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Vantage point

Heaven or hell

One of the best definitions of revival I have heard is this: "Revival is the saints of God agonizing on behalf of lost souls going to hell."

We all realize that such agonizing should be the normal way of life for the Church. It is tragic — eternally tragic — that it is not. It generally takes a major spiritual breakthrough to get Christians to be sensitive to the deadly danger unbelievers face. It’s as if our minds understand the eternal consequences of being without Christ, but our hearts do not respond.

Revival touches hearts, turning them from stone to flesh. I have long believed that a church or Christian who sheds no tears demonstrates spiritual dryness. When prayer lacks tears, the heart’s soil is usually hard, like ground on which no rain has fallen.

Of all the characteristics of genuine revival, this one stands alone. Vigorous praise, anointed preaching, filled churches and increased blessings all seem superficial and temporary if there is no passion to turn the lost from their eternally destructive course.

Unbelievers have pointed to the lack of Christian passion for the lost as a proof that Christians are hypocrites and hell does not exist. "Why are you not doing everything you can to stop them if hell is real?" they ask. A lukewarm church is of use to no one, except, perhaps, the skeptics who point to it with scorn.

Charles Spurgeon had it right when he said, "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

It is this kind of passion the Church desperately needs. Our altars need to be soaked with tears — and not just tears of joy. There must be tears of sorrow, tears of anguish for precious souls racing headlong toward an eternal abyss.

We must each answer the skeptic’s question for ourselves. Why do I not weep for the lost? Why have I stood idly by as friends, loved ones and neighbors go to a place of eternal separation from God? The journey out of God’s presence at death is one from which no one returns. There are no appeals, retrials or second chances. Should this not be a high priority?

All those you know face a choice — heaven or hell. Compare the two alternatives as they are presented in this issue. Then pray for tears.

— Ken Horn


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