Texas Baptists: not enough fire, brimstone … or heaven
The theme of a three-day “Empower Evangelism” conference held by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) this week was “When Time Is No More”. The focus: getting preachers to spend more time talking about when their flock runs out of time.
“A lot of times today, it seems that in the modern church you don’t find as much preaching on heaven and hell. (But) the whole thing that we’re about is preparing people for when they stand before God in judgment,” said SBTC president Bob Pearle, a Fort Worth pastor.
“There are still many, many Southern Baptists that faithfully preach what the Bible teaches about heaven and hell. But you have a lot of them that are a little hesitant about talking about that, about talking about sin, about talking about judgment,” he told Reuters at the conference.
That may come as a surprise to many outside the Southern Baptist fold, who tend to think America’s largest evangelical denomination already does a lot of “fire and brimstone” preaching.
The latest issue of the Southern Baptist Texan has a series of articles on heaven and hell. One looks at the clash between popular and Scriptural takes on the concepts. Another looks at how theologians approach the topic: is Hell, as evangelist Billy Graham has asked, a burning within the hearts of the dammed for God?
“This is just a reminder that preachers have been called to be a prophetic voice to this culture,” said Pearle.