Is Hell part of the Gospel or the kerygma, my biggest conflict with other of my more conservative christian friends is not is there a Hell or rather the words that are translated into Hell, sheol, hades, tartarus andgehenna,. My biggest disagreement is this, is Hell as a threat for not receiving the message of God’s grace in Christ biblical? There are many subjects that are not a part of the Gospel message and you would never include them in a conversation about the grace and love of God in Christ, like the trinity, virgin birth, etc. etc.
Let me ask a simple question do the Apostles of Christ ever specifically mention Hell in the proclamation of the Gospel? The first proclamation of the Gospel of the risen Christ by the apostles is actually in the book of Acts (2:22-41) if you study Peter’s sermon message you will notice something is missing completely and that’s Hell. Peter doesn’t threaten them with hell fire and brimstone nor is the subject ever brought up, this is the first gospel proclamation and it does not contain the subject of Hell.
Let’s look at another instance of the Gospel being proclaimed and this time by Phillip in Acts 8:26-40, again we see no mention of Hell at all. Further more if we look at the verses the Ethiopian Eunuch was reading in Isaiah 29 we see no mention of Hell.
Do you see a pattern here because I am beginning to see one but let us continue to look at actual instances were the gospel is proclaimed in the scriptures.
In Acts chapter 26 Paul is speaking to King Agrippa and I would encourage you to read the entire chapter for yourself and not take this heretics word for it. Never does he threaten this Pagan King with Hell’s fire, now don’t you think if Paul thought it was as important as some of my more Fundamentalist friends think it is that Paul would have mentioned it?
Shall we go to Mars Hill Acts 17:22-31 when Paul proclaims the Gospel to all the pagan philosophers? Again read it for yourself and you will discover once again that there is no mention of Hell, does Paul just not care to warn them of the grave danger they are in? In fact Paul does not disrespect them with such nonsense and even quotes their own poets.
Can you think of another instance in the scriptures were the gospel is proclaimed of course you can, but let me give one more because it matters. Peter preaches the Gospel to Cornelius in Acts Chapter 10 after much prodding by God. I will enclose this sermon here so you can read it for yourself.
27-29 Talking things over, they went on into the house, where Cornelius introduced Peter to everyone who had come. Peter addressed them, “You know, I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other. So the minute I was sent for, I came, no questions asked. But now I’d like to know why you sent for me.”
30-32 Cornelius said, “Four days ago at about this time, mid-afternoon, I was home praying. Suddenly there was a man right in front of me, flooding the room with light. He said, ‘Cornelius, your daily prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God’s attention. I want you to send to Joppa to get Simon, the one they call Peter. He’s staying with Simon the Tanner down by the sea.’
33 “So I did it—I sent for you. And you’ve been good enough to come. And now we’re all here in God’s presence, ready to listen to whatever the Master put in your heart to tell us.”
34-36 Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message he sent to the children of Israel—that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again—well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.
37-38 “You know the story of what happened in Judea. It began in Galilee after John preached a total life-change. Then Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him.
39-43 “And we saw it, saw it all, everything he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem where they killed him, hung him from a cross. But in three days God had him up, alive, and out where he could be seen. Not everyone saw him—he wasn’t put on public display. Witnesses had been carefully handpicked by God beforehand—us! We were the ones, there to eat and drink with him after he came back from the dead. He commissioned us to announce this in public, to bear solemn witness that he is in fact the One whom God destined as Judge of the living and dead. But we’re not alone in this. Our witness that he is the means to forgiveness of sins is backed up by the witness of all the prophets.”
44-46 No sooner were these words out of Peter’s mouth than the Holy Spirit came on the listeners. The believing Jews who had come with Peter couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on “outsider” non-Jews, but there it was—they heard them speaking in tongues, heard them praising God.
46-48 Then Peter said, “Do I hear any objections to baptizing these friends with water? They’ve received the Holy Spirit exactly as we did.” Hearing no objections, he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Let me close by saying that if you study all the places in scripture were the gospel is recorded being proclaim you will discover what I did, never once is the gospel shared the way I shared it for many years with the inclusion of Hell. I think this matters because these where the men that were taught at the Masters feet and Paul during a special dispensation and they never mention it. So before you say I am un-Biblical for not including Hell in my gospel proclamations maybe you should read the bible more yourself.