triumphantly on a potty chair. I remember them because my parents teased that they would show them to any prospective suitors. Even though I knew they were joking, the possibility that those pictures would ever be viewed outside our family horrified me as an adolescent. The written record of my childhood is fairly small, too—a baby book with notes about my weight gain and first words, a collection of birthday cards and letters from family. How different this is from the record many parents are making of their children’s early years now.
We dare not speak on God’s behalf to explain why He allowed these particular acts of evil to happen at this time to these persons and in this manner. Yet, at the same time, we dare not be silent when we should testify to the God of righteousness and love and justice who rules over all in omnipotence. Humility requires that we affirm all that the Bible teaches, and go no further. There is much we do not understand. As Charles Spurgeon explained, when we cannot trace God’s hand, we must simply trust His heart.