March 1, 2017

June 10, 2012

Do you preach heaven?

Good article on the Getty Museum exhibit on “Death in the Middle Ages.”

It raises an interesting issue for preachers, I think:

“When you hear people talking about Heaven, even nowadays, it’s like well, maybe there’s a field and birds tweeting and sunlight and it’s a good temperature,” she said. “But if you think about Hell you can come up with 30 images off the top of your head: There’s demons, there’s pain, there’s fire, there’s grills, there’s a devil ... “

Have you tried preaching about heaven, or heard efforts to do so?

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My current fave on heaven sermons was a UMC preacher trying to leaven the Arminian loaf with a pinch of justification by faith.  His major point was that all believers get to heaven, but the size and beauty of their heavenly mansions and rewards is directly proportional to the good works they did during their lives.  Now, as then, this just seemed skewed.  Well, at least it was different than the typical “all dogs go to heaven” UMC sermon.  My gift to one feminist UMC pastor, who is an ardent universalist, was a copy of Johnathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  I doubt she read it as her face turned a bright shade of crimson when she looked at the title.  Probably not something they read at Wesley Seminary.

[1] Posted by Daniel on 6-10-2012 at 04:51 PM · [top]

Daniel, you mean divisive troublemaker!

[2] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-10-2012 at 05:04 PM · [top]

I don’t preach much about Heaven, and it doesn’t interest me much.  I do preach about a New Earth and a New Heaven as I find that much, much more exciting. 

Preaching about Heaven is like giving a presentation on a roadtrip from Maine to California and spending the entire time describing the rest area on I-80 about 12 miles east of Milton, PA.  There’s not a thing wrong in discussing it, but it’s not anything like the whole story. 

Heaven is a rest area, a place to “rest in peace” until the Resurrection.

I think the quotation from the article illustrates the almost complete lack of preaching about the physical nature of the Resurrection and the redemption of the entire universe.

[3] Posted by James Manley on 6-10-2012 at 06:01 PM · [top]

James, would you agree with N.T. Wright’s assessment?  That we’ve misunderstood and misrepresented Jesus by proclaiming a far off paradise instead of a new heavens and new earth, a transformation in which we are already engaged?

[4] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-10-2012 at 06:13 PM · [top]

RE: “I don’t preach much about Heaven, and it doesn’t interest me much.”


NT Wright again, being too too precious with *definitions* of the word “Heaven.”

[5] Posted by Sarah on 6-10-2012 at 06:15 PM · [top]

I do, Timothy.  And it is a precious doctrine indeed.

[6] Posted by James Manley on 6-10-2012 at 07:59 PM · [top]

And I’ll add that I reached (and preached) that conclusion as a college kid reading Norman Geisler, a decade before I’d ever heard of N. T. Wright.

[7] Posted by James Manley on 6-10-2012 at 08:06 PM · [top]

I can’t answer the question about preaching, but as far as blogging goes, I would defer to Jesus’ answers to his disciples inquiries about “the Kingdom.”

[8] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-11-2012 at 08:59 AM · [top]

My mother used to have an LP with the Sunbury Junior Choir of the Salvation Army singing this:

There’s a Friend for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
A Friend who never changes,
Whose love will never die;
Our earthly friends may fail us,
And change with changing years,
This Friend is always worthy
Of that dear Name He bears.

There’s a rest for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
Who love the blessèd Savior,
And to the Father cry
A rest from every turmoil,
From sin and sorrow free,
Where every little pilgrim
Shall rest eternally.

There’s a home for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
Where Jesus reigns in glory,
A home of peace and joy
No home on earth is like it,
Nor can with it compare;
For everyone is happy
Nor could be happier there.

There’s a song for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
A song that will not weary,
Though sung continually;
A song which even angels
Can never, never sing
They know not Christ as Savior,
But worship Him as King.

[9] Posted by MichaelA on 6-11-2012 at 09:10 AM · [top]

Charles Spurgeon preached a long sermon about heaven - the text is here:

[10] Posted by MichaelA on 6-11-2012 at 09:22 AM · [top]

Thanks, MichaelA.  Just the kind of material I was wondering about.

[11] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-11-2012 at 09:36 AM · [top]

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