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lonesomepoint

lonesomepoint

Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) - Brian C.  Jones This book approaches Christian evangelism strictly from one angle: the awfulness of God's wrath and unbelievers' need to avoid it (by repenting of their sins and making Jesus Christ their savior and Lord of their lives) and thus avoid hell. It teaches that God's wrath is righteous but also brutal in effect. Although the book affirms it, you can't easily learn much about God's love for you from this book.

This author, Brian Jones, went to Princeton Theological Seminary. He apparently didn't know beforehand that it was a theologically liberal school (I don't know, perhaps it wasn't common knowledge when he enrolled there), and he encountered (1)theologically liberal professors; (2)profs who, based on their personal behavior, obviously had no business teaching in a seminary. Jones describes one prof who came to class tipsy and swore at random students, and another prof who would come in on Monday and asked the students if they "had screwed anyone" over the weekend. In his job at the campus bookstore, Jones met students who didn't live a Christian lifestyle and/or didn't claim to be Christian. None of these people--the faculty or Jones' student coworkers--wanted to hear Jones's attempts to share the gospel with them, and the resulting conflicts with coworkers got him fired.
Worse, over time, one of Jones's liberal profs not only convinced Jones not to believe in hell but over time destroyed his faith in Jesus Christ. Fortunately, Jones eventually regained his faith and later started a Bible-teaching church in Philadelphia which, he says, is 'focused like a laser' on evangelizing non-Christians rather than preaching to those who have already accepted Christ. In fact, Jones asks Christians who have come to his church from other churches to return to their previous churches to evangelize non-Christians who visit.

He shares other incidents that illustrate his extreme fervor in saving people from God's wrath but also shares his mistakes. He tells how he visited the dying father of one of his parishioners, an unbeliever who had for years rejected and mocked Jones for sharing the gospel. When all his attempts to persuade the dying man failed, Jones literally begged him to accept Christ, and by God's grace, that worked. During one service at his church, Jones suddenly climbed into the baptistry without having told his staff beforehand, and assertively invited anyone who hadn't received Christ to come up there and receive Him and be baptized. After a few minutes of awkward silence, someone came up and received Christ, then a few more and a few more, until a large line of people waiting for baptism snaked around the halls of the church.

Some quotations:

"The most ridiculous phase I went through in 1986 wasn't the 'I want to look like Bono' mullet I sported or my tour of duty as a caster-outer of demons, but the time I spent trying to lead people to Christ without first building an authentic relationship with them. ...I learned the third step to...effectively sharing your faith: To have any measure of success, you've got to build relationships first."

"You can't think your way out of a faith crisis; you have to repent your way out of a faith crisis."


This book was valuable enough that I want to own a copy. At the end, Mr. Jones gives his e-mail address and invites the reader to contact him with any comments about Hell Is Real; I just did that, to tell him how much I liked it.